Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) observed under a cover-board.
This experiment compares softwood versus hardwood cover-boards to observe if there is a significant difference between the detection rates of amphibian species inhabiting our temperate forests. Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) and Red Eft juvenile form of the Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) comprise the bulk of the amphibian species we observe in our study site. We check the boards once a month when the weather conditions meet a specific set of criteria which insures the bulk of animals are found under the boards rather than wandering throughout the study area. This experiment began two years ago and we are entering into our third season. We hope to publish the results soon, but we observed 56 Redback salamanders under the softwood cover-boards and 41 under the hardwood cover-boards. Only 2 Red Efts were found under the softwood boards while 5 were observed under the hardwood boards. Considering that we had freezing temperatures most nights only a few weeks ago, these observations suggest that we have quite a few animals in our study site. Check back to hear more about our progress with this experiment.