The Australian Museum wants help finding the nation's missing frogs

The Australian Museums FrogID is a citizen science project that uses mobile phone technology and audio DNA to discover where frogs are at risk and how to conserve them and our waterways. Picture: Supplied.
The Australian Museums FrogID is a citizen science project that uses mobile phone technology and audio DNA to discover where frogs are at risk and how to conserve them and our waterways. Picture: Supplied.

The Australian Museum may have a strange request of Australia, but it is one which could help scientists in the fight for a threatened species.

The museum wants audio of frogs from across the nation to find species currently missing from its audio database.

Australia has 240 known species of native frogs, many of which are under threat. Hundreds have already disappeared worldwide and many more are on the edge of extinction.

Not only do they play a critical role in the management of insect pests, frog-skin secretions are being explored in drugs to fight infection, release insulin, regulate the heart and cure diseases, such as cancer.

Sir David Attenborough has described amphibians as "the lifeblood of many environments".

As one of the first animal species to feel the impact of environmental changes, declining frog populations are a "warning call" on the impacts of climate change and pollution on Australia's waterways, wildlife and ecosystems.

Dr Jodi Rowley from the Australian Museum said the audio is vital for scientists who want to understand more about frogs. Picture: Supplied.

Dr Jodi Rowley from the Australian Museum said the audio is vital for scientists who want to understand more about frogs. Picture: Supplied.

How to help find Australia's missing frogs

The Australian Museum is calling on all Australians to help find the nation's missing frogs during this year's FrogID Week running from November 8 to 17.

So far, FrogID has identified more than 116,000 frog calls and identified 187 of the known 240 Australian frog species.

Last year alone, during Australia's largest left-field audio collection, more than 7,000 frogs from 95 species were recorded.

Dr Jodi Rowley from the Australian Museum said the audio is vital for scientists who want to understand more about what species are where and how they are being impacted by changes to their environments.

"We need as many frog calls recorded this year as possible in order to build our database and compare year-on-year information - the more people that record and submit frog calls during FrogID Week this year, the better," she said.

"While we're keen to get audio for our 'missing' frogs this year, we still want all the other frogs and lots of them. We need the help of people all around the nation to gather audio of frogs in city parks, suburban backyards, regional properties, remote locations - everywhere.

"Get outside at dusk or after rain to listen for frogs and send us their calls - it's simple to do and you'll be helping to save Australia's frogs."

She said it was easy to help build on the critical data gathered from last year and find frog species currently missing from the museum's audio database.

"Simply download the free FrogID app on your phone and during FrogID Week head outside to listen for frogs. When you hear a frog, record the sound with the app and submit it to the FrogID program."

Each frog species has a unique call, which is an accurate way to identify different species.

Recording and uploading frog calls, using the app, will identify different species, along with time and location data, using GPS technology.

A team of frog experts will then sift through the audio to verify the different sounds.

"This data will help map frog populations across Australia and identify areas and species under threat," Ms Rowley said.

Find out more at www.frogid.net.au