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Posted Mon Aug 2 2010: from NC State University, via EurekAlert:
'Ribbit Radio' shows frog populations likely overestimated
Scientists track amphibian populations because these animals are sensitive to changes in their environment and can serve as "canaries in the coal mine" to give researchers early warnings about pollution or other ecological problems. But new research from North Carolina State University shows that data from the largest amphibian monitoring program in the country may have flaws that, if uncorrected, could result in overestimates of frog populations.... Simons and his co-authors wanted to test the accuracy of these surveys by using the "Bird Radio" system Simons developed previously to test the accuracy of bird census methods. The system, renamed "Ribbit Radio," consists of a series of remotely controlled playback devices that can be used to mimic populations of calling frogs. The researchers set up "Ribbit Radio" in a field and used it to test how well observers identify frog species. Simons says the researchers immediately noted a lot of "false positives" in the data - meaning that some observers were saying they heard species that were not played by the "Ribbit Radio" system.
[Read more stories about: amphibian collapse, faster than expected, sixth extinction]
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'Doc Jim says:
If those amphibians would just fill out their census forms!

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