Northwest Nazarene University’s Biology Professor Dr. John Cossel traveled to Bolivia this spring with two biology students to research amphibians that are threatened with extinction.
Students Heather Craig, a junior from Fairbanks, Alaska; Kyle Luthman, a junior from Nampa, Idaho; and Dr. Erik Lindquist, a colleague from Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania, spent four days with Cossel in the Lake Titicaca basin swabbing amphibians and reptiles for Batrachochytrium dendrabatidis (Bd), the same fungus that has been implicated as a major cause of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Lake Titicaca sits nearly 12,500 feet above sea level and is home to a completely aquatic frog. The endangered Lake Titicacan frog (Telmatobius culeus) may be suffering from Bd, hence the efforts by Cossel and his team to discover if this is true. Several amphibians there are also experiencing near extinction.
The group’s research included traveling into the cloud forest using digital audio recordings to get mating calls as well as swabbing for the Bd. The research trip also included another 1,000-ft ascent as they studied amphibians in the Andean tundra. The group used a digital audio recorder to obtain mating calls of frogs, which they will describe in scientific journals. Fearing that these high-elevation frogs might also have the fungus, they were swabbed for Bd as well.
Dr. Cossel was pleased with the research data obtained by the team and stated, “This was an amazing trip. Our research was challenging, but we collected a lot of valuable data in a relatively short time.”
For more information, contact Dr. John Cossel at JOCossel@NNU.Edu.
PHOTO CAPTION: The endangered Lake Titicacan Frog.