This page contains general advice on the design, execution and analysis of amphibian and reptile surveys for a range of scales and purposes. The page is under development and will be regularly updated as new research comes to light.

Survey protocols for the British herpetofauna - v1.0 (PDF - 1MB)

Come back soon for more information and links to analytical tools and software packages.

Specific advice for carrying out NARRS surveys can be found at:

New methods for the analysis of survey data 
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ARC assisted with a project run by DICE on survey methods in 2011-12. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the project assessed the value of advances in statistical methods. One of the main outputs was a set of survey protocols, which you can read here. Below, DICE gives an update on progress (July 2014), including how new models could help us better understand mitigation data.

New statistical tools are being developed will hopefully help tackle some of the pressing problems in herpetological survey and analysis. Limitations on time, logistics and expertise usually mean that detailed capture-mark-recapture estimates are not possible, and the population assessments are based on population indices that are repeated over time. Such indices may be influenced by variation in detectability. Mixture models and N-mixture models can help make sense of such data sets.

Stopover models are an extension of classic capture-mark-recapture models, and have the advantage of not requiring the population to be closed. They have the power to estimate arrival and departure times of individuals, and may therefore be useful in assessing populations of migrating amphibians.

Another problem concerns how much survey effort is needed to remove a population from a development site. Removal models can help guide survey effort, as they can provide an idea of whether or not removing animals from a site is actually depleting the population. Translocations are often confounded by new cohorts of animals becoming available for capture at different times of the year. Slow-worms are a case in point, as males tend to predominate early in the year and are then replaced by females and often juveniles. Removal models can take account of such seasonal dynamics, and the weather conditions that may affect them.

DICE and the National Centre for Statistical Ecology are exploring these new modelling methods using herpetological survey data collected by consultants and volunteers. As these develop, software for carrying out the analyses will hopefully be provided. The following link provides further information and references on these tools. Find out more -