Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates on the Earth, due in part to habitat destruction and fragmentation. This is the case of abandoned quarries, which cause devastating effects in the landscape. However, due to the impermeability of the substrate, quarries could function as opportunities to ensure the connectivity of amphibian populations, but this is little studied. This knowledge could be essential to better understand the biology of the species, to manage future exploitations and to implement appropriate compensation measures after material extraction. Therefore, our study will focus on the role of abandoned quarries as important nodes in the landscape connectivity of amphibians. To achieve this goal, we will characterize water bodies at different temporal moments and geolocate individuals to identifiy movements between ponds. We will also sample water bodies in a surrounding buffer area of 3km from the quarries to infer potential breeding sites and understand possible migration rutes. Finally, we will use GIS to model connectivity in the quarries and surroundings and propose efficient conservation measures to preserve amphibians in the long-term.

Population size estimation by Photoidentification

Thanks to photoidentification we can recognise the same individual in different recaptures and estimate the population size!

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Quarry flora

We have found those flora species around the ponds.

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Snakes of Arrigorriaga's quarry

We have found those 5 snakes species in our samplings.

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The perez’s frog, our radio tracked amphibian.

Today we bring you a new amphibian species, the perez’s frog (Pelophyllax perezi), the selected species to carry our transmitters an to be radio tracked.

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Modelling connectivity

We are now modelling connectivity inside the quarries!

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Picking data was finished!

The fieldwork was hard but amazing. It is time to sit down and analyze :)

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The radio tracking... is working!

We are really happy because radio trackers are working and we are detecting frogs every night!

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Beginning radio tracking in Pelophylax perezi!

Now we wonder: is it possible to follow amphibian movement without seeing/capturing individuals?

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Photo-identification of amphibians in the quarries

During June, we sampled amphibian populations in the quarries the majority of nights using a non invasive method. It was great!

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The iberian common toad (Bufo spinosus)

The iberian common toad is another species that we found in our quarry!

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The webbed newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

Another species that we can find in our quarry is the Webbed newt!

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Amphibian connectivity and dispersal

Dispersal of animals, specifically amphibians, has been affected by human land use. Quarries may play an important role as connection points between different populations.

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The marble newt (Triturus marmoratus)

Not only frogs and toads take advantage of quarries, marble newts also can benefit from this type of artificial habitats.

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The common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans)

One of the species that we can observe in the area and that benefits from this type of habitat is the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans).

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Sampling the quarries

The quarries, although unexpected, they could be essential for amphibians. A complete characterization is needed to propose conservation measures.

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Sampling the quarry's surroundings

Sampling the quarry's surroundings has been very productive, as we have seen a multitude of amphibian populations. This data will be very important when we analyse the impact of the quarry on the populations, and how to make the quarry a suitable place for these animals.

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The study area

Quarries are a potential habitat for amphibians due to the impermeability of the soil for water accumulation. This should be taken into account to favour the presence of these animals in quarries, as they are the most endangered of all the groups of vertebrates.

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In this post we briefly present the team. We are currently hard-working in Arrigorriaga quarries!

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The beginning of the AMPHIQUARRY project

Amphibians are essential in the ecosystems… We need to preserve them! Our AMPHIQUARRY Project is beginning and we are grateful to explain in this post why we decided to compete in Quarry Life Award.

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