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College of Arts and Sciences salamanders

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 …

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 …