Archive for the News Category

Amanda Tokash-Peters receives best poster award

Amanda Tokash-Peters awarded for best poster.

Amanda Tokash-Peters received 1st place for her poster presentation at the Environmental Research Colloquium and Intercampus Marine Science Symposium. The topic of her poster:

Marbled Salamander Mortality in Ephemeral Wetlands on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Amanda Peters and Robin Van Meter.

Grant et al. Proactive Management paper in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Sampling Eastern newts in Massachusetts with Evan Grant and USGS team.

Evan Grant and colleagues advocate using decision analysis to create and evaluate trade-offs between proactive (pre-emergence) and reactive (post-emergence) management options for the newly discovered salamander pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). The Woodhams lab continues to collaborate with Grant at the US Geological Survey on disease threats to New England amphibians.

Grant EHC, Muths E, Katz RA, Canessa S, Adams MJ, Ballard JR, Berger L, Briggs CJ, Coleman JTH, Gray MT, Harris MC, Harris RN, Hossack B, Huyvaert KP, Kolby J, Lips KR, Lovich RE, McCallum HI, Mendelson JR, Nanjappa P, Olson DH, Powers JG, Richgels KLD, Russell RE, Schmidt BR, Spitzen‐van der Sluijs A, Watry MK, Woodhams DC, White CL. (2017) Using decision analysis to support proactive management of emerging infectious wildlife diseases. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15(4):214-221.

Publication on Mosquito Microbiomes in Frontiers in Microbiology

Wolbachia bacteria decrease with temperature followed by an increase in West Nile virus prevalence in mosquitoes, Culex pipiens.

In a study co-led by Douglas Woodhams and Eva Novakova, mosquito microbiomes were examined for seasonal patterns and trends with West Nile virus prevalence.  A fascinating outcome was a correlation between increased temperature, a reduction of protective Wolbachia bacteria, and subsequent increase in West Nile virus.  The study was highlighted in a WBUR radio interview and presented at the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases conference at UC Santa Barbara.

Novakova E, Woodhams DC, Rodríguez-Ruano SM, Brucker RM, Leff JW, Maharaj A, Amir A, Knight R, Scott J. (2017) Mosquito microbiome dynamics, a background for prevalence and seasonality of West Nile virus. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8:526.

Rebollar and colleagues publish on ITS DNA copy number variation and pathogen load diagnostics in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Prevalence of B. dendrobatidis infection depends on copy number threshold.

Pathogens are often detected using particular genes, but these genes can differ in copy number even between pathogen isolates.  We discuss how this may influence conclusions on pathogen loads and infection prevalence, and offer solutions.

Rebollar EA, Woodhams DC, LaBumbard B, Kielgast J, Harris RN. (2017)

Prevalence and pathogen load estimates for the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis are impacted by ITS DNA copy number variation. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 123(3):213-226.

Former Ph.D. student Leyla Davis (University of Zurich) publishes her research in Environmental Microbiology

Former Ph.D. student Leyla Davis (University of Zurich) and Doug Woodhams collect samples for project reported in Environmental Microbiology

We found that the response of tadpoles to microbial therapy depended on the initial microbial community structure.  Addition of Flavobacterium and Pseudomonas acted to increase survival of infected tadpoles.

Davis LR, Bigler L, Woodhams DC. (2017) Developmental trajectories of amphibian microbiota: response to bacterial therapy depends on initial community structure. Environmental Microbiology, 19(4):1502-1517.

Brandon LaBumbard receives a Department of Biology Award for Outstanding Teaching

Brandon LaBumbard honored for Outstanding Teaching.

Brandon LaBumbard received a Department of Biology Award for Outstanding Teaching. In addition to courses in Introductory Biology, and a January term Research Immersion course, Brandon is always teaching students in the lab.

Jonah Piovia-Scott and colleagues publish on bacteria diversity-function relationship in Microbial Ecology

Experimental biofilms with diverse bacterial communities.

Diversity-function relationships are a frontier of ecology research.  Here, we look at the function of bacterial communities to suppress chytrid fungus, and they do this better when at higher diversity.

Piovia-Scott J, Rejmanek D, Woodhams DC, Worth SJ, Kenny H, McKenzie V, Lawler SP, Foley JE. (2017) Greater species richness of bacterial skin symbionts better suppresses the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Microbial Ecology, 74(1):217-226.

Research Immersion Course

NIH-IMSD research immersion course taught by Ph.D. student Brandon LaBumbard

Ph.D. student Brandon LaBumbard teaches a January term research immersion course for the National Institute of Health funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development.

Lindsey Raymond presents Honors research

Lindsey Raymond presents her Honors in Biology research project.

Lindsey Raymond presented her Honors in Biology research at the Scientific Communication for Undergraduates poster session. The project: Growth Inhibition of Pathogenic Fungi Caused by Bacterial Volatile Organic Compounds. Lindsey Raymond, Brandon LaBumbard, and Douglas C. Woodhams.

NPR’s Living On Earth interviews Dr. Woodhams: Good Bacteria Could Save Amphibians

Cow Knob salamander, Plethodon punctatus, from George Washington National Forest, VA
Photo: Matt Becker.

Fighting the fungal diseases that have killed millions of frogs and other amphibians is a top priority, and new research suggests natural soil bacteria might provide protection. UMass Boston biology professor Doug Woodhams tells Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer how they work, and might help other species threatened by these illnesses.

Listen to the interview/Read the transcript


Douglas C. Woodhams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
UMass Boston | Department of Biology
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
Phone: 617-287-6679