Frogs – Biological Indicators of the Health of the Environment

Frogs – Biological Indicators of the Health of the Environment

Frogs are not just cute animals in the amphibian class. They are important members of the overall ecology that can tell us a great deal about the health of the environment in which we live in.

Find out why biology researchers find frogs such a critical species in determining how he environment is doing.

Human population growth and development have caused enormous changes in the environments that people depend upon for their food and water. Determining how much these forces are disrupting the ecology can be a lengthy process that requires intensive testing and analysis.

Fortunately, monitoring the frog population in an area is one simple indicator of how the environment is doing.

Why Frogs Are Important

The number of species of frogs on the planet rises well above 4,000. Frogs are creatures that live mainly in aquatic environments but can also be found in deserts and forested areas. 

Aquatic environments are important to humans because they are often the filtering system for all the water that people use for survival. Frogs are considered an “indicator species” because they are often the first to show stress from unfavorable environmental conditions. 

They have a permeable skin that allows toxins from water and air to enter their systems. This ease of transfer from the external environment to the internal environment makes them particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects from pollution and other toxins.

When scientists count frogs and find a significant reduction in their number, they know the environment has problems that will eventually affect human beings.

Why are frog and toad populations declining?

Amphibian declines are a global phenomenon that has continued unabated in the United States since at least the 1960’s. Declines are occurring even in protected national parks and refuges.