© 2015 by Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group

 

Susan Philpot

 

Qualifications 

BSc(Hons) - Ecology and Conservation Biology

 

Position 

Honours Graduate Alumna

 

Contact details

Address: 

Environmental Futures Research Institute,

Building N78, Room 2.11, School of Environment,

Griffith University, Nathan campus,

170 Kessels Road, Nathan,

Queensland, Australia, 4111

Email: susan.philpot"at"griffithuni.edu.au 

 

Overview

 

I recently completed and graduated from my Honours research year at Griffith University, QLD, Australia. My Honours thesis was titled: "The Effect of Temperature on the Australian Great Barred Frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus) and Bd Susceptibility at Purling Brook Falls, South-east Queensland" (Supervisors: Prof. Hamish McCallum and Assoc. Prof. Jean-Marc Hero). 

Research Overview

 

My Honours research focused on the thermal tolerance of the Australian great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus), and implications for susceptibility to chytridiomycosis, both now and into the future, in Springbrook National Park, QLD, Australia. 

 

The geographic distribution of ectotherms such as amphibian species is in part determined by their thermal tolerance. I investigated the critical minimum and maximum temperatures (CTmin and CTmax) for wild adult M. fasciolatus (the range within which physiological function is possible), and also swabbed individual frogs from the population to determine the infection prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungus responsible for the skin disease chytridiomycosis. Although my sampling was conducted over the autumn season (when infections are likely to occur in this region), I unexpectedly found very low infection prevalence.

 

I also extrapolated the thermal tolerance ranges of both the fungus and frog species into future climate scenarios (based on predicted bioclimatic values for the year 2050) and determined that changes in the average temperatures of the coldest and warmest quarters are unlikely to be sufficient to endanger M. fasciolatus, but that neither would the changes greatly affect Bd growth and reproduction. Further research may help to elucidate the apparent low infection prevalence of chytridiomycosis in the M. fasciolatus population, despite a distribution in an appropriate thermal range for the growth of the fungus. 

 

Research Keywords

 

Thermal physiology, conservation biology, Australian Great Barred Frog, Mixophyes fasciolatus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, chytridiomycosis, temperature, amphibians

 

Research Areas 

 

Ecology, conservation biology, amphibians, physiology, disease ecology