Our lab contributed to the first report of Ranavirus presence in Colombia. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries for amphibians, boasting record numbers of frog and caecilian species. The study found Ranavirus in 14 of 274 individuals from 8 of 41 sampled localities, including highland and lowland sites. Infected frogs represented five native species of the genera Osornophryne, Pristimantis (such as P. bogotensis of the photo by Giovanni Alberto Chaves Portilla) and Leptodactylus, as well as the invasive American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana. Ranavirus can cause systemic hemorrhages, erythema on the lips, regurgitation, bleeding, muscle abnormalities and ulceration in infected amphibians. Ranavirus outbreaks have coincided with mass die off in amphibian populations, as documented in North America and Europe. However, little is known about the distribution and consequences of Ranavirus infection in tropical mountains and forests, where emergent diseases threaten amphibian biodiversity. The study is led by Dr. Vicky Flechas, and has been published in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.
Citation: Flechas, S. V., J. Urbina, A. J. Crawford, K. Gutierrez, K. Corrales, L. A. Castellanos, M. A. González, A. M. Cuervo, and A. Catenazzi. First evidence of Ranavirus in native and invasive amphibians in Colombia. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 16: 153:51-58. doi: 10.3354/dao03717.
Congrats to Anne for winning the award for the best 15 minute talk at the 2023 FIU Biosymposium! She presented the results of her research on the impact of carbon nanoparticles on the growth, development, and telomere length of tadpoles of the invasive Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis). Nanoparticles such as carbon dots could disrupt the development of amphibian larvae, as seen in zebrafish embryos. Anne's experiment however did not detect variation in development and telomere length.
Isabel gave the second lab presentation in the 5 minute 'lightning' talks session, titled Environmental factors that determine the richness and abundance of amphibians in the elevational gradient of the Amazonian Andes. Her research, part of her undergraduate thesis, explored the influence of variables such as soil pH, soil nutrient concentration, and vegetation structure and canopy coverage on the distribution of montane and high-elevation terrestrial frogs in Manu National Park in southern Peru.
The FIU Biosymposium is an annual celebration of research conducted by Graduate Students in the Biological Sciences at FIU. The purpose of the meeting is to allow students to present their projects and results in a friendly, yet professional, atmosphere, and to provide opportunities for prospective graduate students to meet students and learn about FIU research.
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