YIBS 1998-1999 Annual Report
III. GAYLORD DONNELLEY ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
Joseph Kiesecker, PhD.
Joseph Kiesecker was selected as the first Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Fellow in the spring of 1997. He received his Ph.D. degree in zoology from Oregon State University in May of 1997 and shortly after arrived at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) to begin his two-year collaboration with David Skelly, assistant professor of ecology forestry at F&ES. While at Yale, his goal was to investigate the influence of fungal pathogens on the distribution of larval amphibians, and dynamics of their communities. The following is a report on his accomplishments while he was at Yale:
During the past two years, Dr. Kiesecker collaborated with several scientists, including graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and professors. Pursuing his interest in disease ecology led him to examine the effects of pathogenic infection on behavioral interactions. He investigated how infection with pathogens may influence social interactions between larval amphibians. In laboratory experiments, tadpoles avoid associating with conspecifics infected with intestinal pathogens. This led to an exciting result and is one of the first demonstrations that animals can recognize and use behavior to avoid pathogenic infection. These results will have important ramifications for the understanding of disease transmission and this work has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Dr. Kiesecker also examined the role that disease plays in regulating host populations. Diseases and pathogens are receiving increasing recognition as sources of mortality in animal populations. However, from an ecological standpoint, pathogens have been largely neglected. The work he conducted with digenetic trematode infections in larval amphibians has shown how environmental change can influence disease outbreaks and ultimately host populations. This work is also exciting and is not only one of the few demonstrations that a pathogen can influence host population regulation, but also shows how environmental change can alter host-pathogen interactions. These results will improve the understanding of disease ecology and the role of disease in conservation issues. This work has resulted in Dr. Kieseckers submission of two manuscripts that are currently in review.
In addition, Dr. Kiesecker continued to collaborate with researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Maine. This collaborative work allowed him to continue to pursue his interest in amphibian conservation and behavioral ecology. Work from these research projects resulted in eight manuscripts. While at Yale, he began collaborating with Dr. David Skelly (Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), and this collaboration will continue and will maintain his link with Yale University after he assumes his position as an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University's Department of Biology. He has also worked with Dr. Skelly on projects that examine the role of food resources and the ecology of larval amphibian communities and how large scale changes in forest canopy cover can alter these associations. This work resulted in two publications that are currently in review.
Manuscripts resulting from Donnelley Fellowship support:
Kiesecker, J.M. and A.R. Blaustein.1998. Effects of introduced bullfrogs and small mouth bass on the microhabitat use, growth and survival of native red-legged frogs. Conservation Biology. 12:776-787.
Kiesecker, J.M. 1998. (Book Review): Amphibians in decline: Canadian studies of a global problem. Edited by David M. Green. Copeia 1998:813-815.
Blaustein, A.R., Kiesecker, J.M., Chivers, D.P. and R.G. Anthony. 1997. Ambient UV-B radiation causes deformities in amphibian embryos. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA. 94:13735-13737.
Marco, A., Kiesecker, J.M., Chivers, D.P. and Blaustein, A.R. 1998. Sex recognition and mate choice by male western toads (Bufo boreas). Animal Behaviour, 55:1631-1635.
Wildy, E.L., Chivers, D.P., Kiesecker, J.M. and A.R. Blaustein. 1998. The effects of intraspecific predation on growth in larval long-toed salamanders, Ambystoma macrodactylum. Journal of Herpetology. 32:286-289.
Blaustein, A.R., Kiesecker, J.M. et al. 1999. Using field experiments to examine the effects of ultraviolet radiation on amphibians. American Zoologist. 38:799-812.
Kiesecker, J.M., Chivers, D.P., Marco, A., Quilchano, C., Anderson, M.T and A.R. Blaustein. 1999. Identification of a disturbance signal in larval red-legged frogs (Rana aurora). Animal Behaviour. 57:1295-1300.
Kiesecker, J.M., Skelly, D.K., Beard, K. and E. Pressier. Behavioral Reduction of Infection Risk. In Press Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Kiesecker, J.M. and A.R. Blaustein. Pathogen reverses competition between larval amphibians. In Press Ecology.
Blaustein, A.R. Hoffman, P., Hayes, J.B., Chivers, D.P., Kiesecker, J.M., et al. The influence of ambient UV-B on embryos of the spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). In Press Ecological Applications.
Blaustein, A.R., Chivers, D.P., Kats, L.B. and J.M. Kiesecker. Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation on Locomotion and Orientation in Roughskin Newts (Taricha granulosa) . In Press Ethology.
Kiesecker, J.M. and D.K. Skelly. Interactions of disease and pond drying on the growth, development and survival of the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor). Submitted to Ecology. 38 pages.
Kiesecker, J.M. and D.K. Skelly. Choice of oviposition site by gray treefrogs, Hyla versicolor: the role of potential parasitic infection. Submitted to Ecology. 21 pages.
Kiesecker, J.M., Miller, C.L. and A.R. Blaustein. Potential mechanisms underlying the displacement of native red-legged frogs by introduced bullfrogs. Submitted to Ecology. 37 pages.
Skelly, D.K. and J.M. Kiesecker. The importance of larval competition in amphibian assemblages: comparison of experimental venue using a metaanalysis. Submitted to American Naturalist. 31 pages.
Skelly, D.K., Freidenberg, L.K. and J.M. Kiesecker. Forest canopy and the performance of larval amphibians. Submitted to Ecology. 33 pages.
Dr. Kiesecker was a guest lecturer in the Conservation Biology and Landscape Ecology courses offered by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In September 1997, he was an instructor at the Yale Society for Conservation Biology Weekend Methods Retreat at the Great Mountain Field Station. He also took advantage of the numerous talks and seminars that were presented by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and also was invited to present the results of his research at other universities.
Invited Seminars while at Yale:
University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - November 1997
University of Maine, Department of Biological Sciences - December 1997
Hartwick College, Department of Biology - May 1998
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Biology - December 1998
Dr. Kiesecker has shared the results of his research with members of the scientific community and was invited to speak at a symposium, Development in a Volatile World: How Embryos Cope With Environmental Stress, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 150th Anniversary Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February1998. He also presented the results of research at several professional meetings including the Society for Conservation Biology's annual meeting in Sydney, Australia, July 1998; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologist's annual meeting in University Park, Pennsylvania, June 1999; The annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 1999.