Professor speaks on how to save amphibians

Irech Colon/Contributing Writer

Different species of amphibians are becoming extinct, sometimes before being named, according to the latest research of Maureen Donnelly, Ph.D and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and her students.

Zoo Miami, which has recently partnered with FIU, will host the next Zoo FIU series, Amphibian Conservation in the New World Tropics, on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. During the lecture, Donnelly will take a stand on the importance of amphibian conservation, major aspects of the decline of the species and also the activities of the three different laboratories and prospective solution to the issue in the tropics.

The purpose of the lecture series is to “bring together the resources of two institutions to provide greater opportunities for students while enhancing Zoo Miami’s mission”, wrote Michael Heithaus, executive director of School of Environment, Arts and Society, in an email to Student Media. It aids significantly in shedding light on conservation implications of biodiversity by allowing students and the public to understand amazing species like amphibians, and to learn how protecting them can guarantee their survival.

Besides, warning students and the public on the current extinction, the Zoo Miami offers internships to students where they can collaborate on research projects.

According to Donnelly, such projects are about the effect of tea cultivation on the amphibian community structure in India, the loss of glaciers affecting the high elevations for amphibians in the Andes and forest fragmentation in Costa Rica. Each of the explorations handled by doctoral students; Justin Nowakowski, Lily M. Eluvathingal and Kelsey Reider.

“By spreading the word of these events and having students stir up research in other countries, we are one step closer in saving the lives of many organisms and preventing serious threat to animal development. In order to save it, we need to understand it.” said Donnelly, referring to the way the ecosystem works.

Donnelly also believes the best type of help is done inside voting booths. Knowing the policies of animal and environmental causes when voting for politicians is just as crucial as taking the time to attend the lectures and learning about the problem. Heithaus agrees that the lecture series also highlights the species at Zoo Miami and the people who share a deep care for them.

The upcoming lecture will be taking place in the zoo’s newest exhibit: Amazon and Beyond at Zoo Miami. Pre-register at

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