Evolution of the project Life Tritó Montseny
Conference on amphibians
23/10/2020 09:43 h.
The Life Tritó Montseny, present at the III Conference for the conservation of amphibians held in San Sebastian
The Aranzadi Science Society of the Basque Country organized the III Conference for the conservation of amphibians. Monitoring of threatened populations. They were held on 16 and 17 October at its headquarters in Aranzadi (Alto de Zorroaga).
The specialist and collaborator of the Life Tritó Montseny project, Albert Montori, from the Grup de Recerca de l'Escola de la Natura de Parets de Vallès (GRENP), presented the study and monitoring of the newts, the Pyrenean newt (Calotriton asper) and the Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi). The study is based on the monitoring of the populations of the torrentine urodele species, which requires specific methodologies that are difficult to reproduce for other amphibian species.
The difficulty of locating adult specimens and their larvae requires very intensive monitoring in the short and long term. For the Pyrenean newt (Calotriton asper), the results of the monitoring carried out in the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park are presented, in the long term to know the temporal evolution of a population, and in the short term to characterize the distribution of its populations.
In reference to the Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi), the study presents outstanding aspects of the Life Tritó Montseny project focused on the monitoring of the only seven populations of this species in the massif, such as the exact determination of its presence in the area, new techniques for the characterization of the species' biology and the selection of suitable habitats for the creation of new populations.
Poster of the study presented by A. Montori. Author: GRENP
On Friday, October 16, seven presentations were made and a closing round table discussion was held on monitoring programs for catalogued amphibian species. The following day, Saturday October 17th, four presentations were made and the closing round table to discuss the main and new threats by amphibians.
The III Conference for the conservation of amphibians. Monitoring of threatened populations brought together some fifty scientists and herpetology specialists, some 25-30 of whom did so in person and the rest virtually through Zoom.
III Conference for the conservation of amphibians. Monitoring of threatened populations. Photo: GRENP
Amphibians, the most threatened vertebrates
As stated by the Aranzadi Science Society, amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates, sensitive to almost all threats affecting biodiversity, both global and local. Even when they generate hobbies, they often do so as objects of collection, with dire consequences.
However, they do not enjoy the popular sympathy that turns other taxa into protagonists of conservationist imagery. Perhaps for this reason, the information available on the status of their populations is scarce and monitoring programs are few. Paradoxically, efforts to conserve these species would guarantee the conservation of many others, as well as the landscapes that host them. For this reason, it is necessary to know the situation of their populations and the factors that threaten their permanence, although, in order to establish monitoring plans, both to alleviate the current lack of information and to avoid future ones, it is necessary to know the difficulties involved in monitoring their populations.
05/10/2020 15:00 h.
The Plaça de la Vila in the village of Montseny hosted a family workshop on the Montseny newt on Sunday 4 October
The proposal was part of the European Day of Parks and Nature Week 2020 and allowed participants to learn about the morphological characteristics of the Montseny newt. During the activity it was explained to the attendees that amphibians cannot be touched directly with their hands because of serious diseases that are affecting many populations of this faunistic group.
When making the newts, the children first weighed the dry plaster, added just the right amount of water and, once the mixture was made, put it into a silicone mold. When the newt was dried and removed from the mold, each child decided how he wanted to paint it and all returned home with their decorated Montseny newt.
Making of the Montseny newts with plaster. Photo: Ademc.
The workshop was carried out by the educators of Ademc, who highlighted the good reception and the lively participation of the families. In total, twenty-eight people participated in the activity.
Due to the exceptionality of the moment caused by the validity of the COVID-19, the development of the workshop was adjusted to the fulfillment of the Protocol of measures in the acts organized by the Network of Natural Parks.
13/10/2020 15:32 h.
A manual of good practices in biosafety is published within the framework of the Life Tritó Montseny project
A new manual on biosafety for the discovery of amphibians has been drafted for environmental education entities, nature schools and educational centers. It aims to disseminate the problem of infectious diseases in amphibians and to raise awareness among the population so that they can carry out educational activities without introducing pathogens into the environment.
It is a tool published in digital format and also in paper, aimed at preventing the transmission of infectious diseases caused by fungi and viruses that seriously affect many species of this group of animals.
The document is the result of two working groups organized under the title "Emerging diseases in amphibians: guidelines and biosafety guidelines for educational activities in the aquatic environment of Montseny", in which participated environmental education, conservation and volunteer organizations, as well as educational centers.
According to data from this 2020 from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 41% of known species of amphibians worldwide are threatened. One of the main factors that have motivated this situation is the infectious diseases caused by fungi, viruses and other pathogens, which can cause massive deaths of individuals.
The entry of pathogens that cause these deadly diseases is therefore a serious threat to wild populations of Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi). Aware of this fact, from the Life Tritó Montseny project, a good practices manual has been developed to disseminate the problem of these diseases and to raise awareness among the population so that they can carry out environmental education activities of discovery without introducing pathogens into the environment. This type of activities are considered a very valuable and attractive educational resource to approach nature, know it and, above all, respect it.
The document includes contents such as the measures to be adopted in the discovery of a stream or water point and the handling of amphibians; the protocol for the disinfection of materials for the collection of samples in the field; the sampling equipment necessary to take into account the disinfection of the material, and a section on prevention (malpractice due to ignorance, release of exotic species), among others.
The manual, whose recommendations can be useful both in the Montseny and in any other territory, closes with a decalogue that summarizes what can and cannot be done in relation to the study and handling of amphibians to avoid the transmission of infectious diseases.
The graphic design, very didactic and attractive, has been in charge of Lucas Wainer; the technical content, by Daniel Fernández and Albert Montori, and the coordination, by the Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve of Montseny.
The 5,000 printed copies will be distributed among the partners of the Life Tritó Montseny project (Barcelona Provincial Council, which coordinates it; Girona Provincial Council; the Government of Catalonia, through the Department of Territory and Sustainability and the Catalan Forestry Department, and the Barcelona Zoo), the educational centers of the Natural Park, the environmental education facilities of the territory and the entities participating in the work group.
Parallel to the manual, there is a protocol called "Biosafety: sanitary protocols for activities involving direct or indirect interaction with amphibian populations in the natural environment" which is basically aimed at construction contractors and scientific entities that carry out activities in aquatic environments.
It has been prepared by Daniel Fernández, Albert Montori, Laia Pérez Sorribes and Salvador Carranza, with the collaboration of the staff of the Montnegre Park and Corridor and the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve. This is a technical document basically aimed at people who carry out scientific activities in the natural environment.
Newsletter No. 7
02/10/2020 17:44 h.
A new digital bulletin gathers the news of the project spread during the last months
The 7th digital newsletter brings together the latest news and developments of the Life Tritó Montseny project published during the months of July, August and September. With a quarterly frequency, the newsletter is published in three languages (Catalan, Spanish and English) and to receive it you must subscribe.
You will find news about the 6th workshop of reintroduction of the species, held online on September 26th with the attendance of sixteen people, among which there were recognized hepetologists and scientists and specialists in the field of natural heritage management and wildlife; the appearance of the project in the report "Libertad provisional" of the program The Green Beetle (La 2 de RTVE), which reflects on the role that zoos should have in the XXI century, or recreational initiatives and environmental education (games, videos, stories, etc.) that the Barcelona Zoo started up during the period of confinement to make the Montseny newt known.
The Life Tritó Montseny bulletin is published in digital format and is sent, quarterly, to all people linked or interested in the project. If you are interested in receiving it, subscribe to this link. You can choose the language in which you want to receive it: Catalan, Spanish or English.
6th Reintroduction Workshop
29/09/2020 07:55 h.
On September 28, the 6th workshop on the reintroduction of the Montseny newt was held
The objectives of the workshop were, on the one hand, to assess the current situation of the populations of this species, both the specimens in the breeding centers and the newts that have been introduced into the Montseny streams so far, and on the other hand, to define the locations of future releases. The action was carried out on March 28 within the framework of action C.15 Identification of potential areas of reintroduction of the Montseny newt of the Life Tritó Montseny project and was attended by hepetologists, scientists and several specialists in the management of wild fauna.
The workshop, which due to the situation by COVID-19 was carried out telematically, began with a brief presentation by Daniel Guinart, from the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve, of the current situation and a review of the introduced populations (places, age and number of animals released and current situation). Francesc Carbonell, from the Fauna Center of Torreferrussa - Forestal Catalana, then addressed the current situation of the four breeding centers (number of parents, production, number of animals in breeding and age and condition of the aquariums) and, together with Emilio Valbuena from the Diputación de Barcelona, presented the genetic variability of the released specimens and the animals in breeding for future releases. The session continued with Guinart's explanation of the new introduction torrents and the priorities, costs, current situation and viability. An interesting debate on the future introductions of the Montseny's newt and the strategies that should be followed to value the actions carried out closed the workshop.
The 6th workshop on the reintroduction of the Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi) was attended by sixteen people, among whom were renowned hepetologists and scientists and specialists in the field of natural heritage and wildlife management.
Within the framework of the Life Tritó Montseny project and prior to this day, five working sessions had been held in the area of breeding and introduction of the Montseny newt. You can find more information at this link.