Protecting Our Amphibians

 

American Toad

American Toad on moss

Just a few nights ago we heard American Toads calling.  It’s a happy sound, usually a harbinger of spring and unusual for this time of year.  But we have heard them occasionally when there is a slight bump up in temperature, and they’ve been calling this month.  One of our past blogs, Frogs in the City, was about frogs in urban areas and frogs that we have here in Peachtree Park.  And, we’re really lucky to have them.

Frogs and salamanders are amphibians, which are an indicator species  of ecological health –  ‘canaries in the coal mine.’  Unfortunately, they are vanishing globally at an alarming rate.

There’s a new organization in Atlanta dedicated to creating and implementing long-term solutions to this crisis.  It’s called The Amphibian Foundation and was started recently by Mark and Crystal Mandica.

image_3-fort_stewart

Mark Mandica during Flatwoods Salamander surveys at Fort Stewart, GA

It’s located close by at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve with state-of-the-art research labs.  There’s also a ‘metamorphosis meadow’, an outdoor area that will hold dozens of ‘mesocosms’ where native species will be bred.  (A mesocosm enables scientists to study the natural environment under controlled conditions.)

It’s an ambitious project with a primary goal of involving our local community in amphibian conservation.  They have volunteers and interns, and hold workshops to help identify Atlanta’s urban species.

Spotted Salamander - Ambystoma maculatum

Spotted Salamander – Ambystoma maculatum

They also created the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAAMP) with 30 sites that are monitored monthly by citizen scientists.  If you are interested, you can attend a training workshop to help with monitoring activities.  The MAAMP website is a terrific resource for amphibian identification, including the calls of frogs and toads.

Check out The Amphibian Foundation’s website and visit them at Blue Heron Nature Preserve.  Maybe the next time you hear a frog calling or see a salamander in the leaf litter you’ll know who they are!

 

Blue Heron Nature Preserve

Blue Heron Nature Preserve

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Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring

References and Additional Information

[1]  The Amphibian Foundation
[2]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program
[3]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program: Frog Calls
[4]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve
[5]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve: November 2016 Newsletter
[6]  The Intown Hawk:  Frogs in the City – 2 New Studies
[7]  Wikipedia: mesocosm
[8]  Encyclopedia of Life:  What is an Indicator Species?
[9]  National Geographic: Amphibians

4 thoughts on “Protecting Our Amphibians

  1. Debbie Ryan

    When we lived in Guam, toads as big as your head roamed nightly. I cringed every time I would do yard work and uncover one! Growing up in Florida where frogs were plenty and those little suction cup ones were especially gross, I was never a real fan. But, I haven’t even thought about a frog in a while living here because after thinking about it, I never see any. Great for me but bad for the big picture, I get it. I guess I “should” thank you for calling my attention to their plight but their “grossness factor” for me, is deep seeded!! As usual though, great information. I will listen for their call. Thank you???

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    1. beveritt Post author

      Hi Debbie – thanks for your feedback, sharing your experience, and continuing to follow us! Your comment just proves the adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We must accept that not everybody loves scaly, slimy and warty as much as we do, but Frogs are certainly one of our favorites. We do love that neighbors are thinking about wildlife in different ways. Glad you will iisten for their calls – frogs, tree frogs, and toads. They give music to the night.

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  2. Debbie Ryan

    Agree! I’ll definitely try to look past my bias and apply tolerance. Maybe make it a New Years resolution. NAH, that’s doomed to fail! I’ll just look forward to their music!! Merry Christmas!

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