Science and Research

Zoos, aquariums and their partners are developing as one of the most substantial sources of scientific knowledge and activity, for the ultimate benefit of the survival of biodiversity …” Reid et al 2008.

The Amphibian Ark Science and Research portal provides a range guide for amphibian research. The portal also offers an insight into the research needs of amphibian conservation breeding programs. The primary document is the Amphibian Conservation Research Guide which includes:

  • Litoria spenceri being swabbed for chytrid.Husbandry Projects for Zoos
  • Conservation Breeding
  • Re-introduction
  • In situ Programs
  • Facilities and Collaborations
  • Visitor Studies.

Supporting the Guide are documents in the categories of:

The Guide is mainly based on the potential of different scientific fields to contribute to research that supports conservation breeding programs, and on developing research potentials that engage the widest range of participants. The Guide extends through conservation breeding programs including field assessment and amelioration of threats, the selection and sampling of founders, the husbandry and reproduction cycle, and reintroduction. The current science to support conservation breeding programs for amphibians is limited. Some scientific fields that support amphibian conservation breeding programs are relatively well-known including amphibian embryology and development, physiology, endocrinology, immunity, toxicology, reproduction and ecology. Others including nutrition, behaviour and stress, cycles of temperature and lighting, their specific effect on reproduction, and amphibian diseases are poorly known.

Research is emphasized in the Guide that: directly contributes to both ex situ and in situ components of amphibian conservation; extends research programs widely throughout scientific fields; involves the global community; targets conservation breeding programs; encourages collaborations; directly benefits participating institutions and more broadly humanity; supports young conservation scientists; and develops benign research techniques.

Zoos, private amphibian keepers, commercial breeders, researchers, aquaculture facilities and aquariums, science researchers and educationalists have led the way to manage and consistently reproduce an increasing number of amphibian species. For private breeders these achievements have come from the challenge of being pioneers in the husbandry and reproduction of novel species. For commercial enterprisers the goal was the provision of large numbers of amphibians for display, consumption or research. This knowledge must now be harnessed, and expanded through research, to support conservation breeding programs for a very diverse range of amphibian species. Many studies of amphibians can be directly applied to reptiles, and their results also benefit other groups including birds and fish.

Contributions will be welcome to our range of supplementary material. We hope to increase the range of science and research documents. Please contact kevinz@amphibianark.org for further information.

We also have a mailing list of interest to researchers. Animals For ACAP is a forum for AArk partners to list their surplus captive-bred animals available to Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP) researchers, and for ACAP researchers to post requests (membership of this list requires moderator approval). Click here to join this list.

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