Undergraduate Research: Amphibian Pathogens
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a fungus that has affected amphibians worldwide. Because this project involves both students within course curricula and independent student researcher, it is included in both sections of the website. Students have been working to detect the presence of Bd. In fall of 2012, I began collaborating with a Normandale colleague who had found Bd in highly modified ecosystems. The following two semesters, my Normandale MN Natural History student began collecting samples in nearby Murphy Hanrehan Park. Students catch frogs which are swabbed then released. We sent the samples away to be tested. In 2013 I worked with a North Hennepin colleague and two summer research students to use the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) protocol instead of sending samples away. Students presented their work at the Hamline research showcase and the CCURI (Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative) poster session in Philadelphia. In Fall of 2013, I extended project to Inver Hills Community College, where I hired research students to continue to work on the protocol to be used in a general biology course. The students will expand the project with their own research questions. Two of my general biology courses, as well as volunteers on Students Success Day, collected swabs from frogs. In my courses, students used molecular biology techniques to determine the presence or absence of Bd in the samples they collected.