Congratulations to our PhD student Josie Humphries, who was awarded $2000 by the Wildlife Disease Association Australasian section research award.
Josie's project focusses on the amphibian fungal skin disease chytridiomycosis. The amphibian metamorphic and early post metamorphic periods have been identified as life stages that are especially vulnerable to chytridiomycosis. Amphibian metamorphosis involves dramatic physiological and immunological reorganisation which likely contributes to this increased vulnerability. However, comparatively few studies have investigated Bd infection dynamics and host immunological responses during these critical life stages.
In her PhD, she aims to investigate the immune efficacy of Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) in response to chytridiomycosis throughout the highly vulnerable metamorphic period, comparing Bd-infected versus uninfected animals. She will achieve this by using Bd-exposure experiments and examination of the immune and physiological response at both the gene and cellular scale throughout ontogenesis. This project is expected to have wide implications for the long-term management of numerous amphibian species that are being impacted by chytridiomycosis globally.
By better understanding immune restructuring at metamorphosis and the associated impact this has on susceptibility to chytridiomycosis, we may be able to tailor conservation efforts to compensate for this vulnerability.