Applications for the 2012 SAVE THE FROGS! Conference Travel Grant are now closed! Applications for the 2013 SAVE THE FROGS! Conference Travel Grant will open in early 2013.
Attending professional conferences and presenting one's research results is an integral part of a research scientist's education and training, and an important way to make professional contacts and quickly disseminate research results to a broader audience. Unfortunately, these conferences are often prohibitively expensive for students. SAVE THE FROGS! disburses $500 travel grants to graduate students presenting important research results at professional conferences.
While we did not have an official travel grant this year, we were pleased to send Ignas Safari an emergency grant of $60 to help him travel to a conference in Tanzania to present his results related to the dissection of frogs in Tanzanian schools.
SAVE THE FROGS! awarded a $500 conference travel grant to Aimee Silla, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia, to present her lecture entitled "Effect of multiple priming injections of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone on spermiation and ovulation in Gϋnther's Toadlet, Pseudophryne guentheri" at the Joint Meeting of Herpetologists and Ichthyologists in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 6-11, 2011. Congratulations Aimee!
In most vertebrates, gametogenesis and gamete-release depend on the pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH). Studies attempting to artificially stimulate ovulation and spermiation in frogs may benefit from mimicking the naturally episodic secretion of LHRH by administering multiple priming injections of a synthetic analogue. This study investigated the impact of multiple priming injections of LHRHa on gamete-release in the Australian toadlet Pseudophryne guentheri. Toadlets were administered a single dose of 2µg/g LHRHa without a priming injection (no priming), or preceded by one (one priming) or two (two priming) injections of 0.4µg/g LHRHa. No priming induced the release of the highest number of spermatozoa, with a step-wise decrease in the number of spermatozoa released in the one and two priming treatments respectively. No significant difference in sperm viability was detected among treatments. Control females failed to released oocytes, while those administered an ovulatory dose without priming exhibited a poor ovulatory response. The remaining two priming treatments (one and two priming) successfully induced 100% of females to expel an entire clutch. Oocytes obtained from the no, or two priming treatments all failed to fertilise, however oocytes obtained from the one priming treatment displayed an average fertilisation success of 97%. In conclusion, results from this study show that ovulation is most effectively induced in female P. guentheri by administering a single priming injection prior to a higher dose of LHRHa. In contrast, spermiation was most effectively induced by the administration of a single LHRHa injection in the absence of priming.
Thoughts from the winner:
"My presentation will discuss results from a project aimed at refining hormonal induction of spermiation protocols for an Australian frog of the genus Pseudophryne. Of the 13 recognized species within this genus, over 38% are listed by the IUCN redlist as threatened with extinction. The ability to successfully induce sperm release is an important step towards being able to propagate endangered species in captivity using IVF techniques. My presentation will be part of a symposium titled "Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and Genetic Resource Banking: Tools for Conserving Declining Amphibians." Being part of this symposium will allow me to discuss advancements and future directions in the field of amphibian ART will fellow experts. I hope that these discussions will help to increase the number of endangered species globally that can be bred in captivity using ART in the near future."
A $500 conference travel grant was awarded to Ms. Taegan McMahon, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, to present her lecture entitled "Chlorothalonil: an immunomodulatory and deadly fungicide to amphibians" at the Joint Meeting of Herpetologists and Ichthyologists in Providence, Rhode Island July 7-12, 2010.
Title: Chlorothalonil: an immunomodulatory and deadly fungicide to amphibians
Authors: Taegan McMahon, Neal Halstead, Steve Johnson, Thomas R. Raffel, John M. Romansic, Patrick W. Crumrine, Raoul K. Boughton, Lynn B. Martin, and Jason R. Rohr
Agrochemicals have been implicated in amphibian declines, but most tested agrochemicals do not kill amphibians at concentrations found commonly in the environment. However, many of the ~100,000 registered chemicals have not been thoroughly tested on amphibians. One understudied pesticide is chlorothalonil, the most commonly used synthetic fungicide in the U.S. We reared Rana sphenocephala and Osteopilus septentrionalis in outdoor mesocosms for five weeks in the presence or absence of one and two times the expected environmental concentration (EEC; 164 µg/L) of chlorothalonil. The EEC was associated with 99.5% and 97.8% mortality of R. sphenocephala and O. septentrionalis, respectively, and 2x the EEC caused 100% mortality. We then conducted three static renewal, dose-response experiments on O. septentrionalis, Hyla squirella, H. cinerea, and R. sphenocephala. The EEC of chlorothalonil caused 100% mortality of all species within 24 hours, half the EEC killed 100% of R. sphenocephala, and the lowest concentration tested, 0.0164 µg/L, caused significant mortality. The dose-response was non-monotonic, with only low and high concentrations causing significant mortality, these concentrations were also associated with elevated Corticosterone levels. Additionally, chlorothalonil concentration was negatively associated with liver health and numbers of immune cells in the liver (<16.4 µg/L). Given that chlorothalonil: killed nearly every tadpole at the EEC, caused significant mortality four orders of magnitude below the EEC, induced immunosuppression at environmentally common concentrations, and has been regularly detected at or below the EEC in regions where amphibian are going extinct, chlorothalonil exposure has the potential to directly and indirectly cause amphibian declines.
Thoughts from the winner
"This presentation will help enlighten people about the harmful effects of the most commonly used synthetic fungicide (second most commonly used fungicide) in the United States on amphibian populations. It highlights the fact that even when some pesticides are used at or below the recommended "safe" levels, they can completely decimate amphibian populations. People use pesticides like chlorothalonil on their gardens and many have no idea how harmful it can be not only to themselves, but also to the environment. We've not found the no observable effect concentration for this commonly used chemical; in fact 1000x below the EEC it is still deadly to amphibians. I feel really strongly that research which shows people that their behaviors (for example pesticide use) can have direct effects on the environments health is extremely impactful and pertinent."
Taegan's work on the deadly fungicide chlorothalonil was highlighted in the St. Petersburg Times article "USF study concludes that common fungicide is deadly to frogs".
Note: Trade names for chlorothalonil include Bravo, Chlorothalonil, Daconil 2787, Echo, Exotherm Termil, Forturf, Mold-Ex, Nopcocide N-96, Ole, Pillarich, Repulse, and Tuffcide. The compound can be found in formulations with many other pesticide compounds.
A $500 conference travel grant was awarded to Ms. Kris Kaiser, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UCLA, to present her lecture entitled "When sounds collide: Effects of anthropogenic noise on frog calling behavior" at the Joint Meeting of Herpetologists and Ichthyologists in Portland Oregon July 22-27, 2009.
Title: When sounds collide: Effects of anthropogenic noise on frog calling behavior
Authors: Kristine Kaiser, Menemsha Alloush, Robin M. Jones, Susanne Marczak, Katherine S. Martineau, Mark V. Oliva, Peter M. Narins
Differential susceptibility of amphibians to habitat degradation and fragmentation is not well understood. Existing studies of amphibian response to anthropogenic change typically correlate with or model life history traits; few relevant behavioral data exist. Among the most poorly understood effects of habitat change are those resulting from an increased complexity of the acoustic environment, e.g., from the presence of anthropogenic noise. Here we test the hypothesis that car engine noise differentially affects disturbance-tolerant and disturbance-sensitive species. We carried out playback experiments with anthropogenic noise on seven frog species in Belize. We also chose one focal species, Dendropsophus microcephalus, to determine if this noise affected chorus tenure for individuals, or length of chorus. We used mark-recapture at two ponds: one where noise was broadcast each night and one where no noise was ever played (control). We found that species respond to noise differentially, with the most forest-dwelling species being least likely to call in the face of noise. Chorus tenure and number of times recaptured were both significantly greater at the control pond. Lengths of nightly chorus were equivalent at the beginning of the study, but were significantly different after two months. Taken together, these results suggest that the acoustic landscape acts as any other environmental parameter, shaping which species will persist, and which species may perish. While frogs are known to employ a suite of mechanisms to cope with biotic noise, this is the first investigation demonstrating chorus-level effects of anthropogenic acoustic disturbances in amphibians.
This grant will be awarded to a highly qualified student to present a lecture on their amphibian research at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in August 2012. Applicants will be judged on the quality and conservation value of their research.
Poster presentations will NOT be funded. To apply, one must be a member of SAVE THE FROGS!. Applications for the 2013 SAVE THE FROGS! Conference Travel Grant must be received by May 1st, 2012. Winners will be announced by the end of May.
Please be sure to read the terms and conditions prior to applying!
Submit your application here (starting in January 2012). Good luck!
These awards are funded by members of the public who share our concerns. The government does not provide SAVE THE FROGS! with any monetary assistance and thus we depend on you! Our goal is to provide as many of these awards as possible, as each award contributes significantly to amphibian conservation, but we can only do so with your support. Thanks!