2023 Karen will spend a second year working at NSF as a rotator in the Office of International Science and Engineering. Because she is not on campus, she will not have time to advise undergraduate students, and would encourage interested students to reach out to others on campus.
2022 Karen spent the year working at NSF as a rotator in the Office of International Science and Engineering.
2021 We have some funding from the National Park Service to resurveys amphibian communities along the C&O Canal. We are looking to recruit interested UMD undergraduates to the project this spring and over the summer. Please contact Karen if you are interested.
New paper led by Amy & Carly in Molecular Ecology showing what happens to the transcriptome & survivorship of red back salamanders under 3 possible future climates when you add chytrid, and whether the microbiome plays a protective role. We found that colder temperatures led to rapid mortality with Bd, but warmer temperatures did not. Amy detected changes in immune function across those temperatures but no evidence of the microbiome providing protection.
2019 A new semester means it is time to update the lab webpage! We are back in our space after we had to move out of the lab during a roof renovation project so that means we'll be starting up new projects and accepting new students.
Karen was invited to speak at the plenary talk at the Congreso Brasiliero de Herpetologia in Campinas in July. It was great to meet so many scientists and learn about their work on the spectacular herpetofauna of Brazil.
During the spring semester Karen worked with her UMD colleagues Kathleen Vogel, Melissa Kenney (now at UMinnesota) & Rosina Bierbaum to offer a 6 week workshop to graduate students and postdocs from across campus on Scholarly Communication and Public Engagement (SCOPE). We had a great time working with early career scholars in effective communication, working with policy makers, and building relationships with stakeholders.
In February, Karen organized a symposium with Meredith Gore at the annual AAAS meeting in DC on Contributions of Science Diplomacy in Resolving Global Insecurity and Conflicts.
2018 The lab is ending the year with a gift of teaching materials to university professors of biology or environmental science. Check out Karen's guest blogpost and teaching materials for a project she developed at U. Maryland in collaboration with the UMD Library GIS Lab. It’s an assignment that requires students to develop an ESRI StoryMap on a topic related to the course theme of Biodiversity. Thanks to Joseph Kerski at ESRI for support & for providing a place to share the materials. You can read Karen's explanation, find the course materials, and see some of the final assignments on the ESRI GEONET blog.
As the bookend to the amazing trip to the Seychelles, Karen ended the year on a high note: traveling to the temperate Rainforest of Chile! She was invited as part of an academic exchange developed by Dr. Leo Bacigalupe, at the Universidad Austral in Valdivia where she gave a talk on Science Policy and environmental leadership. She also got to meet lots of great ecologists, gave a plenary talk on disease ecology at SOCECOL, saw some super cool but highly threatened and endemic amphibians, and drank lots of great Chilean wine!
Mexico Lindo! Karen was honored to be invited as a plenary speaker at the Sociedad Mexicana de Herpetologia. It is always a pleasure to see the future of herpetology in the hundreds of researchers presenting on everything from ecology to genetics through genomics to taxonomy. Felicidades!
Congratulations to Grace who published her dissertation chapter in Ecological Applications describing both mark-recapture of frog populations and disease dynamics in El Cope amphibians 10 years after the epidemic! Check out the novel disease structured N-mixture models she developed to analyze these data!
Karen was a Keynote speaker at the North Carolina Herp Society. This is an inspiring group deeply committed to understanding the amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina. An added benefit was seeing the amazing and beautiful NC Museum of Science and the NC Zoo.
Karen had the trip of a lifetime when she was invited to visit the Seychelles in collaboration with Drs. Jim Labisko & Simon Maddock. The Seychelles is one of only 2 places where Bd is not known to occur but which hosts an incredibly threatened and endemic fauna. Jim & Simon were there to initiate an amphibian monitoring program to establish baseline estimates of amphibians. This is part of a larger project in which they are working with NGOs and the Seychellois government to discuss options to minimize the chance of chytrids being introduced into these islands.
2017 Fall Congratulations to Grace who not only got her methods paper on sampling for Bd published in MEE, but she also wrote a blog post about what it means! check them out: Imperfect pathogen detection from non-invasive skin swabs biases inferences of disease dynamics. Methods in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12868
Congratulations to Carly for publishing another of her dissertation chapters! this one shows how variable the effectiveness of skin microbes are in killing chytrid fungi under various temperatures - #NoSilverBullets: Amphibian skin bacteria inhibit fungal pathogens across genotypes and temperatures. Frontiers in Microbiologyhttps://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01551
Karen worked with Deb Bower and colleagues from Australia to draw attention to the need for effective disease policies in PNG (and other areas) where chytrid is not (yet) present. See Amphibians on the Brink. Science. 357: 454-455.DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0500.
Carly got a job!!! She will be working at the Smithsonian Conservation Institute as a researcher, continuing her studies of microbiomes!
Congratulations to Carly - she just got her 2nd chapter of her dissertation accepted! It will be out soon here: Muletz-Wolz C, Yarwood S, Grant E H, Fleischer R, Lips K R. 2017. Effects of host species and environment on the skin microbiome of Plethodontid salamanders. Journal of Animal Ecology.
February Congratulations to Carly who published the first chapter of her dissertation! It describes the diversity and geographic distribution of anti-Bd bacteria on the skin of 3 species of salamanders in the Appalachians. Check out the early, online version here: http://aem.asm.org/content/early/2017/02/13/AEM.00186-17.long
Congratulations to Chace who was awarded a grant from the Chicago Herp Society to fund his work on Desmognathus!
2016 October Congratulations to Grace who published the first chapter of her dissertation on the response of the Tadpole Community to Chytridiomycosis Epidemic. We've described the effects on the adult community & species, but this shows (finally!) what happened to the tadpoles. Grace took our tadpole data collected during the chytridiomycosis epidemic at El Cope back in 2004 and reanalyzed the data, and showed the responses of the various tadpole species to invasion of the pathogen. Tadpoles disappeared in ~ 1 year; many may be gone completely as the adults have not been seen either. Adults of some species do persist, but abundances of tadpoles have been so low we have not been able to detect them. Only recently, 10 years later, have tadpoles of some been captured. Grace shows how much effort is needed to detect extremely rare tropical amphibians after their abundances are even further suppressed by disease-driven losses.
September A big welcome to Chace Holzheuser, a new grad student in the to the lab. He'll be working on a study of the southern Dusky Salamander.
August Congratulations to Dr. Carly Muletz who successfully defended her dissertation! A big thanks to Carly for running the lab and mentoring undergraduate lab projects. We wish her the best.
May Congratulations to Dr. Grace Direnzo who successfully defended her dissertation!! Grace will be greatly missed around the lab for her sweet and generous personality, her statistical and R wizardry, her organization & management of all field and lab projects! We wish her the very best and wish her well in her NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Cheri Briggs, and in her postdoc with Dr. Elise Zipkin.
Congratulations to our awesome undergraduate researcher Jose "Gabe" Almario, who has been working with us for two years - first as a SESYNC intern on invasive pathogens, and this past year doing an Honors Thesis on the interaction of bacteria and fungal lineages.
Congratulations to our past REU student Chelsea Maguire, who just published her first paper in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, the result of our REU project two years ago!
Congratulations to Karen who was selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow for the coming year. She will be based at the State Department where she will be working on various scientific issues that relate to international affairs.
January Congratulations to Ed Kabay, past lab alum, and our NSF RET scholar, who was profiled by Teach for America in this article. See more about Ed & Grace's work in Panama on our home page video!
October: Congratulations to Carly! She won the People's Choice Award in the 2015 U21 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for her presentation of her research on how favorable microbes can manage disease in amphibian populations. You can watch her video on YouTube.
August: We are super excited to welcome Dr. Ana Longo to the lab. She is an NSF Post-doctoral researcher who will be investigating chytrid fungal pathogens and amphibians.
We are equally excited to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Daut to the lab. She is an Sesync Post-doctoral researcher who will be investigating the role of trade on wildlife diseases.
Congratulations to Gabe Almario, our Sesync intern who worked with us all summer on assessing vulnerability of US salamanders to Bsal.
July: Congratulations to Carly who is the University of Maryland Representative in the Three Minute Thesis Competition! We hope you will vote for her video on the Salamander Microbiome in the finals!
June: Congratulations to Nicole, Grace & Karen for publishing on spatial patterns in Centrolene prosoblepon.
May: Congratulations to Team Atelopus on the publication of the gene expression paper in collaboration with Zamudio Lab!
January: Congratulations to Brooke, Carly & Karen whose paper on Bd in museum collections of Illinois amphibians sampled was published in Biological Conservation here!
2014 August: Congratulations to Brooke who just started her new job as Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Coordinator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission!
Congratulations & Good luck to Chelsea Maguire & Lane Jackson our 2 REU students who are finishing their projects this week. It was an awesome research experience for all!
Congratulations to Carly & Karen whose paper on Appalachian Salamander Bd was published in PLOSOne here!
July: Congratulations to Carly who received an EPA STAR fellowship! Whoohoo!!!!
April: Congratulations to Grace DiRenzo for successfully passing her candidacy exam!
Congratulations to Dr. Brooke Talley! Brooke officially completed her PhD!!
March: Congratulations to Nick & Karen's whose Shrinking Salamander paper was published Global Change Biology here!!
Congratulations to Grace & Karen whose paper on Atelopus as possible superspreaders of Bd was published in PLOSOne here!!
January: Congratulations to both Nick and Grace on each getting a paper accepted for publication this month!
2013 December: Congratulations to Brooke Talley for successfully passing her dissertation defense!
Congratulations to Carly Muletz for successfully passing her candidacy exam!
Carly shows us how it's done - see her interview here on her salamander microbiome research in this NPS video of all the George Wright NPS fellowship winners.
January: Congratulations to Grace whose lab video on the home page won the BEES Video Contest!
Karen was featured in a video here produced by Stanford Students Mia Diawara and Alp Ozturk, enrolled in the course "Communicating Science and the Environment" during the winter quarter of 2013. This was done in collaboration with the Leopold Leadership Program at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the environment and the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research.
Karen was featured in a commentary on the attempts to "re-create" the Gastric Brooding frog here.
Karen was interviewed on shifting baselines by the awesome Generation Anthropocene here.
Congratulations to Carly, who was awarded a 2012 National Park Service George M. Wright Climate Change Fellowship to study the effects of climate change on salamander microbial communities!!! The goals of this fellowship program are to support new and innovative research on climate change impacts to protected areas and to increase the use of scientific knowledge to further resource management in national parks.
Congratulations to Nick (U Alabama) and Nicole (Texas A&M) on their acceptances into PhD Programs!
Our lab, along with our friends Reid & Vance, was profiled by AAAS here.
Our Appalachian Salamander work was also featured on WAMU here.
Congratulations to Grace who is accepted into the Spring 2012 OTS Course!