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PFN Monthly Meeting: Understanding and Conserving the Endangered Small- mouthed Salamander Complex on Pelee Island – Member Only

2023-01-12 @ 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Thomas Hossie is an Assistant Professor in Biology at Trent University, broadly interested in population and behavioural ecology. His research focuses on two areas: the ecology and evolution of predator-prey
interactions, and amphibian ecology and conservation. He is currently a member of the Amphibians and Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee for COSEWIC. Since 2015, he has led a long-term study of an endangered Ambystoma salamander complex on Pelee Island which continues to provide exciting new insights into the population and behavioural ecology of this unique system.
The salamanders on Pelee Island are unique in many ways, but until recently we knew very little about this population. The island is home to Canada’s only population of the small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum), as well as blue-spotted salamanders (A. laterlae), and a third kind of salamander known as unisexual Ambystoma. Unisexuals are an all-female lineage that are reproductively-dependent on sperm from males of other Ambystoma salamander species in order to reproduce. On Pelee Island, they have DNA from both small-mouthed and blue-spotted salamanders and may have anywhere from 2 to 5 sets of chromosomes, although they are not ‘hybrids’ in the traditional sense. Small-mouthed salamanders, and the associated unisexuals on Pelee Island, face a number of significant threats on the island and are now listed as endangered under federal and provincial legislation. Until recently, conservation efforts have been limited by insufficient data, however, our research has helped to fill in these gaps while also learning about the peculiar ecology and evolution of these unisexual complexes. In this talk, Thomas will share some of what he has learned about these amazing animals, and how he and others are working to help ensure their long-term persistence.
Virtual Meeting on Zoom
Invitations e-mailed to members


7:30 PM - 9:00 PM