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Using under-road tunnels to protect a declining population of long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in Waterton Lakes National Park Open Access


Other title
Ambystoma macrodactylum
long-toed salamander
predator trap
fish predation
crossing structure
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Pagnucco, Katie
Supervisor and department
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Scrimgeour, Garry (Parks Canada)
Examining committee member and department
Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
I investigated the value of under-road tunnels as a conservation strategy to protect a long-toed salamander population, in south-west Alberta, whose overwintering sites and breeding habitat (Linnet Lake) are separated by a road. I conducted a mark-recapture study from 2008-2009, capturing salamanders using roadside fences and pitfall traps. Four tunnels were monitored in 2009 using traps and cameras. A 2008 estimate indicated that the population declined by 60% since 1994, however, road mortality was dramatically reduced following installation of fences and tunnels. Camera and trap data documented 130 salamanders navigating tunnels in 2009. I found little evidence of juvenile recruitment from Linnet Lake, likely because of predation by lake chub. Experiments showed that lake chub consumed salamander larvae, and fish presence altered larval behaviour. Continued monitoring is needed to determine if reduced road mortality translates into population gains, and whether fish predation threatens the persistence of the long-toed salamander population.
License granted by Katie Pagnucco ( on 2010-07-26T22:35:07Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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