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How reliable is the habitat suitability index as a predictor of great crested newt presence or absence?

Buxton, Andrew S., Tracey, Hannah, Downs, Nick C. (2021) How reliable is the habitat suitability index as a predictor of great crested newt presence or absence? The Herpetological Journal, 31 (2). pp. 111-117. ISSN 0268-0130. (doi:10.33256/31.2.111117) (KAR id:85743)

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Abstract

The application of a habitat suitability index (HSI) assessment to predict the use of ponds by great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) is commonly used in association with distribution and monitoring projects. Such projects are often used to inform development and planning decision making. However, this type of assessment is frequently misused, and mis interpreted. We used a large, commercially collected environmental DNA (eDNA) survey for great crested newt pond occupancy (489 ponds) to; (1) assess whether it is appropriate to use low HSI scores to rule out occupancy, (2) discuss the use of high HSI scores to identify ponds of high importance for the species and, (3) explore the eDNA detection method. We conclude that there is no evidence to support ruling out pond occupancy based on low HSI scores. However, the conventional view that ponds with HSI scores above 0.7 are of high importance to great crested newts is somewhat supported by the data. Both eDNA and direct observational survey methodologies suffer from sampling error and these need to be acknowledged in the analysis of large data sets.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.33256/31.2.111117
Uncontrolled keywords: Great Created Newt, Habitat Suitability Index, HSI, Triturus cristatus, environmental DNA, presence absence survey
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Andrew Buxton
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 09:20 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 10:02 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/85743 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Buxton, Andrew S.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0555-2491
Downs, Nick C.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6577-3942
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