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Faculty

Carola A. Haas

Professor

B.A., Wellesley College (1983); Ph.D., Cornell University (1990)


Research Interests

Carola Haas’ research focuses on wildlife populations in managed ecosystems, with a focus on breeding and movement behavior of amphibians, birds, and reptiles. She coordinates several multi-decade long studies on topics including forest management practices on understory processes and diversity in Appalachian hardwood forests (plethodontid salamanders), loggerhead shrike nesting ecology in the Great Plains, and the role of fire, grazing, and changing hydrology in wetland restoration (flatwoods salamanders and bog turtles). She is particularly interested in how agricultural and forestry practices can benefit native wildlife populations.


Courses Taught:

  • Principles of Fisheries and Wildlife (with Eric Hallerman)
  • Wildlife Field Biology
  • Preparing Vertebrate Museum Specimens
  • Earth Sustainability Food & Agriculture
  • Sustainable Food Graduate Seminar (with Elena Serrano)
  • Wildlife Population Dynamics
  • Dispersal Graduate Seminar
  • Behavior and Conservation Graduate Seminar (with Jeff Walters)
  • Vertebrate Dispersal Behavior (with John Phillips)
  • Conservation of Reptiles & Amphibians (with Robin Andrews)

Current Research Projects:

Restoration of wetlands in longleaf pine flatwoods

The extensive longleaf pine ecosystem of the southeastern US has been extremely reduced and degraded after decades of exploitation and fire suppression. Although land managers have worked to successfully restore conditions to uplands using prescribed fire, ephemeral and riparian wetlands in this system are still not burning at natural frequencies.  These degraded wetlands may have altered litter, light penetration, hydroperiod, and emergent herbaceous vegetation. We are partnering with the state of Florida’s Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement program and federal agencies on an adaptive management project to study how rare and declining amphibians respond as we attempt restoration of a more open midstory and more grassy understory.

Effects of 7 Silvicultural Practices on Terrestrial Salamanders in Southern Appalachian Forests

Southern Appalachian forests have one of the highest densities and diversities of salamanders in the world. Salamanders occur in lower densities in forest stands that have been recently clearcut. However, few studies have addressed the effects of other timber harvesting practices on terrestrial salamanders. The size and type of timber harvest produce different effects on wildlife habitat, and may influence salamander populations differently. This project compares several economically viable methods of forest management. For the past 15 years, we have monitored the effects of 7 different oak regeneration techniques at 6 sites in Virginia and West Virginia. Preliminary results indicate a decline in relative abundance of salamanders on plots with any disturbance to the forest canopy. See link to project website below.

Wetland soils and hydrology and nesting ecology of the bog turtle in Virginia 

The bog turtle is a small freshwater turtle found in isolated sphagnum bogs and marshy meadows in the eastern United States. Habitat loss and collection for the pet trade have caused many populations to decline and the bog turtle is now afforded legal protection in every state in which it is found. We examined importance of habitat corridors, soils and hydrology of occupied wetlands, and reproductive ecology.

Status and ecology of flatwoods salamander and Florida bog frog on Eglin Air Force Base 

The flatwoods salamander and the Florida bog frog are rare amphibians with small geographic ranges. For both species we are evaluating how habitat affects small and large scale distribution and whether current management practices are effective for these species. The maintenance of historic fire patterns and connectivity of habitats may be critical to the survival of these species, but challenging to implement.


Select Recent Publications:

  • Feaga, J. B. and C. A. Haas. 2015. Seasonal thermal ecology of bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) in southwestern Virginia.  Journal of Herpetology 49: in press, preprint available
  • Gorman, T. A., S. D. Powell, K. C. Jones, and C. A. Haas. 2014.  Microhabitat characteristics of egg deposition sites used by reticulated flatwoods salamanders. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 9: 543-550.
  • Gorman, T. A., C. A. Haas, and J. G. Himes. 2013. Evaluating methods to restore amphibian habitat in fire-suppressed pine flatwoods wetlands. Fire Ecology 9: 96-109.
  • Jones, K. C., P. Hill, T. A. Gorman, and C. A. Haas. 2012.  Climbing behavior of flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma bishopi/A. cingulatum).  Southeastern Naturalist 11: 537-542.
  • Feaga, J. B., J. A. Burger, and C. A. Haas. 2012.  Water table depth, surface saturation, and drought response in bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) wetlands.  Wetlands 32: 1011-1021.  10.1007/s13157-012-0330-8 
  • Gorman, T.A. and C. A. Haas. 2011. Seasonal microhabitat selection and use of syntopic populations of Lithobates okaloosae and Lithobates clamitans clamitans. Journal of Herpetology 45: 313-318. 
  • Homyack, J. A., C. A. Haas, and W. A. Hopkins. 2011. Energetics of surface-active terrestrial salamanders in experimentally harvested forest. Journal of Wildlife Management 75: 1267-1278.
  • Gorman, T.A., D. C. Bishop, and C. A. Haas. 2009. Factors related to occupancy of breeding wetlands by flatwoods salamander larvae. Wetlands 29: 323-329.
  • Homyack, J. A. and C. A. Haas. 2009. Long-term effects of experimental forest harvesting on abundance and reproductive demography of terrestrial salamanders. Biological Conservation 142: 110-121.
  • Askins, R. A., F. Chavez-Ramirez, B. C. Dale, C. A. Haas, J. R. Herkert, F. L. Knopf, P. D. Vickery. 2007. Conservation of grassland birds in North America:  Understanding ecological processes in different regions.  Ornithological Monographs 64: 1-46.
    Headshot of Carola A. Haas, Ph.D.

  • (540) 231-9269
  • cahaas@vt.edu
  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation (0321)
    Cheatham Hall, RM 112, 310 West Campus Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24073

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