Best, M. & Welsh, Jr., H. (2014). The trophic role of a forest salamander: impacts on invertebrates, leaf litter retention, and the humification process. Ecosphere (5) 2 Article 16. (Retrieved from http://www.esajournals.org/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1890%2FES13-00302.1.
Walston. L. & Mullin, S. (2005). Evaluation of a New Method for Measuring Salamanders. Herpetological Review 36 (3), 290 – 292.
Beane, J., Braswell, A., Mitchell, J., Palmer, W. & Harrison III, J. (2010). Amphibians & Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. (2d Ed. Revised). Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press.
Calhoun, A. J. K. & deMaynadier, P. G. (2008). Science and Conservation of Vernal Pools in Northeastern North America. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.
Climate Change and Ephemeral Pool Ecosystems: Potholes and vernal pools as potential indicator systems.
Checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina. Beane, J. C., and A. L. Braswell, 2011.
Winter and Early Spring Vernal Pool Egg Mass Identification: Pt. 1 Frogs
Winter and Early Spring Vernal Pool Egg Mass Identification: Pt. 2 Salamanders
Transcripts of Videos
Transcript Introduction to Ephemeral Pool Project
Kathy: I’m Dr. Kathy Matthews. I’m on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and I’m the PI, the Principle Investigator, on the HERP Project: Herpetology Education in Rural Places and Spaces, and all of you are down at my vernal pool today, so in just a few minutes we’re going to do a vernal pool exploration.
Transcript How to Check a Minnow Trap
Leader: See, just pretend it’s a fountain and dump them back in, you wanna just put it in the water and dump everything out.
So when we pull a trap, as I said yesterday, they are minnow traps and they have holes on either side and they have the bottle in it so it was able to float. So, we’re going to pull this first one in. And it has a, most of them have a number on it. (Pulling in the trap by a string from the water.) So what we’re going to do is… this is trap 44 so the boys are going to record 44. And then you’re going to tip it up to one side and knock it so that everything comes down to one side. And this is like a little pin, they can get tricky. You got to push it in and it all comes out. (Opens trap to examine contents.)
So I’m just gonna double check the top that I pull off to make sure there’s nothing in there cause we don’t want any animals to die, and then I take the bottle out. Then what I’m going to do, is, I’m going to go through to see what is in here.
Transcript Student Checking Minnow Trap
Kathy: Yeah, right now it would totally murk up the pool so, yeah, thanks for being so careful walking through there with the waiters.
(Student opens trap, hands the top to another student to check, takes the bottle out of the trap, and observes the bottom of the trap.)
Student: Oohh, look at that! (Student shakes a tadpole out of the trap.)
Student: Yeah, that was a good one. So there were three giant tadpoles in that and one smaller tadpole.
Transcript of Holding and Identifying a Frog:
Andy: Ok, as I’ve said before, I find the easiest way to hold frogs is by the very end of their rear, or hind, legs so that they can’t cock to jump. So, what we want to do is identify this so everybody get their field guides out and we’re going to look for the characters that we discussed earlier and y’all are going to tell me what I’m looking at here.
Participant: Well, you’ve got that lateral, or ridge, what’s it called again?
Andy: Lateral line, lateral fold.
Participant: That goes down behind its ears.
Andy: Behind its ears. There’s one clue.
Erika: Do you remember what it’s called?
Erika: Tympanum, yes!
Andy: Ok, so, do we see any brightish or neon green up under its eye. So what do you think, a frog this big, what do you think our two choices are?
Participants: Green frog or Bullfrog.
Andy: Green frog or Bull so do we see that neon green under the eyes that Green frogs have? Now Bulls can sometimes look like that too.
Participant: Not really.
Andy: I don’t really see that. It’s kinda green but not really neon green.
Participant: Um, 145 and 146.
Andy: So, the real key in this case is what that fold does. And what have we decided it does?
Participant: Curves back around behind the ear so I say it’s an American Bullfrog.
Andy: There you go. And let’s look at his stomach. So you see the splotching, the darker splotching on the venter, right? Ok, so that pretty much tells us. Ok, so now let’s look at the size of the tympanum and y’all tell me whether we’re looking at a young man or a young lady here.
Participants: Female. They’re small in size.
Andy: Yeah, smaller tympanum. Ok, so, anyone want to hold the frog?
Erika: Let’s show them the eyeball. Ok, look at his eyes, guys. See, I can push it back, see how I can just push it down in?
Participant: Does that…
Andy: Oh they have muscles that can actually pull their eyeballs in and out. So why would you want your eyeballs up like that?
Participants: So you can see above the water?
Andy: Yeah, so you can stay in the water but see what’s above the water. But why would you want to be able to pull them down?
Participants: So predators don’t see you.
Andy: Predator… let’s think about some other things. How do you reckon frogs find a lot of their food?
Participants: Under the water… Oh so they can sneak up on them.
Andy: Well, they’re gonna be nosing around in litter right? Pushing through leaves and sticks and twigs. Do you want your eyes up where they can be damaged doin that kind of thing?
Participant: Uh uh.
Andy: No, you want to pull them down. And most amphibians depend on their sense of smell as their primary sense. Ah, I work on salamanders and I had a salamander physiologist from Germany once tell me that salamanders are just giant noses. They can see but they don’t use their eyes much. And salamanders can do the exact same thing, they have telescope eyes that they can pull down when they’re foraging under leaves or under rocks in streams and things like that.
Participant: May I hold him?
Andy: Sure, so just grab right there at the end. There you go.
Participant: Oh, ok. I thought he would be more jumpy.
Andy: No, you see, if he can’t cock his legs, there’s not much he can do. Or she, excuse me, that’s a young lady.
Participant: There were three tadpoles, correct?
Participant: Four. Four small ones.
Erika: You want to try picking one up and you can see what it is?
Participant: Any of them have legs?
Andy: Do you think Green frog adults would eat Bullfrog tadpoles?
Andy: Sure. Would an adult Bullfrog eat a Green frog or a Green frog tadpole? Sure.
Transcript How to Measure Circumference of an Emphemeral Pool
Leader: So what we’re going to do, we’re going to work together first and we’re going to measure the circumference of the ephemeral pool. So, how do you think we’re going to start this?
Participant: You go across.
Leader: Ok, we could go all the way across but keep in mind we haven’t pulled any traps. If we go all the way across the water’s going to be even murkier and it could harm some of the species that are in there.
Participant: Like, maybe go around it?
Leader: Right, right. So, do you want to start?
Leader: And you guys can follow. So Tory is going to be the leader for this. And I’ll give you a hint, get a stick that you can put through here, and that way it can be your starting place. Ok? And you can go either to the right or to the left. Jacob and I will follow you along.
Right at the edge of where the water is and then we’re just gonna use the sticks.
(Students are walking around the edge of the ephemeral pool with a tape measure, making sure that the tape is secured by sticks along the way.)
Leader: Ok, so we’ve only come this far around, what do you think we’re gonna, how are we gonna… How are we gonna finish? Yep, roll it back up, so if someone could go to where we started and take it off the stick but put the stick back where we started. And we can start right here and roll it. So if you girls wanna tag team it, you can do that.
Ok, do you see where the stick is, where we left off? So if one of you can, yeah, awesome.
Participant: 85 and 1 ½
Leader: Ok, so, we have, the second time we have 85 with 1 ½ inches and we have to add it to?
Leader: So, 185 feet. And then roughly two inches, so we’re going to record that. And then we’re going to notice how it changes throughout the week based on the weather, ok?
So let’s roll that back up and we’ll get our data sheets out and record that.
Transcript How to Mass a Salamander
Leader: We’re going to measure the bag with the water in it, and then we measure it with the newt in it, then we subtract the two and we’ll find the measurement, ah, the mass of the organism.
(Student puts newt in a ziplock baggie with some water in it then attaches a spring scale to the bag.)
Leader: So 7.8 subtract 3.9.