Disease Mitigation Grants

The Amphibian Survival Alliance is dedicated to addressing one of the most pressing challenges in amphibian conservation: infectious diseases. Our Disease Mitigation Grants, supported by Synchronicity Earth’s Amphibian Endowment Fund, offer financial backing for projects that aim to develop effective strategies against amphibian diseases. We focus on projects that have the potential for real-world application, especially those that benefit amphibians in lower- and middle-income countries.

We prioritize projects that align with the following:

  • Development of disease management strategies
  • Research that informs policy on disease mitigation
  • Collaborative efforts across scientific and conservation disciplines
  • Biosecurity measures to prevent disease spread

Grants of up to $5,000 are available to both organizations and individuals. These grants aim to serve as seed funding, helping projects secure additional financial support.

Information about upcoming grant cycles will be shared as funding becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

The ASA Disease Mitigation Grants aim to fund projects that develop or inform strategies for minimizing the impacts of amphibian diseases. These grants are designed to support projects that have the potential for ongoing funding and that may be candidates for larger, long-term funding sources.
The grants are open to both organizations and individuals. We prioritize projects in developing countries that are led by or include local partners. The focus is on globally Threatened/Data Deficient amphibian species, although projects involving local populations of species in serious decline may also be considered.
Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support projects that aim to mitigate the impacts of amphibian diseases. This can include research, policy development, and on-the-ground disease management strategies.
The timing for the next application period will be announced once funding has been secured. Please keep an eye on our website and other communication channels for updates.

When the grant cycle opens, an official announcement will be issued where all instructions relevant to the application process will be found. The application package includes the application form, project proposal, project budget,  chronogram of activities and letters of support. Once we reach the deadline for applications, these go through a two stage review process where our expert reviewers will evaluate the relevance, impact and feasibility of each proposal. Once the review process is finished, annoucements are made and the process for allocation of funding begins.

Projects that receive these grants benefit from initial funding that can serve as a catalyst for attracting larger, long-term funding. The grants also provide an opportunity to establish or strengthen partnerships, both locally and globally.
Grants offer up to $5,000 in initial funding. The number of grants awarded each cycle depends on available funding. Applicants are encouraged to seek additional or matching funds to support their projects.
Please contact the ASA Programs Director, Candace Hansen, at [email protected] with any questions or inquiries about our Disease Mitigation Grant program.

Eligibility criteria:

This grant program is open to both organizations and individuals. For organizations, a primary focus on amphibian conservation is required.
Projects should aim to develop or inform strategies for minimizing the impacts of amphibian diseases. A clear link to Amphibian Conservation Action Plan priorities is preferred.
Preference is given to projects in developing countries that are led by or integrally include local partners.
All proposals must demonstrate strategies in place for preventing the spread of disease, including any necessary disease screening protocols.
Projects that have acquired or are actively seeking match funding for linked activities will be prioritized. A clear budgetary breakdown must be provided in the application.
Any communication and awareness-raising activities must be justified in the context of how these actions may influence key audiences to mitigate threats and improve the outlook for target species.

Applicants will be required to provide detailed feedback and reports upon project completion.

The Achala Toad (Rhinella achalensis) is an endemic and endangered species occurring in central Argentina’s high-altitude grasslands. The species was common and abundant until the late 1990s. However, demographic trends changed drastically, and many populations became locally extinct. The sharp decline of the species, together with records of individuals infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) suggest that a chytridiomycosis outbreak was the factor underlying local extinctions. In addition, the occurrence of invasive fishes (trout) emerged as another potential threat to Achala Toad. We propose to obtain evidence from eDNA samples, which offers the possibility of extensive sampling with high sensitivity to detect the pathogen and knowing the relationship between Bd abundance in the system and the Achala toad occurrence in the context of salmonid invasion. Finally, engaging park rangers, technicians, authorities, and practitioners of the protected areas will be crucial to creating a conservation management plan for this unique species from the high-altitude grasslands of central Argentina. To date we performed field surveys during the reproductive season of R. achalensis. We collected water samples in most streams where the species reproduces. Water samples were filtered using a vacuum pump and 0,45 um filters to obtain eDNA samples. These samples are being processed for beginning with eDNA extraction and molecular analysis. Furthermore, we strengthened the relationship with the park ranger from the area, which allowed us to obtain significant results, such as the discovery of a new reproductive population of the species. Finally, we are working together in order to begin long-term population monitoring.

Scinax alcatraz (Lutz, 1973) is a species considered Critically Endangered by both Brazilian national and global lists (ICMBio, 2018; IUCN, 2022). This species is endemic in only one place on the planet, the island of Alcatrazes, Brazil. The 10 km² extension of this species’ occurrence is threatened by loss of habitat quality and suffered from its historical use by the Brazilian navy, being the target of bombings until 2013 (Lisboa et al., 2021), when it became a Protected Area in 2016. Efforts to conserve this species are urgent and there is already an ex situ conservation program (Lisboa et al., 2021). The present project intends to investigate whether chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a threat that also affects S. alcatraz. We intend to answer the following question: is the population of S. alcatraz infected with the chytrid fungus in nature? Once the prediction that the species is infected with Bd is confirmed, we anticipate the following questions: What is the pattern of prevalence and burden of Bd infection on Alcatraz Island from 2013 to 2023? Which Bd lineages are present in the archipelago and what are the possible dispersal routes involved? This important information can be incorporated in the management of the species and in decision-making, for example, to understand if it is necessary to develop treatments or if this could be a critical point or not for the reintroduction of individuals into the wild in the future.

Due to increasingly drastic anthropogenic changes and the emergence of new pollutants in ecosystems, a better understanding of their interactions and effects on amphibians is critical if we want to mitigate such threats and develop appropriate conservation measures, particularly for species already at risk of extinction. Our long-term goals are 1) to assess the role of pollutants (in sediments and water) associated with the prevalence of infectious diseases (Chytridiomycosis and Ranavirosis) and toxicity (alteration in cell morphology and cell damage) in amphibians, focusing on two abundant amphibian species (Scaphiopus couchii and Lithobates yavapaiensis) and on amphibian species at greater risk of extinction or for which there is no information (Anaxyrus mexicanus, NT = Near Threatened; Craugastor tarahumaraensis, V = Vulnerable; Rana chiricahuensis, V = Vulnerable; Rana tarahumarae, V = Vulnerable; Craugastor occidentalis, DD = Data Deficient; Eleutherodactylus interorbitalis, DD = Data Deficient; Isthmura sierraoccidentalis, NE = not Evaluated; Gastrophryne mazatlanensis, NE = not Evaluated; Incilius mccoyi, NE = not Evaluated) and 2) to develop strategies that will help mitigate the effects of pollution on both the prevalence of pathogens and on the survival of amphibians at risk.

In a wide variety of organisms, the microbiome performs important functions for the host playing key roles in health and defense against pathogens. In amphibians, the skin represents a leading model system for exploring microorganism community structure and its association with their host. In a context of rapid global change, there is a growing interest in understanding how environmental and anthropogenic factors influence the composition of the amphibian skin microbiome, since a disruption in the balance of symbiotic microorganisms (i.e., dysbiosis) may have important consequences on the host’s health and their tolerance to environmental perturbations. In addition, emerging infectious diseases, such as panzootic amphibian chytridiomycosis due to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), emphasize the need to understand the ecology of skin microorganisms and how they are affected by this pathogenic fungus. The amphibian skin microbiome may contain components that provide protection against Bd, and despite the antifungal potential of fungi, most studies have focused on bacteria. The four-eyed frog (Pleurodema thaul) is a widespread amphibian that is distributed over a large latitudinal gradient, which includes diverse climates and human influence. In addition, previous studies show that P. thaul appears to be resistant to chytridiomycosis, which offers the opportunity to potentially obtain bacteria and fungi with an anti-Bd activity. With new molecular techniques becoming more available, Next-generation high-throughput sequencing (NGS) is a useful tool to quickly and efficiently, detect and identify the diversity of bacterial and fungal communities. The main objective of the present thesis was to determine the potential relationships between the richness and evenness of bacterial and fungal communities in the skin of the P. thaul with bioclimatic, anthropogenic factors and Bd infection along a large latitudinal gradient. The results of this study will contribute to generating baseline information towards the future of the impacts on the microbiome and the combination of factors that are critical to shaping the evenness of the bacterial and fungal communities of the skin of amphibians in the context of a changing world. Finally, it is expected that in the near future, isolated fungi will be tested as potential probiotics for mitigation strategies against chytridiomycosis in susceptible and threatened amphibian species.