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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Jan, do you still have your grid? It sounds like you were very thorough. I would agree with every aspect you discussed with the exception of the last one - broad application to all caudates would be nice but for $1000 I don't think we should dwell on the "broadness" - significance to a target species has its own merits too. I'd very much like to see your grid prior to the "broad applicability" criterion.
 

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I had a difficult time deciding between 4 and 9. I ultimately went with 4. This work will be taking place regionally speaking in my own backyard so I think that it is important to know if chytrid is present and if so to what extent. The choice was not easy to make however as I have a true fondness for hellbenders as well. Also, I'll have to admit that the hobbyist in me was wanting to vote for the one dealing with Bolitoglossa breeding however in the grand scheme of things I think that environmental studies should come first.
Chip
 

coendeurloo

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#4 Is chytridiomycosis affecting Appalachian salamanders?

That one sounded like a *really* valuable research to me, as far as I can understand it.
 

Jan

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Jan, do you still have your grid? It sounds like you were very thorough. I would agree with every aspect you discussed with the exception of the last one - broad application to all caudates would be nice but for $1000 I don't think we should dwell on the "broadness" - significance to a target species has its own merits too. I'd very much like to see your grid prior to the "broad applicability" criterion.

John, please note from my post that I indicated that broad applicability was a subjective assessment not a criterion and thus not a part of the grid. For the grid, I used the 6 main requirements as outlined in the application - objective assessment. I would agree that broad applicability is not necessarily a driver....but in my opinion, when all else is reasonably equal - it is persuasive.
 

John

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John, please note from my post that I indicated that broad applicability was a subjective assessment not a criterion and thus not a part of the grid. For the grid, I used the 6 main requirements as outlined in the application - objective assessment. I would agree that broad applicability is not necessarily a driver....but in my opinion, when all else is reasonably equal - it is persuasive.
Jan, don't hold back, where is this grid :) ?
 

Jennewt

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Jan, can you tell us which 6 you found to fulfill all 6 of the objective criteria?
 

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I voted for the chytrid fungus testing on sals in Peru, mainly for the fact we all know the effects this fungus is having on the amphibian population, and more importantly to me, that the money we raised covers the WHOLE project rather than a proportion, and i like the idea that we, as a community, could make a complete difference to the sals in that area, and that it was a Caudata funded project.

Ben
 

Jan

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Jan, don't hold back, where is this grid :) ?
John darlin' - I would never hold out on you :). I am out of town and the grid is on my desk in my office at home...and it is handwritten, not typed. When I get home tonight, I can minimally relay the 6 that met requirements.
 

Jan

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From re-reviewing the grid, there were eight applications that satisfied all of the requirements: these were #2, #4, #9, #10, #11, #14, #15 and #17. The differentiator among these, in my opinion, was the requirement of ‘dissemination of results’ – how will the research results be disseminated? As I stated, my bias is for results to be presented at meetings and submitted to (and hopefully published in) peer reviewed journals…scrutinized science undertaking with wider audience exposure. To that end, there were three that indicated both methods of dissemination would be pursued: #2, #9 and #11. The others either mentioned just one method or were vague, e.g., ‘data will be published’…. which left me wondering, where? And the answer to that can vary widely and may lack significance. In my final selection, I voted for the one that IMO gave the best ROI.
 

John

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Jan, thank you. I think you're being somewhat unfair with the "where will it be published" part. Most scientists wouldn't publish quality projects outside of peer-reviewed journals - to do so doesn't really help one's CV, one's perception in the eyes of one's employer, or one's prospects for an upward career trajectory within academia.

Here are my opinions as promised. Please undertand that I am giving a short honest assessment of each project and that I tend not to minse words - please understand that I intend no offence!

  1. Salamandra algira - Despite my personal fondness for Wouter Beukema, we state in our grant that we favour those working with species in their own country so this makes this otherwise interesting research take a back seat to many of the other applications.
  2. Nanoparticles and Notophthalmus - I have some professional knowledge of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials because of where I work. I am quite curious about this research but I do not see it being a priority for conservation in comparison to the other research grant topics here.
  3. Conservation of Chiropterotriton multidentatus - I think this project would provide valuable information for conservation, although the budget area is vague. This would be in my list of those to be considered.
  4. Chytrid in Appalachian salamanders? - A nice interesting project, though I'm not sure how much it will really contribute to conservation (as the answer is likely to be yes to all the species in my opinion), though it may help us target those species that need more protection than others. This would be in my list of those to be considered.
  5. Axolotl Habitat Preferences - Interesting project but I don't think habitat preference is something that needs to be funded for the axolotl - habitat preservation, pollution reduction and mitigation, removal of predatory fish species, and controlled captive breeding in a local environment are priorities for this species and I am very disappointed we did not receive more applications to help this species. If this animal were not so threatened I would feel better about funding this project but it just doesn't seem appropriate. Aside from this, there is no mention of publication of the results so this would not be on my list, despite how much interest I have in this species.
  6. Bolitoglossa pandi - I think assessment of this species would be a worthwhile endeavour but there is no mention of mode of publication. Still, this would be on my list of projects to consider because of the conservation value.
  7. Mexico Ambystoma & Pseudoeurycea - I like this project and I think the results garnered from this work could be quite interesting. My concern though is that I don't see significant potential conservation data coming from this (again, just my opinion). For that reason I wouldn't consider this a primary candidate for my vote.
  8. Pseudoeurycea cephalica - Again, this falls into the same category as number 7 in my opinion: interesting and worthwhile work but not much immediate conservation value. This project would not be a primary candidate for my vote.
  9. Hellbender/Cryptobranchus alleganiensis - Hellbender populations are having a very hard time particularly in the Ozark mountains (not the region of study for this project, I should point out). There is a huge shortfall in our knowledge of this species. Aside from the potential to help the study populations, this project could yield data that would potentially help the conservation and understanding of Hellbender populations elsewhere. I very much like the detail given in the project, the timeline and publication prospects. I consider this application a strong contender for my vote.
  10. Colombian Bolitoglossa - Population information and assessment of "what is where" is valuable data. If we don't have a comparison to historical records, how can we know if a species is in decline? However for immediate conservation value I believe this project falls into the same category as #7, for example. It would not be a strong contender for my vote.
  11. Bd in Georgia, USA - I view this project similarly to #4 (also about chytrid) but the current application has more clearly stated conservation goals and as a result I would consider it more vote-worthy than #4 and certainly in my list of contenders.
  12. Bolitoglossa franklini - This is interesting work on the genetics of these salamander but it has little or no immediate conservation value and I would not consider it a contender for my vote.
  13. Hemidactylium scutatum - This species has particular habitat requirements, particularly for breeding and has suffered from habitat drainage/destruction over much of its range. It also hasn't received much attention in comparison to other species. Illinois, USA, where this project will take place, represents some of the western-most range of this salamander. At a state level, obviously the conservation of this species should be given importance considering the state is not a stronghold for the species. The data from this project may provide information that could aid conservation but frankly I don't see it having a significant conservational impact (again, my opinion with limited knowledge). However I would consider voting for it.
  14. Peru Bolitoglossa - This is another population assessment with two twists - firstly the research will test for Chytrid in the surveyed salamanders, and secondly there is a major construction project underway that will almost certainly affect some populations of the target species. This assessment would have a more immediate impact on conservation than some of the others presented here because of the immediate construction threat. However whether or not anyone could (or would have the money to) do anything about population damage is another matter. I would consider voting for this project.
  15. Hellbender/Cryptobranchus a. alleganiensis and Mudpuppy/Necturus maculosus - This is another population assessment project. Frankly, from a value for money point of view, I don't think $1000 for 2.5 days of survey time is good bang for buck. For that cost I would have hoped for something more tangible in respect to conservation. I don't think I would consider this a leading contender for my vote.
  16. Guatemalan Bolitoglossa - Captive propogation of threatened species. Captive breeding of threatened species is an admirable goal but I would very much like to hear what has made these species so threatened in the wild to warrant this captive breeding. I would also like to hear about conservation efforts. I am also somewhat dismayed by the fact that this application makes it seem as if nothing is known about the breeding biology of these salamanders (which I am willing to accept). Therefore I find myself questioning the value of undertaking such work bearing in mind how little knowledge there is to begin with. I don't wish to descriminate against species, but I would rather vote for a project that has an achieveable goal over one with a (seemingly) remote chance of success, in the near term at least. Aside from all of this, there is no mention made of publication of the results. I would not consider this a primary candidate for my vote.
  17. Bd in Peru - Population assessment and survey for the presence of chytrid fungus. I don't see immediate conservation implications but the data could be useful for future conservation efforts. Otherwise the application meets our requirements and I would consider voting for it.
So, to summarise, the projects I would consider for my vote are: #3, #4, #6, #9, #10, #11, #13, #14, #17.

For myself, I've whittled the list down to three choices: #9, #11, #14.
 

Greatwtehunter

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Ok so I'll throw my hat in the ring. I've been trying to decide between 4, 11, and 13. I am strongly leaning towards #4 but I don't wanna vote for it quite yet cause I kinda feel biased since it's pratically in my backyard as well. Being from this region though I could see some of the benefits as some species here only have 2, 3, or 4 county ranges. As quick as chytrid has spread in some areas it wouldn't take no time to wipe out these species.

Oh well, I may make up my mind one of these days before voting is over with.:rolleyes:
 

Jan

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Jan, thank you. I think you're being somewhat unfair with the "where will it be published" part. Most scientists wouldn't publish quality projects outside of peer-reviewed journals - to do so doesn't really help one's CV, one's perception in the eyes of one's employer, or one's prospects for an upward career trajectory within academia.


For myself, I've whittled the list down to three choices: #9, #11, #14.

John, appreciate your comment but we will have to agree to disagree. My comments were about 'dissimination of results'. Specificity and clarity IMO trumps what 'most' may do as there are 'those' that don't. I can only hold someone accountable to what they say they will do,,,,not what I assume they may do. But this isn't about us, it's about where we will award our money.

Your opinions, considerations and insight on each proposal are much appreciated - thanks for putting this together - it is quite valuable. Ultimately, it appears that we have landed on and favor the same grant applications.
 

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Although i´m inclined to be appealed by number 16, i´m not convinced by it...
It may be a bit of a silly reason to decide which project to vote, but after seeing Nick Baker´s program on hellbenders some time ago, i can´t help but vote for number 9.....it´s still in my head :S.
 

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I would like to vote for #9 to help out the hellbenders
 

John

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I would like to vote for #9 to help out the hellbenders
Only people who donated to the grant in December are eligible to vote in this though.
 

cichlidjedi

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Sorry I thought it was for those that donated to Amphibian Ark? Sorry again my mistake.
 

John

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Sorry I thought it was for those that donated to Amphibian Ark? Sorry again my mistake.
Did you do it as part of our donations drive? If so you should have received an email from AArk containing a thank you for participating in the Caudata.org Donations Drive. Send that to me and we can flag you so you can vote.
 

John

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cichlidjedi was one of the donors to the drive and he didn't get flagged - sorry about that. If anyone else has this problem please let me know (unfortunately I am only human!).
 

John

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With 5 days left to go, right now we have a clear leader. I don't think we'll need another poll if this keeps up. However I remind those who have yet to vote (which is at least half of the voters) that you have 5 days remaining.
 
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