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Northeastern Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative: Effects of landscape heterogeneity and environmental stressors on palustrine and lotic amphibian populations in Acadia National Park (Collaborators: M. Bank-UMaine, R.Jung (USGS-Patuxent)

Red spotted newt larvae<br />


March 2001 - December 2006


Worldwide amphibian declines and increased reports of amphibian malformations have prompted the United States Department of Interior (DOI) to initiate an Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). Regional ARMI programs are planned throughout the United States. Acadia National Park (ANP) is serving as a long-term intensive amphibian monitoring index site. This proposed research includes defining relationships of stream-dwelling salamanders and cross-scale habitat composition (within-stream to watershed-scale), with the intent of using salamander population counts and trends as indicators of park stream conditions. Although mercury contamination in lotic ecosystems in the Park is well-documented and is a result of non-point atmospheric deposition, levels in streamside salamanders are unknown. This study will provide insights into mercury bioaccumulation levels in stream-side salamanders, how they contribute to mercury cycling and transfer in both lotic and terrestrial food webs, and the potential for a decline of stream-dwelling biota with increasing mercury contamination. Another aspect of this research includes a survey of four-toed salamanders, a species of concern in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The distribution of four-toed salamander has decreased throughout its range due to wetland loss associated with land clearing and development. This species may require mature hardwood or conifer forests and fishless wetland breeding sites, making it vulnerable to habitat disturbance. Our objective is to document the distribution and habitat associations of this species within ANP, and develop predictive models of their potential occurrence in the Park based on the documented local- and landscape-scale habitat associations.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Bank, M. S., C. S. Loftin, and R. E. Jung. 2005. Mercury bioacculumation in Two-lined salamanders from streams in the Northeastern United States. Ecotoxicology 14:181-191.
  • Chalmers, R.J., and C.S. Loftin. 2010. Plethodon cinereus, eastern red-backed salamander, wetland habitat, Herpetological Review 41(4):468-469. Download  | 


  • Chalmers, R.J. 2004. Wetland and nest scale habitat use by the four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) in Maine, and a comparison of survey methods. MS, Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program, University of Maine, Orono. 109 pp.
  • Bank, M.S. 2005. Mercury bioaccumulation and habitat relations of lotic and lentic amphibians from Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. PhD dissertation, Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program, University of Maine, Orono. 155 pp.


  • Bank, M.S., T.A. Haines, and C.S. Loftin. March 2001. Preliminary estimates of habitat use and mercury content of two-lined salamanders in Acadia National Park, Aquatic Research In Acadia Conference, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME.
  • Bank, M.S., T.A. Haines, and C.S. Loftin. April 2001. Preliminary estimates of habitat use and mercury content of two-lined salamanders in Acadia National Park, Maine Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Brewer, ME.
  • Bank, MS, TA Haines, CS Loftin, and RE Jung. 2002. Relative density and mercury contamination of two-lined salamanders from Acadia National Park, Maine. 58th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, April 2002, Portland, ME.
  • See All ...

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 240

Phd Students: 143

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 245

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 702

Scientific Publications: 1948

Presentations: 4251



  • Cynthia LoftinCo-Principal Investigator
  • Rebecca ChalmersStudent
  • Micheal BankStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey