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Uncovering the true diversity of Australian frogs and assessing their conservation status.

Litoria bella
Litoria bella Image: Jodi Rowley
© Australian Museum

Amphibians are the most threatened group of animals on the planet, yet our understanding of the diversity, distribution and conservation status of amphibians remains lacking even in relatively well-known regions such as Australia. This lack of data hinders our efforts at biodiversity conservation.

In Australia, a number of new frog species have recently been discovered within what was originally thought to be a single species. These discoveries are “cryptic” species, very similar in appearance to each other and revealed by their DNA and advertisement calls, along with subtle morphological differences.

This broad project seeks to uncover how many frog species occur in Australia, map their distributions, assess their conservation status, and provide this data to land-use managers. This work is by necessity highly collaborative and although there's a lot of lab work, it does get us out in the field in search of frogs!