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Back to the Klein Swartberg

20 June 2019

Winter Outings listening for frogs

Those of you with long enough blog memories will recall Debra Stark, and her work on the Rough Moss Frog (Arthroleptella rugosa) on the Klein Swartberg near Caledon (see blog post here). Debra's work was to assess the entire population of Rough Moss Frogs, a feat only possible as they occur there and nowhere else. Debra's work is now in press as a chapter in a book (see Stark et al here), but the frogs continue to call every winter on the mountain.

As one of the projects for Alessandra to learn the aSCR technique (see here), we decided that another estimate of how A. rugosa are doing on the Klein Swartberg was in order. So today we set out to explore the mountain again.

The march of pines over the mountain has been horrific since we were last there. And that's not all. In this picture below you'll see eucalyptus, pines and hakea all taking over the mountainside, with just a small amount of fynbos visible.

The numbers of frogs we heard were probably the lowest on any trip that I've made. A combination of poor winter rains and invading alien species drinking up all of the ground water. We'll be back soon assessing the total population again.

  aSCR  Frogs  Lab

Three go mad in Durban

11 June 2019

Carla's own trip to Durban

In February, you may remember that Carla visited Durban to collect toads with Adriana and Carla (see blog entry here). That was to get animals for their work on Guttural Toads, but Carla also works on Guttural Toads, and so needed to visit Durban for her own work.

Although it was easy to find toads in February, Carla found working in June much more challenging. Toads only come out on rainy or really warm nights. So she managed to find some willing helpers.

Cleverly, Carla gets the toads to do most of her work for her. They have a hop on, hop off weighing system.

One of their sites was on a golf course, and transport was laid on (of course!). Do you recognise the helpers in Carla's cart? 

Yes, it's Damian (he of the snake EICAT and SEICAT project - see here) and Nitya (he of the Andaman bullfrogs & #MohantyMagic - see here). Both were available and in Durban to help collect toads on those long Durban nights.

When Carla found a snake, Nitya and Damian were on hand to handle it.

And of course, we've all seen Nitya getting down to the hard work before... see here.

Welcome Alessandra

04 June 2019

Welcome to Alessandra

The MeaseyLab welcomes Alessandra Maria Bissantini, who starts her 6 month visit to Stellenbosch today!

Alessandra comes from the lab of Leonardo Vignoli at Tre University, Roma. She plans to work on aSCR methodology while here in Stellenbosch, adding to our monitoring of Arthroleptella lightfooti on the Cape peninsula and A. rugosa on the Klein Swartberg near Caledon.

  aSCR  Frogs  Lab
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