ambience: Spring Peepers, frogs
Here’s a program from our archives.
In the 1980’s, worldwide reports of declining or even disappearing amphibian populations led to the creation of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. To find out if we are indeed losing any of our frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, every year in many states throughout the country, teams of volunteers are helping to keep track of them. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
We’re in Central Maine tagging along on one of the sixty-two routes which volunteers traverse every spring, monitoring the numbers of amphibians at set locations. The way they get a handle on the numbers of frogs or toads at each location, is by listening to their calls.
Aram Calhoun, coordinator of Maine’s Amphibian Monitoring Program, tells us more.
Calhoun: Routes are generally ten to thirteen miles in length. They are driven by a car after dusk and there are twelve stops on each route. The stops are all at wetlands. The volunteers will stop at each of the twelve stops, let about minute or two go by to get rid of the sounds of the car and the interruption, listen for three minutes, record presence and absence of the amphibians singing, and then go on to the next stop.
ambience: Gray Tree Frog; American Toad; Peepers.
Calhoun: Volunteers write down a code on a data sheet and we have three numbers that they record. One is when you have very little activity. A number two refers to amphibians calling, but you can still pick out the individuals, so you could actually count, say ‘yes I think there are six frogs singing.’ And a code three means there’s a full chorus and there’s no way you can count individuals, there’s just an eruption of noise from the amphibians.
We’ve been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.