COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 6 December 2021, 10am (AEST)

Saving North Queensland Frogs

The mountains of north Queensland have the highest diversity of frogs in Australia as well as the highest number of threatened species. Many frog species in north Queensland are at imminent risk of extinction unless we learn more and act now.

JCU researchers are studying the basic biology of the many critically endangered frogs of north Queensland, to find solutions to the most pressing threats to these species, including chytrid fungus disease, climate change and invasive species.

North Queensland’s rainforest frogs dominate the list of species most likely to go extinct in the next twenty years. This research project aims to change that.

The Frog Research Group at James Cook University is perfectly positioned and equipped to do this research. Led by Australian frog expert Dr Conrad Hoskin, the research team uses a variety of techniques to achieve conservation outcomes. The main focus is obtaining detailed data in the field, along with lab-based studies of breeding and threats in cutting-edge constant temperature rooms in the Science Place labs at JCU. The aim is to learn everything we can about the threatened species in the wild, understand and manage threats to conserve these species in the wild, and to prepare for captive conservation if required.

Results to date have led to finding vital refuges from chytrid disease, the single biggest threat to frogs globally, and have reversed the trend for the Armoured Mistfrog, a species once thought to be extinct. Current projects continue to assist recovery of disease-impacted species. The other big focus is researching ways to safe-guard mountain-top frogs from climate change impacts. Nursery-frogs (Cophixalus species) are now the most threatened vertebrate group in north Queensland, with five Critically Endangered species on the highest mountains. This project is researching the population sizes, biology, and threats to these species, to find ways to conserve them in the wild and in captivity.

Your donation will help JCU's Frog Research Group save North Queensland's frogs by:

  • Finding populations of critically endangered and missing frog species in the wild. The research group has a proven record in finding unknown frog populations.
  • Monitoring wild populations and collecting data on population trends, natural history and threats. A current priority is purchasing and deploying state-of-the-art field recording gear to do this in a non-invasive way in the wild.
  • Devising conservation actions to minimise the impacts of disease, climate change, and invasive species. A focus is identifying and conserving natural refuges from disease and climate change.
  • Obtaining the required data to keep and breed north Queensland’s threatened species, should it be required. The focus here is on learning how they live in the wild, and trialling husbandry with common, related species.
James Cook University is an Australian registered Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), which means donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.