music; ambience: barcode scanner
Well, it seems like everything has got a barcode these days. Groceries housewares even frogs. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. To monitor amphibian populations, Australian biologist Arthur White tags and scans frogs, just like in a grocery line.
“With many of the frogs, we actually tag them as a way of trying to estimate the size of the population. To do that, we inject a small transponder tag – it’s like a little metal pellet that’s injected underneath the skin of the animal. And we can then run a transponder wand across it, and we’ll get a code numbera read-out from the frog. It’s a bit like barcoding the frog. So every animal, therefore, has its own individual number. All of that goes onto a personal database that we have and every time that animal is caught, of course, it’s weighed, it’s measured, when it last bred, where it is now, where they’re moving around, what condition they’re in, whether they’ve been diseased or attacked by anything, and so on.”
ambience: Green and Golden Bell frogs
Arthur White sent us recordings from a small rocky island off the eastern coast of Australia, where he’s monitoring a population of endangered Green and Golden Bell Frogs.
“Tonight we’re out on the northern side of Broughton Island, and as with many of the nights out here, most of the activity involves in going to various water points around the island, collecting Green and Golden Bell frogs, scanning them to see whether they’ve already been microchipped, and if they have, again we’ll record all the details and process the frog before we release it. If it hasn’t been microchipped, the animal will be microchipped and then all of its details will be recorded for later on. The animal, of course, will be then released, and who knows, the very next night, we may catch the animal again, perhaps in a nearby location, or in fact it may be many hundreds of meters away.”
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