Although we all agree wild animals belong in the wild, it is still becoming increasing common for ex-situ captive breeding being used as a back-up conservation plan. However, although much efforts are put into establishing such initiatives, we are only now beginning to fully assess their viability so far as it becoming a really useful tool for successfully reintroducing amphibians back to the wild.
At the moment here in Manchester we are studying the effects of captivity on several species using a variety of different methods in order to try and quantify the changes that occur in captive-bred and reared animals compared to wild stocks, all with a view to understanding how we can ensure their natural characteristics and behaviours can be retained. Phylommedusine frogs have characters and behaviours that already set them apart from other amphibians so they make particularly interesting models when studying these aspects. Currently we have 2 PhD students studying different species in the vivarium, one focusing on changes to frog skin pigments in captivity, and the other their fitness and changes to their anti-predator responses.
Luiza Pasos focuses her studies on amphibian and reptile behaviour and ecology, and after completing her Masters, she initially decided to move to the Brazilian Amazon and work in a community based project relating to the sustainable management of the Black Caiman, Melanosuchus niger.
Now conducting further research for her PhD with Salford University, Luiza is comparing the behaviour of the Trinidadian Monkey Frog, Phyllomedusa trinitatis, a close relative of another species found where she is from in Brazil.
The non-invasive research work in the vivarium involves assessing animals being maintained in different conditions, and it is hoped that Luiza’s study will provide us with a much better understanding of the effects a variety of husbandry techniques have on the captive animals so we can best retain their natural instincts, wild state of health, and maintain them in the best possible conditions so they are fit for the future.
Luiza’s Phd research is supported by Science Without Borders, a wonderful supportive academic initiative by the Brazilian Government.
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