Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Maine
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Maine Project


Biogeography and Conservation of Maine’s Island Amphibians (M.Kinnison, P.deMaynadier, L.Welch, B.Connery collaborators)

June 2013 - December 2015


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund

Amphibians face some of the greatest rates of local and global extinctions among vertebrates. A significant challenge for conservation of amphibians is simply a lack of sufficient data on their historic and current distribution and where important genetic resources exist to target for conservation. Much of what we know about amphibian distributions is focused in mainland habitats, and information about amphibian distributions on coastal islands is largely lacking. Amphibians are physiologically intolerant of seawater, and thus, island populations may have been isolated for thousands of years. Such populations can serve as important reserves of unique genetic diversity. Indeed, island populations of other taxa often possess unique morphological, behavioral and physiological adaptations relative to mainland populations. The proposed project seeks to conduct surveys of amphibians on coastal islands along the entire Maine seaboard to enhance current knowledge of their distributions. It also seeks to characterize genetic diversity and the ancient history of island colonization in one species, the redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus), that we anticipate is widely distributed on Maine’s islands. By combining our surveys and genetic data with spatial analyses (GIS) we will identify islands most likely to support amphibian populations and communities that warrant conservation priority. We also will collaborate with project partners on outreach surrounding the role of islands in the natural history and conservation of Maine’s amphibians.

Presentations Presentation Date
Shaidani, N., M. Kinnison, and C.S. Loftin. 2015. The biogeographic origins and population structure of Maine's island red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Annual Coordinating Committee Meeting, Wells Conference Center, Orono, ME, 25 March. 2015-03-25
Shaidani, N., M. Kinnison, and C.S. Loftin. 2015. The biogeographic origins and population structure of Maine's island red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Annual Coordinating Committee Meeting, Wells Conference Center, Orono, ME, 25 March. 2015-03-25
Shaidani, N., M.T. Kinnison, C.S. Loftin, L.Welch, and B. Connery. 2014. The biogeographic origins and population structure of Maine’s island red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Poster to be presented at the 70th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, 13-15 April, Portland, ME.  2014-04-13
Shaidani, N., M.T. Kinnison, C.S. Loftin, L.Welch, B. Connery, and P. deMaynadier. 2015. The biogeographic origins and population structure of Maine’s island red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). 71st Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, 19-21 April, Newport, RI. 2015-04-20
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Shaidani, N. 2017. The Biogeographic origins and trophic ecology of Maine's island red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) M.S. Thesis, University of Maine, Orono. 75 pp. 2017-05-31