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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Australia’s Vanishing Frogs

Why do some Australian frog species thrive while others go extinct? Explore mountain forests to help answer this perplexing question.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Volunteers on this project helped collect critical information to explain the causes of and seek solutions to amphibian declines.

Why are the frogs of Australia on the decline? So far, scientists have only theories. Volunteers are helping uncover the truth.

There have been drastic declines in the populations of amphibians, particularly frogs, throughout the world. Along the east coast of Australia, nine species of frog have totally disappeared in the past two decades, and scientists are at a loss to explain why or provide solutions. In a few cases, the decline can be linked to human activities. But in the majority of cases, no apparent cause has been found.

The Vanishing Frogs project was based in the rain forests of the Great Dividing Range in eastern Australia and in the World Heritage Area Gondwana Rain Forest Reserves. The task was to monitor the health of populations of several species that are considered critically endangered and to keep a watch on others that may be at risk of sudden declines. The goal was to unravel the mystery behind the decline of the forest frog communities. Two theories were tested: one related to climate change and the other to the impact of a particular fungus known as chytrid.

Frog in Australian Rainforest

Investigating the decline in Australia's frog populations.

Volunteers on the Vanishing Frogs project helped collect critical information to explain the cause(s) and seek solutions to amphibian declines. The outcome of the work may be of huge benefit to the frogs of eastern Australia and, possibly, to amphibians around the world.

About the research area

Watagan National Park, Australia, Australia & South Pacific

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

This is a summary:

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Michael
Mahony
Professor of Science & Information Technology, School of Environmental & Life Sciences, University of Newcastle

ABOUT Michael Mahony

Earthwatch scientist Dr. Michael Mahony investigates the fate of fast-disappearing frogs and other amphibians.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

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