Nash Community College Math & Science Club students are participating in a North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission study surveying Neuse River waterdogs. Throughout each week, Nash Community College students check traps deployed in various streams in Nash, Edgecombe, Wake, Franklin and Wilson counties.
The Neuse River waterdog is a completely aquatic salamander with feathery gills on each side of its head. Large adults are less than 12 inches in length from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Neuse River waterdogs are brown with black spots and four toes on each of four feet with a flat paddle-like tail which aids in swimming.
They are active at night and very unlikely to be seen by people who are not using special techniques to find them.
The Neuse and Tar River drainages and main tributaries are home to the world’s only Neuse River waterdogs. In the late 1970s, biologists from the N.C. Natural History Museum conducted surveys throughout the Neuse and Tar River drainages and found the waterdogs to be moderately abundant in most stretches.
Since many streams have been significantly affected by pollution, biologists are concerned about the current population status of the waterdog.
To this end, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is attempting to re-survey as many of the sites that were sampled in the 1970s as possible.
To make the results comparable with the existing data, identical protocol is being followed.
Students in the Nash Community College Math & Science Club are helping in this effort.
At each site the students set ten traps baited with chicken liver and then check the traps once a day for the next four days. The data they collect is entered is then submitted to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists.
For more information about this study or Nash Community College Biology classes, contact instructor David Beamer at 252-451-8334 or email@example.com.