Chris Smaga (Freshman) was awarded a research grant from the Chicago Herpetological Society Undergraduate Research in Herpetology program. He will be studying the impact of snake fungal disease (Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola) in Southern Illinois. Although still relatively unknown, this disease could become a substantial threat to native snakes species. Other fungal diseases, such as chytridiomycosis in amphibians and white nose syndrome in bats, have caused dramatic numerical losses, and in some cases local and regional extinction of wildlife. It is thus crucial to understand the potential for snake fungal disease to cause epizootics similar to those associated with these and other emerging fungal diseases. Chris’s proposal is very timely and a necessary first step towards this goal.
Congratulations to Chris and Andrew and best wishes for fun & productive times in the field!