Australia is starting its first- ever frog count, and everyone can join in. A new app known as FrogID, which was developed by the Australian Museum, is helping to save the world’s most threatened group of animals: frogs.
The app encourages the general public to make a meaningful contribution to the protection and conservation of Australia’s frogs. It is intended for all age groups and will help scientists pinpoint habitat locations and how we can better protect certain species
“I’m so excited to be part of a program that allows every Australian to make a significant contribution to our understanding of Australia’s unique frog species and ensure that our frogs are around for future generations,” says Jodi Rowley, a National Geographic explorer and a curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology at the museum.
Developed in partnership with IBM, the app helps map out different frog species by listening to their “audio DNA.” The recordings will help researchers such as Rowley to understand which species may be at risk and help assist further conservation.
Image: Notaden Bennett, Jodi Rowley
In a similar way to how canaries in a mine were used to indicate the presence of dangerous gasses, frog populations can indicate an ecosystem out of kilter. If a frog species becomes extinct, it throws off these delicate ecosystems, putting other species in danger. By learning and understanding more about each particular species and their environment, scientists can work together to better protect and conserve each individual species.
Because each frog has a completely unique call, recording their audio DNA is the most accurate way to identify frog species in the wild, Rowley explains. FrogID will help identify these frog calls by making them available to scientists and researchers.
When app users record and upload frog calls, they enable scientists to learn more about the frogs’ locations and habitats,, without the public handling these sensitive creatures. The app will will use GPS technology to record time and location data when a frog call is added by one of the app’s users.
Image: New FrogID
“The FrogID app will allow anyone to find out what frogs occur around them, and monitor their local frogs over time,” Rowley explains. “It will allow us to use the phones we carry with us to help identify the biodiversity around us and contribute towards frog conservation without disturbing or touching these sensitive animals.”
So help our Aussie frogs out by downloading the FrogID app, recorded your local croakers so we can all protect our most vulnerable animal species.
Lead Image: Litoria bella, Photo by Jodi Rowley.