I am majoring in Marine Biology at The University of Tampa in Tampa, FL. Since I began my academic career at UT, I have found a home within the Department of Biology. At UT I work as a Lab Mentor for general biology courses and a Research Assistant for my professors. My friends joke that most of my time at UT is spent in the lab working with frogs, but I consider science my passion.
I have been conducting research with my mentor Dr. Taegan McMahon for the past year while taking my regular course schedule. Dr. McMahon has provided me with guidance and opportunity in amphibian research. Recently, we have collaborated on a more intensive lab trial that will take place during summer 2016. Working with Dr. McMahon this summer will further influence my academic career through learning valuable skills, obtaining experience, and building my resume.
My objective for the summer research is to develop a vaccine that can be administered to amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts) in an effort to better manage infection from the chytrid fungus. This fungus is known to have caused extinctions and a massive decline in amphibian populations on a global scale. This significant loss has adverse effects on the environment as amphibians are an essential part of the biological food web, consume common pests, and are biological indicator species (this is a species that is first to react to drastic changes within an environment). The vaccine created during my summer research could change the chytrid fungus management within the scientific community. Using the vaccine on endangered amphibians in captivity could also allow a species comeback. Foundations such as Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Amphibian Ark could use this research to vaccinate their infected amphibian populations in an effort for reintroduction to the environment.
The donations raised on Go Fund Me will be used to pay for my stay in Tampa during the summer (room & board) because my research will be a full-time commitment. This is the first time I have gone through social media for funding, but I hope to fund this meaningful summer research with the aid of my peers and community. Thank you for donating to my page and helping me reach this incredible opportunity!
~Help me save frogs from extinction~