Amphibian Conservation and Education Project
This project is a collaborative effort of Dr. Jake Kerby and the Henry Doorly Zoo of Omaha, Nebraska.  To date, we have trained over 200 educators in proper techniques for doing amphibian surveys and swabbing individuals to determine infection by a chytrid fungus.  The goal of the project is to quantify the impact this fungus is having on current amphibian populations and to determine if other factors are important in determining its pathogenicity.  That is, how might things like climate change, environmental pollutants, invasive species and so on be worsening the spread and severity of this disease?
This project is one of a kind in its integration of education and science and we hope will serve as a model for others to encourage the youth to experience the outdoors and better understand ecological principles.

Click here for project details

Why conserve amphibians?
Nearly 1/3 of all amphibian species worldwide are threatened with extinction.  This plainly means that if nothing is done, over 30% of all amphibian species will disappear within a lifetime.  This is important for a variety of reasons beyond just the loss of aesthetic appreciation for a diversity of frogs (of which the Henry Doorly Zoo well represents). 
Why are amphibians important?

1. Amphibians are vital components to ecosystems

Since most North American species live in the water as tadpoles and as adults on land they are an important food source for many aquatic and terrestrial species.  Their loss inevitably means the loss of other species as well such as birds, mammals, and fish.

2. Amphibians primarily consume insects

Loss of adult amphibians mean the loss of an important predator to many insect pests.

3. Several amphibian species contain unique toxic chemicals.

Several important medicines have been utilized from amphibians.  Drug development often begins with the discovery of natural chemicals, and therefore the loss of species might represent a significant loss to medicine. In fact, skin chemicals from frogs have found to inhibit HIV infection and fight cancer.

4.  Biodiversity is important

A recent study showed that the loss of biodiversity can have significant impacts in regard to human diseases.