Getting started with the experiment to fight the fungus with symbiotic microbes

We previously introduced our new team member, Dr. Leyla Davis, who has joined us to mitigate chytridiomycosis with symbiotic bacteria. To do this, we are in the process of setting up a an ambitious experiment in the Laguna Grande of Peñalara at the very heart of the National Park, where we will treat tadpoles of the midwife toad that are carrying chytrid fungal infections. The experiment involves augmenting beneficial bacteria that produce antibiotic metabolites that have been shown to inhibit the fungus’ growth and Leyla is culturing these bacterial isolates collected from adult midwife toads in Peñalara Massif.

The possibilit to carry out an experiment such as this in a natural setting is a phenomenal opportunity but it is a tremendous challegne as well and the first phase was to transport all the necessary infrastructure to the Laguna Grande de Peñalara, located 2,000m high in altitude. After this phase is completed there will be monitoring on a near daily basis of the tadpoles and metamorphs over the next two months.

In the follwoing video you can see the steps we took to transport and install the enclosures to the house the toads and in the forthcoming entries we will keep you updated on the advances of our experiment. Many thanks to the team A, to David González, to Belén Carrillo, and to Erich Weihs for their help during the transportation and set-up!

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