Amphibian conservation has received increasing attention following the 2005 global declaration of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP), with placed a high premium on amongst other increasing the capacity of conservation research required to combat this global crisis. It is within this research field of amphibian conservation that I have established my research activities within the geographical bounds of sub-Saharan Africa and adjacent island of Madagascar.
The majority of my work effort is focused, but not limited to the disease chytridiomycosis caused by a fungal skin pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Studying wildlife pathogens from the perspective of gaining insight on how to better conserve the host species being affected by disease requires trans-boundary collaboration between wildlife ecologists, veterinarians, and conservation organizations. For this reason my work on amphibian diseases has involved international collaboration on papers with authors from various European countries, the USA and elsewhere in Africa.
These papers resulted in integrated approaches to amphibian conservation strategy and trend setting discoveries on Bd genomics by combining expertise from various institutions such as international and regional NGOs, government departments, conservation agencies, natural history museums, zoos and universities. I advocate a holistic research approach to ensure sustainable conservation of amphibians especially with regards to the advancement of the knowledge base of Bd, one of the most eminent threats to amphibians worldwide. The following topics summarise the most important aspects of my research focus: 1) developing and promoting integrated conservation strategies for amphibians; 2) mapping and monitoring disease distribution; 3) scientific documentation of pathogen biology and ecology; 4) pathogen phylogenetics relating to origin, spread and virulence; 5) understanding the role of anthropogenic involvement in pathogen dissemination. At this stage of my career I am established as scientist in the field of amphibian diseases, with a focus on Bd in Africa and Madagascar. My research program on Bd is the only one of its kind based in Africa and is of international value since it contributes significantly to addressing issues around disease emergence and pathogenicity in various other countries around the globe.