Building the scientific evidence base

From molecules to ecosystems, how does science inform Durrell’s conservation work?

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Question. Research. Act. Evaluate

Our researchers around the world help identify conservation goals, shape the way we manage species and habitats, and measure our effectiveness so we can adapt our approach. We strive to base all our conservation decisions on the best evidence available.

Conservation is complex and driven by both human and environmental factors. We draw on a range of disciplines including biology, sociology, economics and earth sciences to generate the knowledge to understand each problem and design a solution that makes a difference on the ground.

We publish scientific papers, articles and reports each year to inform our work, on an ever-growing variety of subjects. We’re proud of that, but it doesn’t really mean anything until the knowledge is put into practice to save a species from extinction.

Measuring skinks in the field

The story of the Mountain Chicken

Mountain chicken

The mountain chicken is one of the world’s largest, but most threatened, species of frog. Over the years it has been impacted by destruction of habitat, volcanic eruptions, introduced predators and hunting. But its most catastrophic killer is chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that has caused a 95% decline in its Montserrat population in just two years.

We’ve been conducting cutting-edge research to find a way to restore healthy populations of mountain chickens. We’re tracking radiotagged frogs in the wild to understand what behaviours might cause them to be especially vulnerable; taking swabs and samples to examine genetic differences that may lead to tolerance; and releasing captively bred frogs into locations in which they might thrive.

There’s still a lot of work to do with our partners in Montserrat. But this project is at the very forefront of our scientific research, and we’ve made many surprising discoveries about the unique frog along the way. We hope future generations of animals and people benefit from our discoveries.