AMPHIBIANS (alpine salamander, Aurora’s salamander, yellow-bellied toad)
Our Department carries out several studies on target species of amphibians in order to: 1) determine their distribution in Trentino; 2) study their abundance and demographic trends; 3) highlight the ecological factors and threats that influence their distribution; 4) develop monitoring protocols for species of Community interest.
These studies are based on presence/absence surveys of target species and innovative approaches for numerical estimates through repeated counts of individuals in the surveyed areas and non-invasive mark-recapture methods that use natural patterns of the animals for their recognition. Moreover, we record biometric data to calculate index of body condition and sex ratio and to evaluate the populations structure and status, showing possible variations through time.
Monitoring programmes carried out in 2016-2017 have shown a marked decline in water habitats used by the yellow-bellied toad during the breeding season, especially those linked to traditional agro-pastoral activities. Intensive studies on the yellow-bellied toad and the alpine and Aurora’s salamanders are still ongoing and have already allowed us to define monitoring protocols that will be applied starting from 2018.
Four protected areas in southern Trentino have been chosen for monitoring reptiles through artificial shelters (Loppio, Marocche di Dro, Lavini di Marco and Brione). The shelters (onduline roofs) will be periodically monitored during spring and summer for at least two consecutive years. This activity will start in spring 2018.