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Atlanta Herpetology Club Sunday BioBlitz teamDana with frogVarenka with tadpoleAuburn University team winners of the BioBlitz
Atlanta Herpetology Club

    Twenty-two new county records as a result of the BioBlitz!

    The Bioblitz was organized by the Atlanta Herpetology Club (particularly past President Sean Graham) and won by Auburn University, who took home the crystal hemipene trophy. Thanks to the AJC for coming out and reporting on the event. The Atlanta Herpetology Club competed with Ichuaway Herpetology Lab at the Jones Ecological Research Center, UGA's Herpetolog
    ical Society and Auburn University's Herpetology Society in the field to see who could find the most herps on the weekend of March 17-18 at Sheffield/Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Areas. This is a large tract of state-owned land that has not yet been surveyed intensively for amphibians and reptiles. Poised along the Talladega Uplands between the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and the highest peaks in Alabama, these areas probably contain several montane species that have not been documented in this region, but have been collected further to the northeast in the mountains of Georgia and to the southwest in Alabama. The BioBlitz ran from 10AM March 17 to 5PM on March 18th. Funding was provided by the GSU Office of Community Service's new program "Panther Cares," GSU's Dean of Students (Dean Stout), and the GSU Biology Department. Survey results were reported to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The reults will become part of the Georgia Herp Atlas. The official rules are here. The list of expected species and target species is here. The advertisement can be found here. Covered counties included Douglas, Haralson, Paulding, and Polk (see map of Georgia counties). Directions to Sheffield Forest from Dallas, GA: Take GA Hwy. 61 north 6.2 miles to Braswell Mountain Road; turn left, go 2.4 miles to Lee Road, turn right and proceed 1.2 miles to area. Directions to Paulding Forest from Dallas, GA: At jct. of GA Hwy 278 and U.S. Hwy 61, take GA Hwy. 278 west 7 miles to check station

    Results of the BioBlitz (CR - new county record):
    Combined the teams found about 31 species total.

    Marbled salamander (CR Haralson)
    Spotted salamander (CR Paudling)
    Southern 2-lined salamander (CR Polk)
    Spotted dusky salamander (CR Haralson, Polk)
    Seal Salamander (CR Haralson, Polk, Douglas)
    Red salamander (CR Polk)
    Spring Salamander (CR Douglas, Paulding)
    Wood frog (CR Paulding)
    Mountain Chorus Frog (CR Douglas)
    Painted turtle (CR Paulding)
    Five Lined Skink (CR Haralson)
    Eastern fence lizard (CR Paulding)
    Green Anole (CR Paudling, Haralson)
    Ringneck snake (CR Haralson)
    Worm snake (CR Haralson)
    Eastern garter snake (CR Polk)
    Brown Snake (CR Haralson)
    Northern Water Snake (CR Haralson)
    So, total, we got 22 new county records in two days!
    Sean Graham's report: As for the "bridging the gap" goal, the disconnected range of the seal salamander is now officially bridged, and the wood frog is just one county away from being conncted with the Alabama populations.
    The lack of seepage salamanders found makes me suspect that the range hiatus of that species may in fact be real; it has a disconnected range in AL as well. As for the Webster's salamander, it has one of the most disjunct, relictual distributions of any salamander, and I'm not surprised that after thorough searching we didn't find any. The range map of that species should probably be revised to reflect its true spotty distribution rather than the large blob along the AL/GA border often depicted.

    Final scores:
    95 points Auburn University
    41 points University of Georgia
    29+ points Atlanta Herpetology Club at Georgia State (points over 29 pending confirmation of pictures and recordings) 
    20 points Ichuaway Herpetology Lab

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