Australian scientists develop cellular eco-monitoring technology to listen to frogs remotely

Frog populations are a key measure of an area’s ecological health, and one of the best ways to measure this is to estimate the number of calls the frogs make,media New Atlas reported. The new Frog Phone may make it easier for scientists than ever to hear frogs.

Australian scientists develop cellular eco-monitoring technology to listen to frogs remotely

Usually, biologists have to wait in the frog’s habitat to monitor the amphibian themselves. Not only is this trouble, but the arrival of scientists may also scare frogs and make them quieter than usual. That’s why scientists decided to develop Frog Phone.

It was designed by scientists at the University of New South Wales and the University of Canberra in collaboration with the Australian Capital Territory and Territory’s Frogwatch Program and the Australian National University to record data such as frog calls in frog habitats.

In addition to microphones, the waterproof monitoring station is integrated with a thermal sensor that measures air and water temperature. It is powered by a large battery, and integrated solar panels can help.

Australian scientists develop cellular eco-monitoring technology to listen to frogs remotely

Remote users can just start by using their smartphones to call the FrogPhone. With 3G/4G cellular data coverage, the device responds in two ways. First, it sends them a text message indicating the current water and air temperature and the battery level. Second, it allows them to actually listen to frog calls in the area in real time. It is estimated that Frog Phone can detect frog calls within a radius of 100 to 150 meters (328 to 492 feet).

The technology was successfully tested on site in Canberra from August 2017 to March 2018. Possible future upgrades include multi-directional microphones covering larger areas and satellite communication modules for areas with poor cellular coverage.

Australian scientists develop cellular eco-monitoring technology to listen to frogs remotely

Anke Maria Hoefer, of frogwatch’s project team, said: “FrogPhone will help significantly reduce the costs and risks involved in remote or intensive investigations. Its use will also minimize the potential negative impact of human presence at the survey site. These benefits are amplified as the distance to the site becomes farther and more inaccessible. “

A paper on the system was published this week in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

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