Lori Sargent, the survey coordinator, reports that frogs and toads are ecologically important because they control insects and feed other wildlife. "And because amphibians are sensitive to environmental quality, they provide an early-warning system for declining ecosystem health", she said.
“They’re a first response to problems in the water,” Sargent said. “And this is a group of species that have been around since the dinosaurs. They’re pretty resilient, so if we’re seeing a decline now, it could be serious.”
Unfortunately, frogs are declining. TV actor and spokesperson Jeff Corwin has reported on the mass decline of worldwide amphibian populations recently. In tropical areas, frogs are being killed off by a fungus, with entire species being wiped out as this menace has relentlessly spread from pool to pool. From the rocky streams of coastal Australia to the jungles of South America, and even to the American West, the world's frogs are vanishing at alarming rates. Frogs and their relatives have thrived on earth for more than 360 million years, but now they're under serious threat. Experts believe that as many as one-third to one-half of the planet's 6,000 amphibian species are in danger of disappearing — victims of one of the most significant mass extinctions since the dinosaurs.
Here in Michigan, the DNR and local conservation groups are working hard to collect and analyze data to better understand and protect these animals locally. To find out more on the global work to protect these amphibians, visit: