Indira Kissoondyal ’16
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Conservation of Montane Frogs from the Amazon to the Andes
The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytritium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused a massive decline in semi-aquatic frog populations throughout the eastern Andes for the past two decades. The main goal of this conservation project was to study and monitor the growth of this disease at differing elevations (2900, 1400, and 600 meters). We did so by testing over one thousand individual frogs, belonging to around 130 species, within a two-month period. To accomplish this, as a team of seven, we went out on daily night transects, searching for frogs along the side of a main road in addition to side trails. A central objective of the project was to identify a reservoir for the disease, in order to hypothesize techniques to eradicate Bd. Another main subject that my internship addressed was the level of alkaloids in a particular poison dart frog species; these alkaloids target specific receptors in the body, making it a potential cure for certain types of cancer. This internship helped me see the practicality of field research in real world applications, and increased my desire to become a research pharmacist.
Amazon Conservation Association, Peru
Alessandro Catenazzi, Southern Illinois University