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Spring 2003 Lecture

Focus on Vernal Pools
Jon Regosin
Environmental Consultant and Tufts University Ph.D. candidate in Biology

March 19, 2003

 

Did you know that spotted salamanders, spring peepers, and wood frogs make their homes in parts of Newton? Have you ever heard strange sounds on early spring nights, and wondered what you were hearing? Many amphibian species still reside on Newton Conservation lands and other urban forest fragments. Vernal pools, small ponds lacking fish, provide critical breeding habitat for Newton's remaining amphibian populations. On rainy nights during March and April, many amphibians in our area stage dramatic migrations to their breeding sites.

According to A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools (Leo Kenney and Matthew Burne), "Once thought to be just puddles in the forest, vernal pools are now recognized as rich but temporary ecosystems. Vernal pools are ephemeral wetlands which fill annually from precipitation, runoff, and rising groundwater. Most years they become completely dry, losing water through evaporation and transpiration. The wet-dry cycle prevents fish from becoming established, yet presents a rich, albeit temporary, habitat for many species. Beneath the still waters of these woodland pools is a staggering array of life. In Massachusetts, vernal pools are afforded some protection through local bylaws and regulations such as the Wetlands Protection Act." This publication of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Vernal Pool Association will be available at the lecture. This book serves as a photographic guide to all of the amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates that utilize vernal pools for portions of their life (including all the salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles and snakes found in Massachusetts). It includes species accounts, key diagnostic features, natural history notes, and lists of vernal pool resources.


About the Speaker
Jon Regosin, a Ph.D. candidate in Biology at Tufts University who studies vernal pool amphibians, will present a lecture and slide show on vernal pools in Newton, and on conservation issues affecting amphibians in eastern Massachusetts. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 19, 2003, at the Druker Auditorium of the Newton Free Library. Jon, a Newton resident, is an environmental consultant on wildlife and rare species issues with Hyla Ecological Services, and was formerly a Conservation Planner for The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. A board member of the Newton Conservators, he has led a number of programs as part of Newton Biodiversity Days and the Conservators walk series. A vernal pool walk will be scheduled later this Spring in conjunction with the Newton Conservators to see first hand the wonders of vernal pools in Newton.

 

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