Brevard Zoo Conservation Report 2016 | Page 18

FrogWatch Surveys A canary in the coal mine Frogs and toads are very sensitive to pollution, climate change, habitat loss and disease, which makes them good indicators of environmental health. Unfortunately, about 41% of amphibian species are at risk of extinction (source: Nature), so scientists are scrambling to understand the impact human activities have on amphibian populations worldwide. In late 2010, we formed a local chapter of FrogWatch USA, which is a direct initiative of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). FrogWatch is a citizen science program that depends on community volunteers to observe and report their findings. They are trained to listen for and identify frog calls. AZA has been compiling all the information submitted by FrogWatch citizen scientists over the past 15 years into an extensive database, which can tell scientists a lot about changes in population size, the presence of rare or invasive amphibian species and frogs’ responses to environmental stressors. These findings are then used to help develop conservation strategies designed to protect amphibians and their ecosystems all over the world. >D  id you know? Wetlands provide a habitat for fish nurseries, recharge groundwater by filtering impurities and hold back floodwaters. Over the course of the last 200 years, the U.S. has lost more than 50% of its wetlands. 17 200+ citizen scientists trained through Brevard Zoo 100+ FrogWatch chapters collecting data worldwide 41% of amphibian species are at risk of extinction