Frogs and Bushfire
Image: Brown Tree Frog, Litoria ewingii, Lake Condah, Victoria. Photographer: David Paul.
Curation notes by: Jane Melville, Senior Curator of Herpetology Museums Victoria, Katie Date, Collections Manager Museums Victoria, Dominique Potvin, University of the Sunshine Coast and Lucinda Horrocks, Wind & Sky Productions.Contributors
This material has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0).Copyright
Copyright in image with Museums Victoria. Copyright in text with the authors Jane Melville, Katie Date, Dominique Potvin, and Lucinda Horrocks.
In the forests of Victoria, bushfires have been an inevitable aspect of our hot dry summers for along time.
Some native species have adapted to cycles of bushfire but with climate change we expect to see hotter fires burning more often.
How will native animals cope with the trauma of more frequent and more extreme fire events?
In February 2009 the small township of Kinglake was engulfed by the most devastating fire in terms of loss of life in Australia’s recent history. Sadly, 119 people died, 1242 homes were destroyed and 125,383 hectares burned in the East Kilmore (Kinglake) fire, a large part of the ferocious Victorian Black Saturday fires which claimed a tragic 173 lives in total.
The Kinglake fire was also catastrophic for wildlife including a population of tree frogs Museums Victoria researchers Jane Melville, Katie Date and Dominique Potvin had been studying for two years.
After the fire the question for the researchers became: what was the effect of this bush fire on the frog populations? Could there be any frogs left in the area? And would they start repopulating?
Pictured here is the brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii), a very common species in the Kinglake area before the Black Saturday bushfire hit.
Curation notes by: Jane Melville, Senior Curator of Herpetology Museums Victoria, Katie Date, Collections Manager Museums Victoria, Dominique Potvin, University of the Sunshine Coast and Lucinda Horrocks, Wind & Sky Productions.