Also, Join our new Listserve and find out what's going on in the vernal pool world - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ nyvernalpools
Vernal Pools (aka seasonal forest pools or spring pools) in the northeast are generally found in forests and are typically wet on a seasonal basis. In addition to being only seasonally wet, they tend to be very small, usually only fragments of an acre in size. No matter how inconspicuous they are, they make many contributions to the forest ecosystem in which they reside. Vernal pools are used by many forest amphibians as breeding spots, used by many mammals as feeding and watering holes, and in general are areas filled with biodiversity.
The spotted salamander and other members of the mole salamander family are particularly important components of vernal pool ecosystems. These salamanders, like their namesake, spend most of their time underground and are seldom seen by the casual observer as they are rarely above ground.
Spring's first warm evening rainstorm begins the annual breeding journey of vernal pool amphibians. The salamanders emerge from their burrows in droves and quietly work their way towards their meeting place, the nearest vernal pool. They can be seen on this journey, usually no more than a 300 yard trek from their burrow to the pool. By the next morning only a few salamanders will remain in the pool while most will have already headed back to their burrows leaving behind clusters of 50 to 250 eggs that will hatch in two months later.
The Upper Susquehanna Coalition and its partners plan to create a database of vernal pools in an effort to better understand how these small isolated wetlands function on the landscape. If you know of one and would like to have it included in our database please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org