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Coming Up...


Prof Kirsten Parris

"Impacts of sensory pollution on urban frogs"






Dr Kirsten Parris is a Professor of Urban Ecology at the University of Melbourne and previously led the NESP Hub for Clean Air and Urban Landscapes. She loves all things frogs and is passionate about making cities more frog-friendly. In addition to her academic work, she writes both fiction and creative non-fiction pieces about ecology. 

This talk will explore the diverse impacts of sensory pollutants – including noise, light and chemical pollution – on urban frogs.

6th October 2022

Elgin Inn, Hawthorn

5:30 pm for dinner and drinks (available for purchase),
Talk starts at 7:30 pm

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Professor Ben Phillips, from the University of Melbourne's School of Biosciences provides a quick tour of work his group has been conducting across northern Australia in the last five years. We will be pondering Cane Toads and how to stop their spread across the landscape, as well as quolls and how to prevent them being poisoned by toads. There will be tales from the field and lab as we ponder the idea of targeted gene flow for conservation.

Join Craig Cleeland, self-confessed Southern Toadlet groupie who has been studying the species for over 20 years, for an immersion into this rapidly declining frog, with particular reference to Greater Melbourne. Craig will explore the dynamics of a population of Southern Toadlets in an effort to understand more about their breeding biology and life history. He will also report on at the results of toadlet occupancy surveys in the Shire of Nillumbik in 2018, along with data from four years of intensive surveys of the last remaining populations in the outer urban areas of Melbourne.

Spoiler alert: we're warned the ending's not great and not to expect too many answers!

Danielle Wallace

University of Melbourne

Twitter: @that_frog_gorl Instagram: dani_k_wallace Danielle Wallace is a herpetologist and PhD candidate in the One Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne. Her current research focuses on the impact of the devastating disease, amphibian chytrid fungus, on reproduction and breeding display in Victorian frogs. She also works as a wildlife ecologist conducting surveys for threatened species in remote forest areas.

Lovesick? The effect of chytrid fungus infection on amphibian breeding display

The devastating amphibian chytrid fungus – caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, (Bd) – has caused widespread amphibian declines and extirpations. Although the development of disease been examined in a range of species, little is known about its effect on reproduction. Here, we investigated how chytrid fungus affects male mating display in the critically endangered Alpine Tree Frog (Litoria verreauxii alpina). We collected call recordings of wild frogs in the field and used a spectrophotometer to analyse male breeding colouration, while swabbing all individuals for infection. We then analysed the call characteristics and colour profiles of infected and uninfected frogs to determine whether infection influenced calling performance and breeding colouration. We found that colouration in Alpine Tree Frogs was affected by chytrid fungus, with UV chroma increasing with infection status and load. These are the first results to show that chytrid fungus influences male breeding colouration. Calling performance was also closely linked to temperature variations within different amphibian microhabitats. The results that we present here are important but often overlooked aspects of disease ecology. We have shown that sublethal effects of disease can impact breeding behaviour and display. These changes in reproduction and breeding success in response to disease might have dramatic consequences on population trajectories and substantially influence population decline or recovery potential. It is therefore crucial that we investigate sublethal effects of infection and its influence on reproduction and recruitment, so that we can understand the impact of disease on populations.

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