Our annual newsletter highlights our 2022 accomplishments in frog recovery, disease ecology research, and mentoring of next-generation scientists! This year, our newsletter shares their voices and views on working in wilderness, learning research skills, and being part of an ongoing conservation project. In short, it takes a village. You can learn how we fund mountain-yellow legged frog recovery, and how you can help (like donating your used smartphone!). A big thank you to our hard-working technicians, the staff at UC Santa Barbara Earth Research Institute and the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, and all of our agency partners in frog conservation for a successful season!
“What do frogs do in winter?” That is a question we hear frequently. Meters-thick ice covers high elevation Sierra Nevada lakes for about nine months of the year. For an animal that spends summer days lounging on rocks in the sun, winter imposes a radical shift in lifestyle. But historically, we could not document frog winter behavior through direct observation. Although scuba diving allows observation of some taxa, winter ice, elevation, and remoteness prevent us from diving in Sierra lakes.
Enter David Lang and his team, who developed the Trident underwater drone at OpenROV and Sofar Ocean Technologies. Over the past few years, our team used a Trident to search for frogs in a frozen lake. This technology allowed us to find frogs and tadpoles, and to capture video to document their overwintering behavior. David and some of his colleagues joined us at our study lake on two late winter expeditions and experienced our “eureka” moments in which we saw frogs and tadpoles as never before. Through the lens of the Trident and the VR goggles, we finally saw the frog’s eye view of life under the ice.
In his recent OneZero article, David describes how the Trident makes this project possible. More generally, he explores the potential for tech to enhance conservation projects. We are happy to see David’s story published, and honored that he focused on our project. Read his story here.