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Facilitating permeability of landscapes impacted by roads for protected amphibians: patterns of movement for the great crested newt

Ward, Alastair I.; Matos, Cátia; Petrovan, Silviu; Ward, Alastair I.; Wheeler, Philip

Authors

Alastair I. Ward

Cátia Matos

Silviu Petrovan

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Dr Alastair Ward A.I.Ward@hull.ac.uk
Head of Department, Biological and Marine Sciences

Philip Wheeler



Abstract

Amphibian populations are highly vulnerable to road mortality and habitat fragmentation caused by road networks. Wildlife road tunnels are considered the most promising road mitigation measure for amphibians yet generally remain inadequately monitored, resulting in mixed success rates in the short-term and uncertain conservation benefits in the long-term. We monitored a complex multi-tunnel and fence system over five years and investigated the impact of the scheme on movement patterns of two newt species, including the largest known UK population of the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus), a European Protected Species. We used a stage descriptive approach based on capture positions to quantify newt movement patterns. Newt species successfully used the mitigation but the system constituted a bottleneck to movements from the fences to the tunnels. Crossing rates varied widely among years and were skewed towards autumn dispersal rather than spring breeding migration. There was a substantial negative bias against adult male great crested newts using the system. This study indicates that road tunnels could partially mitigate wider connectivity loss and fragmentation at the landscape scale for newt species. However, the observed bottleneck effects and seasonal bias could have population-level effects which must be better understood, especially for small populations, so that improvements can be made. Current requirements for monitoring mitigation schemes post-implementation are probably too short to assess their effectiveness in maintaining connectivity and to adequately understand their population-level impacts.

Citation

Matos, C., Petrovan, S., Ward, A. I., & Wheeler, P. (2017). Facilitating permeability of landscapes impacted by roads for protected amphibians: patterns of movement for the great crested newt. PeerJ, 2017(2), e2922. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2922

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2017
Publication Date Feb 28, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2017
Journal PeerJ
Electronic ISSN 2167-8359
Publisher PeerJ
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2017
Issue 2
Article Number e2922
Pages e2922
DOI https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2922
Keywords Connectivity; Dispersal; Great crested newt; Migration; Smooth newt; Underpass; Wildlife crossing; Road ecology
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/449031
Publisher URL https://peerj.com/articles/2922/
Additional Information Copy of article: Matos C, Petrovan S, Ward AI, Wheeler P. (2017) Facilitating permeability of landscapes impacted by roads for protected amphibians: patterns of movement for the great crested newt. PeerJ 5:e2922 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2922

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