12-21 November 2021
Australia’s frogs need your help.
More than 240 frog species are under threat from climate change, bushfires, floods, habitat loss and degradation, and disease. You can help save them by taking part in the fourth annual FrogID Week, 12-21 November 2021.
The Australian Museum’s FrogID citizen science project allows everyone to play an important role in understanding and monitoring Australia’s frogs. Using a free mobile phone app, you simply record the sounds of frog calls and upload the audio for the Australian Museum’s research team to assess and add to the growing understanding of how frogs are coping against a myriad of threats.
In less than four years, more than 460,000 records of 205 different frog species have been verified and made available to scientists, land-managers and the public thanks to tens of thousands of Australians participating in FrogID.
Dr Jodi Rowley, Lead Scientist for FrogID, and Curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology at the Australian Museum and UNSW Sydney (The University of NSW), says this FrogID Week is critical in helping Australia’s frogs.
“Our frogs are suffering – they are sensitive to environmental change and this year they are dying in large numbers,” Dr Rowley said.
“We need the help of people all over Australia to record frog calls so we can understand the health of our frog populations across the country. We are missing even basic information on frogs- there are areas in Australia that have no scientific records of frogs, even though they are there. We need everyone recording calls in their backyards, in bushland, in paddocks, around dams, in remote outback areas, in rainforests, on mountain slopes and on farmland,” she said.
“We need an army of citizen scientists to get on board this November and help us to help our frogs,” Dr Rowley said.
This year, FrogID Week is focused on:
- Seeking audio of the call of a newly discovered species, Gurrumul’s Toadlet (Uperoloeia gurrumuli) from the Wessel Islands of northern Australia. This species is new to science and there are no existing calls on record.
- Tracking the Tusked Frog (Adelotus brevis), which was rediscovered on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, after a 40-year absence. Their distinctive ‘chirrup’ call was again heard west of Tenterfield on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, and recorded with the Australian Museum's FrogID app. For now, this site represents the only known location of this endangered population of Tusked Frogs.
- Gathering calls from 15 priority species, including Green Tree Frogs (Litoria caerulea) in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. Green Tree Frogs in these areas have suffered huge losses over the winter months and the AM desperately need to understand what impact this mortality event has had on frog populations.
|Green Tree Frog*||Litoria caerulea||NSW QLD NT WA SA|
|Giant Burrowing Frog||Heleioporus australiacus||NSW VIC|
|New England Tree Frog||Litoria subglanulosa||NSW QLD|
|Davie’s Tree Frog||Litoria daviesae||NSW|
|Southern Barred Frog||Mixophyes balbus||NSW QLD VIC|
|Giant Barred Frog *||Mixophyes iteratus||NSW QLD|
|Fleay’s Barred Frog||Mixophyes fleayi||NSW QLD|
|Eastern Banjo Frog*||Limnodynastes dumerilii||NSW QLD TAS SA VIC ACT|
|Northern Banjo Frog*||Limnodynastes terraereginae||NSW QLD|
|Green and Golden Bell Frog*||Litoria aurea||NSW VIC|
|Southern Bell Frog*||Litoria raniformis||NSW VIC SA TAS|
|Motorbike Frog*||Litoria moorei||WA|
|Roth’s Tree Frog||Litoria rothii||QLD NT WA|
|Peron’s Tree Frog*||Litoria peronii||NSW VIC SA ACT|
|Magnificent Broodfrog||Pseudophryne covacevichae||QLD|
*These species have been found dead in the ongoing frog mortality event
During FrogID Week 2021, the Australian Museum also hopes to gather audio of calls from some of the 39 known frog species which are still not represented in the national FrogID database.
In the past year, members of the public have added audio of four frog species new to the FrogID database:
- Tawny Trilling Frog (Neobatrachus fulvus) in Western Australia
- Central Ranges Toadlet (Pseudophryne robinsoni) in South Australia
- Moss Froglet (Crinia nimbus) in Tasmania
- Wailing Frog (Cyclorana vagitus) in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO, said the new audio recorded by members of the public is what citizen science programs such as FrogID are all about.
“We all have a role to play in natural science and research because we’re all out and about every day seeing what is happening in our natural surroundings,” McKay said.
“We can truly play a part in helping species which are under threat. We can make a difference by recording the ‘audio DNA’ of frogs,” she said.
“FrogID Week is a great way to be directly involved in helping save our frogs and is also a fun way for curious minds of all ages to learn about and help conserve our biodiversity,” McKay said.
What is FrogID showing us so far?
Dr Rowley says while FrogID is still in its early years, the information being gathered by the Australian public is already playing a valuable role in helping frogs.
“Before we can start to see long-term trends in frog populations, we really need to collect data for at least ten years, however we’re already learning really critical new information about our frogs,” Dr Rowley said.
“We’ve heard frogs calling in areas which seemed totally wiped out by extreme bushfires last year, which showed us the capacity of some frog species to bounce back after destructive events.”
“We also know there are at least some Green Tree frogs calling in many of the areas where there have recently been mass deaths of this and other species. Recordings of frog calls in these regions will play an important role in understanding the impact of this mass frog mortality event, as we continue in our efforts to understand its cause.”
“It’s vital to continue building year on year data, particularly with the extreme fluctuations in weather events we’ve seen such as bushfires and floods,” Dr Rowley said.
“The catastrophic events we’ve seen in past few years will probably be part of our environmental future, so we need information on how frogs deal with these events in order to help protect them.”
“Frogs are a vital part of healthy ecosystems, and their decline can have wide-reaching impacts on entire ecosystems, so these extraordinary creatures are important to us all,” Dr Rowley said.
How does FrogID work?
Every species of frog makes a unique call – it’s their way of attracting a mate. In order to mate, most frogs need water. So, if there’s water, there’s usually frogs calling. In November each year, most parts of Australia will hear frog calls.
You simply use the FrogID app to record the sound of a frog call and submit it using your mobile phone. Every audio recording of a frog call submitted to FrogID is identified by a species expert at the Australian Museum. These records not only increase our understanding of the true distribution of Australia’s frog species, but they also reveal what breeding conditions different frog species need.
How to take part in FrogID Week:
To be involved in FrogID Week, download the free FrogID app and record frog calls from your backyards, dams, and bushland, as often as you can during the period 12-21 November and beyond.
FrogID allows us to record frogs safely with minimised disturbance to frogs and their habitat. It’s important to clean and disinfect footwear between habitats, to avoid spreading frog germs.
You never know – you might help discover the next Australian frog species.
There’s also a competition for the “Top Frogger.” Record and submit the most frog calls during FrogID Week and you could win a prize pack from Vegepod and Australian Geographic.
More information: https://www.frogid.net.au/frog-id-week
Media contact: Nicole Browne, media opps 0414 673 762 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos and audio of Australian frogs and video at this link:
FrogID is the AM’s flagship citizen science project and was established with support from the Australian Government’s Citizen Science Grants, IBM Australia’s Impact Grants program and the Australian Museum Foundation’s donors. FrogID has also been made possible through the AM’s collaboration with Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Museums Victoria, Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum, Tasmanian Museum and the Western Australian Museum. The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) are proud supporters of FrogID Week 2021 and Vegepod and Australian Geographic are FrogID Week 2021 Prize Partners.
About the Australian Museum (AM)
The Australian Museum (AM) was founded in 1827 and is the nation’s first museum. It is internationally recognised as a natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. The AM’s mission is to ignite wonder, inspire debate and drive change. The AM’s vision is to be a leading voice for the richness of life, the Earth and culture in Australia and the Pacific. The AM commits to transforming the conversation around climate change, the environment and wildlife conservation; to being a strong advocate for First Nations cultures; and to continuing to develop world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs. With more than 21.9 million objects and specimens and the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM is not only a dynamic source of reliable scientific information on some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing our region, but also an important site of cultural exchange and learning.