Predicting the spatio-temporal dynamics of unisexual-to-bisexual ratios in salamanders

Ecology: Noah D. Charney

Unisexual Ambystoma salamanders found throughout Northeastern North America represent a unique reproductive mode (Bogart et al. 2007, Charney 2012).  Studying these salamanders may yield substantial insights into the evolution of sex and may help protect this species complex.  Unisexuals, along with two bisexual species in the complex are listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, but management is complicated by our poor understanding of the reproductive system.  In this study, we seek to understand under what conditions the unisexual strategy is advantageous, and we seek to predict the spatio-temporal dynamics of unisexual-to-bisexual ratios.  To accomplish this, we will construct an individual-based simulation using R.  We will track individual salamanders breeding at ponds, adding progressive environmental complexity in successive models.