This past Friday we hosted a training in cooperation with Nebraska’s 4-H program and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.
The Zoo is undertaking a citizen science program to study the spread of the chytrid fungi in Nebraska’s amphibian population. The fungi was likely introduced to North American amphibian populations in the early 1960’s by the disposal of African Frogs that were used at that time as a pregnancy indicator in humans. The African frogs were most likely dumped into local waterways introducing the fungi.
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The objective of this program is to enlist 4-H clubs and other interested people from across the state to go into the field and capture any of the four types of amphibians that can be found in Nebraska. After they are captured, they are swabbed in their armpits and lips. The swab is then carefully broken off and placed in a sterile vile and sent to the zoo for analysis and testing.
While capturing the frogs, is important to record the GPS location, water temperature, turbidity level, ph balance of the water and lastly take a photo. It teaches kids about science and helps to contribute real data to an important project.
This is a great exercise to involve young people because they love to go catch frogs. In our group of around a dozen people, the kids that were present proved to be the best catchers.