The start of 2016 was mostly devoted to setting up our sites, figuring out our survey protocol, collecting habitat data and performing visual encounter surveys. In 2017 we collected acoustic monitoring data. The project runs under the title “Optimal Monitoring and detection of amphibians on Mount Kinabalu”. The work in Kinabalu Park was funded by Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and National Geographic Asia Conservation Grant.
Ecological Habitat Requirements of Ansonia platysoma
Ansonia platysoma is a small stream toad that is currently listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small number of sites it is known to occur in (three: Kinabalu Park, Crocker Ranges National Park and Gunung Mulu National Park) and its dependance on pristine habitat. As the parks are quite far from each other with no interconnecting pristine habitat the known sub-populations are unlikely to interbreed. All three known population groups are within protected habitats, but we are lacking information on specific habitat requirements (as well as life history data, behaviour data etc). A successful monitoring project of a species includes figuring out why a species exist in certain sites, it leads to an increased chance of finding new populations as well as being able to monitor any possible changes to the habitat. We have thereby collected ecological data from areas that this species is known to occur in as well as areas where it is not present to figure out why it prefers certain areas. This work is funded by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.
Species composition shift with altitude
The composition of species as well as the number of species has been shown to shift as altitude increases. We are investigating this phenomena and trying to understand how these shifts work in amphibians. As we have some previous survey data we are trying to assess how these shifts in community look over time and how negative and positive co-occurrence between species pairs changes.
Automated Acoustic Monitoring
In 2017 we deployed our acoustic monitor stations (using raspberry pi’s, connected to environmental sensors). The data from this project should help not only in answering ecological questions about our species, but in establishing how automated monitoring units compare to our more classical survey techniques such as visual encounter surveys. This project is funded by the National Geographic Society.