Reptile Biodiversity

Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods for Inventory and Monitoring

ROY W. MCDIARMID
MERCEDES S. FOSTER
CRAIG GUYER
J. WHITFIELD GIBBONS
NEIL CHERNOFF
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 424
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pp0x5
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  • Book Info
    Reptile Biodiversity
    Book Description:

    From tiny, burrowing lizards to rainforest canopy-dwellers and giant crocodiles, reptile populations everywhere are changing. Yet government and conservation groups are often forced to make important decisions about reptile conservation and management based on inadequate or incomplete data. With contributions from nearly seventy specialists, this volume offers a comprehensive guide to the best methods for carrying out standardized quantitative and qualitative surveys of reptiles, while maximizing comparability of data between sites, across habitats and taxa, and over time. The contributors discuss each method, provide detailed protocols for its implementation, and suggest ways to analyze the data, making this volume an essential resource for monitoring and inventorying reptile abundance, population status, and biodiversity.Reptile Biodiversitycovers topics including: • terrestrial, marine, and aquatic reptiles • equipment recommendations and limitations • ethics of monitoring and inventory activities • statistical procedures • designing sampling programs • using PDAs in the field

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95207-2
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vii)
  3. AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. viii-ix)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. x-xi)
    RICK SHINE

    This is the book that I desperately needed at the beginning of my scientific career. Like most other young herpetologists, I had a pretty simple set of ideas about how to gather data—I’d just go out there, look for snakes, find some, catch them, and then write down anything that seemed useful (such as their sex or body size). And somehow or other, once I’d been doing that for long enough, I’d have a data set that could then tell all kinds of interesting stories about the biology of the creatures in question. Fortunately, there were wiser heads around—...

  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xii-xiii)
  6. PART ONE INTRODUCTION
    • CHAPTER ONE Studying Reptile Diversity
      (pp. 3-6)
      MERCEDES S. FOSTER, ROY W. McDIARMID and NEIL CHERNOFF

      This volume is the fourth in a series of publications dealing with standard methods for inventorying and monitoring the biodiversity of different taxa (e.g., see Heyer et al. 1994a; Wilson et al. 1996; Mueller et al. 2004). The impetus for the first volume was the sudden realization in the late 1980s and early 1990s that amphibian populations were declining globally, for unknown reasons. Determining the scope (numbers of species affected) and the magnitude of the declines was hampered by the absence of baseline data with which to compare contemporary population levels and by the lack of comparability among the data...

    • CHAPTER TWO Reptile Diversity and Natural History: An Overview
      (pp. 7-24)
      ROY W. McDIARMID

      Reptiles represent one of the more successful evolutionary radiations known, and their living representatives include a diverse and distinctive set of aquatic, terrestrial, and arboreal taxa that occur nearly everywhere in the world. They encompass all scaled tetrapods with an amniotic egg that lack hair and mammary glands (mammals) and feathers (birds). While some disagreement about placement of turtles exists, for this pre sen tation I have adopted a recently proposed classifi cation that treats turtles, crocodilians, tuataras, lizards, snakes, and the aberrant volant reptile group called birds (not treated further) as Reptiles (Fig. 1).

      The earliest fossil record of...

  7. PART TWO PLANNING A DIVERSITY STUDY
    • CHAPTER THREE Study Design and Sampling
      (pp. 27-50)
      ROBERT N. FISHER and MERCEDES S. FOSTER

      Our goal in this chapter is to help investigators lay the groundwork for design of their biodiversity studies. Study design follows no hard rules, and often even the best planned study has to be modified over the first few days of a project to accommodate unforeseen logistical complications. Although over-engineering a reptile study can delay initiation of the work and increase costs, under-planning often wastes valuable field time and results in unusable data. A carefully planned approach that is flexible in implementation and builds on others’ successes is always the best approach.

      Sometimes the most logical assumptions made in an...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Dealing with Associated Data
      (pp. 51-76)
      MERCEDES S. FOSTER and ROBERT N. FISHER

      When designing an inventory or monitoring project, investigators rightly tend to concentrate on the “Big Issues” much the way a journalist might, determining the who, what, where, and why of the project. To do so most effectively, the investigator must be very clear about the goals of a study and what he or she is trying to learn. With that in mind it is possible to select (1) the most appropriate organisms to study, (2) the optimal site(s) for carry ing out the work, (3) the sampling methods that will provide the type and amount of data required to answer...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Finding and Capturing Reptiles
      (pp. 77-88)
      LEE A. FITZGERALD

      Successfully finding and capturing the reptile species of interest is clearly a fundamental requirement for a project’s success. It is also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the research of a field herpetologist. Scientific questions about the occurrence, abundance, and ecology of a species cannot be answered, however, if a species cannot be reliably detected by some reasonable method. In this chapter we review methods that herpetologists have found to be particularly useful and effective for sampling reptile populations. After general considerations, we discuss the methods, which are organized into two groups. One group includes methods that...

    • CHAPTER SIX Voucher Specimens
      (pp. 89-94)
      ROBERT P. REYNOLDS and ROY W. McDIARMID

      A basic requirement of all scientific inquiry is that other investigators be able to repeat a study. They must duplicate the conditions under which an experiment was carried out or an observation was made; in biological studies that means that the study organism must also be the same. That is why scientific names of subject organisms are always reported instead of (or in addition to) categorical or common names (e.g., rats). As we learn more about the taxonomy of organisms and their phylogenetic relationships, however, scientific names of species may change, and single species may be shown to encompass previously...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Preparing Reptiles as Voucher Specimens
      (pp. 95-126)
      MERCEDES S. FOSTER

      When early explorers began charting the vast reaches of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, they discovered and visited many seemingly exotic places generally unknown to Europeans. Basic trade routes to the Orient were known, but the extensive and complex insular environments of the Indo-Australian region remainedterrae incognitae,as did the interior regions of Africa and the New World, where they eventually encountered thriving, sophisticated civilizations. During explorations of and visits to these areas, the crews of the sailing ships often acquired unusual and colorful cultural and natural history objects, which they carried back to their home ports as...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Dealing with Live Reptiles
      (pp. 127-142)
      MERCEDES S. FOSTER

      In recent years there has been a major reconsideration of how animals are treated during field and captive research as well as instruction sponsored by zoos, educational institutions, and government agencies. Many countries have placed major limitations on research methods used in both captive and field settings; these restrictions also apply to animals that are “collected” (i.e., killed/preserved) upon capture in the field. Most U.S. institutions, public and private, have had to implement review procedures for use of vertebrate animals, often including formal establishment of IACUCs (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees) with involvement of veterinarians, lay members, and scientists....

    • CHAPTER NINE Marking Reptiles
      (pp. 143-150)
      MICHAEL V. PLUMMER and JOHN W. FERNER

      Why is marking animals useful for biodiversity studies? Although basic inventories provide presence and absence data for a site, whether or not a species persists there depends on the status of the group or population. Analyses of mark-recapture data can provide population information (e.g., on abundance, survivorship, population trends; see Chapter 15, as well as “Permanent Plots,” in Chapter 13) that enhances inventory and monitoring data. Likewise, radiotelemetry data can be directly relevant to biodiversity studies, contributing information on habitat preferences and estimating population size and survivorship (see methodology in White and Garrott 1990).

      A number of authors have provided...

    • CHAPTER TEN Determining Age, Sex, and Reproductive Condition
      (pp. 151-164)
      ROBERT N. REED and ANTON D. TUCKER

      When first encountering an animal, an observer usually asks, “What is it?” Once basic species identification is achieved, the observer likely moves on to questions about the animal’s sex, age, and reproductive status because such information is central to understanding the biology of any population of interest. In many reptiles, however, accurate determination of the sex, age, and reproductive status of an individual (especially a live one) may require taxon-specific techniques. In this chapter, we discuss standard methods for determining these basic attributes in reptiles.

      Use of some of these methods requires substantial experience with and a “feel for” the...

  8. PART THREE SAMPLING REPTILE DIVERSITY
    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Techniques for Reptiles in Difficult-to-Sample Habitats
      (pp. 167-196)
      ROBERT E. LOVICH

      This book deals with sampling and other aspects of field research on reptiles. Not surprisingly, the disparities in size and methods of locomotion between reptiles and humans constrain the ability of the latter to sample the former and often interfere with the regular, methodical collection of information (capture or observation) that scientific protocols and methodologies require. The partial or complete inability of humans to negotiate certain types of habitat (e.g., deep water, unstable rock piles, treetops) and/or the ability of reptiles simply to avoid detection and capture in some habitats put humans at a disadvantage compared to reptiles that are...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Statistical Properties of Techniques and Validation
      (pp. 197-204)
      GORDON H. RODDA

      How does one go about selecting a sampling method? On what basis does one judge a method to be good or bad? Some choices can be eliminated as a simple matter of physical or logistical impracticality. Road cruising will not work for Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) or minisculeSphaerodactylusgeckos, for example, nor will pitfall traps suffi ce for those species. Imagine the size of can one would need for a Leatherback pitfall! And geckos with clinging toe pads can climb out of pitfalls. In addition to the requirement that a sampling method be practical, the chosen technique should...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN Standard Techniques for Inventory and Monitoring
      (pp. 205-272)
      MERCEDES S. FOSTER

      Eleven standard methods for use in reptile inventory and monitoring projects are presented in this chapter. They were selected because they are broadly applicable to the diverse array of lineages comprising the group Reptilia as well as to the extensive array of habitat types that reptiles occupy. These methods will be useful for various types of inventory and monitoring projects. However, we remind investigators initiating studies that they must invest sufficient time and effort in the design phase of the study to ensure that the procedures they select are appropriate for their particular projects.

      The authors begin their presentations of...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN Parametric Analysis of Reptile Biodiversity Data
      (pp. 273-282)
      CHAD L. CROSS, NATALIA ANANJEVA, NIKOLAI L. ORLOV and ANTONIO W. SALAS

      The analysis of biodiversity data is rarely straightforward, oftenad hoc,and always challenging. In that respect, any chapter that describes techniques of analysis is necessarily incomplete. In this chapter we broadly outline the ideas and concepts that are important to consider when planning, initiating, and conducting studies designed to measure biodiversity. Beyond definition and description, we also include an extensive literature review as a starting point for interested investigators who wish to pursue a topic in greater detail. We begin with a discussion of biodiversity and its mea sure ment, including richness indices, evenness indices, diversity indices, and rank-abundance...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN Population Size and Demographics
      (pp. 283-322)
      GORDON H. RODDA

      In this chapter, I address the problem of estimating reptile density, that is, the number of individuals of a given species that are present in a given area. Chapter 14, in contrast, tackles the composition of reptile assemblages, or the number of species present and their identities. Biological diversity is generally judged in terms of both quantities. For example, to compute a Shannon-Weiner biodiversity index one needs a list of the species present and an estimate of the relative density of each.

      Many researchers and research teams use technical terms differently. To avoid confusion, I define the terms that I...

    • CHAPTER SIXTEEN Studying and Monitoring Exploited Species
      (pp. 323-332)
      LEE A. FITZGERALD

      It never stops for Haldre. As if negotiating the theory and practice of counting lizards that she confronted in Chapter 15 was not enough, Art called and said, “We need to figure out the impact of the pet trade on our Blue-tongued Mango Skinks [a fictitious species; Hiaasen 1991]. The notoriety they have received because of our conservation work has driven their pet-trade price through the roof. In addition, the number of arrests for poaching on the refuge has gone up, which means that collectors are going to great lengths to find them. Some people say the Blue-tongued Mango Skink...

  9. PART FOUR CONCLUSIONS
    • CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Reptile Biodiversity: Where Do We Go from Here?
      (pp. 335-340)
      ROY W. McDIARMID and MERCEDES S. FOSTER

      As the human population increases, more demands are made of the environment for natural resources and for space in which to live and grow food. As a result, in many areas forests are overharvested or clear cut, ecosystems polluted, resources of all sorts depleted (a lack of water is likely to precipitate the next global environmental crisis), and the earth warms at an alarming rate. As natural environments are affected, so too will be the organisms that occupy them; some species will decline or go extinct, populations of others will increase, and some will adapt to new conditions or move...

  10. APPENDIX I Selected Institutions with Significant Collections of Reptiles
    (pp. 341-344)
    MERCEDES S. FOSTER and ROY W. McDIARMID
  11. APPENDIX II Websites of Interest
    (pp. 345-348)
    MERCEDES S. FOSTER
  12. LITERATURE CITED
    (pp. 349-390)
  13. ADDRESSES OF AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUORS
    (pp. 391-394)
  14. NAMES INDEX
    (pp. 395-412)