Two postgraduate students from James Cook University have each received a 2014 Wildlife Queensland award to support their research.
Laura Brannelly, from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is exploring the immune response of endangered amphibian species to the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus. The title of her research project is Immunity to chytridiomycosis and its use in reintroduction of frogs. As many readers will know, it is the infectious chytrid fungus which has devastated many amphibian populations, driving some species to extinction. Laura is working on identifying innate immune mechanisms, exploring treatment options, and improving reintroduction methods for greater survivorship.
From the School of Marine and Tropical Biology Avril Underwood received the award for her research project, Population genetics, distribution and density of the arboreal mammal community of the wet tropics. Avril’s research examines the population genetics and ecology of five mammal species to discover how they interact with each other and the landscape. Rather than more common, and often more invasive, techniques Avril’s method involves analysing their droppings, yielding a far greater number of genetic samples. Her research will provide valuable information on abundance, distribution and the structure and health of the populations of tree kangaroos, coppery brushtail possums and three species of ringtail possums.
These awards are administered by the Society’s Endangered Species Trust and support research projects which investigate methods of addressing or reversing the decline in native plant and animal species or their habitat, or other applied conservation outcomes in Queensland. We offer our congratulations to Laura and Avril and wish them well in their research and future careers.