Showing posts from May, 2011

Gopher frog tadpole nursery and exhibit

In between our high and low elevation houses is our newest amphibian exhibit. Our 'Gopher frog nursery' exhibit highlights the conservation work being done on Georgia's rarest frog species. This 'head start' program is a collaborative effort between the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Jones Ecological Research Center, UGA, Zoo Atlanta, The Nature Conservancy and GA Department of Natural Resources (see GA DNR site for more information)

Gopher frog work continues!

[click on an image to enlarge and see captions]

“Last Thursday I travelled down to the Williams Bluff Preserve, which is where we release head started Gopher Frogs.  Along with me was our conservation intern Leslie and we met with folks from the University of Georgia, Zoo Atlanta, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  Our goal was to construct several outdoor pens where we can release some of the Gopher Frogs that we and our partners are raising.  Using these pens, we can better monitor the young frogs over time and see how well they adjust to their new surroundings on the preserve.  Studies like this can give us a better understanding of what the head started frogs do after we release them, and inform us on well they survive the delicate first months out of the water.  Each pen measures approximately 25 meters squared and will house between 25-30 metamorphosed frogs.  As you will see in the pictures, each pen is essentially a walled in area of the preserve with as little dist…

Endangered Species Day 2011, part 2


Endangered Species Day 2011

This past Friday, May 20th was Endangered Species Day. As mentioned in the previous post, Endangered Species Day is a national program aimed at raising awareness of the many plant, animal and communities that are imperiled and need our attention.
[click on a picture to enlarge them all and see comments]

This year, we hosted our 2nd annual Endangered Species Day event at the Garden. Here are some photographs from the 'headliner' — Whit Gibbons, professor (emeritus) @ UGA in the fields of ecology and herpetology and senior researcher (emeritus) @ the Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL).

Today is Endangered Species Day!

"Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people young and old to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining open space. Protecting America’s wildlife and plants today is a legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren, so that all Americans can experience the rich variety of native species that help to define our nation.

Started by the United States Senate, Endangered Species Day is the third Friday in May. Every year, thousands of people throughout the country celebrate Endangered Species Day at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers. You can participate in festivals, field trips, park tours, community clean-ups, film showings, classroom presentations, and many other fun and educational activities." (from the ESD website—
Come to the Garden today for our 2nd …

Notes from the Field: Dante in Brasil

Blind fish can be found in caves around the world. One of the biodiversity hotspots for cave fish is Brasil. Because there are so many species of fish in Brasil from many different families, it should come as no surprise that Brasilian cave fish come from many different families of fish. The diversity of cave fish is truly unbelievable. One of our conservation biologists, Dr. Danté Fenolio, is in Brasil and has visited the labs of several professors that study these fish. He would like to thank Drs. Eleonora Trajano and Maria Elina Bichuette for all of their wonderful hospitality. The following images demonstrate the exceptional diversity of Brasilian cave fish. Enjoy!

Spring in the Conservatory

This weekend was on the colder side, and it was pretty quiet in the mornings. Peaceful times like these are perfect to see the amphibians on exhibit and throughout the Conservatory engaging in behaviors they are too shy to exhibit when there are a lot of people around.

If you ever make it to the Garden just after opening, I would suggest bringing a small flashlight (if you would like to maximize the chance of seeing some interesting amphibian activities)

Salamanders of Georgia exhibit

The salamanders in our Salamanders of Georgia exhibit are probably the most secretive salamanders we have on display. Fascinating animals, yet it takes some patience to be able to see them. Three of the four species were out over the weekend, so I thought I would post some pics here.

When one of the Long tailed salamanders (Eurycea longicauda) eats it's quite surprising, as their tongues are very long, and their aim is extremely accurate.

AZA Amphibian Biology and Captive Management Course: Toledo Zoo

“Last week I attended the Amphibian Biology and Captive Management course sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  This week long course is designed to teach zoo keepers, veterinarians, and educators about the ins and outs of amphibian biology, conservation, and management in captivity.  It was held at the Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio, a facility known for their commitment to amphibian conservation.

            Topics ranged from cage-building to evolution and were taught by some heavy-weight experts.  I had a wonderful time and learned quite a bit while making connections with folks from other institutions I might not have met otherwise.  It was an intense, yet very fun week.  The amphibian facilities at Toledo are top-notch, especially their salamander room.  Tim Herman, a keeper and one of the instructors, has made some incredible advances in the captive breeding of plethodontid (lungless) salamanders, and after seeing his techniques and facilities, it’s easy to see why.