Minerals - Invertebrate monitoring

Cleveland Farm Quarry, Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire

 AEcol have a long history of cost-effective invertebrate surveys and monitoring, so when Aggregate Industries approached us to design a monitoring framework for the European Protected Roman snail Helix pomatia we jumped at the chance.

Background

 Despite not being native to the British Isles the Roman snail is legally protected. As a result, Aggregate Industries have created and maintained a specific conservation area for a colony living in their Cleveland Farm Quarry. AEcol were invited to design an effective monitoring framework to inform management within the conservation area and to perform species surveillance to provide a status assessment of the snail population. 

Action

There is no standard guidance on surveying or monitoring Roman snails, and no baseline data was available for the site, so we had to work from the ground up using the AEcol Monitoring Framework. We began by performing Phase 1 habitat mapping of the conservation area and comparing this to the known habitat preferences of the species, to show what extent of the conservation area was suitable for foraging, breeding and hibernating. This mapping will be repeated on one visit every three years and the results assessed using a criteria adapted from that devised for three other snail species devised by Moorkens & Killeen (2011). This will provide a quantitative and qualitative appraisal of the habitat available to Roman snails. For the surveillance we chose a combination of visual and hand-searches to count the live snails in the conservation area, also performed on one visit every three years. Finally, an accumulative calculation to estimate the population of Roman snails in successive years was calculated, against which to assess the results of the surveillance in order that this fed back into the monitoring. 

Outcome

 The last count of snails was 582 and the habitat has been retained in optimum condition. If we can help you with an invertebrate issue, call us now on 01278 429290, or email info@aecol.co.ukIf you would like to know more about the AEcol Monitoring Framework click here