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.
Juvenile toad dispersal
In 2019 we are carrying out a unique citizen science project with Toads on Roads volunteers to determine the direction of newly metamporphosed juvenile common toads as they dispers from ponds. Specifically, we aim to determine whether traffic collisions on roads causes high levels of mortality in these vulnerable juveniles, which often disperse in large numbers from ponds in early summer. The dispersal of this critical life stage is poorly understood and this research will eluicidate important findings which will help in developing conservation strategies for the common toad across the UK.
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. We are currently undertaking monitoring of three sites in England, one in Scotland and one in France, totalling 26 tunnels. This research has expanded in recent years and we have currently just started monitoring six tunnels in Scotland. This five-year research project will determine whether great crested newts, as well as other amphibian species, use these large mitigation tunnels. In addition, we have projects in development for Portugal and Slovenia. Our 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).
Effects of lunar phase on migration in common toads
The phase of the moon is known to have impacts on a range of wildlife such as sychronising movements and breeding. Froglife are currently using data collected by Toads on Roads volunteers to determine whether the lunar phase impacts on breeding migrations in the common toad. Using data collected from multiple sites and successive years, this will be one of the first studies using such a large data set to examine the effects of the moon on the common toad. The findings may have implications for toad patrollers and aid in predicting the most effective time to patrol roads for migrating common toads.
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.
For information on our conservation projects, click here.
For information on our education projects, click here.