Haddad Lab at NC State
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Nick Haddad


Megan Chesser
Megan Chesser searching for salamanders

Tiger salamander
Each salamander has a unique spotting pattern
Photographic ID for Eastern Tiger Salamanders

Among our goals in research on tiger salamanders is to monitor their population sizes and track their movements among breeding ponds.  Both of these goals are best accomplished with capture-recapture population studies.  Traditionally, such studies have involved marking salamanders by implanting tags (PIT tags) or by clipping toes.

NC State undergraduate Megan Chesser is leading our effort to use photographic identification to "mark" salamanders.  Building on the work of Don Church, Megan is taking advantage of natural spotting patterns that are unique to each salamander.  By photographing all salamanders each year when they arrive at and leave breeding ponds, we have a permanent, digital record of capturing individual salamanders.  Megan is currently working to validate photographic identification, quantifying the error rate in assigning marks to individuals, and testing for the possibility that marks change over time.

Our research on monioring tiger salamanders is funded by DoD, Department of the Army, Endangered Species Branch at Ft. Bragg
© Nick Haddad