Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Lincoln (NE) Journal Star, Sunday, January 24, 2016, p. C8.


"Where have all the salamanders gone?" 'This is a question I have been increasingly asked over the past five to six years from area residents. It seems we are observing a dramatic population decline of the western barred tiger salamander in parts of Southeast Nebraska. The western barred tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) is one of only two salamanders in Nebraska. Over the past two years, none have been found in southeast Nebraska.

Salamanders, like all amphibians, are excellent indicator species. In many cases they act like the iconic canary in the mine shaft, telling us when to run to safety. They are a vanguard against detrimental environmental hazards. If amphibians disappear, what will act as an indicator to alarm us of adverse changes that affect us all?