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Assessment of habitat and survey criteria for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) in Scotland: a case study on a translocated population

Harper, LR, Downie, JR and McNeill, DC (2018) Assessment of habitat and survey criteria for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) in Scotland: a case study on a translocated population. Hydrobiologia, 828 (1). pp. 57-71. ISSN 0018-8158

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Abstract

The great crested newt Triturus cristatus has declined across its range due to habitat loss, motivating research into biotic and abiotic species determinants. However, research has focused on populations in England and mainland Europe. We examined habitat and survey criteria for great crested newts in Scotland, with focus on a large, translocated population. Adult counts throughout the breeding season were obtained annually using torchlight surveys, and Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessed at created ponds (N = 24) in 2006 (immediately post-translocation) and 2015 (9 years post-translocation). In 2006, ‘best case’ HSI scores were calculated to predict habitat suitability should great crested newts have unrestricted access to terrestrial habitat. Abiotic criteria included in and omitted from current great crested newt survey guidelines were assessed using data recorded in 2015. Some ponds had improved HSI scores in 2015, but overall failure to meet predicted scores suggests management is needed to improve habitat suitability. Great crested newt activity was positively associated with moon visibility and phase, air temperature, and pH, but negatively correlated with water clarity. Importantly, our results indicate there are abiotic determinants specific to Scottish great crested newts. Principally, survey temperature thresholds should be lowered to enable accurate census of Scottish populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences, 05 Environmental Sciences, 06 Biological Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 12:13
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 12:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1007/s10750-018-3796-4
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13231

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