Faculty, Staff, & Alumni Publications
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Examples of published works by Davidson College Faculty and Staff members
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- A Herpetofaunal Inventory of Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee, South Carolina
- Amphibians and reptiels are vital, often overlooked, components of southeastern ecosystems. Biotic inventories are essential components of wildlife conservation because the yprovide baseline information for management decisions. This study describes research to inveotry the amphibians and reptiles inhabiting Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee, both of which are found in the upstate of South Carolina. A list of 74 species of amphibians and reptiles potentially occurring in and around Lake Keowee and 85 species of amphibians and reptiles in and around Lke Jocassee was generated using known distributional ranges and museum records. A variety of field techniques were used to document the occurrence of 21 species at Lake Keowee, including 8 speices of anurans, 4 salamanders, 7 turtles, 1 lizard and 1 snake. Twenty-four species of amphibians and reptiles were documented at Lake Jocassee, including 5 species of anoraks, 11 salamanders, 2 turtles, 3 lizards, and 3 snakes. Several speices of conservation concern in North Carolina, South Carolina, or both were documented. The green salamander (Aneides aeneus), a federal Species of Concern was documented at three sites. Tow of these occurrences presented new records and were in close proximity to Lake Jocassee. Numerous wetlands where creeks enter Lake Keowee provided habitat critical for several species of amphibians and some reptiles that would likely otherwise not occur there. At Lake Jocassee, numerouse seeps and streems entering the lake provided excellent habitat for several speices of salamanders.
- A Report of the Rocky River Study. Volume 1
- The Rocky River Project was begun in the fall of 1973 as an interdisciplinary study of a nearby polluted river. The purpose of the study was to: 1) Provide joint research opportunities for students and faculty in biology, chemistry, political science, and economics; 2) Provide an interdisciplinary teaching program required for all students enrolled in Special Programs in the Center for Honors Studies; 3) Introduce students into an environmental problem through field study.
- A Tale of Two Systems: A Case Study on the Implementation of Two Discovery Systems...
- In the course of two years, Davidson College evaluated and imple- mented two different discovery systems. The first implementation was ultimately deemed ineffective, resulting in the selection of a second product. This study will compare our needs analyses, eval- uative processes, and implementation experiences for the projects, analyzing what worked, failed, and why. Additionally, we will offer suggestions on potential enhancements and improvements for these products, as well as potential bumps in the road for their vendors and the libraries that implement them.
- Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Falls Bypassed Reaches in South Carolina...
- An inventory was conducted of the amphibians and reptiles inhabiting the Great Falls Bypassed Reaches of the Catawba River in South Carolina. A list of 85 species of amphibians and reptiles potentially occurring in the Great Falls Bypassed Reaches was generated using known distributional ranges and museum records. A variety of survey techniques were used to document the occurrence of 42 species of these amphibians and reptiles, including 12 species of anurans, 6 salamanders, 7 turtles, 6 lizards, and 11 snakes. No species of amphibian or reptile considered rare, threatened or endangered by the state of South Carolina or the federal government was documented. Numerous ephemeral wetlands within the Great Falls Bypassed Reaches provide habitat for several species of amphibians and some reptiles that would likely otherwise not occur there. Adding resource enhancement flows of water, including intentional periodic flooding or spate high water events, to the bypassed reaches will likely eliminate or significantly disturb these wetlands, thus lowering habitat diversity and reducing or eliminating some populations of these species, while potentially creating habitat for riverine species.
- Appendices of the Rocky River Study. Volume 2
- Appendices include 1) Participants; 2) Use of MacConkey Flood Plate Technique vs. the Membrane Filter Method ; 3) Mercury analysis; 4) Heavy metal detection; 5) Biota checklist; 6) Rules, regulations, classifications, and water quality standards applicable to the surface waters of North Carolina
- Catawba River Corridor Coverboard Program: A Citizen Science Approach to Amphibian...
- Coverboards are a useful inventory tool for many species of amphibians and reptiles, and provide a simple and effective method to involve the public in scientific research. The Davidson College Catawba River Corridor Coverboard Program (CRCCP) was initiated in 2003 to help coordinate the efforts of public and private sectors in surveying amphibians and reptiles. Fourteen sites were established within the Catawba River Corridor in North and South Carolina. Participants included schools, private industries and locally-operated nature preserves. The Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory and Duke Power Environmental Laboratory helped set out coverboards at each site. The CRCCP website (www.ccari.org) provided participants with assistance in species identification, protocols and online datasheets. A total of 38 species was documented between 2003 and 2005, including 18 species of amphibians and 20 species of reptiles. Coverboards proved more effective for inventory of salamanders, anurans and lizards (47%, 44% and 48%, respectively, of within-range species), and less effective for snakes and turtles (35%, and 24%, respectively, of within-range species). The CRCCP provided the opportunity for many people, including numerous school children, to become involved in scientific research. Although acceptance of species identification necessitates caution without voucher photographs, the program has added significantly to our knowledge of the distributions of amphibians and reptiles in the region. Data collected through the CRCCP are essential to the development of effective monitoring programs and conservation measures.
- Determining the Relative Importance of Predictors in Logistic Regression: An...
- Techniques such as dominance analysis and relative weights analysis recently have been proposed in order to evaluate more accurately predictor importance in ordinary least squares regression. Similar questions of predictor importance also arise in instances when logistic regression is the primary mode of analysis. This paper presents an extension of relative weights analysis that can be applied in logistic regression and thus aids in the determination of predictor importance. We briefly review relative importance techniques and then discuss a new procedure for calculating relative importance estimates in logistic regression. Finally, we present a substantive example applying this new approach to an example data set.
- Diet of Larval Red Salamanders (Pseudotriton rubber) Examined Using a Nonlethal...
- Stream salamanders may play important roles as predators within streams, but we know little about actual predation by stream salamanders on other organisms. Because larval stream salamanders are more abundant within streams than adults, feed and forage throughout the year, and may spend multiple years in streams before transformation, larvae may play a more important role than adults in trophic interactions within streams. We conducted a study using larval Red Salamanders (Pseudotriton ruber) to determine (1) the prey composition of larval salamanders, (2) whether feeding rates are affected by stream water temperature, (3) whether larval size affects the diversity of prey items, and (4) whether nonlethal stomach flushing is an effective technique for examining the diet of larval salamanders. We found that larvae consumed a wide diversity of prey items including individuals of the families Chironomidae (36.52% of prey items) and Sphaeriidae (15.17%) as well as terrestrial prey (7.87%) and other salamanders (2.25%). We also found that feeding rates were negatively correlated with stream water temperature, and larger larvae consumed a wider diversity of prey items than smaller individuals. Our results also suggest that nonlethal stomach flushing did not affect survivorship. These findings suggest that larval Red Salamanders are generalist predators that can play important trophic roles in stream ecosystems.
- Ecology of Turtles Inhabiting Golf Course and Farm Ponds in the Western Piedmont...
- Both agricultural land and golf courses represent prevalent forms of land alteration in many areas, but may offer habitat to some animals in areas of high urbanization. Our understanding of animal ecology in such modified habitats is limited. A comparative ecology study of turtles inhabiting five golf course and five farm ponds was conducted in the western Piedmont of North Carolina. Relative species diversity, species abundance, size distribution, body condition and sex ratios were assessed between pond types. The relationship between surrounding habitat within a 500-m radius of each pond and pond size on turtle abundances was examined. Painted turtles (N 5 248) (Chrysemys picta), 43 common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), 86 yellowbelly sliders (Trachemys scripta) and 28 eastern mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum) were captured. Relative species abundances, size distributions for each sex and sex ratios were not distinguishable between the two pond types. More K. subrubrum were captured when roads were located farther from ponds (p 5 0.05), more C. picta were captured in ponds with a higher percentage of surrounding unforested habitat (p , 0.05), and more C. serpentina and C. picta were captured in larger ponds (p 5 0.01 and p 5 0.05, respectively). Chrysemys picta from golf course ponds had higher condition indices than those from farm ponds (p , 0.001). In this region, both farm and golf course ponds can provide habitat for several species of semi-aquatic turtles and for some species, the characteristics of the surrounding landscape may be more influential to species abundances than specific pond type.
- Habitat Selection and Site Fidelity of Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)...
- Wetlands are essential breeding sites for many amphibians. The importance of terrestrial habitat for many aquatic-breeding amphibian species is well known, although often understudied and understated. This study examined the recapture rates, habitat use, and site fidelity of Cope’s Gray Treefrogs(Hyla chrysoscelis) within and surrounding a wetland for 15 months. Using visible implant elastomer and visible implant alpha tags, we tracked individuals as they used a grid of 110 PVC pipes as refugia. PVC pipe refugia allow treefrogs to be sampled when not actively calling or breeding. We captured 82 individual frogs a total of 141 times (59 recaptures). Treefrogs occupied pipes every month except during winter (December, January, and February). Recapture rates decreased during the breeding season (May, June, and July). Preferred pipes were in terrestrial habitat or close to trees instead of in aquatic habitat devoid of trees. Treefrogs displayed high site fidelity; only three frogs were recaptured in pipes different from those in which they were originally captured. Our results suggest that H. Chrysoscelis select terrestrial habitat adjacent to wetlands and have high site fidelity, which could have important implications for the conservation of treefrogs and other wetland-breeding amphibians.
- Head-body Temperature Difference in Free-ranging Rubber Boas
- Although most studies of reptilian thermal biology have measured body temperature from a single location in an animal, the presence of regional temperature differences within the bodies of reptiles should be considered when conducting detailed studies of their thermal biology. As part of an extensive study of rubber boa (Charina bottae) thermal biology, we measured the oral and cloacal temperatures of 45 free-ranging rubber boas from June 1990 to August 1995. We used oral temperature as an indicator of head temperature and cloacal temperature as an indicator of body temperature. Oral temperatures ranged from 13.8 C to 32.2 C and cloacal temperatures ranged from 11.5 C to 34.5 C. During the daytime, rubber boas generally exhibited warmer heads at average body temperatures below their thermal preference (thermal preference = 27.4 C) and cooler heads at average body temperatures above their thermal preference. At night, active rubber boas exhibited significantly higher head temperatures than body temperatures (mean difference = 2.0 C). This study represents the first report of regional body temperature differences exhibited by a reptile during nocturnal activity and supports the generalization that head temperature in reptiles is maintained within more narrow limits than body temperature during the day. Further studies are required to fully understand both the causes and consequences of regional temperature differences in freeranging reptiles.