Lending an ear to our environment
An uncertain furture
To date, over 6400 species of amphibians of all kinds are known in the world. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, pollution and the emergence of infectious diseases, many of these species are endangered; some of them probably have already disappeared forever from the earth's surface. Although at first sight, the disappearance of one of our 11 species of frogs or one of our 10 species of salamanders is not expected in the short term, the situation in Quebec remains at least a serious concern and deserves special attention.
In Québec, the Saint-Lawrence Valley Natural History Society, the non-profit organization that manages the Ecomuseum zoo, has been mandated by the provincial government to coordinate a long term project aimed at monitoring anuran populations, that is frogs, toads and tree frogs. And so it is that the Amphibian Population Monitory Program began in 1993 and continues today.
The Amphibian Population Monitoring Program aims to identify long term trends in frog populations in Quebec. We are particularly concerned about possible declines in the abundance of our control species, indicators of the health of ecosystems. Declines thus identified would quickly pinpoint the areas where certain species are struggling to allow measures to be undertaken to determine the environmental causes of these declines.
How does it work?
Frog call route are 8 km in length and distributed throughout the province. Each route must be visited twice each evening during the spring months and each is comprised of 10 listening stations spaced at 800 m. distance. At each station, the observer listens to the calls for 3 minutes then identifies and records the species heard. The observer then assigns an abundance rating to what he/she hears. This allows for the quantification of the size of the groups recorded. The data thus accumulated is used to compare changes in the abundance of the frog species monitored.
Who can participate?
The program is open to anyone interested in frogs and who wishes to volunteer their time in the evening for two springtime outings. It's easy; you only need to invest a few hours of your time annually to complete the monitoring census of your assigned pathway! While helping you will learn and have fun; what more can you ask for!
In order to produce statistically analyzable date, participants must:
- Monitor the listening pathway each year ideally for multiple consecutive years
- Perform a minimum of two trips per year
- Monitor the listening pathway during the evening hours on dates corresponding to peak of maximum abundance for the targeted species (early spring)
You must first register! Several pathways have already been established and it is essential that these existing pathways be assigned to participants before creating new pathways to maximize the value and continuity of data collected. A participation protocol document will also be provided to you to ensure you can successfully complete the program. Each must avoid creating a pathway without first contacting the program coordinator. We will help you establish your pathway to facilitate the listening process. We will also provide you with all the necessary information and support required to make it easy and enjoyable to participate in the Amphibian Population Monitoring Program in Quebec.