National Arboretum Canberra

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National Arboretum Canberra FrogWatch


The research project to collect records of frogs present on the National Arboretum Canberra site focuses on monitoring frog biodiversity in four wetlands at the National Arboretum as part of the larger ACT and NSW FrogWatch program.

The project examines long term changes in the frog biota of the Arboretum and its responses to both climate change on a large scale, and habitat changes at the local landscape scale as the site transitions from a closed conifer forest, to an open grassland-herbland-shrubland, and progressively through woodland to open and then closed forests.

These changes can be reasonably expected to affect the bird fauna, but what impact they will have on the frog fauna seems less well known.

Chief investigator

Dr Roger Hnatiuk, Member of the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra and FrogWatch ACT volunteer.

Other investigators

Citizen science volunteers who are members of the Friends of the National Arboretum.

Research aims

The aims of the project are:

  • to document the frog fauna of the National Arboretum Canberra as part of the larger ACT program to monitor the frogs of the ACT and surrounding NSW.
  • to contribute to the understanding of the biodiversity, including the frog fauna, of the National Arboretum Canberra.
  • to examine how the frog biota of the Arboretum site may be affected by, and respond to, a number of major forces that shape the kinds and quantities of plants, animals and other biota of the site.


  • The standard methods used by FrogWatch ACT:
    • audio recordings of male frogs;
    • the estimated numbers of each kind of frog identified by their calls.
    • The reports, recordings and photographs are uploaded to the FrogWatch census site as formal contributions to the FrogWatch Coordinator based at the Ginninderra Catchment Group where they contribute to the larger ACT project.
  • Four wetland sites are monitored: Cork oak dam (Forest 2), STEP ephemeral wetland (Forest 20), Ginkgo Dam (Forest 21) and Larch Dam (Forest 36).
    These sites provide the opportunity to document the short-term development of the frog fauna as observations have started with the completion of the formation of the wetlands in Forests 21, 36, and 20. The wetland in Forest 2 is an old farm dam. The age is not known, but from aerial photographs appears to have been built between 1961 and 1973.
  • Recordings are made approximately quarterly, with extra observations as needed.
  • No voucher specimens are collected, apart from the sound recordings and daytime photographs of the sites near to each recording time (the photographic time series is available on the FrogWatch web site).

Time frame

On going for as long as volunteers are available. The open-ended nature is deliberate in order to acquire long term data in order to track the medium and long term changes relative to the changing environment around the sites.

Records were started at the following times:

  • Ginkgo dam and STEP ephemeral wetland: 27 March 2010 (both shortly after construction was completed)
  • Cork oak dam: 18 October 2010
  • Larch dam: 3 July 2013 (shortly after construction was completed).


  • Regular reporting to the ACT FrogWatch Census on the Ginninderra Catchment Group's web site.
  • Periodic publication in the Friends' Newsletter and on the Arboretum's website.
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