Welcome to SPARCnet!
SPARCnet (Salamander Population and Adaptation Research Collaboration Network) is a regional collaborative network designed to meet scientific and educational objectives associated with understanding the effects of climate change and land use on salamander populations.
We envision this approach being mutually beneficial for educators who teach about science, wildlife and environmental concerns as well as researchers interested in collecting data at large spatial extents. This type of approach requires infrastructure, time and strong collaboration. We believe the scientific and educational rewards and benefits are worth the effort.
To understand impacts of land use and climate change on salamander population dynamics.
To develop models to describe local and regional drivers of population dynamics by:
Creating a versatile, statistically and methodologically efficient monitoring protocol
Creating a network of linked observational and environmental manipulation studies
Understand the adaptive capacity of salamanders to ensuing environmental changes.
Develop a network of educators to:
Develop an understanding and appreciation for hidden biological diversity.
Develop scientific process literacy.
Promote quantitative skills through biological sciences.
Jill Fleming, a M.S. student at UMass-Amherst, successfully defended her thesis titled, "You must estimate before you indicate: Design and model-based methods for evaluating utility of a candidate forest indicator species". Jill's thesis focused on evaluating the methods used by SPARCnet researchers to estimate range-wide demographic rates of red-backed salamander (Thesis committee: Chris Sutherland, Evan Grant, Sean Sterrett).
Caitlin Fisher-Reid (Bridgewater State University) received a grant from BSU to develop microsatellite markers for red-backed salamander using DNA samples from across SPARCnet with the hopes of developing loci that will work consistently for network populations.
Sean Sterrett, Evan Grant and Chris Sutherland received a grant from the International Herpetological Symposium Society. Funds from this grant were used to create cover board plots for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment.
Chris Sutherland, Sean Sterrett and Evan Grant (along with many SPARCnet team members) received a planning grant from the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA).
In July 2018, SPARCnet had it's 5th annual planning meeting (at Penn State University). During the meeting, we had presentations from research participants, grad students and discussed items related to research protocol revisions and upcoming grants and papers related to SPARCnet.
New SPARCnet participants:
Dan Hocking - Frostburg State University
Ted Watt - Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Lena Fletcher - University of Massachusetts
Jackie Chase - Gill Elementary School
Louise Mead - Beacon Center for Evolution in Action, Michigan State U.
Alexa Warwick - Beacon Center for Evolution in Action, Michigan State U.
Jennifer Deitloff - Lock Haven University
Brett Thelen - Harris Center for Conservation Education
Ben Padilla - PhD. Student at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Munoz et al. 2016. Using Spatial Capture–Recapture to Elucidate Population Processes and Space-Use in Herpetological Studies. Journal of Herpetology
Sutherland et al. 2016. Spatial Capture–Recapture: A Promising Method for Analyzing Data Collected Using Artificial Cover Objects. Herpetologica
Sterrett et al. 2015. Plethodon cinereus (Eastern Red-backed Salamander). Movement. Herpetological Review. 46:71.
SPARCnet COVER BOARD COUNT
Total cover boards in network
Dedicated to research
Dedicated to education
Photo by David Munoz
Photo by Dan Hocking
Woodland Salamanders are found throughout most areas of North America, are the most abundant vertebrate group in Eastern temperate forests and are imperiled due to many human-made causes
Climate Change is a human caused issue with sweeping impacts that all organisms will have to deal with. Can wildlife and the environment adapt to these changes?
Environmental Education unites science and education to develop the environmental stewards of the next generation.