Barbara Wolfe, DVM, Ph.D, DACZM
Director of Wildlife and Conservation Medicine, The Wilds
Location: Ohio and West Virginia, USA
Research: Health and Habitat Survey of the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) in Ohio and West Virginia
Species/Topic: Eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis)
|Populations of the Eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) have declined in distribution and abundance due to a variety of anthropogenic factors. The Eastern hellbender is listed as an endangered species in Ohio, and is considered to be a Species in Greatest Need of Conservation in every state in which it occurs. Environmental factors are known to affect health and disease in amphibians and are thought to be integrally involved in the drastic global amphibian declines. Health and disease status has not been investigated in Ohio hellbender populations. The purpose of this project is to survey and monitor the health of hellbender populations and their habitats in Ohio watersheds and to comparatively analyze these variables to the populations and habitats of Buffalo Creek, WV, which supports a vigorous population of hellbenders. These efforts have the potential to identify threats to hellbenders in Ohio and can greatly impact conservation of hellbenders in the state and the surrounding region.