Graduate Exit Seminar via Zoom - Meaghan Gade

Plan to join via Zoom Meaghan Gade's graduate exit seminar on April 9, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. Meaghan will present, "Spatial variation in the abundance, demography, and physiology of a montane endemic salamander and the consequences of climate change."


As climate change marches on, it is imperative to understand how species respond to their environment in the present-day to inform potential responses in the future. For biodiversity in montane regions, responses to the environment are not uniform because of the extreme abiotic variation over small spatial scales. My dissertation focuses on the montane endemic lungless salamanders in the genus Plethodon which are restricted to cool and moist microhabitats to facilitate skin-breathing, consequently making them highly sensitive to environmental change. These salamanders are critical to forest health serving as key members of the food web as well as making significant contributions to nutrient cycling and decomposition. Yet, despite their importance, our knowledge of the abundance, life history, physiology, and behavior at fine spatial scales is limited. Therefore, the primary objectives of my research are to (1) understand spatial patterns of ecological responses of salamanders and (2) use that knowledge to predict how such responses could change in the future. Using a highly integrative approach, my research unveils nuanced spatial patterns of salamander ecology across multiple environmental gradients and predicts how climate change may impact future persistence.

Advisor: Dr. William Peterman