Amphibian Disease Ecology Lab
Dr. Patricia Burrowes
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico
Río Piedras Campus
Patricia A. Burrowes
Ph.D. in Ecology and Systematics/Herpetology
University of Kansas, Lawrence KS USA
Advisor: Dr. William E. Duellman
Present Contact Information:
Department of Biology,
University of Puerto Rico
PO BOx 23360
San Juan, PR 00931-3360.
Phone: (787) 764-0000 Ext. 88124
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Junangel Aleman Rios
I am a graduate researcher from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. I completed my bachelor’s degree in integrative biology, as well as a second concentration in environmental sciences. My research interests include behavioral ecology of amphibians, environmental education and technology development for research. I collaborate in Riccardo Papa's lab, on the genetics and genomics of color and shape of butterfly wings. I've also collaborated on a major acoustics census project with Rainforest Connections that involved data collection in 838 sites and over 1,500,000 recordings. Future plans involve enrolling in graduate school and pursuing a career in biology research.
I’m currently carrying out my thesis in the “Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales” (Madrid, Spain) under the co-supervision of Dr. P.A. Burrowes and I. De la Riva. I am studying the natural history of Barbourula busuangensis, a primitive, aquatic frog endemic to the Philippine island of Palawan and other adjacent islands. There is very limited information on B. busuangensis’s distribution, ecology and natural history. Therefore, the main goal of my dissertation is to discover as much as I can to fill-in this gap. In the field, mainly in the island of Busuanga, I monitor populations along riverbanks and use PIT to mark the adults and VIE’s for the juveniles. With this data, I can learn about individuals age, growth, reproductive condition, health status (Chytridiomycosis), movement patterns, and even estimate population structure and size. I hope that my devoted observations will reveal details of their reproductive biology (courtship, calls, reproductive mode, etc.), environmental phenology, and other aspects of their natural history.
I am a doctoral student currently working on my thesis in the “Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturale”s (CSIC- “Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas”) in Madrid, under the co-supervision of Dr. P.A. Burrowes and I. De la Riva. I am interested in systematics, ecology, bioacoustics, biogeography, disease ecology and conservation of tropical herpetofauna. For my dissertation, I am investigating the potential role of Anthropocene stressors, specifically climate change and emergent infectious diseases on the amphibian species of La Planada, a cloud forest reserve in the Andes of Southern Colombia that was comprehensively studied by Burrowes in 1986. I am looking for patterns of change in the richness, abundance and community composition, and for potential associations with environmental factors, as well as, the presence of the pathogenic fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) that causes the disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians. At the same time, I am taking advantage of the unique biogeographic situation of this reserve to explore the diversity and evolutionary complexity of certain amphibian groups with hopes that I may help to clarify certain taxonomic problems.
My research interests include eco-physiology and population biology of tropical anurans. My thesis involves studying populations of a local endemic tree frog, Eleutherodactylus portoricensis, under two risk factors: climate warming and disease. I am investigating the potential role of increasing temperatures and the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in causing the evident range contraction of E. portoricensisto higher elevations. This work takes me to the humid forests of the mountains, requires some molecular biology lab work, and lots of experimental creativity to assess the thermal biology of this species. The good news….is that I enjoy all of it!
My interests and contributions to the lab include: disease ecology, behavioral ecology and quantitative ecology. My Master's reserch has changed significantly since hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on september 2017. Currently I am interested on the effectthe hurricane had on amphibian population abundance, structure, habitat use, and response to the pathogenic chytrid fungus.
Peter, Janelle and Patricia discussing the field work plan for the night.
Currently, our lab has 6 undergraduate students who have all shown great interest, commitment, potential and leadership skills while being a part of our herpetology family. Below are a collection of pictures during lab and field work. We strive to teach and mentor students that show i special interest in disease dymanics and that are willing to accept the challenge of joining our lab and learn research skills from the field to the lab.
Lynn Moreira, Emmanuel Santiago and Paola Burgos (from left to right) swabbing Eleutherodactylus coqui frogs for future DNA extraction procedures
Zuania Colon, Lynn Moreira and Roberto Oliveras (from left to right) getting the Eleutherodactylus coqui frogs ready for snout to vent length and weight measurements. Zuania Colon is a graduate student from the University of Florida, who came to help out, as part of frequent collaborations with Ana Longo's research lab.
Junangel Aleman Rios, helping Nicole Padro and Roberto Oliveras (left to right) with a juvenile frog that was tricky to swab due to its miniscule size.
Lynn Moreira, Nicole Padro and Paola Burgos (left to right), excited to start field work after just arriving at our study site at El Yunque National Forest.
Claudia Saldana excited and relieved that she just completed her first insertion procedure of a Passive Internal Transponder tag to an adult Eleutherodactylus coqui frog.
Emmanuel Santiago and Junangel Aleman Rios giving Camila Adorno a boost in order to capture an Eleutherodactylus coqui frog that happened to chose a 4 meter calling site. Camila Adorno is a frequent undergraduate student volunteer from the University of Sacred Heart.