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A Pint of Science

This coming Tuesday 10th of May, I will be presenting a talk titled – Filtering for frogs: the future of conservation at the Didsbury Sports Ground, Ford Lane, Manchester, M20 2RU. This is part of the international science festival Pint of Science 9-11th May 2022, an opportunity to learn about scientific research in your local pub/cafe setting.

The evening will also feature talks by Richard Smith (Head of Environmental Sustainability, The University of Manchester) titled: Decarbonising Campus: fishing for zero without a net; and Dr Ronnie Cowl (Reproductive Biology Coordinator, Chester Zoo and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) titled: Animal Sex: the good the bad and the ugly.

Tickets are £5, and can be purchased by following this link

My talk will focus on my PhD research and will feature some of our fantastic frogs from the museum:

The ecological emergency is causing extinction events across the board. Frogs are often described as the canaries in the coal mine, the early warning that the wider ecosystems are on the brink of collapse.

The last few decades have seen alarming declines in amphibian populations across the globe. Driven by a toxic cocktail of factors including; climate change, habitat loss and disease, many species have been pushed to the brink of extinction. The amphibians of Central America have been especially impacted with many iconic species missing and thought to be extinct. However, in recent years some rare frogs have been found clinging on in remote regions, offering conservationists a chance to protect them. This collaborative PhD is building upon the amphibian conservation work of Manchester Museum and the pioneering efforts of the University of Salford’s Molecular Ecology Group.

The focus of this research is addressing the urgent need to discover, identify and protect these rare animals by refining methodologies and field testing applications of environmental DNA (eDNA) research. This non-invasive method works primarily by capturing the traces of DNA left by organisms in water, which can accurately paint a picture of the biodiversity within a given site. Therefore, eDNA metabarcoding has the potential to scale amphibian monitoring projects to cover larger areas by training citizen scientists, processing hundreds of samples and quickly accessing remote and inaccessible locations. With limited resources for amphibian conservation, producing large amounts of data and utilising bioinformatics is key to accurately informing conservation interventions

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