Citisen Observer / Science to check frog populations

Discuss frogs, toads, salamanders, and other amphibious pets.

Citisen Observer / Science to check frog populations

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:49 pm

Australian Museum urges frog spotting and citizen science to save species
Frogs are all around us. You might not see them, but you can definitely hear them.

There are more than 240 known species of frogs in Australia but populations are declining from disease, habitat change, pollution, climate change, and bushfires.

This can change irreversibly if frogs disappear from the ecosystem, explains Jodi Rowley, curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology with the Australian Museum.

"Frogs are really important to the food chain," Dr Rowley says.

"They eat a lot of insects and are eaten by a lot of things.

"They are definitely to be admired."

Where are the frogs?
You may not have to venture too far from home to find a frog or two.

They like backyards — especially ones with a small pond in them.

Dr Rowley says, although she lives in an apartment, she occasionally hears the croaks of a single frog close by.

Water bodies are the easiest places to hear frogs and so patches of bushland on council land or in national parks where there is a creek, stream, or pond are the best places to go.

After heavy rain, frogs might even like to rest in the grass puddles of a park.

When can you see them?
Frogs tend to be nocturnal so the first few hours after dark is when they are easiest to hear.

They also tend to come out after rain.

What are you listening out for?
The calls you hear are male frogs that tend to hang out in those wet areas and call to attract females.

Different species have different calls.

The common eastern froglett, for example, lives in ditches by the side of the road or flooded parklands and sound like a cricket.

Striped marsh frogs sound a "bok bok" call like a tennis ball being hit, while the Peron's tree frog sounds like people laughing.

How to see a frog?
Frogs are generally harder to see than to hear.

Take a torch but once you choose a spot, turn it off "because frogs can be shy" Dr Rowley says.

Wait and listen.

"Look for their eye shine," she said.

"Without disturbing them, look around with a torch and you might see the eyes staring back at you.

"But you don't want to blind them."

Dr Rowley stresses that you should not touch the frogs as they have sensitive skin.

To contribute to Dr Rowley's FrogID project, open the app and record up to 30 seconds of croaking and submit it.

Bring the frogs to you
To create an ideal breeding oasis for frogs, set up a kids' pool, big bowls, or bathtubs in the backyard, Dr Rowley says.

Ensure safety precautions are taken if you have children.

If you don't want the frogs keeping you up at night though, Dr Rowley suggests building a frog hotel with PVC pipes in the ground to create some frog hiding spots.

Any last tips?
Be careful and don't fall in the water!
Remember to wash your shoes after looking for frogs. There is a disease that affects frogs and you don't want to carry it from one place to another. The disease does not affect humans. ... d=msedgdhp

Australian Museum crowdsourcing website DigiVol sees spike in volunteers during COVID-19
The coronavirus lockdown has had a curious effect on the Australian Museum collections in Sydney.

While the doors were shut and visitors were no longer able to see, say, a creepy crawly from 1929, the museum's crowdsourcing website DigiVol exploded with volunteers.

DigiVol was developed by the museum in collaboration with the Atlas Of Living Australia to help it and other institutions worldwide digitise and analyse their collections.

Thousands of volunteers, or citizen scientists as they are sometimes called, have recorded information about collections ranging from specimen labels and scientific documents to images of animals captured by field cameras.

Since the website was launched in 2011, 4.4 million items from the museum and other institutions have been analysed by volunteers.

Two million of those have been submitted since March.

"People have more time on their hands with not being able to get out and about," said Paul Flemons, creator and manager of DigiVol.

"It gives people something to do every day that is structured, particularly at this time during COVID-19.

"It's something where they are interacting with other people and making a contribution."

The highest number of transcriptions in a single month occurred in June, with more than 500,000 being completed.

Can you spot a dunnart?
In the first year of DigiVol, less than 100 citizen scientists took part.

Today, there is a global network of 7,522 volunteers aiding researchers and scientists with their work.

Expeditions or projects for which people can volunteer range from transcribing 1958 Finnish/Latin labels on botanical prints for the National History Museum of Utah, to one of the more popular activities — spotting animals in images captured by field cameras.

One such project is the Kangaroo Island Dunnart Survey, which asks volunteers to help record native and feral species in thousands of images.

Researchers are trying to understand survivor populations to aide the recovery effort following the summer bushfires.

"To see many of these animals, like marsupials which usually come out at night, is such an exciting thing," Mr Flemons said.

"It's a very rewarding thing to do.

"The number one importance is that they [citizens] are making a difference."

More than a hobby
Volunteers like Ron Lovett have spent countless hours taking photographs of the Australian Museum's specimens and transcribing information on the DigiVol website.

He is the longest serving volunteer and since 2011 has spent at least 10 hours a week working with the collections.

"What we do is aiding the scientist to do their work, and it means the specimens don't have to be handled as much," Mr Lovett said.

"All the notes and diaries taken by scientists back in the 1800s are there [online] now for people to study because they've been transcribed."

Mr Lovett is one of the original 12 volunteers who signed up to digitise the museum's collection nine years ago.

Eleven are still with the team, which now boasts 65 volunteers who go onsite to the museum each week to take photographs and upload them to DigiVol for analysis.

"I really enjoy it and I've really missed it because of the lockdown," Mr Lovett said. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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