AMPHIBIAN WATCH – Habitats
ambience: Spring Peepers – frogs
Here’s a program from our archives.
Scientists suspect that amphibians may be on the decline worldwide. As a result, a multi-year study is underway in many states to monitor local populations of frogs and toads by listening to their calls. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
We’re in central Maine with Aram Calhoun, coordinator of Maine’s Amphibian Monitoring Program. Teams of volunteers visit different locations nightly throughout the spring and summer. They’re estimating the amphibian population by keeping track of the number of calls at each site.
Calhoun: OK, we’re at stop one and what we’re hearing here are spring peepers. And we would call this a code two. Because there’re many individuals calling, and their calls are overlapping, but we can still pretty much count the individuals. It’s not a deafening chorus of spring peepers.
In Maine, at least half a dozen species of frogs and toads breed and call at different times throughout the spring and summer. They also prefer different types of habitats.
Calhoun: The type of wetlands is going to affect what singing amphibians we’re going to have; there’s all different sorts of wetlands. Toads around here really like gravel pits so if we have gravel pits we’re more likely to hear the toads. Pickerel and Leopard frogs, people call those meadow frogs because they like to be in grassland areas or wet meadows so if there’s some of those nearby we’re more likely to get them breeding. So if we have a variety of wetlands we’ll pick up a variety of singing amphibians. If we have all the same kind then we might not have such a variety.
We’re at least several years away from having enough data gathered to begin to get a picture of whether or not amphibians really are on the decline.
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.