Biologists in Australia are appealing for members of the public to record the croaks and calls of the country's native frog population with a smartphone app designed especially for the task. As Stuart McDill reports.
STORY: Biologists in Australia have teamed up with IBM to develop a smartphone app to survey the country's endangered frogs. The Australian Museum says the FrogID app will record and report frog calls, croaks and chirps - without disturbing them. SOUNDBITE (English) CURATOR OF AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE CONSERVATION BIOLOGY AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, DR JODI ROWLEY, SAYING: "We're at a really critical time in terms of frog conservation, so we've already lost four species of frogs in Australia and many others are on the edge of extinction and we need to find out quickly where our frogs are, how they're doing?" The free app records a frog's call and sends it to a museum expert to verify the species. SOUNDBITE (English) CURATOR OF AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE CONSERVATION BIOLOGY AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, DR JODI ROWLEY, SAYING: "Frogs have an amazing diversity of calls, so not many frogs sort of ribbit or croak, but you get hoots, whistles, barks, calls that sound like laughs, taps dripping, tennis balls being hit, absolutely everything. So some of the frogs that you might hear sound like 'bok, bok, bok', 'waahh', 'rih, rih, rih'. So an amazing diversity and this phone will help you capture those calls and then we can identify who's who." Frog populations are declining globally but Australia's are especially vulnerable. SOUNDBITE (English) DIRECTOR AND CEO OF AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, KIM MCKAY, SAYING: "Frogs are bio-indicators of what is going wrong in the environment or how healthy an environment might be. Of course in the case of frogs, we know that urbanisation is impacting many populations. We know that other changes in biodiversity are impacting them and especially we know that climate change is starting to impact on frog populations. We're seeing things like the cane toad of course move much further south and this project will help track the cane toad as well." The country has 240 named native species of frog and the museum says citizen scientists using the app could discover even more.