Husbandry and hygiene conference
In December 2004, the Amphibian Research Centre hosted a workshop/conference concerning husbandry and hygiene in amphibian conservation. The official title was:
Captivity, Reintroduction and Disease Control Technologies for Amphibians
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss current tools for conservation and to develop a set of guidelines for use in reintroduction and conservation programs.
Itinerary / Programme
The first two days was spent addressing husbandry, reintroduction and cryopreservation techniques. The last two days of the conference focused on current disease and hygiene issues.
If you're interested in seeing what was covered, the programme for the four days is available for download.
Rather than distill the content of the conference into short abstracts and publish them in some kind of journal, the original presentations have been converted into a web-based form so that you can relive the conference in the comfort of your own home.
The speakers' topics take the form of slide-based presentations complete with accompanying audio. We have made great effort to keep the filesizes to a minimum but this section may be better appreciated by those people with broadband connections due to the high level of audio content. The slides are also designed for viewing with monitors at resolutions of 1024 x 768 or greater.
Gerry Marantelli - Around the world in 18 days
A whirlwind tour of husbandry institutions and reintroduction programs being carried out in the USA, the UK, and Japan. With a quick stop-over at Gerry's brother's European wedding.
Murray Evans - Northern Corroboree Frog
The plight of the Northern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) is not far removed from that of the Southern Corroboree Frog. Murray Evans, of Environment ACT, tells us of the captive husbandry program dedicated to the conservation of this beautiful species.
David Hunter - Southern Corroboree Frog
The Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is one of Australia's most spectacular and most endangered frogs. David Hunter of the University of Canberra introduces us to some of the re-introduction experiments that have taken place in an attempt to save this species and what we have learnt from them.
Michael Mahony - Sharp-snouted Day Frog
Prior to the discovery of the chytrid fungus, an attempt was made to reverse the rapid decline of the Sharp-snouted Day Frog (Taudactylus acutirostris). The recovery program was carried out as a controlled experiment in order to determine the cause of decline.
Chris Banks - Romer's Tree Frog
A fully-photographic captive breeding and re-introduction success story. The Romer's Tree Frogs (Chirixalus romeri) were transported from Hong Kong to Melbourne Zoo, bred in large numbers, and returned to sites near their original home. All reports indicate that they are now breeding happily in the wild.
Russel Traher - Stuttering Barred Frog
Also from Melbourne Zoo, Russel Traher presents the captive-breeding program of the Stuttering Barred Frog (Mixophyes balbus). The Zoo developed the program using trials over many years with the closely-related but more common Mixophyes fasciolatus.
Peter Harlow - Tadpole captive husbandry and release
A discussions of the techniques and the considerations for the successful raising of tadpoles in captive husbandry for the purpose of re-introduction projects. With a focus on the example of the Green and Golden Bell Frogs (Litoria aurea) being raised at Taronga Zoo, the first presentation discusses the husbandry while the second presentation discusses the success or otherwise of releases around Sydney.
Simon Clulow - Green and Golden Bell Frog re-introduction
Simon Clulow, studying at the University of Newcastle, has been involved in the re-introduction of Green and Golden Bell Frogs (Litoria aurea) in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Of particular interest is the controlled environment that was created through the use of a frog-proof fence.
Glen Gaikhorst - Slender Tree Frog
Glen Gaikhorst reports on the Perth Zoo's successful efforts in breeding the Slender Tree Frog (Litoria adelaidensis) in captivity. The Slender Tree Frog's distribution covers the south-west of Western Australia where it is a common species.
Peter West and Todd Jenkinson - Archey's Frog
The Auckland Zoo has constructed a new exhibit/enclosure that is dedicated to the conservation of the species of frogs that are endemic to New Zealand. Peter West and Todd Jenkinson introduce us to the first of the NZ frogs to benefit from the program - Archey's Frog (Leiopelma archeyi).
Bruce Waldman - Protecting native NZ frogs
The frogs of New Zealand are unique in many ways and have found themselves in one of the hotspots for amphibian species decline. Learn about these magnificent creatures (and the equally-magnificent introduced species from Australia) and about how the University of Canterbury is striving to save them, with a focus on the captive breeding program.
Debra McDonald - Nutrition
The full title of this presentation is "Nutrient composition of plant protists". People who are interested in breeding healthy frogs in captivity will find some valuable information.
Robert Browne - Tales from the USA
From the Memphis Zoo, Robert Browne tells us of his involvement in captive-raising and re-introduction programs. The first presentation discusses in general how programs operate in the USA (making comparisons with Australia) and considers 3 very different species (Wyoming Toad; Mississippi Gopher Frog; Puerto Rican Crested Toad). The second presentation focuses on the Wyoming Toad (Bufo baxteri), a species that had been declared extinct in the wild, and casts a practical light on how genome technologies could be used in this type of program.
Michael Mahony - Introduction to genome banking
An introduction to the genome banking session. What is genome banking? Why do we need it? Is it just science fiction? What are the issues that surround it? Presented by Michael Mahony of the University of Newcastle.
John Clulow - The real-world genome bank
The University of Newcastle's John Clulow continues the discussion of genome banking featuring the ideal-world genome bank and the real-world genome bank. This presentations looks at the costs, the practical uses, and the near-future uses of this technology.
Jill Shaw - On the subject of cryopreservation
Perhaps the major stumbling block to amphibian cryopreservation is the inability to freeze eggs - something that is possible in most mammal species. Monash University's Jill Shaw describes the state of the technology with reference to mammals and discusses what advances may be possible in order to improve the preservation of frogs material.
Steve Donnellan - Experience with a long-term tissue collection
The Australian Biological Tissue Collection is based at the South Australian Museum. Steve Donnellan tells us of its history, its operation, and its myriad of future applications.
Tasha Czarny - Experience with a genome resource bank
The Animal Gene Storage Resource Centre of Australia (based at Monash University) differs from the Australian Biological Tissue Collection in that it attempts to store viable material (ie. eggs and sperm) from animals rather than simply preserving DNA.
Michael Mahony - Conservation genetics
Captive-breeding and gene storage techniques may be able to save some individuals of a species from extinction but it can also lead to loss of genetic diversity. Here, the consequences of inbreeding depression are discussed and the ways to minimise the inbreeding. This presentation also acts as a conclusion to the session on assisted reproduction.
Rick Speare - Chytrid threat abatement plan and hygiene protocols
Rick Speare of James Cook University presents a series of presentations concerning the establishment of chytrid in Australia and how it affects amphibian researchers. The first presentation details the development of the threat abatement plan for this "threatening process". The second presentation documents a series of very practical experiments investigating how easily or not chytrid is transferred when handling objects while the third presents practical hygiene protocols for use in the field.
Katie Ardipradja - Resistance to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
See the results from one of the most fascinating investigations into the chytrid fungus. Katie Ardipradja of Melbourne University studied the effect of chytrid on different frogs at the Amphibian Research Centre and their resistance to it, showing that "not all frogs are the same".
Lee Berger - Disinfection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
A fascinating update on the chytrid fungus by the person who first described it featuring results from experimentation on conditions required to disinfect it. Unfortunately, the audio for this session was not recorded. However, there are plenty of facts contained in this presentation and some magnificent pictures of the fungus at several stages in its life cycle.
Lee Berger and Gerry Marantelli - Treatment for chytridiomycosis
Lee and Gerry give us a short history of the successes and failures in the search for a cure for chytridiomycosis. Some frogs have been cured of the disease but is there a treatment that can be guaranteed effective, preferably one that is easy and cheap?
Kerry Kriger - Comparing histology with real-time taqman PCR
A comparison of different techniques for detecting the presence of the chytrid fungus. Taqman PCR can be carried out in the field while histology requires sending some biological material to a laboratory. How do the techniques compare in terms of sensitivity, cost, and standardisation? Unfortunately, the audio for this session was not recorded.
Ermin Sadic - PCR used for rapid detection of chytrid in NZ frogs
A tale of PCR in practice. Ermin Sadic, based at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has used PCR techniques to analyse many samples. His studies have led to several conclusions regarding the incidence of chytridiomycosis in New Zealand.
Alex Hyatt - Diagnostic assays and sampling
Another presentation from the unfortunate "lost session" so no audio accompanies this slide-show from Alex Hyatt of the CSIRO that introduces us to some of the considerations in deciding upon a standard method for field sampling for chytridiomycosis. There's plenty of information to be found in the slides though, and some valuable pictures. Don't be concerned if you can't make out all the details in some of the tables here, they are used only to illustrate the kind of information that has been collected.
Jill Millan - Quarantine requirements for amphibian importation
Jill Millan, Principal Veterinary Officer with the government's Biosecurity Australia, details the procedures and the precautions that are involved when a request to import any species of amphibian from oversea is made.
Lee Skerratt - Establishing a mapping protocol for chytridiomycosis
The chytrid fungus has become established in Australia. But which parts exactly and which frogs are affected by it? Based at James Cook University, Lee Skerratt is responsible for developing methods for a co-ordinated approach in finding the answers to all these questions. The first presentation discusses the development of a mapping protocol. The second presentation, without audio, simply presents the seven objectives of future research that JCU has been funded to carry out.
Harry Hines - Quarantine at field sites
Harry Hines of the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service reads through a series of slides presenting suggestions and considerations for the development of a nationally-accepted system of hygiene protocols for field work. Includes a consideration of risk factors.
Ed Meyer - The critically-endangered Kroombit Tinker Frog
Ed Meyer introduces us to the plight of the Kroombit Tinker Frog (Taudactylus pleione). A discussion of the field-based precautions that are in place to allow the study and monitoring of the frog while minimising the risk of the introduction and spread of disease.
Deborah Pergolotti - The chytrid trilogy
Based in Cairns, Deborah Pergolloti of the Frog Decline Reversal Project was unable to attend the conference but she prepared three self-running presentations for the conference delegates. The first is "Keeping chytrid controlled in captivity", the second is "Reducing the impacts of chytrid in the suburbs", and the third (with the most pictures) is "Chytrid: just the tip of the iceberg?" suggesting that perhaps there is too much focus on this disease when there may already be several more equally terrible diseases in our midst.
Keep visiting frogs.org.au to learn of the outcomes of the conference. The recommendations will be published here in the not too distant future.
Additionally, there will be development of a husbandry and hygiene database featuring information on publications, institutions, processes, and people involved in this important work.
To ensure that you learn when this new material is published, join the frogs.org.au Community and sign-up for the frogs.org.au e-newsletter.
The first step
The beginning of the husbandry and hygiene database is the publication collection. It is currently being compiled and checked for errors.
The records are available for browsing. While we hope also to add more valuable information to the existing records, such as abstracts or "availability of document", they are mostly complete and accurate. At the moment it is made accessible largely for testing by content managers (a new "login" feature allows managers to remotely access the database and add or edit entries) but you are welcome to take a look at the current development.