What We’re Reading- April 28, 2017

Next-Generation Microsatellites What if conservation’s favorite marker (the microsatellite) could be sequenced and genotyped from next-generation data?  This paper (sub) is the latest showing that possibility and specifically introduces a genotyping and phasing tool: HipSTR.  Microsatellites have propelled much of conservation genetics and users are familiar with data analysis and interpretation of results.  As next-generation…

What We’re Reading- April 7, 2017

Detecting Disease from Skin Swabs Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is a fungal disease causing amphibian die offs around the world (we wrote about it here).  Given its wide distribution both on hosts and geographically, there’s no surprise that there is genomic variation.  Scientists are interested in this variation to understand virulence, host specificity, and patterns of…

Let’s not forget the scaly, slimy and spineless on Threatened Species Day

September 7th marks the anniversary of a spectacular failure in Australian wildlife conservation. On this day in 1936, the last known thylacine, the largest marsupial carnivore and the only member of the family Thylacinidae, died in captivity in a Hobart zoo. Today, this day is recognised (I cannot bring myself to write “celebrated”) as Threatened…

New Chytrid Fungus in Europe: Clear and present danger to salamanders in US

Mass global extinctions of anurans (frogs and toads) have been an issue of conservation concern for several decades. You’ve likely seen the pictures of deformities and heard stories of beloved ponds gone suddenly silent. However, salamanders, the longer cousins of frogs and toads, have generally fared better. Like anurans, salamanders are threatened by many human…

What we’re reading- July 11, 2014

Amphibian Health Some amphibians acquire immunity to deadly fungal pathogen! Could amphibians be saved by a vaccine?! Triceratops Evolution New paper (subscription; download the Supplemental to see cool pictures) on hypotheses of evolution within the Triceratops genus based on multiple fossils found in different stratographic layers in Montana, USA.

What we’re reading- Dec 20, 2013

Got microsats? A new paper (open) on developing microsatellite primers using Illumina sequencing. Plus, it comes out of a pretty great lab! (Congrats Schyler!) Protecting amphibians Preserving pond-breeding salamander populations may require larger terrestrial habitat than previously thought. The early rodent becomes the cat food Agoutis with less food, wake early, and are more vulnerable…

What we’re reading- Nov 22, 2013

Frog Abnormalities are Rare Results of a 10 year study show that the rate of frog malformations is less than 2% overall. Higher rates occur in local hotspots, with causes of abnormalities varying between locations. Supply-Side Wildlife Trade This study looked at legal (via farming) and illegal (harvested from the wild) trade of the orchid…