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D. Cristina Macklem

Advisor: Tracy Rittenhouse


Cristina’s research interests are in wildlife management and conservation in the context of land use and climate changes. While studying at UConn as an undergraduate, Cristina completed a number of projects on amphibians and reptiles in Connecticut and Costa Rica. Her University Scholar thesis examined how temperature variability and road salts affect the growth and development of local tadpoles . She also assisted on projects studying eastern box turtles, New England cottontails, wood frogs, and strawberry poison frogs. Cristina was also part of a collaborative project that examined how black spiny-tailed iguanas respond to auditory predator cues. Additionally, Cristina worked in a biogeochemistry lab for a summer performing local wetland surveys and assisting with stormwater and coastal wetland projects.

Her Master’s project seeks to examine how exurban housing development affects the occupancy, abundance, and breeding patterns of the northern two-lined, northern dusky, and red-backed salamanders. Exurban development is the fastest growing form of land use in the region, and increasing urbanization can lead to significant changes in riparian ecosystems including increased sedimentation and pollution, flashier hydrographs, and reduced bank stability. The resulting habitat changes can alter community assemblages and lead to the extirpation of sensitive species. Cristina seeks to understand which aspects of the riparian habitat and watershed drive patterns of occupancy, abundance, and breeding in an exurban landscape such that local salamander populations can be managed more effectively.







Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087