Due to various projects and grants, our team has had the privilege of traveling to study different species of threatened amphibians around the world. Here you can find more information about our field work in different countries in south America and Asia.
February 17 - March 10, 2016
During our trip to the Bolivian Andes, we went to do field work. Our work was part of our project Extinction Risk Assessment for Andean Species of Ectotherms–ERASE, funded by a grant of the Spanish government to CSIC (PI I. de La Riva; Co-PI P. Burrowes). We had three main objectives:
To isolate the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus Batrchochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) from infected frogs in the Bolivian altiplano (3000-4000m) and in the lower cloud forests (1800-2600 m). For this we recruited theexpertise of Dr. Timothy James form the University of Michigan who is an expert on Bd evolution.
To measure operative temperatures that high altitude frogs experience throughout an altitudinal range of 2500-4700m, in order to inform models to predict the effect of global warming on frog distribution and disease prevalence.
To look for new species of Psychrophrynella’s, a genus of endemic Bolivian frogs with a very specific inter-Andean valley speciation pattern studied by Dr. I. De la Riva.
We had a wonderful trip -visited beautiful sites in the Bolivian Andes, had interesting cultural experiences, and best of all: fulfilled all our research goals!
The giant Titicaca lake frog
from the Andes of Bolivia
Hypsiboas balzani, in the Yungas = cloud forests of Bolivia
Weighing frog agar models to determine operative temperatures at different altitudes in the Andes.
Sharing with a "cholita" = Aymara women, the purpose of our field work.
Dr. Tim James from University of Michigan, with a T. culeus at Lake Titicaca
Drs. Ignacio De la Riva (MNCN, CSIC, Spain) and Patricia Burrowes (UPR) with Bolivian Amphibian Initiative biologist , Gabriel Callapa, getting ready to dive for T. culeus
ERASE trip to Bolivia # 2: Thermal Physiology, Evolution and Disease risk in high Andean frogs.
This year our ERASE project conducted its second trip to Bolivia. This time Dr. Ignacio de La Riva and myself were joined by Dr. Carlos Navas from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who is an expert in ectotherm thermal biology. With his help we were able to conduct really cool experiments with small high-Andean frogs to determine their preferred temperature ranges and study their performance at increasing temperatures so we can assess the risk they confront upon the eminent global warming. We also did work on systematics of Craugastorid frogs, sampled for Bd and worked towards attaining isolates from the highly threatened cloud forest frogs.
We visited the Philippines as part of our ERASE project with the idea of conducting preliminary field work on selected species that share similar ecologies with others in South America
I. de La Riva and P. Burrowes at the University of Phillipines at Los Baños, with herpetologist Dr. Letty Afuang (right) and director of Natural History Museum Juan Carlos Gonzalez (left)
Barbourula busuanguensis in Palawan
The most amazing aquatic frog!
We also had the opportunity to see huge monitor lizards = Barawaks, and hike tropical forests!
In April, 2019, we re-visited La Planada Nature Reserve in Nariño, Colombia. La Planada is a cloud forest nature reserve in the Pacific slopes of the Andes in Colombia.
The purpose: To do commence a re-survey of the amphibians of the area. Burrowes studied the amphibian community here in 1986; she found a very diverse fauna and describes several new species to science. The reserve has not been thoroughly re-studied since due to guerilla problems in the area. As part of our PARTED grant we hope to evaluate the status of the the amphibians in La Planada in light of all the threats of the Anthropocene like climate change and newly emerged diseases.
We found that some species are still there like Pristimantis chalceus (left) and Centrolene peristictum (right). Photos © Ignacio De la Riva.
The spectacled bear, Tremarctos ornatus is an iconic species of the reserve! Photo © Ignacio De la Riva.