Postcards: Laura Schoenle arrives in Ontario for field season

April 8, 2015

“Hi! I just arrived at the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) in Elgin, Ontario, and while we’re still in the midst of winter up here, the migratory birds are already returning. My personal favorite is the red-winged blackbird, and they are singing right now, even as the snow falls…

My research focuses on the role of hormones in shaping how birds cope with disease.  I have two exciting experiments planned for this summer, and each will become chapters in my Ph.D. dissertation. In ...

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Lisa Belden’s research on Bd reveals new information about amphibian disease resistance

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 26, 2015 – A team of scientists including Virginia Tech researchers is one step closer to understanding how bacteria on a frog’s skin affects its likelihood of contracting disease.

A frog-killing fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, has already led to the decline of more than 200 amphibian species including the now extinct-in-the-wild Panamanian golden frog.

In a recent study, the research team attempted to apply beneficial bacteria found on the skin of ...

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Laura Schoenle’s research featured on Virginia Water Radio

From Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 30, 2015.

Transcript:

“This week, we feature a mystery sound mix. Have a listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you can guess what water-related bird disease is the focus of research related to these sounds.

If you guessed avian malaria, you’re right! You heard Red-winged Blackbirds, a mosquito’s buzz, and the buzz of an electric-power station. All relate to aspects of research by Virginia Tech Biological Sciences graduate student ...

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Facing my fears, headlamp-on in Panama

By Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

This is Lindsay Key’s second blog report from Panama. She is traveling over spring break with Angie Estrada and Daniel Medina, who are conducting field research near Gamboa.

One thing is for sure: field research is messy. Not just in the sense that nature is full of mud and water and bugs, but in terms of logistics. You have to learn to expect the unexpected.

On Wednesday, we leave Gamboa bright and ...

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Postcards from the field: traveling with VT graduate student researchers in Soberania National Park

We’re going on a frog hunt!

by Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

Hello from the extremely bumpy backseat of a white pick-up truck that is barreling down a washed-out pothole-ridden trail known as Pipeline Road (left, below) in Gamboa, Panama. This is a famous road— known for its wildlife viewing capabilities and accessed by thousands of scientists around the world who come to study and work at the nearby Smithsonian facility in the tiny research town of Gamboa.

It ...

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Laura Schoenle receives a 2014 EPA STAR Fellowship

Laura Schoenle, a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, was recently awarded a EPA STAR Fellowship for 2014.  This very competitive graduate fellowship program from the Environmental Protection Agency supports masters and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. Her award will cover tuition, salary, and $10,000 for research/expenses.

Laura will be studying the effects of mercury exposure on how red-winged blackbirds resist and tolerate infection with avian malaria. Laura is co-advised by Ignacio ...

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Emerging infection could easily spread to U.S. amphibians

From the New York Times

An emerging infection similar to one that has caused the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species around the world is killing salamanders in Europe and could easily spread to the United States, with disastrous effects, scientists reported Thursday.

Writing in the journal Science, an international team of 27 researchers blamed the spread of the disease on “globalization and a lack of biosecurity” and said the importation ...

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Probiotics for Your Pipes

The research of Dr. Amy Pruden, a core faculty member in both the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP and the Water Interfaces IGEP, was recently featured in VT News:

“A team of Virginia Tech researchers is investigating the challenges presented by four often deadly pathogens that have been documented in household or hospital tap water. They propose fighting these opportunistic pathogens with harmless microbes – a probiotic approach for cleaning up plumbing.

Writing in ...

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Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists

Moose populations across North America are experiencing a sharp decline, and the exact cause is a mystery. 

“What exactly has changed remains a mystery. Several factors are clearly at work. But a common thread in most hypotheses is climate change.

Winters have grown substantially shorter across much of the moose’s range. In New Hampshire, a longer fall with less snow has greatly increased the number of winter ticks, a devastating parasite. “You can get 100,000 ticks on a moose,” said ...

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