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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

The Coal Skinks of Western/Central New York: Habitat Use and Population Status

The northern coal skink, Plestiodon a. anthracinus, reaches the northern edge of its range in western New York State. The species has been identified in the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” Because little is known about the ecology and distribution of the coal skink in New York, in 2008 and 2009 Chris identified skink locations and habitats through intensive surveys using visual encounter surveys and cover object arrays. Vegetation was also quantified in sites with and without skinks to understand the attributes important to habitat suitability for coal skinks. In general, sites with coal skinks were usually disturbed, on south- to east-facing aspects, and on small (< 2 ha) open patches of exposed rock or talus slope. Results of this study will assist agencies in identifying critical habitat variables necessary to create or preserve coal skink habitat.

Presenter: Christopher Titus (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 102 Edwards
Time: 11:30 am (Session II)