Red Eft life stage of a Red-spotted Newt in Catlin Woods
We experimented with one of the newly assembled cover board sites by removing leaf litter underneath every other cover board, exposing the bare, damp soil. When a piece of wood or any heavy object is left on the forest ground, the leaf litter that it shields eventually breaks up and decomposes, therefore becoming part of the soil. We wondered whether by accelerating this process, so that only soil meets the cover board, the salamanders would be more likely detected because there isn't any leaf debris that can cover them. This observational experiment will help us see if there is a noticeable pattern and tell us if we should develop an experiment with more replicates. We will check the plot every couple of weeks noting if salamanders were more often discovered under removed leaf debris cover boards. We need to be especially thorough when checking the uncleared cover boards because salamanders are more difficult to spot when there are layers of leaves that they can hide in. By not counting all salamanders present, this may result in a false correlation in our experiment.
|James Fischer marking the cleared leaf debris cover boards.|