MSc. Student, Grand Valley State University
Location: Western Michigan, USA
Research: Using Ecological Niche Modeling to Evaluate a Species of Greatest Conservation Need, the Western Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi), in Michigan
Species/Topic: Western lesser siren
Abstract: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has identified species that are vulnerable and that depend on resources available in the state as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). The western lesser siren (Siren intermedia nettingi) is one of amphibian species identified as a SGCN. Michigan records for S. intermedia are extremely limited and old. There is no current information on its status or distribution in the state. The objective of this project is to use occurrence data and ecological niche modeling to evaluate S. intermedia's current status and distribution in Michigan. A combination of predictive modeling and field surveys will allow us to determine whether S. intermedia is an extant member of the state's herpetofauna. We will use a GIS data base of known occurrences of the siren throughout its range and create a predictive model of its distribution in Michigan. Results from the modeling component will assist in identifying areas for field surveys.