Citizen Science: Project FrogWatch

Submitted

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2019


Frogs are amazing creatures with the ability to breathe through their skin, imagine that! This adaptation gives amphibians the amazing ability to breathe both underwater and on land, but it also comes at a price.

For one, they have to always keep their skin wet to maintain the breathability; if their skin dries out too much, they will die.

Another problem with their permeable skin is that they can easily absorb contaminants and toxins from the water directly into their bloodstream.

These, among other implications of their biology, leave amphibians very susceptible to changes in water quality and availability, and there has actually been a dramatic decline in amphibian numbers around the world since the 1980s.

Here in Ontario, most frog and salamander species have not yet been listed as species at risk, although populations are noticeably declining in parts of the province.

Researchers need as much information as they can get to monitor existing populations and much of the information they have is actually obtained from citizen scientists, who are everyday people that simply report the sightings that they have made. There is a citizen science program in Ontario specifically for frogs called FrogWatch.

No prior skills or knowledge is required as anyone wishing to participate in the FrogWatch program can increase their knowledge of frogs and toads through the use free educational material provided on the project website.

Then, starting in late March, participants in the FrogWatch program will be out in full force all across Ontario, listening for frog and toad calls in their local wetlands. Each frog and toad species has its own distinct call, making it easy to recognize each of Ontario’s 13 species. Over time, trends in FrogWatch observations may detect measurable climatic change in Canada, and the data also contribute to understanding changes to frog distributions.

Do you currently have an interest in frogs or would you like to learn more about frogs? Visit http://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/FrogwatchOntario.asp for more information.