Can you help to investigate the mysterious decline in populations of the common toad in Britain?

The call for wildlife detectives is part of a PhD research project that has just started at the University of Wolverhampton, in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and the University of Salford.

The study is looking into the mysterious declines in common toad populations that are being recorded across Britain.

Dr John Wilkinson, ARC’s Regional, Training and Science Programmes Manager, who is a supervisor for the PhD, said: “We are asking volunteers to collect genetic samples in the form of ‘toe-tips’ from toads killed on roads or buccal – mouth - swabs from live toads.

“We will use the data to look at how genetic diversity in toad populations may have changed over time or by area, how this may be affecting some populations in the modern landscape, and how declines might be addressed through conservation.

“Samples from all populations are useful but we would be particularly interested in sites with some history – that is, known not to have declined or known to have been through a decline already.”

People interested in taking part should contact Rémi Martin ([email protected]) or Simon Maddock ([email protected]).  Full protocols and sampling kits will be provided.  Toads are migrating now, so it is a great time to get involved.

How to take buccal (mouth) swabs from live toads