Michigan Herp Atlas Project
Filling out the Data Card
The following information has been reproduced or complied from the Michigan Herp Atlas Project booklet from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with permission to use such material from the projects coordinator, Lori Sargent, for the sole use of educating the public on the Project. The Michigan Society of Herpetologists is proud to support this project and will be leading structured surveys of areas around the state. Take a look at our schedule for a site near you!
Filling Out the Data Card:
You should take some time to study the data card. This is by far the most important part of the atlasing project. All the time and effort in the world will be of no avail to the project if the data gathered are not permanently recorded in an accurate, complete, and timely fashion.
You must restrict your observations to one species per card, even if two species are seen side by side. However, it is not necessary to submit data on the same species at the same location if seen there more than once. The information requested on the card will facilitate the recording of data that provides information on the location of the observation as well as some biological information on the individual.
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- Number observed: Write down the number of individuals of the same species observed at that site.
- Size/Sex: Record the size (approximate if specimen is not handled) of the individual (or average size if more than one). Herps are generally measured from the tip of their snout to their vent (rear end), do not include length of legs or tail. Please indicate if the individual(s) are in larval form.
- Weather: Keep weather descriptors restricted to temperature, degree of precipitation (if any), and significant wind speeds.
- Location information: Please include as much location information as possible. Include the atlas block number if known.
- Circumstances leading to observation: Indicate if you were actively looking for this species or if you observed it casually and, if actively searching, what type of method you used.
- Habitat: Limit your descriptions to general habitat type (e.g., pond, edge of lake, roadside).
- Evidence of threats: Indicate if you observed any type of potential or direct threats to the individual or population at this site (i.e., wetland fill, heavy traffic).
- Evidence of reproduction: Did you observe the individual laying eggs or giving birth? Did you observe individuals mating?
- Behavioral notes: What was the individual doing when you observed it?
- Validation: All data cards must be accompanied by evidence to verify the information unless the observation has been verified and the data card already intialed. This can include a photo, an audio tape, a video or a road-killed specimen. Specimens that were already dead when found can be submitted in a sealed clear plastic bag. Live specimens will not be accepted as verification. Those that consider themselves experts (i.e., trained herpetologists) that have provided the atlas organizers with their background need not submit verification. Further verification of a particular species by a particular atlaser need not be verified after the first verified observation of that species.
- Observerís name, address, phone, e-mail: Please provide your name and contact information in case we have questions about an observation and so that we can keep track of your verified observations.
Please send data cards and validation evidence to:
Herp Atlas Project
Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 North Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, Ml 49009
Lori Sargent, Herp Atlas Coordinator
Natural Heritage Program
P.O. Box 30180
Lansing, Ml 48909
Herp Atlas Project Links
1. Michigan Society of Herpetologists Schedule of Herp Atlas Events
2. Data Validators for the Herp Atlas Project
3. Online Data Submission for the Herp Atlas Project
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