Providing Information on Vernal Pools for Our Communities.

What is a Vernal Pool?

Naturally occurring, temporary to semi-permanent pools occurring in shallow depressions in forested landscapes. Vernal pools provide the primary breeding habitat for wood frogs, blue- spotted and spotted salamanders, and fairy shrimp and provide habitat for other wildlife including several endangered and threatened species.

Blue-Spotted Salamanders

Blue-Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma laterale) are rare in Maine, and are a state listed Species of Special Concern. As the smallest of the mole salamanders in Maine, they grow to between 3 and 5 inches long.  Blue-Spotted Salamanders migrate an average of 73 meters from their underground burrow to a vernal pool to breed.

Unisexual Salamanders

Unisexual Salamanders (Ambystoma laterale x jeffersonianum) are more common than Blue-spotted Salamanders, but rely on this other salamander to reproduce. As their name implies, nearly all Unisexual Salamanders are female. In order to reproduce, this lineage must parasitize sperm from the Blue-Spotted Salamander.


In nature, the littlest things can have the biggest impact – Washington Post

The importance of small natural features was recently highlighted by The Washington Post. Click Here to view the article.

Congratulations to Dr. Kris Hoffmann!

Dr. Kris Hoffmann will be starting a new position in August as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology at St. Lawrence University! We wish her the best in her new position.

Featured Student – Scott Lindemann

Scott Lindemann is a wildlife biologist, currently pursuing his Master of Wildlife Conservation degree at the University of Maine. In addition to pursuing his coursework and working as a teaching assistant, he is also working with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on the Maine Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project. This summer, Scott will be searching for reptile and amphibian species throughout the state of Maine to enhance our understanding of their biology. His work will take him from Downeast Maine to the North Woods in search of northern water snake, snapping turtle, gray treefrog, pickerel frog, and other species.

Scott grew up in Washington State, catching Pacific treefrogs and playing soccer, before moving to Los Angeles for college in 2009. He graduated from the University of California with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies in 2013 before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked for three and a half years as a wildlife biologist. In the Bay Area he worked with a variety of wildlife, including threatened species such as the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander. While there he also served for two years as the Historian for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Scott is entranced by the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and he hopes to spend his life safeguarding this treasure. Eventually he would like to use what he learns at the University of Maine to steward land and natural resources for future generations.

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