PhD Student, Wildlife Ecology
Research Assistant, SSI
University of Maine
What problem/s are you working to solve?
It’s well known that vernal pools provide critical breeding habitat for forest-specialist amphibians; however, they may function differently with geographic context, availability of alternative breeding habitat, and accessibility to suitable habitat during non-breeding periods. My research will help identify habitat requirements of pool-breeding amphibians in high elevation lake landscapes.
What progress are you making toward solutions?
My research is focused on identifying the type, arrangement, and temporal dynamics of habitats used by wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) in Maine’s high elevation lake landscapes. My first field season (early May to mid-October, 2011) is almost finished and has helped to refine my research aims.
How could your findings contribute to a more sustainable future in Maine and beyond?
Currently, information concerning pool-breeding amphibian use of high elevation lake landscapes is deficient in western Maine. My research will contribute to our biological understanding of these amphibians by providing habitat requirement data within these poorly studied landscapes.
Why did you decide to join SSI?
To be part of an ambitious, innovative, and interdisciplinary initiative directed at promoting “strong economies, vibrant communities, and healthy ecosystems.”
What’s the best part about collaborating on SSI research projects?
I have really appreciated being exposed to the different viewpoints and problem-solving approaches represented by the varied disciplines of Maine’s SSI.
Where’s your favorite place in Maine?
Right now, I’d have to say Turtle Ridge in Nahmakanta. This place may have spoiled all future research sites for me!
What’s your ultimate Maine experience?
Canoe camping. There are so many water bodies in this state that you’ll never have to paddle the same water twice.
Mud season survival strategy?
A tall pair of Bog Boots and never wearing white!
What sustains you?
A frequent dose of Mother Nature and, of course, homegrown tomatoes.
Additional information on Luke and his SSI team