As a member of the Sinervo lab, I will be studying the mating systems of Sphaerodactylus geckos in South America and the Caribbean, as well as the implications of climate warming on the future of these species.
Chytridiomycosis in CA slender salamanders
As a member of the Zink lab at SF State, I worked in collaboration with the Vredenburg lab to study the prevalence of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis (Bd) in a native Californian salamander species. This disease has been implicated in the extirpation and extinction of amphibian species throughout the world.Though primarily studied in aquatic systems, Bd has more recently been linked to population declines in completely terrestrial amphibians. The mechanisms that allow for its spread in terrestrial environments remains an unsolved mystery of this epidemic. The most abundant and widespread terrestrial species known to host chytrid infection is the California slender salamander, Batrachoseps attenuatus. We combined a qPCR-based survey of historical infection in 1500 museum B. attenuatus specimens with chytridiomycosis tests in modern populations to explore how older versus more recent epizootic infection might affect long-term enzootic population dynamics. We propose that sociality facilitates disease spread in this terrestrial hosts and that populations with longer exposure to this pathogen may evolve away from the ancestral condition of sociality.