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.
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.
species are at risk