Using hydrophones to survey for underwater calling frogs
March 2019 - December 2021
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
The first step to wildlife conservation is understanding where species occur and how many individuals are present. For species that vocalize (such as birds and frogs), surveys are relatively straightforward and easy. However, emerging research indicates that some frogs primarily or exclusively call underwater and these vocalizations rarely break the air-water surface and are unlikely to be detected by surveyors. Coincidentally, most frog species that are known to call underwater are threatened or endangered including the Crawfish Frog, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, and Gopher Frog. In partnership with Cornell University and the Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas Unit is testing a novel method, using hydrophone recorders, to document the presence, distribution, and abundance of several imperiled frog species that primarily call underwater. We are demonstrating this technology on Fort Stewart, GA, Coronado Natl Forest, AZ, and at Woolsey Wet Prairie, AR. If an efficient and cost-effective methodology can be established, we will provide an innovative and important new tool for the military and other land managers to survey for and conserve these imperiled species.