Red-backed salamanders represent an important component of Virginia ecosystems, but there are few habitat models that can reliably predict the presence/absence of this species. We surveyed the habitats of red-backed salamanders at one site in the Piedmont region of Virginia and collected data on an array of habitat variables with which this species is normally associated. We used logistic regression to develop a model predicting the presence or absence of the species at a given 50m-transect. Our final model incorporated soil organic layer pH variability and mineral layer average pH, and accounted for 30% of the variation in our data. We conclude that soil pH is a limiting determinant of habitat use for this study site, and that it may affect adaptive behaviors for highly acidic soils.
McGhee, J. D. and M. D. Killian. 2012. Exploratory Modeling Indicates Red-Backed Salamander Detections are Sensitive to Soil pH at C. F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area, Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science 63 (3): 137-144.