Navigation Links
Salamanders, headwater streams critical in food chain

COLUMBIA, Mo. University of Missouri scientist Ray Semlitsch studies creatures most people dont ever see. These creatures are active only at night and thrive in the shallow, cool, wet surroundings of headwater streams, an oft-overlooked biological environment.

A collaborative study, with MU graduate student Bill Peterman, recently published in the journal Freshwater Biology, revealed the biomass (total mass of an organism in an area) of the black-bellied salamander far exceeds any previous estimates, and the contribution of the species and its habitat may be critical in the food chain. While the ecological role of the salamander is not fully understood, radio-telemetry and mark-recapture tracking methods used in the study indicate the salamanders are a critical component in the productivity of headwater streams, possibly ensuring the survival of other species of fauna.

This is important because it is the first study to uncover the hidden biomass of these salamanders, said Semlitsch, professor of biological science in the MU College of Arts and Science. Salamanders typically live underground. They live in places most people dont see, and they live in these small, headwater streams where there are no other fresh-water vertebrates. Fish cant exist in these small streams. This is where water seeps out of the rock, where all streams begin life as a stream.

These headwater streams, according to the study, are very productive areas for salamanders and Semlitsch advocates the protection of these ecosystems.

The final take-home message of our study is salamanders comprise a huge amount of protein biomass for these headwater stream ecosystems, Semlitsch said. We think thats important because that biomass can then be used by consumers, such as predators, or could be used by decomposers in that system. The salamanders also are consuming aquatic insects. They are a key link, we think, in these headwater stream systems that has not been detected or uncovered before.

The amount of biomass weve reported is much, much higher than has ever been reported before, suggesting these headwater streams are very important ecosystems and they deserve protection. In my view, they actually deserve more protection than further down stream. It seems logical to me to protect the water where its coming out of the ground to retain and maintain clean water and provide ecosystem services downstream.

Semlitsch said the study brings to light the critical importance of salamanders, creatures that most people dont know much about or ever see as compared to birds or mammals.


Contact: Bryan E. Jones
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related biology news :

1. New research offers prioritization plan for reducing nutrient pollution in feeder streams
2. Greenhouse gas from English streams
3. Gene chips used to distinguish ventilator-associated pneumonia from underlying critical illness
4. IEEE-USA commends president for asking Congress to double support for critical research
5. Diet and lifestyle critical to recovery, says study
6. Critically endangered porpoise is focus of new research report
7. Rutgers scientists research reveals critical knowledge about the nervous system
8. First-ever study: lack of critical lubricant causes wear in joints
9. Critically endangered Amur leopard captured
10. Ant invaders eat the natives, then move down the food chain
11. Climate gas could disrupt food chain
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ... to enable the preparation of NGS libraries for ... plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... Calif. and LAS VEGAS ... Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication ... , today announced the launch of its latest version ... unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that ... Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)...  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services ... that the company has set a new quarterly earnings record in ... growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought ... pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, ... the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... TEL AVIV, Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. ... be held on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... & Co., Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... , election of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir ... and Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: