lunes, 4 de mayo de 2015

Titicaca expedition: lago menor II

The water in the area is not anymore green but not yet clear
Today was a long day, early in the morning we went out to the lake near Puerto Perez, it seems that we are a little bit late, most of the frogs are already decomposed, the small sample of 106 dead frogs we collected yesterday were in very bad conditions, probably more than one week already dead. Today going to the south by boat we found some dead frogs, not so many as yesterday, the man from the boat told us that the birds ate the frogs and others just decomposed.
Dead frog found in the shore of the lake
Even that we found some frogs that were in the shore of the lake, and not just that, but also several dead birds and mostly juveniles, not sure about the reason of this but probably can be associated to this phenomenon? At the moment we just took some samples to analyze in the future.
one of the dead birds in the shore of the lake
We also wanted to know how was the situation in the center of the “lago menor”. For that we were diving in this area for some minutes and where a couple of years ago was common to see several frogs, we just found dead frogs, not so many as in the shore, and also these frogs were not so decomposed as the others and we think that these frogs have from two to five days that are dead and some of them even the same day. We think that probably these frogs were able to survive the weeks when the lake was with the problem but they died some days after.
Unfortunately we did not find any living frog in all this area, this is the first time we found 100% of the frogs dead, a couple of years ago we found in other area about 80% of the frogs dead, but never like this… we are not sure if there are still live frogs and we are planning now to monitor this area in the future to see if there were some strong enough frogs that were able to survive.
One of the forgs that were dead in the center of the lago menor
We also came back with more questions and concerns, but we also saw people and institutions that are interested to help with this situation and we really hope that we can work together to try to save this species in this area.

swabing a dead frog for BD analysis

Now we need to start analyzing the samples and the data and to see what are going to be the next steps and we think everybody has something that can do and we really hope that we can change this situation for a future for this species.

domingo, 3 de mayo de 2015

Titicaca expedition: lago menor

Collecting the dead frogs in the Lago menor
Today we were working in the lago menor side of the lake, our first two localities were not so different than before, even in one of the localities the water was not green anymore, but we noticed a big amount of zooplankton in the water, probably a normal situation after an explosion of phytoplankton.
We were travelling a lot to try to cover different areas and at the end of the day we went out by boat just some minutes and when we arrived to a spot of 3 meters by 2 we were able to find in less than 5 minutes 106 dead individuals, this with almost no effort just getting with the net the frogs that were floating in the surface of the lake, but we also noticed that there were much more individuals under the vegetation, but we did not take all these animals because was almost night.
Some of the dead frogs in the lake
With the samples we are collecting until now we saw that this event caused the death of these frogs from 5 to 10 days but the villagers told us that before there were much more but they took out those because the smell was very bad. From all the dead individuals we found we carried out some post-mortem analysis and we found that most of the dead frogs were females with eggs and in several cases the frogs had a not normal muddy substance as gut content.
Taking out the dead frogs
We are trying to collect as much samples as possible for future analysis and to try to understand what is causing this problem that it seems that is associated with the water that arrives in the rivers of the region every rainy season. But talking with the people here they say that is the first time that this happens at that scale. Also for us it was impressing to see that amount of dead frogs and even we saw in the past several deaths, we never saw at this scale.
Postmortem analysis, several females with eggs

Tomorrow we are going to start working with the boat in the area to see how the situation is; also diving in the area to see how is going in the open areas where normally the frogs are also present.

Working with the postmortem analysis

sábado, 2 de mayo de 2015

Titicaca expedition, in the lake, the lago mayor

Now from Titicaca Lake, after our first days we are working in different areas of the lake. We decided to work first in places we knew the populations of Titicaca water frog were doing well and where previously were no problems. We decided this for biosecurity reasons, because it will be very difficult for us to clean and disinfect all our equipment and diving gear in a short term. So if we move from places with less risk to others with more we think will be better.

A frog in the lake, in the Lago mayor side

 Well now our first observations, at least from the locations of the Lago mayor of the lake we found that there is no a visual change in the water, also with the analysis we did with some parameters such as ammonium, nitrite, phosphates, all of these parameters were the same as the previous months, also with the temperature, we saw in our data that there is nothing different or special.
Just in case we took different samples such as subtract of the bottom of the lake, water, different aquatic organism, all these to analyze for possible pollutants.
monitoring the frog populations in the lake

Now about the frogs, we did not see any difference, the numbers of frogs in the areas we were working were the same, also the numbers of dead frogs that we normally find where the same, so nothing special, we even saw different clutches with eggs of the frog developing very well, we did not see just one but several clutches that in the case there was something wrong with the water they would be dead.

an egg of Telmatobius culeus in the lago mayor
So for now we can say that in the side of the Lago mayor there are no massive deaths of frogs. Tomorrow we are going to start to work in the Lago menor of the lake where the deaths were recorded by the media and then we will have a better idea how is the situation over there.

jueves, 30 de abril de 2015

expedition to Titicaca lake

As you may know last week we had bad news about the situation of the frogs in Titicaca lake, now after some planning with the team of the project and some organizations and government we are now getting ready to go to the field and to see what is happening, to evaluate the real status of the frogs and also to take different kind of samples such as water quality, heavy metals, different tissues for different kind of analysis that can provide us a clue that can explain why the frogs are dying in the Lake.
the next days we will update our blog once a day so we can share the findings of this expedition, we more than welcome suggestions and comments about this

getting ready for the fieldwork in Titicaca Lake 

sábado, 25 de abril de 2015

There is something wrong with the lake

Dead frog in one of the localities of Titcaca lake
Working in the lake the last years, allowed us to see some changes and events. This is the case of the dead frogs that we were finding all the time, but now we  this phenomenon is much more common, even in areas that seems to be in good conditions. Now everytime we monitor the lake we find more dead frogs.
Dead Titicaca water Frog and Titicaca grib

We are studying and tryingto understand what happens in the lake, and we found some clues that show us a synergy among different factors such as a fungal disease that arrived to the lake a couple of years ago and pollution of the water, where some areas the situation can be very bad.
Monitoring the deaths of the Titicaca water frog

Since January 2015 we were able to witness some changes in the lake, we found that one of the areas pollution is increasing, more dead frogs are found, macroinvertebrate structure is changing among others. Some time ago we found dead frogs in big numbers and all at the same time, now these last months we found the same thing but not just that, now the water is completely green, not being possible to find our traps during our dives or frogs under the water…
Now we can see in the news that more people are talking about this problem
Erbol, Los tiempos, la razon, and we hope this situation will change.

Green color of the water in all the "Lago menor", photo January 2015
All the local communities around the “Lago menor” were talking about this phenomenon, where the water turned completely green. And there are a lot of dead frogs and also no fish anymore. There is something happening in this area and we need to change things. We see now the first signals that there are problems in the lake, factors that are affecting not just to a critically endangered species, but also to local communities who are having problems to find fish that is one of their main resources.

water of one of the localities that is completely green,
photo January 2015
Nature tell us very clear that something is wrong and we need to act now, otherwise this will have a bad end, Fortunately local communities realize that this phenomenon is not normal, they want to change this situation and we think that we need to help them to understand the situation and also to try to take actions at different levels to prevent this kind of problems.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

curso Anfibios de Bolivia

Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
16 al 20 de Febrero 2015

El proyecto Iniciativa Anfibios de Bolivia, Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny y Hotel Churapa Invitan al curso “Técnicas para el Inventario y Monitoreo de Anfibios Neotropicales” que se llevará a cabo del 16 al 20 de febrero en Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz.
El Curso teórico-práctico está dirigido a estudiantes de Biología, biólogos y ramas afines.
Aspectos generales de los anfibios
Declinaciones de anfibios a nivel internacional y nacional
Protocolos de bioseguridad.
Métodos de colecta y preparación de material científico
Técnicas de inventario y monitoreo de anfibios
Identificación de anfibios de Bolivia (taxonomia y sistematica)
Diseño y análisis de datos en trabajos con anfibios
Conservación de anfibios neotropicales

Lugar y duración:
El curso se desarrollará en instalaciones del Hotel Churapa, en Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz con las actividades de campo en alrededores del pueblo. El curso tendrá una duración de cinco días con asistencia de tiempo completo.
Forma de enseñanza:
El curso va ser una mezcla de teoria con practica, lo que quiere decir que todos los dias habran algunas presentaciones sobre los temas mencionados por herpetologos conocidos y en todas las noches y algunos dias habran salidas de campo para buscar anfibios y aplicar lo aprendido en la practica.

El curso tiene un costo de 700 Bs para estudiantes y 1.000 Bs para profesionales. El alojamiento y alimentación será cubierto por el curso.

Se ofrecerán en algunos casos becas parciales o totales para lo cual se deberá indicar en el formulario más una carta de solicitud.
Los interesados deberán enviar:
Formulario de aplicación bajar aqui 
Curriculum Vitae
Aplicantes que deseen una beca enviar una carta de solicitud
Los documentos deberán ser enviados hasta el 20 de enero a la siguiente dirección electrónica:

Los resultados se darán a conocer el 31 de enero

jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2014

Amphibian Husbandry Course Bolivia

Amphibians are declining all around the world and in some cases there are few chances for some species, and in some cases captive breeding together with other in-situ measurements can provide a hope to threatened species.

Captive breeding can provide a safe population that in the future can be reintroduced and help wild populations or to reintroduce a species where previously was present

Finding the need to work with more institutions interested in amphibian conservation and captive breeding we organized together with Amphibian Ark the Amphibian Husbandry course in our Museum in Cochabamba Bolivia.
17 researchers, conservationists and zoo keepers attended this course where they learned different aspects about amphibians, the different parameters that we need to take in account to keep amphibians in captivity such as water quality, temperature, lighting, food, biosecurity among others.

With the great experience from members of Amphibian Ark we were able to share the knowledge that we need to start thinking in a correct way to start a captive breeding program that can be designed for education, exhibition, conservation or reintroduction purposes

With this course we hope that we can start collaborating with more people and institutions for the conservation of threatened Bolivian amphibians.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Conservation Needs Assessment of the Amphibians of Bolivia

Bolivia is a mega-diverse country holding a large percentage of the world’s biodiversity. This richness contrasts with a relatively poor understanding of its biodiversity and as in many South American countries, a lack of economical resources. Disturbingly, a number of high priority sites for amphibian conservation, even within protected areas, require immediate conservation action, and many of these areas appear to be under increasing threats from over harvesting, exotic species and habitat degradation.

The Conservation Needs Assessment for the amphibians of Bolivia brought together sixteen amphibian field biologists from around Bolivia, representing eight different museums, universities, zoos and Non-governmental organizations. The three-day assessment workshop was hosted by the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d'Orbigny in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and was facilitated by Kevin Johnson from the Amphibian Ark (AArk).

During the workshop, all 265 amphibian species found in Bolivia were assessed and prioritized for the most urgent conservation actions required to ensure their ongoing survival in the wild. These 265 species include 16 that are listed in the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, 16 Endangered, 25 Vulnerable, 5 Near Threatened, 185 Least Concern and 18 Data Deficient. Eighty-eight of the species (33%) are endemic to Bolivia, and of these 45 species are considered to be threatened.

This project was developed thanks to the support of CBOT Endangered Species Fund, Amphibian Ark, and the support of Bolivian amphinian initiative and Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d;Orbigny and Museo Nacional de Historia Natural

sábado, 16 de noviembre de 2013

A rediscovery of one critically endangered frog

Psychrophrynella illimani a critically endangered species
Psychrophrynella Illimani is one critically endangered species that is present just in Bolivia, it was found in 2002 and described in 2009 with just a couple of individuals, since 2002 were different attempts to find more individuals in the area, but it was not possible to find more individuals. In 2013 Jampatu project with Bolivian amphibian initiative together with the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny organized an strategy to try to find this species and also to try to obtain new locations and also information about natural history of this very poorly known species.
a male taking care of the offspring
For this purpose in August we went for the first time to the area to talk with local communities and to present the project, since then we were able to go back every month and now after a couple of months working in the area with a joint team we have news!
variation in coloration of the species
We found the species in the area! Not just that, we found more locations where the species is present and also we got a lot of data about the natural history of the species.

Now after some work with the species we have more data but also more questions and we plan to keep working with this joint project to try to understand and to work with local communities for the threatened amphibians of Bolivia.

P. illimani in the type locality

domingo, 20 de octubre de 2013

High Andean Amphibian Course

Activities in groups for the course

Just one week ago finished the 3rd high Andean amphibian course in Sorata, Bolivia. This was a great opportunity to join enthusiastic people working and with the desire to work with amphibians. It was a great experience where we did not just shared our knowledge together with the Jampatu project, but also it was an opportunity to talk and to start a network of people working for amphibians in different parts not just from Bolivia but also from other countries such as Peru and Argentina.
Activities outside
We had this time the support for different amphibian researchers with a lot of experience working in Bolivia, they helped us with very interesting lectures that gave the participants a wide idea of the amphibian work.
working with frogs
learning new tools for amphibian work

We also learned a lot from the people that were able to participate in this course and of course it was an experience that charged our batteries to work with amphibian conservation.

Learning about water quality
and more activities to learn about conservation work
This kind of courses we are developing once a year and we are looking forward to join more new people that want to work with amphibians.

The 3rd High Andean Amphibian Conservation course participants

lunes, 26 de agosto de 2013

field work with amphibians

Visit to the area of a critically endangered frog (Psychrophrynella illimani)
Obtaining data in different seasons is important to understand the natural history and habitat requirements of the different species of amphibians. These changes can have an important effect in amphibians, not just temperature change but also water quality during the rainy season can change a lot, structure of water bodies or presence of water also can change. 
Habitat of Psychrophrynella illimani a critically endangered frog

The strategies of the different species are also different and those things we want to study. We are already going to several sites in Bolivia to understand better these changes.

obtaining data of the habitat of one aquatic frog (Telmatobius sp.)
We found that some of the streams can change a lot in the hardness and alkalinity but some others do not change at all. In some areas one can find streams covered with ice, but tadpoles and frogs still active in the bottom of the stream. We also are starting to use some tools to understand better the species using underwater cameras, data loggers and others that provide us information that will be very useful for the future.

Tadpoles of Telmatobius sp. in one stream of the Bolivian Andes

sábado, 15 de junio de 2013

High Andean Amphibian Conservation Course 2013

Now we organize for October 2013 the High Andean Amphibian Conservation Course that will be carried out in Sorata Bolivia. for more information please visit us at:

Do not forget the deadline is July 10.

lunes, 28 de enero de 2013

Problems with a critically endangered frog

A Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus) in the rocks

Once again we went back to Titicaca Lake to work, This time to monitor the critically endangered Titicaca Water frog Telmatobius culeus and to take samples of Chytridium  for the project that we are involved and to obtain data about this species. We worked with our team of students and volunteers during several days, this allowed us to obtain more data from different sites. We found some sites with very few individuals but also other with several. With this research we try to obtain data about where are the best populations in the lake.

trapping frogs in the lake to take Chytrid samples

A very shocking finding was that in some localities we found several dead individuals, in one locality we found almost 50% of the individuals dead; it was impressing to find just dead frogs and several individuals that were dying.
one of our sites with dead frogs

We would like to know what is the problem. For this reason we request the help from people, universities or laboratories that can help us with this, to try to find out the cause, to be able to act now in a correct way to avoid more problems.
more dead frogs in the lake
We hope that this is an isolated case and that the problem will not expand. We have some time, we can do things and we can try to work with this problem together.