EDGE Community

Karla Pelz PhD
Lerma, Mexico State, Mexico
  • EDGE Fellow
[General description section]

I chose to focus my EDGE Fellowship on the Critically Endangered Lake Lerma Salamander in the Cienegas del Alto Lerma wetland in central Mexico. The Cienegas del Alto Lerma is a wetland of 3,023 ha that represents the remnant of what once was the largest wetland in Central Mexico that covered 27,000 ha. Although the extension of the wetland has been dramatically reduced, the Cienegas del Alto Lerma harbor more than 300 species of plants and animals. The Cienegas are habitat of at least 15 endemic species. Among these species is the Ambystoma lermaense, which is of remarkable importance for the wetland and for human communities associated to this ecosystem. A. lermaense plays the role of prey of some larger vertebrates, and of predator of small vertebrates and invertebrates. During my Fellowship I will be determining the distribution of A. lermaensem, developing long-term monitoring programmes, assessing the genetic structure of the populations and implementing educational programmes on the importance of species and wetland conservation.

Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Lerma
Position within organisation

Professor at the Environmental Sciences Department


The Lerma Axolotl inhabits a wetland that is been degraded. However, because of the importance of A. lermaense in the wetlands, as prey item and as a predator, and because it can survive in water and on land, this species can work as an umbrella species because by
conserving this salamander and its habitat we can also protect other endangered species.
Nevertheless, currently there is little information on the ecology and genetics of A. lermaense, which is necessary if we want to develop a conservation plan. Thus we aim to generate the information needed to underpin, foster and conduct a conservation strategy for A. lermaense.

Relevant species

This highly distinct Mexican amphibian has two forms in the wild, one aquatic and one terrestrial.

[Relevance of this particular species to you (optional)]
Associated Blog Posts
31st Jul 15
Four hours and 250km later, in Puebla State, we arrive at Laguna Alchichica, Alfredo’s field site. Set in a landscape that has turned from forest to se...  Read

29th Jul 15
  I am standing on a narrow isthmus of land, essentially a dirt track running on top of a levee. On my right is a fragment of the once vast Lerma...  Read

22nd Jul 15
Welcome to Life on the EDGE, our monthly blog featuring news about our projects, fellows, species, and all other things EDGE.  This is our first update ...  Read

29th Apr 14
From March 24th to the 28th 2014, I attended the workshop on “The critically endangered Mexican Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) conservation programme: ecolo...  Read