People.

 

Tiffany Seow

 

 

 

I joined the Bickford lab in May 2010 as an honours student. I am interested in the ecology and behavior of frogs as they are such good ecological indicators.

 

The past three months I’ve been chasing down frogs from all over the island and collecting swab samples. This is to determine if there is a spread of Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) among the anurans and if the imported species Rana catesbeiana is responsible for it. So far my research has me going down to markets and frog farms to sample these frogs in the food trade as well as searching for local species such as Polypedates leucomystax, Limnonectes blythii, Kaloula pulchra and Microhyla butleri.

 

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungal infection, causing specific mortality in amphibians. It has been called "the worst infectious disease ever recorded among vertebrates" in terms of the number of species impacted and it’s propensity to drive them to extinction. On the other hand, Rana catesbeiana or American bullfrog as it is more commonly known, appears to exhibit degrees of immunity and could act as a disease vector. These frogs are commonly exported to Asian countries especially where they have been introduced as a food source. Therefore, it is essential to find out if the fungus is already present in our local habitats.

 

Aside from academic studies, my hobbies include reading novels as well as tottering on the keyboard.