Road mortality is one of several factors believed to be harming common toad populations in the UK. Toads are particularly vulnerable during annual migrations to breeding ponds. As well as the obvious impacts of deaths caused by road traffic, this form of mortality may also be affecting the body size of toads in impacted populations (they may be killed before they grow to full size).
Body size is an important factor in the lives of amphibians (in general 'bigger is better'), so Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and ARG UK would like to investigate the impacts of traffic on the size of common toads. Following on from the success of chytrid screening in 2008 and 2011, we are asking for your help with a new project this spring.
For this project Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and ARG UK would like help from toad patrollers.
What we would like you to do
- Measure the body lengths of 10 to 20 male toads per night, for several nights during a crossing period.
- Count or estimate the number of toads moved by patrollers on each sample night.
- Count or estimate the number of toads killed by traffic on each sample night.
- Measure traffic volume at the crossing.
We want measurements from sites where road mortality is known to be high. But we also need to compare these with sites where there is low mortality (e.g. service roads or roads temporarily closed to traffic). Both types of site are welcomed and if you or your ARG can organise data collection from one of each, then so much the better.
How to get involved
To get involved with ToadSize 2013 please download the recording forms:
ToadSize 2013 Form
ToadSize 2013 protocols
If you can contribute to this citizen-science project to investigate the impacts of road traffic on common toads then please contact Angie Julian or John Wilkinson for further details.
Contact: Angie Julian (Secretary ARG UK) or John Wilkinson (ARC Research & Monitoring Officer)
Health and Safety
The safety of volunteers is of paramount importance and so participants in ToadSize should adhere to the safety measures recommended for all toad patrolling work.