Taxonomic and conservation status assessment of salamanders in Santander, Colombia

Fabio Leonardo Meza Joya

Salamanders have experienced a dramatic decline in their natural populations, making them a symbol of the global biodiversity crisis. The taxonomic status of Colombian salamanders is unknown or ambiguous due to cryptic speciation and the absence of reliable diagnostic characters. As a result, the current IUCN conservation status is questionable and many species are data deficient. The aim of this study is to provide baseline information regarding species richness, distribution and habitat quality of salamanders in Santander, Colombia. During this project we shall be studying species identification, population densities, threats, and modelling of current and future distributional ranges under climate change conditions, using Maxent software and the WorldClim database. Salamanders will be identified through the analysis of DNA samples. The results of this project will contribute to a better understanding of salamanders in Santander, identify priority sites for their conservation, assess their conservation status following the IUCN criteria and educate local community and organizations about the importance of salamanders to local ecosystems.