Opportunities - Bachelor of Science (Honours)

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) is an additional one-year full-time research program undertaken after completing an undergraduate degree. Honours involves an independent research project and is worth 

80 credit points. It culminates in a written thesis, seminar, and possible scientific publication.

Applications close Friday, 31 January 2020!

"Impacts of fire-fighting chemicals on endangered frogs: Implications for conservation and management"

Supervisors: Dr. Chantal Lanctot (ARI), Dr. Clare Morrison (EFRI and ESC), Dr. Laura Grogan, Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group) and Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: Wildland fires have been increasing in frequency and severity in recent years, and this trend is predicted to continue within projected climate change scenarios. Fire-fighting services use a variety of chemicals, including long-term retardants, foams and water enhancers, to aid in the suppression of fires. The impact of current firefighting chemicals on endemic wildlife is poorly understood.​ ​This project will investigate the impact of firefighting chemicals on endangered Fleay's barred frog tadpoles (Mixophyes fleayi) in the laboratory. 

The Erickson Air-Crane can fight fire with retardant or water. The pilots can select the mix as they make the drop. Red retardant is usually dropped ahead of the fire to keep flames from spreading (https://www.flyingmag.com/photo-gallery/photos/erickson-air-crane-photos/)

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: c.lanctot@griffith.edu.au

Australian seasonal bushfire outlook, as of August 2019. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC/Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council

"Mapping the impacts of fire-fighting chemicals on endangered frog habitats"

Supervisors: Dr. Clare Morrison (EFRI and ESC), Dr. Chantal Lanctot (ARI), Dr. Guy Castley (EFRI and ESC), Dr. Laura Grogan, Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), and Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: The recent unprecedented bushfire season that is emerging in eastern Australia this spring has seen firefighting chemicals being applied to otherwise pristine high-altitude forest environments, that are home to many native frog species, including range-restricted endangered species such as Fleay's barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi). Given the known sensitivity of amphibians to chemical contaminants, assessing the impacts of these fire-fighting chemicals on threatened amphibians is of high concern. This project will investigate the distribution, concentration and potential accumulation of firefighting chemicals on endangered frog habitats via a combination of field sampling, sample processing and GIS mapping. 

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: c.morrison@griffith.edu.au

"Tadpoles as a reservoir of the lethal frog chytrid fungal disease – measuring sublethal effects on growth, time to metamorphosis and ability to forage (mouthpart loss)"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: The amphibian fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis, has caused more declines and species extinctions around the world than any other disease ever recorded. Although tadpoles usually do not die from the disease, they can act as a source of infection for recently metamorphosed frogs.

 

This project will investigate the role of tadpoles as a reservoir host for the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. The project involves laboratory work with tadpoles of the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) and sympatric species. We usually test for infection on tadpoles and frogs using sterile cotton-tipped skin swabs (for more details, see https://www.mccallum-disease-ecology.com/single-post/2018/09/06/First-frogs-of-the-season). There will be opportunities for fieldwork as well.

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3

Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

"Establishing the conservation status of south-east Queensland’s amphibians - occupancy surveys and species distribution models"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: The mountain rainforests around south-east QLD and north-east NSW are a local hotspot for amphibians, with > 40 frog species being found here. However, amphibians are in peril – they are the most endangered vertebrate class, suffering a multitude of threats including habitat loss, disease, pollution, climate change, and invasive species. Seven species of Australian frogs have become extinct since the 1970s due to disease alone, three of them in this region. Unfortunately, lack of funding has precluded monitoring of these populations since 2008.

This project aims to survey amphibian populations across this region to improve our understanding of the conservation status of these frog species, comparing current data with historical data. The collected data will be analysed via occupancy modelling and species distribution modelling.

The project will involve extensive fieldwork (primarily via stream transects) to a range of sites around the region, accompanied by commenced PhD candidate, Thais Sasso Lopes. This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

"Impacts of chytrid fungus on the survival of juvenile endangered Fleay’s barred frogs,

Mixophyes fleayi, and importance for population recruitment"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: Metamorphosis is a perilous time for frogs – not only are metamorphs particularly prone to predation, but the transition from tadpole to frog also involves restructuring of the immune system, rendering metamorphs highly susceptible to the fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis.

 

This project will investigate the effects of chytrid infection, including survival and sublethal effects on tadpoles as they approach and transition through metamorphosis to become juvenile frogs. The project involves laboratory work with tadpoles and frogs of the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi). There will be opportunities for fieldwork as well.

 

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

"Measuring the infection resistance versus tolerance of barred frogs to the devastating

chytrid fungal disease to improve management outcomes"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: Animal defences against infection involve two distinct but complementary mechanisms: tolerance and resistance. Tolerance measures the animal host’s ability to limit detrimental effects from a given infection, whereas resistance is the ability to limit the intensity of that infection. Unlike resistance, tolerance does not affect pathogen fitness, and hence does not promote antagonistic counteradaptation.

 

The aim of this project is to quantify measures of resistance and tolerance across host types and infection stages using the devastating amphibian chytrid fungal disease as a model. The project will involve laboratory work with captive endangered Fleay’s barred frogs (Mixophyes fleayi) to compare frog fitness with infection burden. We usually test for infection on tadpoles and frogs using sterile cotton-tipped skin swabs (for more details, see https://www.mccallum-disease-ecology.com/single-post/2018/09/06/First-frogs-of-the-season). There will be opportunities for fieldwork as well.

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3

Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

"Can frogs be ‘vaccinated’ by antifungal treatment of active infections to develop

protective immunity to the devastating chytrid fungus?"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: Chytridiomycosis is a devastating fungal disease of amphibians that has caused the decline and extinction of > 90 frog species around the world. Despite two decades of research, no control strategies suitable for use in wild populations have been developed. Despite early reports that frogs fail to respond to ‘vaccination’ against the chytrid fungus, there’s building evidence that suggests the problem is instead suppression of frog immunity by the fungus. Indeed, several compounds produced by the fungus have been identified. Suppressing these compounds during active infections followed by treatment with an antifungal agent may be able to effectively ‘vaccinate’ long-lived frogs against the fungus. This project involves work with the long-lived endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) in the laboratory, treating active infections and monitoring responses to re-infection. There will also be opportunities for field work.

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

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