Examining the Spatial Variation of the Standing Crop of Nutrients Within a Terrestrial Salamander in a Forest Ecosystem

Joseph Milanovich, William E. Peterman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Animals found in high densities can have significant influence over nutrient cycles in ecosystems. For example, smaller vertebrates, such as frogs, have been known to influence nutrient cycles in tropical forest. However, research understanding the influence of lower vertebrates in nutrient cycles of North American forest is lacking. It has been found that the biomass of terrestrial salamanders (family Plethodontidae) is higher than that of birds and small mammals in a New Hampshire forest and recent studies have found prior estimates of terrestrial salamander density are likely lower than current estimates using more robust techniques and models. A re-evaluation of the impact plethodontid salamanders could have on forest nutrient cycles is justified given the updated data regarding their estimated abundance and density. We quantified the degree to which a terrestrial, lungless salamander (Plethodon albagula) constitutes a pool of limiting nutrients in a Missouri forest ecosystem. We utilized values of whole-body nutrient composition (C, N, P, Ca, Mg, K, and S) of P. albagula and spatially projected density estimates to estimate the contribution of P. albagula to forest nutrient cycles. We found estimates of standing crop of nutrients were spatially variable across the landscape, and were dictated by density and size distributions of P. albagula. These data show that a single species of terrestrial salamander could contribute to the pool of limiting nutrients within forest ecosystems
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 31 July - 3 August 2014 Chattanooga, Tennessee
Pages342
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • INHS

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