Frog movement and habitat selection

Oregon Spotted Frog Winter telemetry

Kristina Robbins looking for Oregon Spotted Frog with radio-telemetry. Photo: Isabelle Groc

We track frogs to learn about how they move and what kind of habitat they choose. Since 2010, we have run eight separate programs in which we have followed frogs around in their habitat.

Each frog is equipped with a small belt made of glass beads onto which a radio transmitter is placed.

The transmitters emit a pulse with a unique radio frequency. Using a hand-held radio receivers we are able to tune into each frog’s frequency and find the exact location of the frog by moving towards the source of the signal. Like a game of “hot and cold,” the signal gets louder as the receiver gets closer to the transmitter. It’s harder than it sounds, but very rewarding when you find the frog!

We collect information about the habitat that the frog has chosen (eg. water depth, vegetative structure), as well as location.

The data has been used to identify habitat features selected by the frog across the seasons, to assess movement patterns. It has been critical in informing habitat management and restoration, and the lessons learned are applied to identifying and preparing suitable habitats for frog translocations (introductions into historic or new habitats).