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College of Arts and Sciences amphibians

E-DNA detection could cut pathogens in pet trade

Salamander.As SARS-CoV-2 puts new focus on zoonotic pathogens, WSU disease ecology researcher Jesse Brunner  has developed a method using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect disease in the vast international trade of aquatic animals.

The problem with monitoring the pet trade is one of magnitude: every year more than 225 million live animals are imported into the U.S. alone, with the majority destined for » More …

Interdisciplinary research to save amphibians worldwide

small frog sits on a person's fingerA diverse group of WSU scientists share a common, critial goal: to prevent the occurrence of a second fungal pandemic—an explosive threat looming just over the horizon.

Their collective efforts have put WSU in the national spotlight as an emerging center for amphibian research. » More …

Ecological legacy of the Palouse Prairie

Close up of spadefoot toad.It’s the cutest photo ever—innocent black eyes, little mottled snout covered with sand. Erim Gómez has won several awards for his angelic close-up of a spadefoot toad.

The doctoral student in environmental and natural resource sciences admits to a soft spot for the shy creatures. Working with associate professor Rodney Sayler in the WSU Endangered Species Lab, Gómez is conducting the first comprehensive survey of frogs and salamanders on the Palouse Prairie since the 1930s. » More …

$1.4M DoD grant supports new eDNA techniques

Caren Goldberg near an Idaho pond.Freshly drawn from an Idaho pond, the half-liter of water running through Caren Goldberg’s funnel-shaped filter carries trace cells and tiny fragments bearing DNA—genetic code from native frogs and salamanders.

Those few strands of code say a lot to Goldberg, a WSU scientist who studies environmental DNA, or eDNA—genetic material sampled from soil or water rather than directly from an organism. The samples not only identify the animals who live in this pond, they hold the potential to » More …

eDNA: An early warning system for deadly pathogen

A mountain yellow-legged frog. Photo credit: Michael Hernandez A new technology being developed at Washington State University could help save amphibians around the world from deadly pathogens like Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a particularly nasty type of fungus that attacks the skin of frogs and salamanders.

The new tool, know as environmental DNA, or eDNA, detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment, and enables wildlife scientists to confirm the presence of a wide variety of aquatic organisms without the hassle of finding them. » More …

Researchers honored for work on environmental DNA

Collecting water samplesWSU researchers Caren Goldberg, Katherine Strickler, and Alex Fremier are being honored this week for their use of a technique that can detect minute amounts of DNA to see if at-risk species are in an area.

The researchers took the Project of the Year for Resource Conservation and Resiliency award during the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program Symposium. » More …