Appalachian salamanders' ecosystem studied

June 22, 2006

A University of Missouri study has found more land around Appalachian streams needs to be protected if ecosystems are to be maintained.

Biology Professor Raymond Semlitsch and doctoral candidate John Crawford studied stream-breeding salamanders in the southern Appalachians to determine how much land they used.

The researchers say salamanders are important to ecosystem maintenance since they are biomass transporters, eating insects and worms and then being eaten themselves by snakes and birds. The abundance and diversity of salamanders are also indicators of an ecosystem's general health.

Crawford and Semlitsch found salamanders they studied used 88 to 140 feet of land on each side of a stream and required an additional 164 feet of buffer zone beyond that, totaling 304 feet of land for full protection. Current regulations by the U.S. Forest Service in the southern Appalachians require only a 30-foot buffer around streams.

"Salamanders don't just live in streams," said Semlitsch. "They lay their eggs in streams and babies live in streams but adult salamanders live on the land around streams. It's not enough to protect the streams alone."

Crawford and Semlitsch's study will appear later this year in Conservation Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Health of ecosystems on US golf courses

Related Stories

Health of ecosystems on US golf courses

April 10, 2014

Currently, there are more than 18,300 golf courses in the U.S. covering over 2.7 million acres. The ecological impacts of golf courses are not always straightforward with popular opinion suggesting that environmentally, golf ...

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.