Upcoming BRLT talk highlights local vernal pools

Mon, 04/26/2021 - 12:30pm

Spring has arrived on the Boothbay peninsula and our local vernal pools are a flurry of activity. These seasonal bodies of water are a desirable place for some species of frogs, salamanders and insects to reproduce, as they lack the egg eating fish found in ponds and streams. For portions of the year vernal pools dry up, but each spring they fill with snow melt and rain. Each spring, amphibians migrate from the surrounding forest to mate and lay their eggs in dense jelly masses.

Many of us on the Boothbay peninsula live within walking distance of a vernal pool with its many sights and sounds. If you have never looked closely at a vernal pool, this is the time to do so. Locally wood frogs, spring peepers, and spotted salamanders are finishing up mating, and their eggs are visible in the pools' waters. Frog calls can also be heard on warm nights--some from miles away, so be sure to crack your windows or step out on the porch to enjoy the rich cacophony.

For those interested in learning more about some of the creatures that rely on vernal pools, Boothbay Region Land Trust has a fabulous free online talk on Friday, April 30 at 10 a.m.. Senior research scientist Dr. John Burns of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will share his research on the Spotted Salamander and its symbiotic relationship with a tiny green alga in vernal pools in his talk entitled “Salamanders and Algae: From Roommates to Intimate Partners.”

Scientists have discovered an alga that invades baby salamander tissues and cells and forms the only known such association in any vertebrate. In this talk, Dr. Burns will speak about the salamander-alga association and discuss the context of why it is currently under intense scrutiny. The uniqueness of the interaction has implications for the development of our own adaptive immune systems.

To register for this talk please visit bbrlt.org/events or enter the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ncMsSjpRSGKxWQ26PsCF9g

We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fascinating presentation.