North side - 2/18/2020

February 18, 2020 (Tuesday) 9:00 am – 11:00 am: 91 dead newts, 0 alive. No real fresh newts, some were fresher than others. No rain for a long time...
The weather was nice, warm in the sun.
I documented 91 dead newts. I've only included fresh-looking newts found on the road, between the white lines, or on them. I took photos of many more newts on the road, but for now I've decided to omit them. They seemed very dry, and I'm not sure they haven't been there for a while. I will keep the photos, in case we decide later to include them. When I'll have time I'll try to compare their location with last week's observations. I would like to discuss Anne's decomposition study with her when she's available, and decide what to do with these photos.
Other roadkills - 3 millipedes, 1 dead beetle, 2 dead caterpillars.
Coverage: north part - the county park parking lot till the second stop sign.
Rainfall: (MTD: 0.02 in; YTD: 15.21 in) cold, dry. Data from -
Traffic: 3 trucks, 33 cars (including a Valley Water maintenance pickup), 2 bikes, 1 motorcycle, 3 pedestrians.

Posted by merav merav, February 19, 2020 15:48



@truthseqr, what do you think would be the best way to deal with the dead newts now? It's been real dry for a long time. I thought the dead newts won't stay on the road for too long, as cars and other traffic will push them away, and possibly other animals as well. I thought that as long as they are still on the road, they are probably not that old. But now I'm starting to think that that might not be the case. Some of the newts I see look so dry. Others look a bit more fresh, so I'm less worried about them, especially now that we only check the road once a week.
As you said, checking for duplicates is such a tedious job, but what else could we do?
Should we push all the easily-detachable newts away from the road?
Should we include only the ones that look more fresh = less 2D?
Any tips?

Posted by merav 3 months ago (Flag)

Hi @merav, @newtpatrol, @sea-kangaroo, @anudibranchmom, @joescience1,
Since this is such a complex issue, I've decided to open a special topic from the main project where I can collect and consolidate all my notes and thoughts on the issue and other team members can add comments and ideas from their own experiences. I think this information may help other teams encountering the same issue and any future studies in the Lexington area, so I want to make it a top-level journal entry with an easy-to-find heading.
It may take me awhile and several revisions to collect all the info because I can't spend too much time on the computer right now. Please bear with me. I'll do what I can as expeditiously as I am able.

Thank you all for your efforts on this project. Dr. Fraser Shilling, director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center recently said that this project has documented more roadkill events than any other project in the world (we recently surpassed a herpetologist in Florida who documented >8,000 turtles, frogs and other amphibians killed during a 2-year study area there).

Posted by truthseqr 3 months ago (Flag)

@merav, I think you all are doing the right thing to remove the carcasses from the road, if possible. However, sometimes it's not possible. If I remember correctly, I stopped taking pictures of carcasses that were obviously older than 1 week. It just wasn't worth the hassle of comparing pictures to determine if they were duplicates. The ones that were questionable, I put in a separate folder on my computer and went through the tedious process of comparing with previous surveys.
* Try to take pictures with the newts oriented in the same position (e.g., head to the left, tail to the right). This will facilitate comparing pictures with previous surveys.
* Last year you suggested using chalk to circle the carcasses after taking a picture. That might work during the dry spells, but rain will probably wash it away. However, if there are a lot of dead newts in one spot, the road will probably get covered with chalk circles.
* At one point I tried leaving a drop of purple nail polish next to some carcasses. The nail polish dots lasted a couple of weeks. Some, however, disappeared within one week.
* If the GPS coordinates are accurate, you might be able to export a couple weeks of project data to an Excel spreadsheet and sort on the GPS coordinates to find duplicates. I never tried this, but it might be more efficient than comparing pictures. However, when collecting data for the Decomp Study, I found that the corpses often moved from their original location (due to cars, foot traffic, rain drainage, wind?).

I'll let you know if I think of anything else.

Posted by truthseqr 3 months ago (Flag)

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