Can host phenotypic plasticity facilitate survival when environmental change and disease cause amphibian declines?

This project is available from the academic year 2019/20 onwards.

Theme: Natural & Biological Hazards
Primary Supervisor:

Francois Balloux

Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL

Secondary Supervisor:

Trenton Garner

Institute of Zoology, IOZ

Project Description:

Amphibians are in decline due to emerging infectious diseases and environmental change. Our experimental evidence indicates that some amphibian species may use adaptive plasticity to optimize survival when confronted with environmental change and the emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a global pathogen of amphibians. It remains to be seen if adaptive plasticity can facilitate host population survival and under what conditions this may occur.

We seek a student who will develop a research project to investigate this, using experimental systems available in the UK or in South Africa through our collaboration with Northwest University. The student will integrate into an existing NERC-funded project investigating the genomic architecture of virulence in Bd and another field-based NERC studentship.

Policy Impact of Research:

Will guide the development of mitigation strategies for Bd, a globally distributed wildlife EID causing severe loss of amphibian biodiversity.

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