Second project (2012-2014)

The Alpine- and Fire Salamander in Austria and Europe: distribution survey and protection measures

The Alpine Salamander (salamandra atra) is a pitch black amphibian, that lives in our Alpine regions at altitudes between 600-2400m. Its close relative the Firesalamander (salamandra salamandra) is black with yellow spots or stripes and lives in mixed broadleaf forests up to 1500m. Both are endangered and strictly protected according to the European FFH guidelines. Hence, efforts to research their habitat and ecology, as well as measures for their conservation have highest priority. Despite their central role in the Alpine ecosystem our actual academic record is embarrasingly small. In fact we know very little about their actual distribution in the Austrian Alps. In order to resolve this shortcoming this project reaches out to schools and children to explore the population and distribution of the Salamanders in Austria, Spain and Italy. The main goal is to map occurrence, population- size and development of the Alpine Salamander and the Fire Salamander. Here we will take two approaches. First, we will establish an oral history of Salamander observations in the past 50 years by conducting interviews in the local community, such as alpinists, farmers, Nationalpark staff, mineral collectors, and hunters to preserve their well-versed local knowledge of the Salamanders. Second we will check these regions for actual Salamander observations. These data will be collected by school kids and disseminated on our webportal www.alpensalamander.eu. The first project was carried out at the University of Salzburg in collaboration with 30 schools in the country of Salzburg between 2010 and 2012. The second project between 2012 and 2014 colloborates with 30 schools in Austria, Italy, Spain and Germany. School kids learn about various topics like: the biology of Amphibians, conservational biology, research methodology and documentation, monitoring methods, Web2.0 applications, Google maps. For more information check: www.alpensalamander.eu

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