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Learn More About Woodland Vernal Pools

Woodland Vernal Pools are temporary ponds found in forests. The basis of their food web is detritus (dead leaf material, etc.) that falls into the pool and is broken down by a variety of organisms including bacteria. Certain amphibian species are considered "obligate" vernal pool species, meaning they require vernal pool habitat. It is believed that, over the long run, the populations of obligate species depend on individuals having safer places to breed. Vernal pools are safer for amphibians because they have less predation than permanent water bodies where larger predators, such as fish, reside. Obligate amphibians in Connecticut include Wood Frog, Spotted Salamander, Marbled Salamander, and the Jefferson Salamander/Blue-spotted Salamander complex. Fairy Shrimp also are dependent on safety from predators. These species are direct indicators that a temporary pond is functioning as a woodland vernal pool.

Printed Materials Vernal Pools:
  • Natural History and Conservation. Elizabeth A. Colburn. 2004. McDonald & Woodward Publishing Co. 300 pp.
  • A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools. Leo P. Kinney and Matthew R. Burne. 2000. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Heritage & Endangered Species Program. 73 pp.
  • Best Development Practices - Conserving Breeding Pool Habitat. MCA Technical Paper Series: No. 5. Aram J.K. Calhoun and Michael W. Klemens. 2002. Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY. 57 pp.
  • Forestry Habitat Management Guidelines for Vernal Pool Wildlife. MCA Technical Paper Series: No. 6. (a companion to Best Development Practices). 32 pp.
  • Pondwatchers Guide to Ponds and Vernal Pools of Eastern North America. Laminated, double-sided, color, four-fold panel.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Online Store has additional information on most of these publications.

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