The sixth annual FrogID Week has once again rapidly gathered data for frog conservation thanks to tens of thousands of citizen scientists.
Frogs face significant challenges, with 1 in 6 frog species in Australia threatened with extinction. However, a significant obstacle to frog conservation lies in our limited understanding of these small and elusive creatures. The Australian Museum’s FrogID project serves as a pivotal solution to this obstacle by enabling smartphone users to record and submit frog calls through the free FrogID app. Every frog species in Australia has a unique call, and each FrogID submission is listened to by at least one frog call expert at the Australian Museum, contributing to our expert-verified occurrence records of frogs. This dataset significantly advances our knowledge of Australia’s frog species, revealing insights into their distribution, helping identify new species to science, and providing valuable information for frog conservation.
An integral part of FrogID is the annual FrogID Week held every November. FrogID Week gathers an intense snapshot of frogs across Australia, engaging thousands of citizen scientists to record frog calls with the free FrogID app. Beyond engaging the public and fostering awareness about the crucial role of frogs in healthy ecosystems, FrogID Week gathers a substantial volume of frog records, amplifying to the continuous national FrogID dataset.
During 3-12 November 2023, the Australian Museum hosted its sixth annual FrogID Week representing one of the most rapid data collection events for frogs globally. The 13th of November was when 4,249 frogs were recorded in just 24 hours - that’s over three frog records per minute!
Main's Frog (Cyclorana Maini) and Shoemaker Frog (Neobatrachus sutor) submitted by Stephanie Ross from the NT during FrogID Week 2023
FrogID Week 2023 witnessed the most public engagement to date, with 4,743 contributors collectively submitting over 17,700 frog call recordings. Our team processed the outstanding number of submissions as fast as possible, resulting in a massive 31,000 verified frog records! This amounts to approximately 3% of the national FrogID dataset, which only recently surpassed one million total frog records in just six years!
A remarkable 112 frog species were recorded during FrogID Week 2023, representing just under half (45%) of all frog species in Australia. A stand-out submission during FrogID Week 2023 included the Critically Endangered and newly scientifically named Wollumbin Pouched Frog (Assa wollumbin), known only from Mount Wollumbin, NSW. Other notable records included the Otway Smooth Froglet (Geocrinia sparsiflora) from VIC, a species recently named with the aid of FrogID recordings, and the unique Turtle Frog (Myobatrachus gouldii) from WA. These species face threats such as disease, habitat loss, introduced animals, and drought.
Another significant achievement of FrogID Week 2023 was the recording of frogs in areas previously unrecorded. Frog records from FrogID Week 2023 spanned approximately 12% of Australia, and we successfully obtained records from three areas that had not been sampled before – specifically from Peak Vale QLD, Irymple NSW, and Canteen Creek NT. These records from more remote regions enhance our spatial coverage and contribute to filling knowledge gaps in areas where limited scientific information on frogs is available.
Congratulations to our FrogID Week 2023 Top Frogger
A big congratulations to Michele Brooke from New South Wales, the winner of our FrogID Week 2023 Top Frogger competition! Michele secured the top spot by submitting an impressive total of 312 recordings, resulting in 830 frog records! Kat Hadley and Vinci Carolan also showcased outstanding dedication with 157 and 127 submissions, respectively.
By amplifying to the expert-verified FrogID dataset year-on-year, successive FrogID Week events play a crucial role in frog conservation in Australia, gathering the information scientists and land-managers need to identify trends and monitor changes in frog populations over time. The efforts of thousands during FrogID Week 2023 near and far from home have not gone unnoticed. We thank everyone for taking part, and for playing an active role in monitoring frogs and the broader health of our environment with every recording.
Save the date: the next FrogID Week will take place November 8th to 17th, 2024.
Thank you, New South Wales Biodiversity Conservation Trust for supporting FrogID Week 2023. We would also like to thank the generous donors who have provided funding for the project; our Museum partners, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Museums Victoria, Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and Western Australian Museum; the many Australian Museum staff and volunteers who make up the FrogID team; and, most importantly, the thousands of citizen scientists across Australia who have volunteered their time to record frog calls with FrogID.