A New Tool for Wildlife Research

The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog is a recently discovered frog species found in freshwater ecosystems throughout the northeastern United States, and is the only amphibian species known to occur in the Meadowlands. In general, because Atlantic Coast Leopard Frogs are difficult to find and typically most active at night, they are difficult to study. As a result, not much is known about them.


To better understand this species and determine where they might be living within the Meadowlands, NJSEA Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute (MRRI) scientists this spring employed new technology known as acoustic recording units (ARUs). These tools are a relatively novel method of surveying wildlife without disturbing the species or the habitat. They can be deployed for a number of days and nights to capture all sounds during those hours when frogs would likely be vocal. Once the sounds are collected, they are downloaded and analyzed by MRRI scientists using a variety of software.


The use of ARUs to detect Atlantic Coast Leopard Frogs in the Meadowlands proved effective as the equipment detected frogs in a number of sites around the area. This demonstrates a world of possibility for nocturnal wildlife research in the Meadowlands, and urban habitats as a whole. Going forward, MRRI will be expanding their use of ARUs to monitor the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog to assess long-term trends and, ultimately, conservation goals.

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