Allanna Daniels, 2016, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This summer, I worked as a research intern with Professor Alessandro Catenazzi to study the impact and prevalence of the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytritium dendrobatidis, on amphibian species on the eastern slope of the Andes in Peru. We studied amphibians at three different biological stations, each at different levels of elevation, to determine if the survival rates of specific species correlated to changes in elevation and/or temperature. We collected over 1,000 samples from mountain roads and hiking trails to determine prevalence and ran PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests to study the fungus. I swabbed frogs for the fungus, performed dissections, and at one station assisted a graduate student with his project to determine which species of frog, if any, was a possible carrier of the disease. As a side project, I also collected soil samples to study pH and moisture levels of previously sampled leaf litter plots. I now have a better understanding and command of DNA extraction techniques and sample collection in the field. I also semi-conquered my fear of spiders after working in the field. After this internship, I am certain that I would like to do my independent work mostly in a lab.