The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Prof Richard Griffiths
Professor of Biological Conservation
Director of DICE
- - R.A.Griffiths@kent.ac.uk
- - 01227 (82)3434
My research and teaching activities revolve around the conservation of threatened species, with a particular focus on population ecology and amphibians and reptiles. Current projects include researching amphibian declines and extinctions; evaluating actions to reduce developmental impacts on great crested newts and other species; developing survey and reintroduction protocols; wildlife trade and long-term population monitoring. This work is carried out in collaboration with a wide range of partners around the world, and particularly in the UK, Europe, Latin America and Madagascar. Within DICE my research group utilises a well-equipped ecology laboratory and an on-campus field trials area. We also maintain a small collection of amphibians and reptiles that provide the ex-situ components for a number of ongoing conservation programmes. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in captive management methods and to participate in surveys of local amphibian and reptile populations.back to top
Carpenter, A., Andreone, F., Moore, R. & Griffiths, R.A. (in press). A review of the global trade in amphibians: the types of trade, levels and dynamics in CITES listed species. Oryx.
Sutherland, W.J., Mitchell, R., Walsh, J.,Amano, T., Ausden, M., Beebee, T.J.C., Bullock, D., Daniels, M., Deutsch, J., Griffiths, R.A., Prior, S.V., Whitten, T. Dicks, L.V. (2013). Conservation practice could benefit from routine testing and publication of management outcomes. Conservation Evidence 10, 1-3
Sewell, D., Guillera-Arroita, G., Griffiths, R.A., Beebee, T.J.C. (2012). When is a species declining? Optimizing survey effort to detect population changes in reptiles. PloS One 7(8), e43387.
Griffiths, R.A. & Dos Santos, M. (2012). Trends in conservation biology: Progress or procrastination in a new millennium? Biological Conservation 153, 153-158.
Taylor, M.L.Bunbury, N., Chong-Seng, L., Doak, N., Kundu, S., Griffiths, R.A. & Groombridge, J. (2012). Evidence for evolutionary distinctiveness of a newly discovered population of sooglossid frogs on Praslin Island, Seychelles. Conservation Genetics 13, 557-566.back to top
I am the convenor for the following Masters modules:
DI836 - Integrated Species Conservation and Management
DI883 - Special Topics in Conservation
DI884 - Research Methods for Natural Sciences
And also convenor for the following BSc modules:
DI303 - Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversityback to top
Current Research Projects are:
Population, community and behavioural ecology. Global amphibian declines and extinctions. Conservation of reptiles. Survey and monitoring protocols for biodiversity.
Assessment and mitigation of threats to amphibian populations
Although it is widely acknowledged that amphibians may be declining faster than other vertebrate classes, the threats that they face are diverse and complex. Understanding these threats and their impact on population dynamics is an essential first step in designing effective tools to neutralize them. In Britain, the effectiveness of current strategies to mitigate development threats to great crested newts is being investigated in combination with long-term population studies of this fully protected species. In addition, the use of amphibians as indicators of wider biodiversity is being tested. Related projects are investigating the role of captive breeding and reintroduction in species conservation planning, and analysing the impact of amphibian conservation programmes.
Species recovery programmes on islands
Some of the world's most threatened amphibian species occur on islands. In addition to their conservation importance, islands often provide natural laboratories for testing hypotheses about species declines and potential species recovery following threat mitigation. Current projects are focusing on endemic species on Indian Ocean islands (particularly Madagascar and the Seychelles) and how landscape change and habitat fragmentation are impacting on declining amphibian and reptile populations on Jersey.
Design of survey and monitoring programmes for reptiles and amphibians
Assessing the abundance and distribution of species is fundamental to conservation planning. However, simple counts of individuals or occupied sites may bear little relationship to actual population sizes or site occupancies because of variation in how easily individuals or populations are detected. Reptiles and amphibians pose particular challenges in this regard as a wide range of variables may affect how easily they are observed and detected. Current work is exploring how mark-recapture and site occupancy models can be used to account for variation in the detectability of reptiles and amphibians, and how survey and monitoring protocols can be designed to provide more informative data on population status and distribution. In addition, the responses of animals to different types of sampling devices - such as traps and cover objects - are being compared with a view to optimising sampling strategies. Work is particularly focusing on newts, slow-worms, grass snakes and adders.back to top
Janine Robinson. Captive Farming in the Exotic Pet Trade: Deal or No Deal for Conservation and Livelihoods?
Brett Lewis. Ecological and economic cost-effectiveness of mitigation actions for protected species on sites scheduled for development (NERC/ESRC studentship)
Jennifer Sears. Invasive species as vectors of disease and amphibian population declines (NERC CASE studentship with the Zoological Society of London)
Moacir Tinoco. Habitat change and the distribution and abundance of herpetofauna in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil (with Catholic University of Salvador, Brazil).
Charlotte Walters. Present and future conservation of European bats. (NERC/CASE studentship with Bat Conservation Trust)
Emma Wombwell. The implications of an emerging infectious disease for the global trade and conservation of amphibians (NERC/ESRC studentship with the Institute of Zoology).
Katy Upton. Peruvian amphibians as a surrogate for environmental change: Can amphibians in a tropical environment be used as indicator species to aid conservation. (University of Kent Alumni Scholarship)
Darryn Nash. Ecological effectiveness of development led reptile translocation programmes in the United Kingdom.
Goncalo Rosa. Emerging diseases and the future of the amphibians in Iberian Peninsula. (Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal)
Helen Meredith. Improving the impact of amphibian conservation programmes.
Jim Labisko, DICE, Amphibians on the EDGE: Evolutionary relationships and conservation ecology of sooglossid frogs, in the Seychelles.
MSc research students
Gemma Harding. Assessment and evaluation of amphibian reintroduction programmes
Completed PhD students (and where they are now)back to top
Live at Edinburgh
Hear Richard Griffiths giving a 20 min talk on ‘Detecting population changes in great crested newts: how much survey effort is needed?’ at the Herpetofauna Worker’s Meeting, Edinburgh Conference Centre, 26 January 2013.
- President, British Herpetological Society
- Member, Executive Committee of the World Congress of Herpetology
- Member, IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
- Member, Editorial Board of Conservation Evidence
- Member, International Review Panel of African Journal of Ecology
- Honorary International Conservation Research Fellow, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey
- Honorary Life Member, British Herpetological Society
- Trustee, Amphibian Conservation Research Trust
- Trustee, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust
- Trustee, Wildwood Trust
- External Examiner: MSc Ecology and Management of the Natural Environment, University of Bristol; MSc Wildlife Management and Conservation, MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills, University of Reading