Student Research - Jackson
Major in Biology

Eric with poster at UCRC

Jackson, Eric*, Bryant Buchanan, and Sharon Wise. 2003.

An Evaluation of Illumination Levels Available to Leaf Litter Organisms that Reside in or Below the Leaf Litter.


We used Plethodon cinereus, a fully terrestrial salamander that inhabits the forest floor of a temperate deciduous forest, as a model organism to describe illuminations present beneath leaf litter. We evaluated the effect depth, moisture content and above-litter illumination has on light levels present below the leaf litter. Depth of leaf litter and above-litter illuminations, but not moisture content, affected the amount of light that passes through the litter. Increased above-litter illumination and decreased litter depth resulted in increased below-litter illumination. The illuminations found below the leaf litter at 2 cm and 4 cm depths under all above-litter illuminations were within the range of illuminations required for salamander vision. The deepest litter depth (6 cm) suggests there is sufficient illumination present below the leaf litter for salamander vision when the above-litter illumination is high (101 lx).
* UC class of 2002


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