2005-2006 Berkeley High School

Briones Regional Park Field Trip,
February 22, 2006

Goal: To introduce students to the distribution and abundance of amphibians and reptiles in different habitats.

Grad Student Fellow, Alison Purcell, shows an Ensatina salamander to a student.
The Field Trip: A group of Berkeley High students took a fieldtrip to Briones Regional Park in Martinez to observe salamanders mating in the wild. In the morning, students looked under logs and rocks to see what animals lived in this habitat. We found many organisms including several reptiles (western fence lizard, alligator lizard and western skink), amphibians (arboreal salamander, California newt, and slender salamander), arthropods (millipede, centipede, beetles, scorpion), and evidence of mammals (wood rat and coyote scat). In the afternoon we hiked up to a lagoon and found many egg sacks laid by newts. We even got to see some newts in amplexus (a courtship position in which the male newt "hugs" the female and waits for her to lay eggs). Lastly, students conducted a field experiment by surveying three habitat types (open grassland, dry woodland, and wetland) to compare the distribution and abundance of amphibians and reptiles in these habitats.

Sarah holds a rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulose) as Miriam looks on.

A close-up of Sarah's newt.

Grad Student Fellow, Brian Kraatz, enjoys the company of a newt.

Brian's newt.

The Briones lagoon where we saw newts in amplexus and newly laid egg sacks.

An Ensatina salamander poses on a moss-covered rock.
Students head down the trail after a long day of exploring and learning about reptiles and amphibians.

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