Date of Award

Winter 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Wildlife

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Kimberly Babbitt


Upland buffer zones are a proposed management tool for vernal-pool-breeding amphibians. Substantial validation of buffers, via experimental upland habitat disturbance, is lacking. Specifically, no studies have examined immediate effects of clear cutting on spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum ) migration. I used clear cutting to experimentally manipulate upland buffer widths at 11 vernal pools. I then radiotracked 40 adult spotted salamanders at these pools, and modeled their migration with mixed-effects regression. Mean maximum distance from the pool was 106.0 +/- 15.4 m (range = 1.6 to 427.6 m). At clear cut-treatment pools, mean percent of time in the cut was 27.2 +/- 7.2% (range = 0 to 99%). Salamanders entered and crossed cuts. Buffer treatment was not significantly predictive of movement. Precipitation, season, days tracked, and distance from the pool were among the strongest predictors. Clear cuts are semi-permeable to adult spotted salamanders, but degree of permeability depends largely on precipitation patterns.