Froglife is currently running several evidence based conservation amphibian and reptile research projects.
Great crested newt monitoring at Hampton Reserve
Since 2012, thanks to funding from Natural England, Froglife have been monitoring great crested newt populations on Hampton Nature Reserve, Peterborough. Using standard surveying techniques, Froglife have been monitoring the effectiveness of methods using occupancy modelling.
Pond restoration for the Bearded Stonewort
This area of research is in relation to biodiversity improvements through our practical habitat work, especially pond creation and restoration. It includes impacts on amphibians and reptiles, along with aquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates. This work is based at Hampton Nature Reserve and informs our large scale pond restoration project funded by Natural England through the Conservation Enhancement Scheme (CES) for Bearded Stonewort (Chara canescens). See previous report for further details: Second Life for Ponds Project Report
Toads on Roads
Froglife has managed the national Toads on Roads project for many years and in 2016 published research findings indicating a 68% decline in populations of the common toad across the UK over the past 30 years. The full research paper can be found here. This important research will enable Froglife to take further positive action to help conserve this species.
Effectiveness of under-road mitigation tunnels for amphibians and reptiles
Froglife have developed an automated monitoring system for monitoring amphibian and reptile movement through under-road wildlife tunnels. These projects have been funded by Natural England, with support from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and Esmée Fairbairn. This research has expanded in recent years and we currently have four monitoring sites across the UK, with a further six tunnels at a site in Scotland proposed for 2018. In addition we are working with partners abroad with tunnel monitoring currently in Switzerland, Portugal and France with the potential for work in Sweden and Spain. This research is revealing important aspects of amphibian and reptile ecology which will be useful for understanding the effectiveness of road mitigation measures and how to improve habitat connectivity for UK and European species. A recent publication by Froglife and collaborators can be found here.
Amphibian diseases in the UK
Froglife has been involved in citizen science projects and research relating to amphibian diseases since the 1980s. This area of work has grown as the conservation community has become increasingly concerned about the threats faced, particularly by frogs, due to disease. Our work has included involvement in research into ranaviruses including several projects with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the University of Exeter. We work with members of the public finding dead or diseased frogs in their gardens, offering advice and linking them in to wider research into disease. We are partners in the Garden Wildlife Health project with the ZSL, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Adder conservation genetics
Working with colleagues from the Zoological Society of London, Froglife have been investigating the population genetics of the adder within isolated populations. The research, which will be continuing into this year, aims to determine the possible impacts of isolation on population viability.
In 2015 Froglife collaborated with the University of Glasgow’s Trinidad Expedition to help raise funds for work to survey the critically endangered golden tree frog (Phytotriades auratus). This species is found only on two Trinidad mountain tops, is very difficult to observe and the 2015 surveys used a new method of eDNA. The new eDNA method enhances surveying as it provides a satisfactory and non-harmful method with which populations of this very rare species can be identified and protected. In collaboration with students at Glasgow University, Froglife ran a crowd funding appeal to help fund this work. You can find out more information about the project and the work here Golden Tree Frog.
Froglife are also developing collaborations with the international Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) and Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG). It is hoped this will lead to research and conservation projects with international partners.