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Long-term Monitoring Protocols

Long-term monitoring protocols detect changes in populations and habitats over time. By implementing Ontario Nature’s monitoring protocols, you can help track the trends and locations of snakes, salamanders and vernal pools.

Backyard salamander monitoring © Lynn Miller


Biologists use survey data to detect changes in population numbers, demographics, distribution and emergence. To detect changes, survey data should be collected in the same way year after year over a large spatial scale. Ontario Nature developed long-term monitoring protocols.

Snakes: Despite being much maligned, snakes play an important ecosystem role including pest control by predating rodents and ticks. They can also be hard to find – consequently data gaps exist for many species. Help us detect trends by participating in our Ontario snake long-term monitoring project.

Salamanders: Eastern red-backed salamanders are indicators of forest health and play an important role in the food web. Use our protocol to monitor the health of your woodlot.

Vernal pools: These small, ephemeral bodies of water are found in wooded areas that are vital for amphibian reproduction and development. Use our protocol to map these unique features and monitor changes over time.

Bullfrog in garden © Peter Ferguson

Get Involved

Are you interested in learning more about reptiles and amphibians? Consider joining the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Facebook group to talk about these amazing animals, exchange photos and get the latest news.

Help inform conservation and research projects by reporting your sightings of reptiles and amphibians in Ontario to the Herps of Ontario iNaturalist group or directly to the Natural Heritage Information Centre for species at risk.

For more information on how to implement our monitoring protocols, email atlas@ontarionature.org.

Spotted salamander, Lost Bay Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar

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