The Thermal Properties of Artificial Reptile Refugia

Harris, Simon (2019) The Thermal Properties of Artificial Reptile Refugia. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/7H8U3F7W

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The global decline of reptile species makes their conservation increasingly important. To aid conservation efforts we must have detailed information about reptile populations and any changes or trends that emerge amongst them. For this reason, rigorous population surveys must be carried out and it is in the best interest of these efforts that the survey tools used are as effective as possible. Artificial refugia surveying is a commonly used technique to survey reptiles in temperate climates. In this thesis we examine the thermal properties of traditional and novel refugia materials (aluminium, brass and polystyrene), and their performance in the field, in an attempt to prove that the technique can still be improved upon. The thermal properties of the materials were examined in a laboratory experiment and then used in a survey of Grass Snakes (Natrix natrix) across three different sites to determine which material performed the best. Overall, the new materials did not perform as well as the traditional however new alterations to traditional materials did result in an increase in performance. Iron outperformed bitumen when it was painted black and attracted to highest number of reptiles in the field survey. This shows that tried and tested methods can still always be improved upon and bitumen, the most popular refugia material according to a survey conducted as part of this thesis, may not necessarily be the best.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: MSc by Research.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Artificial refugia; Reptile population conservation; Survey methods; Grass snakes (Natrix natrix)
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology > QL605 Chordates. Vertebrates > QL640-669.3 Reptiles and Amphibians
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 07 May 2024 10:17
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 10:31

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