the effect we have on salamanders
Two articles came out during the last week which show the effect that human activites can have on salamander populations. Leeches increase in number as nutrients from human activities enter aquatic environments. Researchers at Penn State have found that salamanders, specifically Red Spotted Newts, are used as a host by these leeches. The leeches pass a fungus named Ichthyophonus (see image) and this infection apparently causes the salamanders to stop breeding. So, increased leeches leads to increased infections which leads to decreased salamander reproduction. Artificial wetland creation can be a good thing for some species but is probably not as good as the undisturbed wetland when it comes to where salamanders choose to reproduce. Salamanders and other amphibians don't like to reproduce in wetlands that include predators especially fish. Man-made wetlands often due contain fish. Seasonal wetlands often do not as they don't contain water much of the year. A recent study looked at the preference of one salamander species, Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, and found that the salamander species selected the man-made wetlands much less than the undisturbed wetlands. So, more development leads to less choice breeding areas for salamanders and a possible decrease in salamanders as they are all gobbled up by fish or other predators.