Date of Award
Earth and Space Science - Environmental Science Track
Earth & Space Science
William S. Birkhead
Recent scientific studies have indicated that anrphibian populations appear to be declining in many areas of the world or exhibiting local population fluctuations. Some of the reasons given for this population decline are associated with land usage, and the negative biological impacts of many forms of land management practices. A study was conducted at the Callaway Gardens Extended Properties in Pine Mountain Georgia which compared the local aquatic salamander populations of five spring -fed streams in the Cason J. Callaway Memorial Forest, and five spring-fed streams in the Lower Valley Area. Using a cat ch-per-unit -effort sampling methodology, a comparison was made between the mean total number of salamanders sampled in each area as well as the mean total number of salamander species sampled in each area. The Lower Valley Area has a long and significant history of land usage and management (cotton farming, timber harvesting, controlled burns, recreational activities) , while the Cason J. Callaway Memorial Forest as been left in a relatively natural forested state and has not been subject to similar management practices. The results of the study indicated that the Lower Valley Area had significantly smaller mean-catch-per-unit effort overall totals and individual species totals than the Cason J. Callaway Memorial Forest. Previous agricultural practices in the Lower Valley Area appear to be the primary reason for the differences in populations between the two areas. Cotton farming, which continued for many decades in the Lower Valley Area, typically involved the use of toxic chemical pesticides, and herbicides many which are prohibited for use today. The persistence of these toxic chemical compounds may still be having an adverse affect on the aquatic amphibian populations in the Lower Valley Area.
Pearce, Neil Allen, "Land Usage Impacts on Springhead Salamander Populations, at Callaway Extended Properties, Harris County, Georgia" (2002). Theses and Dissertations. 64.