Experimental Design

26 trap arrays have been installed at selected longleaf stands, and are intensively sampled using daily transects five days a week. Sites were selected to test herpetofaunal responses to time since last burn (0-1, 3-4, 6-7, and >20 years) and season of burn (dormant vs. growing). Replicate trap numbers within each treatment were maximized within the bounds of sampling time and manpower. Environmental data will be determined for each trap site using Data Loggers and GIS techniques to test for environmental effects on biodiversity measures.

 

Traps are designed as drift-fence arrays, made of metal flashing 20 inches wide and 50 feet long. Each array is arranged in a Y-shape, with pitfall traps located every 10 feet along the length of each arm. Pitfall traps are large buckets buried into the ground with a sponge in the bottom to prevent dessication, and a total of 7 funnel traps are placed in each array to selectively trap snakes and other reptiles. Additionally, PVC treefrog shelters have been installed.

Captured individuals are marked using standard herpetological techniques to assess recaptures, and are assessed for sex, age, snout-vent length, weight, and total length. All data are recorded into spreadsheets for further statistical analysis.