Archive for the News Category

National Science Foundation grants Professor Woodhams the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award

Dr. Woodhams pictured with Northern leopard frog, a focal species for investigating microbiome interactions with host skin defenses

The National Science Foundation has granted Professor Woodhams the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award.  The award will fund five years of research in the Woodhams Lab, focusing on Microbiome Regulation by Amphibian Skin Peptides, and will support a new course, Microbiome and Disease Ecology Lab, focused on authentic research experiences for undergraduates. Congratulations Dr. Woodhams!

NSF Grant Summary | UMass Boston Press Release 

Nature Ecology and Evolution publishes a new collaborative study with UMass Boston researchers

Pictured: Molly Bletz and Doug Woodhams smiling with a frog

Nature Ecology and Evolution published a new collaborative study with UMass Boston researchers Jordan Kueneman, Molly Bletz, Rob Stevenson, and Doug Woodhams.  The study found that bioclimatic factors were important in shaping the skin microbiome of amphibians at a global scale. Samples from over 2,300 amphibians of 205 species were included in the study.

Kueneman JG, Bletz MC, McKenzie VJ, Becker CG, Joseph MB, Abarca JG, Archer H, Arellano AL, Bataille A, Becker M, Belden LK, Crottini A, Geffers R, Haddad CFB, Harris RN, Holden WM, Hughey M, Jarek M, Kearns PJ, Kerby JL, Kielgast J, Kurabayashi A, Longo AV, Loudon A, Medina D, Nuñez JJ, Perl RGB, Pinto-Tomás A, Rabemananjara FCE, Rebollar EA, Rodríguez A, Rollins-Smith L, Stevenson R, Tebbe CC, Vargas Asensio G, Waldman B, Walke JB, Whitfield SM, Zamudio KR, Zúñiga Chaves I, Woodhams DC, Vences M. (2019) Community richness of amphibian skin bacteria correlates with bioclimate at the global scale. Nat Ecol Evol. 2019 Mar;3(3):381-389.

Read this publication  |  Read the press release

Microbial Ecology Publishes New Review: “Batrachochytrium: Biology and Management of Amphibian Chytridiomycosis”

Pictured: Atelopus zeteki, the Panamian golden frog, a species nearly extinct due to chytridiomycosis.

The invited review for the Encyclopedia of Life provides an overview and comparison of the two chytrid pathogens of amphibians and provides insight into disease management. Contributors include 5 students in the Woodhams lab.

Woodhams, D.C., Barnhart, K.L., Bletz, M.C., Campos, A.J., Ganem, S.J., Hertz, A., LaBumbard, B.C., Nanjappa, P. and Tokash‐Peters, A.G. (2020). Batrachochytrium: Biology and Management of Amphibian Chytridiomycosis. In eLS, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Ed.). doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0027207

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Brandon LaBumbard Shares a Plant Love Story

Gladiator frogs described in “The Viper Leaves”

We believe that everyone has a Plant Love Story: a story about how plants have shaped your life. We’re collecting these stories to show how plants affect us all. Please share your story!

UMass Boston Biologist Discovers Frogs Impacted by Deadly Disease in Panama Are Making a Comeback

Sachatamia albomaculata, taken in January 2018 by Doug Woodhams

Read about the study in the New York Times featured by Carl Zimmer, A Few Species of Frogs That Vanished May Be on the Rebound.

Also on ScienceNews: Some frogs may be bouncing back after killer chytrid fungus (featured by Susan Milius), UMass Boston News, and Commentary in Science by Prof. Jim Collins, Arizona State University, “Change is Key to Frog Survival”.

Master’s thesis defended by Kelly Barnhart

Pictured: Kelly Barnhart celebrating with a salamander cake and hat.

Kelly Barnhart successfully defends her Master’s thesis- “From Symbionts to Pathogens: Interactions Within the Amphibian Skin Mucosome”.

Science Magazine publishes Woodhams Lab findings

Science Magazine publishes a sweeping study including 15 years of Dr. Woodhams’ research. In collaboration with Jamie Voyles at University of Nevada, Reno, the study describes rebounding populations of amphibians in Panama. Rather than a weakening pathogen, the research shows that host skin defenses or biotic community factors may be responsible for creating conditions for coexistence of amphibians and the chytrid fungus.

Voyles J, Woodhams DC, Saenz V, Byrne AQ, Perez R, Rios-Sotelo G, Ryan MJ, Bletz MC, Sobell FA, McLetchie S, Reinert L, Rosenblum EB, Rollins-Smith LA, Ibáñez R, Ray JM, Griffith EJ, Ross H, Richards-Zawacki CL. (2018) Shifts in disease dynamics in a tropical amphibian assemblage are not due to pathogen attenuation. Science 359(6383):1517-1519.


Link to article | Link to New York Times article | Link to Science News | Link to The Atlantic article

Leopard Frogs sampled in Panama with Andreas Hertz

Pictured: Dr. Andreas Hertz with Panama leopard frog

Dr. Hertz and Woodhams captured Panama leopard frogs, Rana pipiens species E, near Santa Fe, Panama.  The undescribed species is similar to  Northern leopard frogs but may produce unique skin peptide secretions with medicinal properties.

New article, Fight Fungi with Fungi: Antifungal Properties of the Amphibian Mycobiome, published in Frontiers in Microbiology

Network analysis depicting the connectivity among sample for Bd inhibitory bacterial (A) and Bd-inhibitory/facilitating fungal (B) taxa.

In this new article published in Frontiers in Microbiology, the Woodhams Lab in collaboration with the New England Aquarium suggests that host associated fungi may work better than bacteria for amphibian skin probiotics against chytridiomycosis.

Patrick J. Kearns, Sarah Fischer, Saioa Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Caitlin R. Gabor, Jaime Bosch, Jennifer L. Bowen, Michael F. Tlusty, and Douglas C. Woodhams. Fight Fungi with Fungi: Antifungal Properties of the Amphibian Mycobiome. (2017) Frontiers in Microbiology.

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Widespread amphibian skin bacteria chemically inhibit pathogens

Prodigiosin and Violacein are two bacterially produced chemicals that inhibit fungal amphibian pathogens

In a new study, Woodhams and colleagues show that compounds such as prodigiosin and violacein produced by amphibian skin bacteria can inhibit fungal pathogens. Volatile organic compounds were also inhibitory.  The team showed that these bacteria are widespread and potentially useful probiotics.

Woodhams DC, LaBumbard BC, Barnhart KL, Becker MH, Bletz MC, Escobar LA, Flechas SV, Forman ME, Iannetta AA, Joyce MD, Rabemananjara F, Gratwicke B, Vences M, Minbiole KPC. (2017) Prodigiosin, violacein, and volatile organic compounds produced by widespread cutaneous bacteria of amphibians can inhibit two Batrachochytrium fungal pathogens. Microbial Ecology,

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