Ecological and Adaptive Responses to Urbanization in the red-backed salamander
What's The Big Question?
I am interested in understanding how urbanization impacts the ecology and adaptive potential of the red-backed salamander, a common terrestrial forest amphibian.
What's The Big Deal?
Urbanization is among the most significant threats facing wildlife worldwide. By understanding the patterns of response, and mechanisms behind those patterns, in a common terrestrial vertebrate we can then make inferences about ecosystem health more broadly.
The first challenge in urban ecology is to define and describe the landscape. In other words, we have to define our terms - how do we know what is and isn't "urban?"
Once the gradient of urbanization has been designed, tested, and validated, responses of red-backs can be measured and analyzed across that gradient.
More info on the red-backed salamander HERE
More info on evaluating the urban gradient HERE
Avian Metapopulations in Urban Landscapes
I looked at landscape level population dynamics of birds across a rural to urban habitat gradient in central Ohio. By measuring the degree of similarity or dissimilarity in population growth rates, as well as local extinctions and recolonizations we showed that the demography of birds in our system were consistent with metapopulation dynamics.
Padilla, B.J. & Rodewald, A.D. Urban Ecosyst (2015) 18: 239. doi:10.1007/s11252-014-0390-z
The Ohio State University - M.S. (2012)
Thesis: Avian metapopulation dynamics in a complex urbanizing landscape.
Advisor: Dr. Amanda Rodewald