Wildlife Tech Class of 2020
Putnam Valley High School
Mentor: Zach Gajewski (Virginia Tech)
Project: Anuran diversity and pathogen load in MRG vernal pools
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Description: Trent was mentored by RAP student, Zach Gajewski, who is studying the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) that is infecting amphibians worldwide. Zach is focusing on how existing microbial communities that live on the skin of native frogs might provide some resistance to Bd, and how these bacterial assemblages differ across space, different frog species, and across the age and metamorphic stage of the frog (i.e., young tadpole, mature tadpole, and adult frog). Trent’s study focused on detecting Bd in the MRG Preserve, and how the bacterial communities on green frogs and wood frogs differed. Trent found that the bacterial communities living on the frogs differed among the two species and — within the MRG’s Preserve — from pond to pond. Zach and Trent did find Bd in our ponds, as well, and that again, infection rate differed from site to site and species to species.