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Collaborative ARMI work first step in status assessment for cave salamander


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adult salamander in cave stream; Photo by: E. Grant

By: Grant E; Brand A; September 11, 2018

As part of a partnership with the USFWS, WV Division of Natural Resources, and The Nature Conservancy, Northeast ARMI staff and a USGS Water Resources hydrologist conducted a field survey in late August for the WV spring salamander, a rare amphibian with known range limited to a single cave in WV. This work is an important contribution of the status assessment for the species, which has been proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Species identification is made via morphological traits, but these may be imperfect, and thus misidentification is highly likely. ARMI is developing models that can accommodate this misidentification error, which will be used to improve the precision and reduce the bias in estimates of population status. In addition to field surveys, USGS ARMI will contribute morphologic and genetic analyses, and water quality assessment to identify and characterize potential threats, to address information needs for the USFWS listing decision, due in 2020.

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