Greetings from the UK!

The admin would like to ask all our members to give a short introduction of themselves here - also please include a picture of yourself, so we will recognize you in the field.

Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:29 am

Well, I'd say the first can be unrelated to the actual population trends (= not reflect the true trend) and stay (even with tons of sampling effort) unknown, especially if the (more species-related) recapture rate is very low (but, and there's the rut, also if abundance is truly low). This may be phrasing it too chaotically, so, in short, population abundance largely depends on detectability and survival, both of which are reflected in recapture data. I'm only starting to really dig in to this stuff myself (in a salamander context, obviously) but it sure is fascinating.

Agree with everything you said. My personal frustration stems from the discrepancy between what I've seen in the field
and the final results of the "scientific procedure" - three years of serious monitoring, with CMR and all... After all that
effort, by many enthusiastic and qualified people, I'm actually none the wiser. It hurts.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:58 am

BTW, haven't we been "caught" in a wrong thread once again? I'd say, a topic like this one should actually be
discussed in the "Theoretical Section", not in the one welcomming a new member... But, at least, we've all
been carried away by an interesting, fruitful, and ON-topic discussion (so I hope), which is good as such.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Kristian Munkholm » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:13 pm

Berislav Horvatic wrote:But, do you really think snakes are THAT sensitive and "delicate", not to say "spoilt"? To collectively (?) leave their favourite locality just for the reason that too many people, who happen to be around, make them too "nervous" (or "uneasy")? I don't
know, but it just seems to me a little bit too ... never mind, I can't find the right (& "politically correct") word at the moment.
To quote myself: "Of course, who am I to judge how much of that might be too much for THEM, but still..."
When it comes to people, even in a war, they don't abandon their homes and become refugees for some SLIGHT reasons,
it takes much more than a "mild disturbance" to make them leave everything they have/cherish and "relocate". OK, the
snakes might be more "sensitive" than we humans are, maybe more "sensible" in a way, more "natural", who knows - also,
they have no PROPERTY to abandon, unlike us humans - but still... I don't know.


Well, the discussion has moved on in the meantime, but I still feel I should answer this.

Honestly, I am not entirely sure what I think. Admittedly my data set is too small, my methodological rigor too lax in terms of collecting same data to draw any robust conclusions.

It does seem to me, however, that I see a pattern in the movements of adders at the locations I visit frequently that begs an explanation. The theory of disturbance by observers as the reason behind these movements seems to me the least far fetched I can come up with. This theory also seems to me a reasonable hypothesis to explain the decline in observed numbers I hear reported from some of the more popular Danish hotspots.

I concur with Jeroen in distinguishing between the levels of disturbance incurred by herpers herping and the behaviour of the general public. Of the two I believe the attention offered the snakes by herpers herping is much more likely to cause them to relocate.

I believe the question of how much might be too much for THEM is deceptively simply stated and likely has a very complex answer. Ultimately the decision to stay or go should be the result of an equation weighing in an awful lot of factors. Some of these are external factors such as availability of food, risk of predation, adequate possibilities for thermoregulation, etc. Others are internal factors, the experience embedded in the genetic makeup of the snakes enabling them to evaluate and react to external cues. This experience might even differ between separate populations.

To sum it up, I think "how much might be too much for THEM" probably varies, and potentially varies a lot, based on the snakes' environment and perhaps even to a degree on who THEY are. While I don't think we always need to worry much about stressing the animals by simply observing them, I do not find it ludicrous to believe that in some cases repeated disturbances at basking sites coupled with a perceived threat of predation could be sufficient to produce a different outcome to the equation, tip the scales and cause the snakes to relocate. I do not believe this reasoning necessarily implies attributing great "sensitivity" or "delicacy" to them.

As I am not a trained biologist I find it exceedingly difficult to express mysef about the drivers of animal behaviour without resorting to anthropomorphic language. Please do not take the above to mean I assign any form of personalities or conscious decision making to these adders.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Peter Oefinger » Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:06 pm

Welcome, Guy - nice Podarcis. Are all UK populations maculiventris?

Cheers
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:18 pm

Kristian Munkholm wrote:I believe the question of how much might be too much for THEM is deceptively simply stated and likely has a very complex answer. Ultimately the decision to stay or go should be the result of an equation weighing in an awful lot of factors. Some of these are external factors such as availability of food, risk of predation, adequate possibilities for thermoregulation, etc. Others are internal factors, the experience embedded in the genetic makeup of the snakes enabling them to evaluate and react to external cues. This experience might even differ between separate populations..

Why "deceptively simply"? It was just a simple, quite unpresuming, "overall" question, with me being aware of all the
complexities and subtleties that you have in mind yourself. Rather a sigh of resignation, than an oversimplification...
Please do not take the above to mean I assign any form of personalities or conscious decision making to these adders.

Never. We all use that language, at least sometimes, when we come to a brink...
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Aleksandar Simovic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:39 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:
Aleksandar Simovic wrote:
Are you searching all 3 (bosniensis, longissimus, caspius) visually? Or one or more underneath artificial (or natural) substrates?
I am not big fan of a flipping, and i only search visually, although there is almost nothing to flip, just big stone walls (on colubrids site).

OK, that makes it even more interesting. Would love to see some results (if at any point in time you'd be up for sharing or publishing it).


I hope to have something published soon :)

Yes Bero you are right, species ignore each other most of the time, although snakes are too much exposed, sometimes I think that people are blind :lol:

(Sale, Serbs also invited, especially you, of course. Mentioning Germans was just the statement of a fact,
nothing else.)


Thank you, I'll keep that in mind ;)
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Kristian Munkholm » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:10 pm

Berislav Horvatic wrote:Why "deceptively simply"? It was just a simple, quite unpresuming, "overall" question, with me being aware of all the
complexities and subtleties that you have in mind yourself. Rather a sigh of resignation, than an oversimplification...


I guess just because one would always somehow like a simple question to have a simple answer, even if we all know it need not be so. I did not mean to allude to any perceived intent of deception.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:09 pm

Aleksandar Simovic wrote:Yes Bero you are right, species ignore each other most of the time, although snakes are too much exposed,
sometimes I think that people are blind :lol:

People just don't EXPECT snakes, especially the dangerous ones, in THEIR quarters (or those they consider as such),
and therefore simply don't see them even in front of their noses.
E.g., at our monitoring site of V. berus bosniensis, which is at the rim of a suburban village, even inside it, most of
the locals actually learned from US, for the first time, that they have adders in their yards... They had just never
noticed them before - so well the two species avoided each other... So, we took the opportunity to educate them
(the humans, not adders), children first and foremost:

MZ_2200_RED.jpg

Moreover, much to our surprise (and content!), their own parents brought them, on their
own demand - "Wait a minute, may I bring my kids to see this?" - and that's a real success
indeed... I felt simply proud - never mind the CMR, but that was a victory.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:32 pm

Kristian Munkholm wrote:I guess just because one would always somehow like a simple question to have a simple answer, even if we all know it need not be so. I did not mean to allude to any perceived intent of deception.

Risking to "give support" to the "accusation" that I've already been too much off-topic in this forum, and now once again,
may I say that I (a non-biologist, as such) have many times raised that issue - that "one would always somehow like a simple question to have a simple answer, even if we all know it need not be so." I've already had many unwanted "fights" regarding
that issue. Not happy to say, but, in my experience, actually biologists have disappointed me the most. Don't know why,
but some of them just want to "solve" a pertinent question in one step, or maybe two, but more than that is "too much"...
But never mind, I/we deal with individuals, not with a class.
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Re: Greetings from the UK!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:46 am

Berislav Horvatic wrote:
Kristian Munkholm wrote:I guess just because one would always somehow like a simple question to have a simple answer, even if we all know it need not be so. I did not mean to allude to any perceived intent of deception.

Risking to "give support" to the "accusation" that I've already been too much off-topic in this forum, and now once again,
may I say that I (a non-biologist, as such) have many times raised that issue - that "one would always somehow like a simple question to have a simple answer, even if we all know it need not be so." I've already had many unwanted "fights" regarding
that issue. Not happy to say, but, in my experience, actually biologists have disappointed me the most. Don't know why,
but some of them just want to "solve" a pertinent question in one step, or maybe two, but more than that is "too much"...
But never mind, I/we deal with individuals, not with a class.


There's different types of biologists. ;) :P
Quite a bit of research (and its output) is delivered at a pace determined by factors that are not benificiary for "the science", that's true. Constraints in time, money, but also personal stamina and dedication can be mentioned. As such, science is not really that different from the rest of society. And not as holy as some would like (you to believe).
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