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

  • Author / Creator
    Pagnucco, Katie
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3RQ8Z
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Scrimgeour, Garry (Parks Canada)
    • Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)
    • Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)