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The tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) is a wide-ranging amphibian of North America common to prairie wetlands. Nevertheless, little is actually known about their ecology, including what water quality conditions are desirable and what effects water quality may have on established populations. In this study, I assessed how water quality parameters affect salamander survival and microhabitat use in the prairie pothole region of Western Minnesota. My goal was to assess if differences in water quality between ponds act as potential indicators of microhabitat preferences among salamander populations. I took water quality samples and trapped salamanders from four ponds with differing pH levels. Results suggest that salamanders tend to prefer areas with higher pH levels relative to the rest of a pond. Furthermore, pH increased in shallow regions as the summer progressed, which correlated to higher trapping rates in shallow water. These results can help us understand how natural and human-caused changes in water quality affect wetland communities as a whole and lead to future research in seasonal water quality dynamics.
University of Minnesota, Morris
Salamanders, Habitat conservation
Kokesh, Broc S., "The Effects of Water Quality on the Habitat Use of Tiger Salamanders in Prairie Wetlands" (2015). Undergraduate Research Symposium 2015. 7.