Education and Outreach
Here we highlight some of the methods we use in the lab to study amphibians and track their disease ecology.
Inserting PIT´s in small frogs
In the video below Junangel Aleman Rios, a research assitant in my lab, shows how to insert Passive Internal Tranponders (PIT´s) in small, terrestrial, direct-developing frogs. We have been very successful marking, tracking and recapturing Eleutherodactylus coqui frogs (>28 mm) using this technique!
AMP extraction procedure
In order to understand how the frog's immune system works in response to the chytrid fungus infection and at what age it starts developing, we do a procedure to collect AMP (Anti-Microbial Peptides) which are defense molecules from the skin. On the image below (left), you can see how we inject a solution of norepinephrine to the frogs, which causes them to stress and release skin secretions. After injections, the frogs remain in a bag with sterile water for 15 minutes as seen on the image below (right).
Marking juvenile frogs with VIE´s
The image below (left) shows a juvenile Eleutherodactylus coqui frog (22 mm) that has been marked with a single color Visual Internal Elastomer(VIE). We have used this method very successfully to mark and track juvenile cohorts of small frogs in this direct-developing species, but it can also be used to mark cohorts of young metamorphs of other species! The peculiar thing about this method is that the VIE shines in UV light, so we can mark them and then in the future check for tags with a UV flashlight (see image below (right)).
Disease Ecology in the Curriculum
The curriculum of undergraduate courses like Zoology (Biol 3425) at UPR have been modified to include topics that will provide content knowledge, case studies and activities to understand the impact of emergent infection diseased in wild animals. By clicking this image you will have access to the course syllabus.