What amphibians can be found in your local biome? What is the range of a particular amphibian, say the Great Plains toad? What does that toad look like? How does it sing?
|hear call (10337.1K WAV file)|
Great source to supplement geography lessons: Amphibiaweb, a special project at the University of California – Berkeley.
Quite student friendly — get to the world map, click on your continent (ooh! kids gotta know what continent they’re on! see social studies TEKS, World geography 4.C, U.S. history 8, World history 11), click on your country, if you’re in the U.S., click on your state. Photos, maps of the range, scientific names, sound recordings of their calls, description, conservation status.
AmphibiaWeb is an online system enabling anyone with a Web browser to search and retrieve information relating to amphibian biology and conservation. This site was inspired by the global declines of amphibians, the study of which has been hindered by the lack of multidisplinary studies and a lack of coordination in monitoring, in field studies, and in lab studies. We hope AmphibiaWeb will encourage a shared vision for the study of global amphibian declines and the conservation of remaining amphibians.
We have the ambitious goal of establishing a “home page” for every species of amphibian in the world. In order to accomplish this goal we encourage volunteers and specialists to help us prepare species accounts. If you have special interest in a particular species, please contact us.
AmphibiaWeb already offers ready access to taxonomic information for recognized species of amphibian in the world. Species accounts are being added regularly by specialists and volunteers and they contain species descriptions, life history information, conservation status, literature references, photos and range maps for many species. Some species have complete accounts; others as yet have only photographs or maps. But all species can be queried for taxonomic, distributional and exact specimen data.
AmphibiaWeb currently (Aug 16, 2007) contains 6190 species, for which we have approximately 1371 species accounts, 1172 distribution maps, 3602 literature references, 153 sound files, and 9901 photos of 2000 different amphibian species. These data come from numerous individuals–please see our acknowledgements page for information about our contributors.
AmphibiaWeb has been created in conjunction with the Digital Library Project at the University of California, Berkeley, which hosts this Web site and developed the technology used for viewing species information and photos.
This is the sort of tool that can make classes interesting for students. Alas, it is also exactly the sort of tool that can be targeted by state boards of education in their attempts to purge social studies curricula of material they find “offensive,” such as the fact that amphibians worldwide are in decline, with many endangered by climate change, habitat destruction, and chemical abuse.
This should be a straightforward tool. Some of us recall when the Texas State Board of Education complained about environmental science texts because they mentioned global warming. These maps and databases from Berkeley are tools in the war against ignorance.