Thursday, November 13, 2008

Volunteers With Ear, Heart For Frogs Sought For Survey

The frogs are calling. The question is, will Georgians who know what they’re hearing answer?

The second year of a calling frog survey in Georgia starts Jan. 15. There are 78 survey routes but only about 30 volunteers lined up to cover them. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, needs some 50 more listeners who can decipher the croaks, trills and peeps of Georgia’s 31 frog species.

The effort is important. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program survey developed by the U.S. Geological Survey is aimed at tracking regional and national trends in frog distribution and abundance. Given the sensitivity of amphibians to air and water quality changes, those trends can signal environmental problems and shape conservation priorities. But in Georgia, baseline data is needed first.

Which means more survey volunteers with an ear and even a heart for frogs.

Before being assigned one of the pre-set routes scattered across the state, participants must pass an online quiz testing their ability to audibly identify frog species. Helpful resources include the online supplement to the new reference “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia.” published by the University of Georgia Press. The DNR Wildlife Resources Division also has available the compact disk "Calls of the Wild -Vocalizations of Georgia's Frogs.”

The quiz is available online at and allows would-be monitors to test their skills.

Volunteers are asked to commit to the survey for at least three years, underscoring the need for consistency in such citizen-science projects. Routes are run three nights a year, once each in three call periods: Jan. 15-Feb. 28, March 15-April 30 and May 15-June 30.

To sign up or find out more, contact the Wildlife Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section at (478) 994-1438.


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