Work experience journal Frogwatch- Tadpole kits for schools’ program Procedures for the loan of a tadpole kit to schools through the Ginninderra Catchment group (GCG)

Qinyan Liu

The purpose of the program:

It is an education activity for young and old by caring for tadpoles and watching them turn into frogs. Furthermore, the program is also useful for scientific reasons, because there are much unknown about dramatic population declines for frogs in worldwide. For protecting the frogs, ACT government implement a policy that removing and displacing tadpoles and frogs from the wild without a specific license is illegal. However, there are low viability for tadpoles in the nature and tadpoles are hard to turn into frogs. The frogwatch ACT and Region program offers the loan of a complete Tadpole kit for students that is to overcome this dilemma. Participating ACT schools are required to pay $50 loan fee for per kit towards the administration costs and a $50 deposit, which will be returned after the complete return of the kit in accordance with these procedures.

 Procedure:

My work is that setting and preparing for tadpole kit picked up. (1). There are 60 kits need to be prepared. Each tadpole kit contains: tadpole care instruction booklet, tadpole food (bag of spirulina), 1 bottle with water purifier, 1 mesh/cotton bag with gravel, 1 bucket, 1 medium size plastic tank with lid, and 1 non-scratch sponge.(2). Each Ziploc bag with 6-8 tadpoles with 1L water, which is half tape water and half tank water (because lack up enough tank water and it is temporary habitat for tadpoles in the Ziploc bag). For ensuring all students observed different period tadpoles, I have to put 3-4 1 week tadpoles and 2 weeks tadpoles in each Ziploc bag. Additionally, the sticky watergrass feed on tadpoles and also need to be put in the Ziploc bag.(3). People have ordered and payed the tadpoles kit online. The mission is that writing down the number order on the document paper, which is accordance with the label numbers on the kits for returning. The person collecting the kits will be required to sign a document stating that the tadpole kit was complete and in good working order. The person signing the document is held responsible for the welfare of the animals and the timely return of the animals and the cleaned equipment.

Figure 1 prepared tadpole kits

 Frogs Species:

Spotted Grass Frog (Limndynostes tasmaniensis)

Appearance: It has a neatly blotched appearance of light and dark markings and is moderately large in size (up to about 5 cm). Some individuals have a distinctive red or orange stripe down the centre of the back. A line of white glandular tissue occurs from beneath the eye to the back of the leg.

Status: An abundant species with widespread distribution.

Mating call: A “kuku k uk uk”- a bit like a toy machine gun. Male frogs call whilst floating in the water. Calls from September to March.

Habitat: Lowland rivers, Lowland creeks, Swamps, farm dams and lakes. Asscociated with standing waters, including roadside ditches, marshes, swamps, lakes and ponds. They prefer situations where there is considerable flooded vegetation such as tussocks and sedges. During dry weather, they shelter in deep cracks in the clays of dry wetlands, beneath large logs and in the base of grass tussocks.

Figure 2. Two weeks tadpoles

 

Figure 3. the adult spotted grass frog

Issue:

Australia has one of the most diverse frog assemblages in the world over 200 species. However, since the 1980s, there are dramatic population declines in some Australian frog species have been reported. Scientists speculate the reasons for the population declines of frogs is pollution of waterway, loss of habitat, global warming, acid rain, widespread use of chemicals and spread of the chytrid fungus. Even if spotted grass frogs are not endangered and still considered common in the ACT, the population of spotted grass frogs can be threatened by the very activities we undertake in our backyards and surrounding nature reserves. So, it is necessary for protection, especially building up the frog friendly habitat.

 

The reason for creating a frog friendly habitat:

Firstly, frogs are a valuable asset to the environment. Frogs and tadpoles are significant factors linking in the food chain of many ecosystems, e.g. helping control insect pet population, control levels of algae in pond.

 

How to create a frog friendly habitat?

Frogs need shelter, food and a place to breed. Most frogs require a source of moisture to breed. Suburban ponds can be built. When we create the suburban ponds, we also need to create shallow edges to allow frogs to enter and exist. Additionally, creating flat shelves for frogs to sit on and places to hide from predators in the water and around the pond, such as rocks, submerged logs and potted aquatic plants. We also should locate the area away from sprinkler systems, pesticides or fertilisers used area. Because we have to keep the chemical and toxin free in the frog habitat. The tap water contains chlorine, which is harmful to tadpoles and frogs. Furthermore, the locate the habitat where it will receive rainwater runoff such as a downpipe from roof.

On the other hand, do not handle frogs, because their skin is for absorbing moisture and chemicals from their immediate environment. Even if soaps, detergents or other chemicals are safe for human, they might be harmful for frogs. Additionally, it is best to not have fish in the tadpoles’ pond at all, as fishes are always prey the tadpoles.

In the natural environment, we cannot translocate the species from one place to another place that is illegal in Australia, whatever fishes or grogs. The invasive species also cannot use in the habitat, because they will prey tadpoles and exaggerated the situations of frogs.

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About Biodiversity Conservation Blog

I am an Associate Professor at The Australian National University and convene a (very awesome) course called Biodiversity Conservation. Myself and students in the course contribute to this blog.
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