Research Project | 2021

Optimizing landscape connectivity to conserve endangered species threatened by disease

This project aims to determine optimal strategies for conserving endangered Yosemite Toads (Anaxyrus canorus). Populations of Yosemite toads (Anaxyrus canorus), endemic to the Sierra Nevada range in California, plummeted in the late 1970s. The viability of their populations remains uncertain. Meanwhile, the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is circulating with unknown severity and impact. In partnership with the National Park Service, La Kretz postdoc Dave Daversa is executing systematic Bd surveillance in toad populations, combined radio telemetry and genomic analyses to characterize their movements and connectivity of breeding sites. These data will parameterize spatial disease models to determine levels of toad population connectivity that bolsters their population while minimizing Bd prevalence. The results will tell managers where to implement re-introductions and how to manage habitats for population connectivity.