×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 308

Dr. Davis and her friendly bacteria

  • 02 June 2015 |
  • Written by 

First impressions of Peñalara Spring chorus after Sunset

toma bacteriaspeso sapoFresh off a 7am plane from Zürich, I was warmly welcomed at the Madrid airport by Dr. Jaime Bosch and Celia Serrano of the SOS Anfibios research team and together we embarked directly for Guadarrama Mountains National Park to rest before fieldwork the same night. The Madrileño sunshine was delivering unusual Mid-May Summer-in-Spring balmy temperatures, a promising sign for a fulfilling first night of frog work in Peñalara. Our quest was to find the few surviving adult midwife toads, a challenge given that there are only a few surviving adults remaining in a park where they are considered nearly extinct.

I had long awaited to experience in person in Peñalara park, a name that resonated familiar, eerie associations of early enigmatic disease outbreak, the textbook images of mass mortalities of midwife toadlets, recently emerged metamorphs from the lakes. The classic example for a protected park’s species made vulnerable to a chytridiomycosis outbreak in the heart of Europe in the mid-90's.

What awaited me that evening was no less short of an amphibian paradise. As we hiked the 5-hour roundtrip trail to Laguna de Los Pajaros, weaving our way through the many ponds that dotted the rocky landscape and even larger lakes -some permanent, some vernal and others still bordered by a slab of winter snow – yet all water bodies seemed to feature at least one of seven species of amphibians that I would see that evening! Even from my fieldwork in the tropics, I could hardly recall experiencing such tremendous amphibian diversity in a single evening. All species seemed relatively abundant except for the midwife toad which had nearly gone extinct from the massif.

leyla davisBy midnight Jaime could locate the only adult we could hear calling near Charcas Secas from a quarter a km away by mimicking his call. And after an hour of doing whistle 'playbacks', we finally retrieved the male from his borrow beneath a large stone slab. And even he thought it was a miracle to find at least one toad.

cultivo bacteriasI took out my swabs and brushed it against our one lone specimen and thought how precarious this science was based upon the backs of so few individuals threatened in their own existence. The culture was critical to my research and I needed to make viable plates from the skin secretions collected. It turns out a few days later that the spread of the bacterial colony was indeed moving forward with the samples obtained.

back to top

logo FBBVA

logo mncn

logo CSIC

Information cookies

Cookies are short reports that are sent and stored on the hard drive of the user's computer through your browser when it connects to a web. Cookies can be used to collect and store user data while connected to provide you the requested services and sometimes tend not to keep. Cookies can be themselves or others.

There are several types of cookies:

  • Technical cookies that facilitate user navigation and use of the various options or services offered by the web as identify the session, allow access to certain areas, facilitate orders, purchases, filling out forms, registration, security, facilitating functionalities (videos, social networks, etc..).
  • Customization cookies that allow users to access services according to their preferences (language, browser, configuration, etc..).
  • Analytical cookies which allow anonymous analysis of the behavior of web users and allow to measure user activity and develop navigation profiles in order to improve the websites.

So when you access our website, in compliance with Article 22 of Law 34/2002 of the Information Society Services, in the analytical cookies treatment, we have requested your consent to their use. All of this is to improve our services. We use Google Analytics to collect anonymous statistical information such as the number of visitors to our site. Cookies added by Google Analytics are governed by the privacy policies of Google Analytics. If you want you can disable cookies from Google Analytics.

However, please note that you can enable or disable cookies by following the instructions of your browser.