Amphibian Survival Alliance Seed Grant Program: Small Investments with Huge Returns By Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx
he Amphibian Survival Alliance Seed Grant Program supports a variety of projects that may not otherwise receive the funding necessary to drive them onwards to success. These relatively small investments provide individuals the opportunity to pilot creative initiatives and research projects that we believe will have a positive impact on amphibians. In many cases, these grants encourage the multidisciplinary thinking and solutions necessary to address the most pressing conservation issues amphibians face today. Some of the projects we support help build the leadership and local capacity urgently needed for on-the-ground conservation success, while others promote unique collaborations between different groups including academic institutions, governments, organizations, businesses and individuals. By fostering new areas of research while both encouraging and enhancing partnerships, these grants demonstrate that successful amphibian conservation outcomes can be achieved at a relatively low-cost. When reviewing the projects, we look for those types of projects that are most likely to have on the ground conservation impact. Project don’t need to be restricted to the tropics and the focal species don’t need to be threatened but if they aren’t, there needs to be a clear indication as to how the work can help threatened amphibians. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the next open call for seed grant applications. Full details and an online application
form can be found at www.amphibians.org/seedgrants. Our seed grants are normally awarded in amounts ranging from USD $500– 1,000. While we accept and review seed grants all year, grants are only announced four times per year in FrogLog: ●● December 1st for seed grants announced in January ●● March 1st for seed grants announced in April ●● June 1st for seed grants announced in July ●● September 1st for seed grants announced in October As you can imagine, we unfortunately receive more seed grant applications than we are able to fund at this time. If you feel seed grants are important for the future of amphibian conservation and are interested in supporting a seed grant or establishing a fund to support these activities please email Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx, director of communications and partnerships, to arrange a time to discuss options. And with that, the Alliance is pleased to announce the latest round of Seed Grants awardees: ●● Sara Costa: Ecotoxicological studies as a tool on amphibians’ disease risk assessment. ●● Dr. Paul A. Hoskisson: The use of eDNA to evaluate and monitor the Golden Tree Frog (phytotriades auratus) population. ●● Thomas Doherty-Bone: Assessing the status of amphibians on Mountains Kupe and Nlonako in the wake of disease-associated declines in the Highlands of Cameroon.
Ecotoxicological Studies as a Tool on Amphibians’ Disease Risk Assessment By Sara Costa, Emanuele Fasola, Barbara Santos, Ariana Moutinho, Nuno Costa & Isabel Lopes
mphibian natural populations are strongly affected by pathogenic agents (1,2). The risk of disease is dependent on the pathogen environmental conditions, capacity of infection and the host’s susceptibility to disease. Changing the environment, in which amphibians thrive, modifies the distribution, increases the risk for diseases transmission and even affects the ecology of populations. Therefore, chemical contamination can act as stressor both for host and/or pathogens and can change the host-pathogen's dynamics (3,4). Saprolegnia spp. has been responsible for large economic losses in aquaculture industry. Furthermore, it frequently causes infections and population losses in amphibians (2). The interaction of environmental changes with pathogen has been assigned as a reliable explanation for the emergence of infections (in places where they were not previously reported). Hence, it is important to understand the effects that environmental changes can have on pathogens and clarify potential interactions between disease and environmental changes. To study this subject, generate new knowledge and promote a more accurate conservation of amphibians, ecotoxicological methodologies will be carried out. Alarming projections for sea levels rise foresee the salinization of low-lying coastal freshwater ecosystems (due to the intrusion of seawater), which will affect ecologically important biodiversity hotspot (which usually holds high amphibian’s diversity). It is also
aimed to study the effects of metal contamination because it is almost ubiquitous and correlated to anthropogenic activity. Therefore two chemical perturbation scenarios will be studied: increased
Ribeiro da Água Forte, metal contaminated effluent used on ecotoxicological assays. This water body drains an area of mining slug, which have for decades have been a source of acid waters impacting groundwater and soils, including Pelophylax perezi habitat in Aljustrel. Portugal. Photo: Sara Costa.
6 | FrogLog 23 (2), Number 114 (April 2015)
Conservation news for the herpetological community.