Optimising biodiversity assessments by volunteers: The application of occupancy modelling to large-scale amphibian surveys

Sewell, David L. and Beebee, Trevor J.C. and Griffiths, Richard A. (2010) Optimising biodiversity assessments by volunteers: The application of occupancy modelling to large-scale amphibian surveys. Biological Conservation, 143 (9). pp. 2102-2110. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.019) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.019

Abstract

Mobilising volunteers to carry out biodiversity assessments can help to identify priorities for conservation across broad geographical scales. However, even when volunteers carry out simple presence–absence surveys, there can be significant issues over false absences and subsequent data interpretation. Simple but scientifically robust protocols are therefore required for these programmes. Here we evaluate amphibian survey protocols for the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) in Britain, which aims to assess the status of five widespread amphibian species. Surveys were undertaken by trained volunteers and researchers in two contrasting landscapes over 2 years, and occupancy modelling was used to determine covariates of detection, and to optimise the number of surveys and number of methods required. Although surveys need to take into account seasonal and annual changes in the detectability of different species, there were also landscape effects. Frogs and toads were generally harder to detect in ponds in Kent than in Wales, while the converse was true of newts. Adding bottle-trapping to the suite of methods increased the detection of smooth and palmate newts in both areas, and of great crested newts in Wales. Overall, reliable assessment of the presence or absence of all five species at a site required four separate surveys, each using four different methods (visual encounter surveys during both day and night, dip netting and bottle-trapping). Our approach may prove useful for finding the best compromises between rigor and simplicity when volunteers are used in large-scale surveys.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Contribution 40%;
Uncontrolled keywords: Amphibian, Survey, Detection, Occupancy modelling, volunteer.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2016 13:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40339 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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