The Australian Museum has teamed up with IBM to count the country’s native frog population via a world-first app that records their calls and sends them to experts for identification.
App FrogID will give the public the chance to carry out Australia’s first such national count, which begins on Friday and is intended to support researchers’ efforts to save endangered native species. Australia has 240 named native species of frog, but the museum wants to identify what it believes are dozens more still ribbiting under the radar.
FrogID identifies frog species based on the frog’s call, those unique chirps, croaks, rabbits, and peeps that the amphibians make as they go about their nightly (and daytime) business. It enables users to record frog calls anywhere they hear frogs, from their own backyard to parks, streams, and wetlands and other areas where frogs live. Scientists will be able to determine where frogs are congregating and where they aren’t. The app will also enable scientists to track the invasive cane toad, as well as determine how frogs are adapting to a changing environment.
When a user records and uploads the frog calls to the application’s frog database, the app will help to identify the frog species and where that species is located, based on the app and mobile phone data.
The launch of FrogID bring’s Australia’s first national citizen science frog identification initiative to the masses. Anyone with an iOS or Android device can help the country catalog the more than 230 frog species that call Australia home.
The project is led by the Australian Museum, the Australian government, IBM and a host of other museums, including the Western Australian Museum. the Queensland Museum, Museums Victoria, the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, and the South Australian Museum.
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