In November 2016, the Harris Center installed six study plots in the woods near our building as part of SPARCnet, a collaborative research effort aimed at understanding the effects of climate change on woodland salamander populations. Each plot consists of 50 small wooden “coverboards” that appeal to woodland amphibians – especially redbacked salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) – as sources of shelter.

We work with students and volunteers to monitor the coverboards for salamanders each fall and spring. By keeping track of the salamanders found under each board, we can begin to get a sense for the abundance and distribution of redbacked salamanders in the Harris Center woods, and compare our findings to 30 other SPARCnet sites from Virginia to Ontario.
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