About This Project
Frogs make adjustments in their calls according to social context and air temperature. These factors are relatively well known, but studies documenting changes in acoustic traits by pathogen infection are incipient. Our project will try to understand if fungal infected Neotropical frogs present alterations on acoustic traits in their calls. Understanding the effects of this emerging pathogen on frogs’ behavior is essential for the conservation of many endangered species across the planet.
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What is the context of this research?
We have only two works that explored possible effects of Bd (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) infection on frogs’ acoustic communication. However, these papers found opposite results in their regions (South Korea and Australia). Our work is the first to address the issue in the Neotropics. Additionally, we propose a more diversified sampling, also exploring the background noise and the social point of view for the acoustic communication process.
What is the significance of this project?
Bd is one of the major causes of population declines of amphibians in the world. For this reason, the knowledge about its effect on frogs behavior is of utmost importance for amphibians global conservation. Our results may generate an alert for the implementation of intelligent management plans in favor of biodiversity conservation. In addition, our research is the first to address the issue in the Neotropics, a region with important biodiversity hotspots.
What are the goals of the project?
We aim to determine the effects of the presence and infection degree by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on acoustic traits of the advertisement call of the Atlantic forest frogs. For a better understanding, we want isolate effects such as temperature, background noise, social context, body size and phylogenetic history.
Here, we follow the hypothesis raised by An & Waldman (2016) and
hope to find that possible physiological and immunological changes
caused by the presence of the pathogen in males significantly alters the
properties of the calls of different species.
We will collect acoustic data from 45 individuals from six frogs' species (n = 270 recordings), using a Sennheiser ME67/K6 microphone and a Tascam DR-680 recorder. In addition, one day before these acoustic recordings, the acoustic profile (frequency occupation and power spectrum) of each frog calling habitat (ponds) will be obtained with three autonomous recorders and three SPL meters (BK 735) equipped with data loggers installed in three different parts of the reproductive environment. These devices will be used for monitoring the spectral occupation of the background noise and the variation on sound pressure level for three minutes at intervals of one hour over 24 hours of total sampling.
After recording, the individual will be captured and swabbed and we will run qPCR reactions to quantify their Bd infection burden.
The computer will be used for both acoustic and data analyses.
Meet the Team
Luís Felipe Toledo - Unicamp Vertebrate professor specialist both in amphibian Bd and bioacoustics, who published over 100 papers on these subjects. Lab website: www.naturalhistory.com.br
Lucas Rodriguez Forti
I am a scientist interested in biodiversity conservation. For this reason, I have dedicated my effort to understand the animal communication and amphibians natural history. The evolution of behavior and bioacoustics of brazilian frogs are my favorite subjects. My formation involves a PhD in Applied Ecology by the University of São Paulo. In the last years I have accumulated teaching experience, since I taught Zoology for undergraduate students at the Universidade Federal de São Carlos (in 2013) and I contributed with bioacoustic's classes for graduated students at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, where now I have a position as postdoctoral researcher.
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