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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Water Quality Analysis of Eastern Hellbender Habitats in the Allegheny River Drainage

The Hellbender (Cryptobranchus spp.) is the largest aquatic salamander in North America (30-40 cm) and one among numerous species of herpetofauna that appear to be declining throughout their range. A number of threats have been identified in the decline, including but not limited to: collection, disease, lack of recruitment, siltation, impoundment, and the overall degradation of water quality. With the support of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the limnology laboratory (The College at Brockport), the presenter's research identified water quality influences on hellbender habitats and how human disturbance may be contributing to the decline of the hellbender. Data were collected and compared across all sub-watersheds on total suspended solids, turbidity, nitrate, total phosphorus, sodium and caffeine. Swab samples were also taken for hellbenders at four of the sites and tested for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungus responsible in global declines in amphibians.

Presenter: Christopher Titus (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 102 Edwards
Time: 9:45 am (Session I)