Can frogs’ ability to survive certain infections help enhance understanding of how to help humans do the same? A new research endeavor involving multiple institutions, including UC Santa Barbara, will explore that possibility.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the partnership will examine resilience demonstrated by amphibians and other groups of species to emergence and spread of new infectious diseases, along with other human-caused changes to the global ecosystem. The team will investigate what has allowed amphibians to bounce back after disease outbreaks, using this group of species as a model for understanding how resilience comes about in other living systems.
Such is the focus of RIBBiTR, the Resilience Institute Bridging Biological Training and Research, a new center based at the University of Pittsburgh and funded by a five-year, $12.5 million grant from the NSF.
Working from UC Santa Barbara and from UCSB’s Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory in Mammoth Lakes, co-principal investigators Cherie Briggs, Roland Knapp and Thomas Smith will focus their efforts on understanding factors driving amphibian resilience in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, one of four ecosystems the institute will study.