2018 Field Trip Series – Striped Newt Ecology
With Ryan and Rebecca Means, Coastal Plains Institute
The Tallahassee Scientific Society is continuing the 2018 Field Trip Series, which is designed for science-oriented TSS members and the general public.
The upcoming trip Saturday, June 2, will be to the Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee and will be led by Ryan and Rebecca Means, Director and Ecologist, respectively, of the Coastal Plains Institute (CPI). There will be no charge for the trip and families are welcomed.
Interested individuals for the striped newt ecology field trip must pre-register by emailing Dana Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please provide the names of all those wishing to attend and contact information necessary for night-before and morning-of communication, if necessary. Dana will reply, confirm your status, and keep you up-to-date. We are capping this trip at 20 people and will also maintain a waiting list in case there are last-minute cancellations.
Striped newts live in fire-maintained, dry sandy habitat and depend on ephemeral wetlands as breeding habitat. The ANF once harbored one of the largest populations in the world, but by 1998 they had disappeared from the CPI-monitored breeding wetlands. CPI and other partners are now coordinating with the US Forest Service to recreate a self-sustaining population. We will visit CPI’s three striped newt repatriation wetlands. We will examine and discuss all the critters that have been caught along the CPI drift fences and that we can find with dipnets at one of the wetlands.
Rendezvous as follows:
Drive 1.5 miles south on Crawfordville Hwy from Capital Circle to where you will see a left turn lane and Rivers Road on your right. Use that left turn lane to make a U-turn so you are heading back north up Crawfordville Hwy. Then turn right just after crossing back over Munson Slough (there is a brown sign at the bridge). We will meet right there at a large retention pond. We will ask some participants to volunteer to carry guests because their vehicles have high clearance for dirt roads, and car-pool for less than a mile to the research sites.
Participants are asked to pack lunches to eat on-site. There will be no restrooms.
Please dress appropriately for both the day’s weather and for walking around in the sandhills. No sandals, please. Sandhills are bright and hot, so bring plenty to drink, hats, sunscreen, and biting insect protection.
About our leaders:
Rebecca Means is CPI’s Ecologist, Science Educator and soon to be Director. She began working with CPI in August of 2001. She has been the principle or co-principle investigator on seven projects relating to ephemeral wetlands, amphibians, and science education. Her current focus is on a program she developed entitled Building Communities that Conserve Wetlands. This program combines state standards-aligned activities and citizen scientist training to conserve the biodiversity of temporary wetlands of Northern Florida.
Ryan Means is CPI’s Director and soon to be President. His scientific research has focused primarily on Southeast U.S. herpetofauna, ephemeral wetland ecology, as well as human-related impacts on both. Currently Ryan is the principal investigator of a study entitled: “A Conservation Strategy for the Imperiled Striped Newt.” This study is a unique salamander conservation effort that includes many partners united in a common goal to investigate the causes of decline, develop effective conservation strategies, and repatriate an extirpated species back into its former geographic stronghold.