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Maine Vernal Pools

This web site was designed to provide information on vernal pools for the people of Maine.

You will find a variety of resources on vernal pool ecology, the animals that breed in and use vernal pools, an explanation of state and federal regulations pertaining to vernal pools, and materials developed to assist you with field assessments and local mapping projects.

Featured Scientist - Carly EakinC. Eakin

Carly Eakin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology and a professional landscape architect. Carly is interested in how human actions affect ecological processes and how to mitigate the effects of these disturbances on wildlife. She is passionate about finding development solutions that conserve biodiversity and ecological function while enhancing social and economic sustainability.

Carly’s research focuses on the population persistence and health of vernal pool-breeding amphibians, specifically wood frog and spotted salamander, in Maine. These animals are sensitive to changes in the environment as they rely on both aquatic and terrestrial areas to complete their life cycles. Although there are some protections in place for these sensitive species, currently, we have little information on how human disturbance may contribute to population declines of vernal pool-breeding amphibians. Human landscape disturbances (e.g., urbanization, agriculture) can result in direct population declines (e.g., habitat destruction that eliminates an entire population) and may also result in non-lethal effects on amphibians, such as degraded health and reduced survival. These non-lethal effects may indicate future extinction of a population. To understand these non-lethal effects, Carly studies the reproductive success and health of larval (aquatic stage) amphibians in pools along a rural-to-urban gradient. She combines measurements of body size, metabolic condition, incidence of disease, and growth rates to understand the health of the amphibians associated with each pool. Additionally, she studies the predator communities that may also be influencing the health of amphibian populations in these pools. A better understanding of the relationship between amphibian health and urbanization can lead to land management that ensures the conditions necessary to maintain healthy populations.

Carly In-Field
Carly conducting an in-field health assessment of a larval amphibian.

Larval Salamanders
Using a zip-lock baggie during health assessments helps to get a 'close-up' view of small, early-stage larval salamanders.

Survey
Carly and her field technician, Diane, conduct a vegetation survey during spring high-water in a rural pool.

Links

Maine Verna Pools Still Revealing New Secrets”. Maine Things Considered. 5 Aug 2013.

Researcher Studying Conservation of Blue Spotted Salamander”. Fox 22 Local News. 10 July 2013.

Doctoral Research Focuses on the Favorite Sites of the Blue-Spotted Salamander”.

Celebrating the End of the Blue-Spotted Salamander Drift Fence

blue-spotted
The blue-spotted salamander illustration in Kris’ coloring guidebook.

blue-spotted salamander eggs vp in winter
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