The island of Alcatrazes, Brazil, is the only home on the planet for the Critically Endangered Alcatraz Snouted Treefrog (Scinax alcatraz). This unique habitat, covering merely 10 km², has had its share of adversities, with historical naval bombardments ceasing only in 2013. Thankfully, the area gained the status of a Protected Area in 2016, and an ex situ conservation program was initiated to preserve this species.

However, potential unseen threats loom. Joelma Prado, backed by the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Disease Mitigation Grant Program, is investigating one such possible invisible adversary: chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). The core question guiding this research: Is the population of  S. alcatraz infected with the chytrid fungus in its natural habitat?

With a meticulous approach, Joelma and her team aim to unravel the prevalence and burden of Bd infection on Alcatraz Island from 2013 to 2023. Identifying the Bd lineages present and understanding their possible dispersal routes is a vital part of this investigation. This project is a collective effort led by Joelma, in collaboration with Professor Cinthia Brasileiro, who directs a broader project on this species, and Professor Felipe Toledo.

The significance of this research cannot be overstated. Should Bd be confirmed within the S. alcatraz population, it would prompt essential questions crucial for future conservation strategies. For instance, would there be a need to develop treatments? Would Bd presence challenge the reintroduction of individuals into the wild?

Joelma’s project is not merely an academic venture; it’s an essential step towards the development of robust conservation strategies for S. alcatraz. The findings could significantly influence management decisions and conservation plans, ensuring a well-informed approach to preserving this unique species.

Your Role: Advance the Cause

Work led by researchers like Joelma is crucial for amphibian conservation. Yet, resources are essential for such projects to succeed. The Disease Mitigation Grants from ASA play a key role but advancing this work to its full potential needs broader community support. Your contribution can significantly aid in discovering new insights and advancing conservation efforts.

Motivated by the story of this frog and the wider mission of ASA? Your donation today can make a real difference in the challenging journey of amphibian survival. Help fund the research that brings new knowledge, support the initiatives that turn findings into action, and endorse education that promotes a sustainable habitat for amphibians worldwide. Your support is critical for continuing progress in amphibian conservation.

Photo © Alcatraz Snouted Treefrog (Scinax alcatraz), Cybele Lisboa