EAST ALTON, Ill. – A study of southern Illinois’ threatened treefrog population is in its second year and it’s finding that the frogs’ habitat is declining.

The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) is conducting this research project in bald cypress swamps.

The bird-voiced treefrogs rely on bottomland forest swamps which “are rapidly declining and listed as wetlands of international importance,” according to NGRREC. Researchers are working to get a “more accurate assessment of population, abundance, growth and survival” of the frogs in southern Illinois.

“Overall, this species is very understudied, with a majority of the research taking place in the 1990s,” assistant scientist and research coordinator Jessica Mohlman said. “The previous studies also focused on only observational findings including diet and mating. We are now tracking individuals and gathering additional information including weight and length to better understand the species and its status in the state.”

The study is taking place at ten sites in Eastern Shawnee National Forest and Cache River-Cypress Creek. There is a total of 500 traps being used at the sites. When a frog is captured, it is “scanned for a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag” and then released back into the swamp.

“Wetlands are rich in biodiversity and beauty and are one of the most important habitat types in the world,” Mohlman said. “Go out to a local wetland and explore their beauty. Listen to the calls of the frogs and the birds.”