|Title||Final Report- Characterizing local and range wide variation in demography and adaptive capacity of a forest indicator species|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Institution||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|
|Keywords||adaptation, adaptive capacity, forest indicators, Plethodon cinereus, Red-backed salamander|
The red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is considered an indicator of forest health. The range of the species covers much of the eastern and central US, and is often locally abundant where it occurs, primarily in deciduous forest. While there are expectations that changes in climate will result in changes in forest ecosystems, the ability of a forest indicator such as the red-backed salamanderto adapt to those changes, has not been assessed. We found that the red-backed salamander may have little adaptive capacity, but that changes in climate conditions may be buffered by salamander behavior, including its typical response to retreat underground during times of high temperature or during short-term drought. Effective conservation measures will likely need to increase the range of within-population climate tolerance in order for populations to persist locally.