Frosch im Wassertropfen Citizen Science Project
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The frog in the water drop: Tyrol-wide assessment of amphibian populations and the occurrence of the Chytrid fungus via a Citizen Science approach

Amphibians, frogs, toads, toads, salamanders and newts, inhabit two worlds - land and water. The latter is needed for o

viposition and youth development, but also as adults, many species like to frolic in the wet. However, these charismatic creatures are increasingly threatened by the disappearance of suitable habitats and by the construction of roads, the use of pesticides or introduced diseases, and their stocks are steadily declining, although they are also strictly protected in Austria.

Natural (garden) ponds and other micro-waters can be important habitats and retreats for this endangered group of animals and thus help to ensure the survival of frogs & Co. So far, it has been impossible to check all these small bodies of water for the occurrence of the 13 species of amphibians native to Tyrol, in order to determine their distribution and thus the degree of their endangerment, since such large monitoring programs would not be financially viable due to the enormous time and personnel involved.

With our University of Innsbruck anniversary project, we will solve this problem by detecting eDNA. It is the DNA that is continuously released by the amphibians in small amounts into the surrounding water and which we can identify with our molecular assays. The species are thus detected by their "DNA fingerprint" that they leave behind in their environment. This allows a fast and reliable detection of all amphibian species. With this new technology, the occurrence of amphibians in Tyrol across a large range of waterbodies can be comprehensively surveyed for the first time within the 2019 anniversary year.


Through the Citizen Science approach of our project, the broad public is directly involved: Garden owners, nature conservation enthusiasts and other interested people take water samples independently with our simple collection kits, which are then analyzed in our laboratories. The participants will then find out which amphibian species live in their waters.

The project is supported by the eDNA spin-off company Sinsoma.

For more information, videos and current updates on the project visit the project webpage (in German only):


ATE members involved in the "Frosch im Wassertropfen" project:

Martina Nindl, Corinna Wallinger, Daniela Sint, Michael Traugott (PI)

Dominik Kirschner Sinsoma GmbH

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