Population demography, juvenile dispersal, and critical habitat of Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) and their unisexual dependents
Understanding population demography and dispersal of species at risk is integral for evaluating population viability, identifying causes of decline, and assessing the effectiveness of recovery actions. In addition, habitat protection is a key component of endangered species conservation, but critical habitat designations are often based on limited data. In chapter one, I estimated juvenile daily apparent survival, dispersal distance and orientation over four summer and fall periods. In chapter two, I estimated the extent of year-round critical habitat using radio telemetry data combined with a summary of distance data from past studies that tracked movements in other periods of the annual cycle. Collectively, this work fills key gaps in our understanding of the ecology of A. jeffersonianum and their unisexual dependents, highlights key differences between bisexuals and unisexuals, and indicates that the critical habitat area currently defined by the existing regulatory framework in Canada protects insufficient habitat.