Researchers have developed a device that will allow scientists to monitor frogs in the wild. Described as the world’s first solar-powered remote survey device that can be installed at any frog pond and which receives a 3G or 4G cellular network, it has been named “FrogPhone”.
It has been developed by a team from various Australian institutions, including the University of New South Wales and the University of Canberra. A field trial conducted between August 2017 and March 2018 in Canberra proved successful, the British Ecology Society said in a statement.
With FrogPhone, researchers can simply “call” a frog habitat. After a call is made to one of the FrogPhones already on a site, the device will take three seconds to receive it. During these few seconds, the device’s temperature sensors will get activated, and environmental data such as air temperature, water temperature and battery voltage will be sent to the caller’s phone via a text message.
Because frogs are most active during night, researchers are usually required to make nightly observations in order to monitor them on site. The FrogPhone will allow researchers to dial these devices remotely, and analyse the data later.
It will reduce costs and risks, including the negative impact of human presence on the field site, the researchers say. These devices also allow for monitoring of local frog populations more frequently than before, which is important because these populations are recognised as indicators of environmental health.
The researchers have described the new device in last week’s edition of the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.