Caudata.org Grant Poll

Which Project should get the 2009 Caudata.org Grant? (READ THIS ENTIRE THREAD BEFORE VOTING)

  • Distributional modelling and ecological research on Salamandra algira in Morocco with emphasis on di

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Effect of magnetic nanoparticles on newt behavior - Notophthalmus viridescens

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Conservation status and systematics of Chiropterotriton multidentatus (Caudata: Plethodontidae) - Ch

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Is chytridiomycosis affecting Appalachian salamanders? - Appalachian salamanders

    Votes: 2 10.0%
  • Habitat preferences of the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) within its refugee’s canals - Axolotl/Ambys

    Votes: 1 5.0%
  • Pandi mushroom-tongue salamander Project: Conservation status assessment of a threatened Andean sala

    Votes: 2 10.0%
  • Comparative landscape genetics of two amphibians endemic to the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt of Centr

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Systematics of the Pseudoeurycea cephalica group - Pseudoeurycea cephalica

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Conservation Genetics of Hellbender Salamanders in New York: the use of mtDNA for Population Structu

    Votes: 6 30.0%
  • The Salamanders of the Valley de Sibundoy-Mocoa (Putumayo, Colombia) transect - Colombian Bolitoglos

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Continued Surveys for the Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Georgia Salamander Assem

    Votes: 4 20.0%
  • Systematics and phylogeny of the species complex Bolitoglossa franklini / lincolni (Caudata: Plethod

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Variation in Four-toed Salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum, Microhabitat Use Across Age Groups and Se

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Population status, presence of Batrachochythridium dendrobatidis (Bd) and the effect of the Transoce

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Survey and assessment of aquatic salamander species in the French Creek Drainage of the Allegheny Ba

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Captive propagation of Endangered Guatemalan Salamanders - Guatemalan Bolitoglossa

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • Survey of Chytrid fungus presence on the three species of salamanders in Peru - Bd in Peru

    Votes: 2 10.0%

  • Total voters
    20
  • Poll closed .
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John

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Here are the 17 applications for the 2009 Caudata.org Grant. Voters, before proceeding be sure to read this first. Each voter gets 1 vote. Due to the relatively low number of voters, we may need to hold two rounds to drill down to a more manageable number of applications. Voters will be notified if/when this happens. I wish to reiterate that if you are unsure about an individual grant and what it's talking about, then do ask. We want an informed decision from the voters. If you are anything like me, you will have a lot of thinking to do before deciding (I still haven't), so don't rush unduly. Lastly, I remind you all that only those who donated to the grant get to vote. Thank you.

The Applications for the 2009 Caudata.org Grant, in association with Amphibian Ark
Please read all of the applications before casting your vote - click a grant application in the list below and the grant application should appear on your screen.

  1. Distributional modelling and ecological research on Salamandra algira in Morocco with
    emphasis on different genetic lineages
    - Salamandra algira
  2. Effect of magnetic nanoparticles on newt behavior - Notophthalmus viridescens
  3. Conservation status and systematics of Chiropterotriton multidentatus (Caudata: Plethodontidae) - Chiropterotriton multidentatus
  4. Is chytridiomycosis affecting Appalachian salamanders? - Appalachian salamanders
  5. Habitat preferences of the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) within its refugee’s
    canals
    - Axolotl/Ambystoma mexicanum
  6. Pandi mushroom-tongue salamander Project: Conservation status assessment of a threatened Andean salamander from Colombia - Bolitoglossa pandi
  7. Comparative landscape genetics of two amphibians endemic to the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt of Central Mexico - Mexico Ambystoma & Pseudoeurycea
  8. Systematics of the Pseudoeurycea cephalica group - Pseudoeurycea cephalica
  9. Conservation Genetics of Hellbender Salamanders in New York: the use of mtDNA
    for Population Structure and Diversity Estimates
    - Hellbender/Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
  10. The Salamanders of the Valley de Sibundoy-Mocoa (Putumayo, Colombia) transect - Colombian Bolitoglossa
  11. Continued Surveys for the Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Georgia Salamander Assemblages - Bd in Georgia, USA
  12. Systematics and phylogeny of the species complex Bolitoglossa franklini / lincolni (Caudata: Plethodontidae) - Bolitoglossa franklini
  13. Variation in Four-toed Salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum, Microhabitat Use Across Age Groups and Sexes - Hemidactylium scutatum
  14. Population status, presence of Batrachochythridium dendrobatidis (Bd) and the effect of the Transoceanic highway of Bolitoglossa altamazonica in the Vilcabamba – Amboro corridor in Perú - Peru Bolitoglossa
  15. Survey and assessment of aquatic salamander species in the French Creek Drainage of the Allegheny Basin - Hellbender/Cryptobranchus a. alleganiensis and Mudpuppy/Necturus maculosus
  16. Captive propagation of Endangered Guatemalan Salamanders - Guatemalan Bolitoglossa
  17. Survey of Chytrid fungus presence on the three species of salamanders in Peru - Bd in Peru
I remind the voters that we, Caudata.org, are an International Community, and as such each of you should endeavour to be as unbiased in your selection as possible.
 

John

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This initial poll will close on March 15th. There may be a further poll or polls if necessary.
 

blueberlin

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Hi John and Kevin,

I have two questions. First, is the point of the poll to narrow things down to a single project? Second, the projects are much more specific than I imagined. (I imagined something more like an investment in television advertising or political activism.) Me, I would prefer to cast a vote for a project that would prove most beneficial to the broadest range of amphibians. Is there a way of discerning the broadest potential application from the results of the various projects?

Thanks,

-Eva
 

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John, would it be possible for you to post the Caudata.org grant description and guidelines for application? I know you had mentioned in another thread that our grant specifies that we have "a strong preference for supporting projects that involve biologists from the species’ native country" - what other specifications, if any, were outlined in the application procedure? And how was the 'call for application' made/advertised?
 

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I have two questions. First, is the point of the poll to narrow things down to a single project? Second, the projects are much more specific than I imagined. (I imagined something more like an investment in television advertising or political activism.) Me, I would prefer to cast a vote for a project that would prove most beneficial to the broadest range of amphibians. Is there a way of discerning the broadest potential application from the results of the various projects?
Scientific grants do not work in that fashion. In order to receive a grant from a scientific funding organisation, lots of detail must be provided so that the organisation can make an informed decision knowing that their money will be targeted at a specific issue or area. For small grants like ours, this system is perhaps even more essential to insure that our money has the most effect. I hope this makes sense to you.

John, would it be possible for you to post the Caudata.org grant description and guidelines for application? I know you had mentioned in another thread that our grant specifies that we have "a strong preference for supporting projects that involve biologists from the species’ native country" - what other specifications, if any, were outlined in the application procedure?
Here: http://www.amphibianark.org/Kevin/Caudata.org-grant.pdf

And how was the 'call for application' made/advertised?
Kevin made people aware of it. I also wrote to a few organisations (concerned with axolotls) to let them know it was available.
 

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Looking at the way the voting is going I think we will be taking all grants that receive more than 1 vote (or 2 - can't say until everyone has voted), and put them in a second poll with a smaller number of candidates, and the winner of that poll will receive the grant.
 

blueberlin

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Scientific grants do not work in that fashion. In order to receive a grant from a scientific funding organisation, lots of detail must be provided so that the organisation can make an informed decision knowing that their money will be targeted at a specific issue or area. For small grants like ours, this system is perhaps even more essential to insure that our money has the most effect. I hope this makes sense to you.
Sure, that makes sense. I misunderstood Amphibian Ark - I didn't realize that they were a scientific organisation. I sort of lumped them in with charities in general. "My bad".

I'm still a bit overwhelmed at trying to decide which project would be the most broadly beneficial.

Looking at the way the voting is going I think we will be taking all grants that receive more than 1 vote (or 2 - can't say until everyone has voted), and put them in a second poll with a smaller number of candidates, and the winner of that poll will receive the grant.
So we will decide on one project? Seems logical as it is just a wee little pot o' gold we have to offer.

-Eva
 

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Jan

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John, thanks for posting the guidelines for grant application. In my opinion that narrowed the field to only those that satisfied the grant application requirements. Now the difficult part of trying to estimate which will yield the biggest bang for the buck with outcomes.......
 

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Speaking of opinions, I can't help but think it might be helpful if we shared our own thoughts about the projects and discussed them, rather than letting everyone fly blind. I've seen the results so far and personally I would not have voted for one of the options that has received several votes (I think I see a reason that the voters didn't). What do you think?
 

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FYI: Word from the chat is that folks are waiting to see what others vote for first...

It is an awful lot of text to read in a relatively short time before making an informed decision.

-Eva
 

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10 days to read 17 pages? Not that bad.
 

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Ok I decided I'll just go first (at least, I was first when I started this reply) since I'm the outspoken dork of our family here :rolleyes: Honestly, I figured, I have only the one vote and it can't matter that much, so I'd rather skip voting than make a wrong choice. (Opinion One.)

As I hinted above, I did honestly click on two links and try to read about the projects, but marmalade started dripping out of my ear and so I instead gave a really, really close look at the project titles.

Right off I decided that Effect of magnetic nanoparticles on newt behavior is a magic bean for which I would not sell my cow. Could be I'm wrong but it seems to me that there is so much more work to be done simply to understand the various animals in their natural habitats, and we can pursue the currently fashionable nanotechnology later, once we have figured out whether and how amphibians will live today and tomorrow.

Then there are a few that do focus on habitat and conservation - I do not understand the word "systematic" in the recurring sense of these titles, but habitat and conservation were the ideas that led me to support the drive, so I would be most inclined to vote for one of these. The trouble is that I cannot judge whether the information gained will benefit a single species (a worthy endeavour, certainly!) or have widespread benefit.

Ok so there are some of my unqualified but honest opinions. Hopefully others will now feel secure enough to add their thoughts, too.

-Eva
 

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Well, seeing as I haven't made up my own mind, would people like it if I wrote a summary of my thoughts of each proposal with a pros/cons piece on each? Those who have already voted, I can always reset the poll if you want another shot. Obviously I can't guarantee I won't colour your opinions in my summaries but from the sound of things it would still be a positive way to proceed.
 

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Oh Joooooohn.....

10 days to read 17 pages? Not that bad.
17 pages of dry text for making the decision on one vote among 30 for dispensing $1000 for one project among 17?

As you wrote yourself, the texts are sometimes somewhat.. specialized... and if I take 30 minutes to read each text and 10 minutes to think about what I have read, even the voter preparation process becomes another kind of donation.

...would people like it if I wrote a summary of my thoughts of each proposal with a pros/cons piece on each? ...from the sound of things it would still be a positive way to proceed.
I think that is a great idea. If anyone else here has spent as much time considering this as you have, I am sure that they will also express their opinions, since you will have set the precedent. Because I have to tell you, I would rather not vote than read through all of that. (Be comforted, though, that I won't click a button without having an idea what I'm voting for.)

-Eva
 

Nathan050793

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Well, seeing as I haven't made up my own mind, would people like it if I wrote a summary of my thoughts of each proposal with a pros/cons piece on each? Those who have already voted, I can always reset the poll if you want another shot. Obviously I can't guarantee I won't colour your opinions in my summaries but from the sound of things it would still be a positive way to proceed.
I'm with Eva on this. It'd be nice to see what you've been mulling over about this.
 

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Id say #5 or #9 personally, but i cant vote in this poll.
 

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I voted or one of the chytrid studies. It seems like a lot of work is being done on chytrid and frogs. Not much has been done on chytrid and salamanders. It might be pretty important to assess if it is a serious threat to salamander populations. I voted for #11. Since their are so many salamanders in the wild in the U.S. it might be important to figure out if chytrid is a big threat to them.

The proposals are all pretty short and didn't take a big amount of time to read.
 

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I'm not in on this vote, but I enjoy the thread and seeing the topics of study. Furthermore, it's always a fun exercise to try to narrow down a list of research proposals. I was thinking that one way you could have done this step would be to give each voter 3 votes to cast. This would allow the voters to be a little more broad in scope at this step. Especially those that may not be technical experts and have difficult time narrowing it down to 1 of 17. Of course there may be a few individuals that would dump all their votes in one topic, but I think that would be fine if they feel so passionately about a topic they could weight their vote at this stage. Then with the results of this vote take the top ?three to five? areas of study do a new poll (one vote/person) while trying to get some focused discussion on the more concise list.

Another idea may be to keep this first round of the vote blind, since seeing others choices may impact how some individuals may vote. (Personally, I think that I'd go #7 at the moment, but if I see no one is voting for it then I may go for a more popular one that has a better shot at winning.) If you have 30 votes and 17 topics, then once you get a few votes that topic is looking pretty good. This may be another advantage to giving people 3 votes in the initial round.

Not trying to criticize your method, but I sense there is some searching for the optimal way to do this, and I figured it was an idea.
 

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I found all of the applications very interesting and worthwhile. In evaluating the applications, I placed each on a grid and compared each to the 6 main application requirements. In my assessment, 6 applications satisfied all of the requirements. From there, I looked at the level of funding needed for the research, had other monies been secured yet or applied for ?? – from my perspective this is a key element – if we award money, I want to see the project completed. I also focused on dissemination of results and methods of dissemination. The broader dissemination the wider the audience – I have a bias for dissemination by both publishing in a peer reviewed journal and presentations (platform or poster). Lastly, I tried to assess the broad applicability of the research relative to all caudates (subjective).…which led to my top 2 choices: #11 and #2.

It is difficult to garner much information from a one page application. However, it is what it is … and that is where I’m landing with my thoughts. I applaud all of the applicants with their submissions - very encouraging toward caudate research.
 
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