Notable hop towards citizen science
New records of threatened species of native frogs across Melbourne have been identified through a Frog Census phone app.
The initiative, launched by Melbourne Water in mid-2016 to bolster the program, has utilised data collected from 3141 frog reports submitted by members of the public.
Melbourne Water’s Frog Census, now in its 17th year, draws on data collected from the community to support conservation efforts, including work to improve habitat and the environmental health of waterways.
Waterwatch Coordinator James Frazer said the work by ‘citizen scientists’ had contributed significant data.
“The information captured by members of the community has been really valuable and has included important data on endangered frogs like the Growling Grass Frog, Southern Toadlet and Bibrons Toadlet,” he said.
The endangered Growling Grass Frog has been found in backyards, school frog ponds, suburban wetlands and even on the edge of a cricket pitch.
“Not everyone knows what an important role frogs play in the waterway ecosystem and that they are easily affected by changes to their environment.”
Mr Frazer said as frogs were dependent on water for their lifecycle, they were vulnerable to any changes in the environment. This makes frogs an excellent indicator of overall environmental health.
Frog Census volunteers have recorded frog calls at 1775 unique sites across Greater Melbourne and recorded all 16 species of Melbourne’s frogs.
Prior to the launch of the app, an annual average of 249 volunteers were involved in the Frog Census. Since the launch of the app, this number has increased to over 1000 users.
“It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm and passion from the community getting behind this important scientific monitoring and contribute data from multiple regions across Melbourne.”
“Conservation actions would not have been possible without the commitment and passion of Frog Census volunteers. Reports submitted to the Frog Census app have allowed us to target habitat protection works, and better assess how frogs respond to Melbourne Water’s works to improve the health of wetlands and waterways.”
Data submitted to Melbourne Water through the Frog Census is sent to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas and Atlas of Living Australia, and is used to inform important decisions, including threatened species nominations.
Melbourne’s frogs can be found almost anywhere with water nearby, such as your local river, creek, wetland or even in your backyard or local park.
“The app is really easy to use and no special skills are required. Every recording you submit is valuable and helps us better understand the status of Melbourne’s frog populations, a number of which are endangered,” said Mr Frazer.
For more information on the Melbourne Water Frog Census or to download the app visit: www.melbournewater.com.au/frogcensus
Melbourne Water frequently runs frog citizen science events, keep up to date here: www.melbournewater.com.au/getinvolved/events/Pages/Events