Hope for salamanders? Illinois study recalibrates climate change effects

Sam Stickley, along with a pygmy salamander

URBANA, Ill. – For tiny salamanders squirming skin-to-soil, big-picture weather patterns may seem as far away as outer space. But for decades, scientists have mostly relied on free-air temperature data at large spatial scales to predict future salamander distributions under climate change. The outlook was dire for the mini ecosystem engineers, suggesting near elimination of habitat in crucial areas.

Now, University of Illinois researchers are tuning into the microclimates that really matter to the imperiled amphibians and