Australia’s frog species are threatened, and it’s up to the public to help them.
The Australian Museum has launched an app with the hopes of better understanding the challenges our frogs face. Already, 40 of Australia’s 246 native frog species are on the edge of extinction, and four are already extinct. This is due to factors like habitat loss, pollution, disease, and climate change, all of which impact the country’s ecosystems.
Now, more than ever, research into our frogs is needed to save this unique animal. And FrogID week is the perfect time to do it.
FrogID Week runs from 11-20 November. As part of this yearly event, the Australian Museum is asking the public to protect Australia’s frogs by recording frogs living in their gardens, local parks, and bushlands using the free FrogID app.
The FrogID citizen science project was started by the Australian Museum, and enables anyone with a phone to contribute to the preservation of our frogs. Users can easily record and submit the sounds of frog calls through the app. The Australian Museum team will then identify the animal, which will help them to better understand how frogs are coping with a growing number of threats to their livelihood.
In 2021, Australians recorded over 20,000 audio files resulting in 37,000 new frog records. This year marks the fifth annual FrogID Week, and scientists are looking for even more participants to create a stronger understanding of the country’s frogs.
Dr Jodi Rowley, the lead scientist for FrogID and Curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology at the Australian Museum and UNSW Sydney, says that this project is vastly important for helping Australia’s frogs.
“Frogs are part of one of the most threatened groups of animals on Earth – hundreds of species have already disappeared and many more are under threat,” she says.
“The Museum has established a nationwide database of Australian frog calls, to monitor their distributions, breeding seasons and breeding habits over time. That’s where the public comes in – by putting more frog calls on the map, particularly in regional and remote areas, we can better understand and conserve frogs.”
“People power through citizen science helps us understand the health of frog populations, and because frogs are great bioindicators, the health of our environment”
This year, the aim is to gather calls from 19 local government areas across the country which aren’t represented in the FrogID database. This includes:
- Northern Territory – Belyuen
- Queensland – Cherbourg, Croydon, Doomadgee, Mapoon, Palm Island, Richmod, Woorabinda, Wujal Wujal
- South Australia – Cleve, Franklin Harbour, Kimba, Maralinga Tjarutja, Roxby Downs
- Western Australia – Dumbleyung, Morawa, Nungarin, Sandstone
To participate, you can simply record the sound of a frog call from one of these areas and submit it on the app. Every audio recording is then identified by a species expert at the Australian Museum
The recordings contribute to their knowledge of the distribution of frog species, and reveal what breeding conditions and habitats different frog species need. This method of recording also means the frogs aren’t disturbed in their habitats.
Frogs are in danger, and the Museum needs help to ensure the conservation of these species. So get involved this FrogID Week and do your part for Australian biodiversity.
To find out how to support other Aussie animals, click here.