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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:


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

Telmatobius culeus

The giant Titicaca lake frog

Psychrophrynella illimani

 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. 

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