Monitoring post-release survival of the northern corroboree frog, Pseudophryne pengilleyi, using environmental DNA

Captive breeding and subsequent reintroductions are important in combating extinctions, but post-survival release, especially for cryptic species, can be difficult to determine. Australia is home to two endangered species of the corroboree frog, the northern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) and the southern corrobore frog (P. corroboree). Captive-bred individuals of the two species are periodically released into their historic range as eggs or juveniles. Because post-release monitoring currently relies on calls of mature males (>3 yrs of age), survival is unknown for a few years following release.

A corroboree frog-specific eDNA assay was developed to aid in the post-release survival monitoring of P. pengilleyi in naturally occurring pools. The eDNA surveys were able to demonstrate, for the first time, successful egg hatching and continued survival of the endangered Northern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) in the wild following the reintroduction of captive bred eggs. This demonstrated the utility of eDNA surveys to monitor post-release survival of translocated populations which is useful in informing management and future release strategies.

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Project Leader

Jack Rojahn