Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Since their evolution, amphibians have managed to survive four mass extinctions. But today’s amphibians are now facing severe decline due to a plethora of causes including habitat destruction, climate change, pathogens, and pollution. Of all the possible causes of decline and extinction of amphibian populations, one of the most startling has been the effect of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), or chytrid fungus. It was decided that rapid action was needed to preserve the amphibian populations in the area, since it was clear that current in situ conservation methods were ineffective against Bd. EVACC, the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, was created to act as an ark of sorts for imperiled amphibians in the area. EVACC currently houses populations of A. varius and A. zeteki, two species particularly vulnerable to Bd. Recently, a difference in size between the juveniles of A. varius and A. zeteki has been noticed. The SVL and mass of the juveniles of interest were taken to find that there is in fact a statistically significant difference in size. However, growth rate post-metamorphosis between the species was discovered to be essentially equal. Because of the stable conditions in which the hatches were raised, the most likely explanation for the observed difference is the genetic lineages of the parents. More study is required to determine if this is a trend between all juveniles of A. varius and A. zeteki.


Animal Sciences | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment