New research into prehistoric pond terrapins

Many of you will be unaware that Britain was once home to some rather exotic species - including freshwater turtles. Today, the European pond terrapin Emys orbicularis is confined to warmer parts of Europe today, but during the 'Atlantic warm period' about 6000-9000 years ago, this warm-loving species was able to thrive in Norfolk of all places.

After years of speculation, it's now official - grass snakes are native to Scotland.

Conventional wisdom has always maintained that the grass snake (Natrix natrix) is native to England and Wales, but not to Scotland. Its northern range edge curiously matches the Scottish border, but the occasional reports of grass snakes north of the border have always been dismissed as erroneous.

The majority of CGO Ecology's work is field-based, and focuses on the most active periods for wildlife: spring, summer and autumn. Winter tends to be a less busy time, taken up with report writing, general site assessments, licence returns and renewals, tenders, and sharing data with LRCs and NGOs. 

When the plug was pulled in summer 2010 on funding for the planned renewal works on the A338 Spur Road near Bournemouth, the associated ecological works ground to a halt. And as the future of the project lies in limbo, this often raises questions.

An invasive species of crustacean known as the killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) is feared to be establishing itself in the UK. First identified at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire in September 2010, it has since been identified at two locations in Wales, and may be present elsewhere.

Adders in crisis, declare experts

tThe adder, Britain's only venomous snake, is in crisis. This is the conclusion drawn by a group of reptile experts and conservationists who attended a conference on the latest research on adders, including reports about its status in this country.

Toad road mortality leads to virtual extinction

Arnold Cooke is well known to many in the herpetological world. Both a prominent professional ecologist, and a highly-regarded amphibian specialist, he has worked with amphibians for many years. Most famously he has conducted the UK's longest-standing study of common toads and the effect of road mortality on their populations. 

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) is the UK’s main professional body for ecologists, nature conservation practitioners, ecological consultants and the like. Whilst membership is not a life-or-death choice, there are times when it has distinct benefits. Today’s IEEM conference at the Liner Hotel in Liverpool was one such occasion.

March of the knotweeds

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and its sister species, giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis), are the scourge of Britain. Originally introduced in the early 19th century as ornamental and fodder plants, and celebrated for their amazing ability to survive the slopes of active volcanoes in their native Japan, these species have become a nightmare for developers and house-owners alike.