researcher
Steven J R Allain

Steven J R Allain

Cambridge

Anglia Ruskin University, IUCN SSC ASG

Independent Researcher

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Published on Sep 21, 2017

The end of the survey season

Unfortunately it would seem that winter will soon be upon us as the first signs of autumn are here. The leaves have started to fall off of the trees and the nights have been becoming colder and dar...

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Published on Sep 16, 2017

We've reached our goal!

I have good news to share with everyone (although our backers have already been emailed), we have reached our target! I am so blown away by the response and support we have received from everyone. ...

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Published on Sep 13, 2017

Tracking midwife toads through time and space

One of the cool things we've been doing is taking photos of the dorsal surface of each of the midwife toads, this is because they each have a unique pattern. Using the software Wild-ID, we are able...

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Published on Sep 07, 2017

Not every field visit is a success

Unfortunately tonight when visiting the field to search for midwife toads we were disappointed to not find any. The unusual thing is that the high pitched call of the males couldn't be heard either...

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Published on Aug 30, 2017

An update from the field

The weather recently has been quite nice which has given us plenty of opportunities to survey for midwife toads, unfortunately however we had a number of consecutive surveys without finding one of ...

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Published on Aug 21, 2017

A quick update 7 days in

We can't believe the overwhelming support we've received so far from everyone! It's been a week since the project was launched and we've almost reached the 1/3 mark already! We'd like to take this ...

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You're very welcome Peter and thanks for your donation. Your suggestion is something we intend to do but due to the highly enclosed area where the midwife toads are, native amphibian species are very rarely seen. Common frogs (Rana temporaria) are the next most commonly observed species after the midwife toad and unfortunately tests have revealed that swabbing them for Bd isn't reliable. The other species however are on our radar.
Sep 13, 2017
Investigating the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a non-native species
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Hi Peter, thank you for raising some questions - I'm more than happy to answer them for you. We're focusing on the toads as we have reason to believe that they were introduced from somewhere in Spain (waiting for the results of our genetic analysis to confirm this) and virulent strains of the chytrid fungus have caused declines in the species (and others) there. You can find out more by reading this article and others like it: Bosch, J., Martı́nez-Solano, I., & Garcı́a-Parı́s, M. (2001). Evidence of a chytrid fungus infection involved in the decline of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) in protected areas of central Spain. Biological conservation, 97(3), 331-337. They could have been infected with chytrid from a native source but we have no evidence to suggest the native amphibians are currently infected. If positive results do come back from the midwife toads then we aim to look at the lineage of Bd to try to work out its origins. If they do turn out to be infected with a virulent strain which threatens local species then mitigation will need to be put in place to ensure the disease does not spread. In terms of the loss of species due to chytrid I'd recommend this nice summary: Wake, D. B., & Vredenburg, V. T. (2008). Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 11466-11473. If you have any other questions or if you feel like I haven't answered yours fully then please let me know. Steve
Sep 13, 2017
Investigating the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a non-native species
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Thank you for the support.
Aug 21, 2017
Investigating the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a non-native species
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Thank you for the kind words of support!
Aug 21, 2017
Investigating the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a non-native species
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Thanks Talita, we'll keep everyone up to date as and when developments happen!
Aug 15, 2017
Investigating the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a non-native species
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Great to hear some good news. Well done guys and I can't wait to read the paper!
Dec 01, 2016
Can we stop amphibian extinction by increasing immunity to the frog chytrid fungus?
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That's fantastic news! I can't wait to see what the outcome of this project is.
Oct 05, 2016
An Adaptive Radiation Under Our Feet? Examining Diversification Patterns in New World Leaf-litter Geckos
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