Pre-listing Science Support in the Northeast

Science Center Objects

The background information required to support listing decisions is not always current or available, and additional information or tools to model potential future condition can greatly improve the confidence in Species Status Assessments. We are working closely with multiple partners to provide updated information, model potential outcomes, and identify key uncertainties relevant to amphibian and reptile species proposed for listing in the northeast US.

The Challenge: Endangered Species Act listing decisions involve compilation of the species life history and ecology, current and possible future threats, and prediction of future extinction risk given the current available information. Unfortunately, many amphibian and reptile species lack information on the current occupied range, threats to the species or its habitat, and/or models that can predict the future condition of the species given the uncertainty of available information.

The Science: We are currently working in collaboration with USFWS to update species status, provide information on current and future threats, and estimate the future species status of multiple species in the northeast proposed for listing. We recently conducted field surveys for the WV spring salamander (Gyrinophilus subterraneus), and are currently working with collaborators to analyze tissue samples to confirm the status of the salamander as a species relative to the co-occurring spring salamander. In addition, we are working with species experts to identify species needs of the red-bellied cooter (Pseudemys rubriventris) as part of the Species Status Assessment.

The Future: Future work will involve additional field surveys for the WV spring salamander to estimate the current occupied range and analysis of genetic data for inclusion in the Species Status Assessment. We will continue building a framework for evaluating current and future condition of red-bellied cooter populations and will address other partner information needs. We may also begin work to support listing decisions on other amphibian or reptile species in the Northeast as needed if information needs align with the skills/knowledge present within our research team.