The barred grass snake (Natrix helvetica) is a widespread species in Great Britain, yet there is currently very little monitoring of this species being undertaken at the population level. Therefore, a standardised monitoring protocol was developed to allow for population estimates to be made using capture-mark-recapture. These surveys also allowed researchers to invesitgate the occurence and character of skin lesions caused by the emerging infectious disease ophidiomycosis, which was confirmed to be present at the study site in 2016. This talk will summarise the development of the monitoring protocol, and the results of the disease surveillance.
Biological invasions are one of the primary drivers of global biodiversity decline, and can have detrimental economic and societal impacts. The spread of invasive species to novel regions is fuelled by globalisation and trade, with many introductions being both deliberatively and accidentally facilitated by humans. Amphibians have become established outside of their native range through a number of different routes, from accidental pet escapes to intentional introductions for pest control. In the UK, there are more non-native amphibians than native species, with the greatest potential threat posed by the invasive alpine newt, Ichthyosaura alpestris. These urodeles can act as a vector for the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causative agent of the deadly amphibian infectious disease, chytridiomycosis. All populations of alpine newts sampled to date have tested positive for Bd, and there is speculation that these invasive amphibians are responsible for bringing this pathogen to the UK. This project will utilise genomics and geographic profiling to describe invasion history, comparing the pattern with phylogeography of Bd in Britain. The project will also determine whether human activities play a role in newt dispersal.
Chester achieved the first UK breeding of Parson's chameleon in late 2022 !
“To be the first UK zoo to successfully hatch a clutch of Parson’s chameleons is a momentous and exciting event for the team here – but most importantly it’s a major breakthrough for the species.
The levels of intricate care and attention to detail provided by the team over a number of years to achieve this breeding success has been truly remarkable. We’ve had to carefully replicate the seasonal variations of Madagascar and mimic the exact same conditions these chameleons experience on the island, right here in Chester, and that’s no easy feat.
“Every slight tweak to temperature and humidity each day and night has been meticulously recorded and, now that we’ve cracked this, we believe we’ll be able to take this information and apply it to help save some of Madagascar’s other threatened reptile species".
Jay Redbond, Team Manager of reptiles
|Event Date||Sunday 14th May 2023 1:00 pm|
|Event End Date||Sunday 14th May 2023 6:00 pm|
|Location||Amersham Community Centre within Chilterns Lifestyle Centre|
|Non BHS Member - AGM||£10.00|