Like people, frogs needs water to survive. Instead of drinking water, frogs absorb it through their skin. They also soak up any chemicals in the water. Healthy frogs are a sign of safe water. If chemicals enter the water, frogs can become ill. When scientists see sick frogs, they know the water is unsafe.
Around the world, frog and toad populations are declining or have vanished due to habitat loss, increased pollution and disease. A healthy wetland can provide many species of frogs and toads with ideal habitat, and the absence of frogs and toads in a wetland may indicate something has gone wrong.
And just as frog and toad populations are influenced by changes in the wetland, wetland ecosystems are also sensitive to changes in frog and toad populations.
Frogs and toads provide food for other animals and help control insect populations. And tadpoles eat large quantities of algae and plankton, helping the wetland maintain a healthy nutrient balance. For these reasons and many others, volunteers around the country have mobilized to monitor frogs and toads with calling surveys.
The Frog Census Program collects frog data from community members who record their calls at a local waterway using an app, and the species of frogs is identified through the recording using a professional ecologist.
This data is added to the Atlas of Living Australia and the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas and is used to manage the health of Melbourne’s rivers and creeks. Contributions help to protect frogs, and can provide an indication of water quality in local waterways.
Habitat loss is a key threat to frog populations across greater Melbourne. You can take action in your own backyard, school or community garden by creating frog friendly habitat. Frog ponds and frog friendly gardens can provide increased living space for your local frogs and help link up disconnected populations.
Type of Partnership: Win-win for Public and Planet
Using frog health as an indicator of water health is mutually reinforcing and beneficial for Public water consumption, as well as the entire wetland ecosystem—including the frogs themselves.