Lisa Larson

Department of Forest Sciences
3041-2424 Main Mall, UBC
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Position: M.Sc. Candidate

Study topic: Definition and protection of Coeur d’Alene salamander (Plethodon idahoensis) habitat. 

The Coeur d’Alene salamander occurs in northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, and southeastern BC (Special Concern in Canada and the USA). The species is riparian dependent along small, high-gradient streams, with an apparently specialised habitat. Surveys for the species in recent years have expanded its known range to 95 km north of Revelstoke, BC. Given the limited range and numbers of occurrences in BC (n = 53), there is a requirement to better define the habitat associations of the species at the landscape scale, at the stream scale, and the microhabitat scale to identify important habitat features for different life stages and activities. The small streams with which it is associated are vulnerable to habitat disturbance; in particular forest harvest and road building that can yield sediment and toxic inputs. In the absence of more specific descriptions of the habitat use and population structure of this species in BC, it remains vulnerable to changes in its habitat with unknown consequences, although in general, changes to riparian habitat have large impacts on riparian-dependent species. Surveys for Coeur d’Alene salamanders have been concentrated on presence/not-detected data from easily accessible roadside locations. The distribution and relative abundance of salamanders along watercourses has not been explored. The goal of this study is to determine associations between relative abundance of Coeur d’Alene salamanders and habitat types near Mount Revelstoke National Park. Methods to determine abundance-habitat associations will be based on geomorphology, hydrology, vegetation and climate between streams, along streams and at encounter locations.

Background and Interests: Born and raised in Revelstoke, B.C., I’ve had a growing appreciation for outdoor recreation and naturalist activities. Following a B.P.E. at UBC, I worked for Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier and Pacific Rim National Parks. I completed a B.Sc. (2003) in Natural Resource Science from the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC. In April 2004, I delivered my son, Samuel and enjoyed motherhood for a year and a half prior to beginning my current program. I enjoy photography, trail running, hiking, and most types of skiing.