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HARRISBURG, PA – Dr. Bernardo Mesa, MV, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Harrisburg University, recently attended the PA Fish and Wildlife Diversity Forum to provide applied research recommendations to address the main threats to wildlife diversity in the State of Pennsylvania over the next 10 years. The forum took place in State College, Pennsylvania, and was hosted by the PA Game Commission, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, and the PA Biological Survey.

In addition, Dr. Mesa shared molecular ecology research that detected ranavirus affecting wood frog tadpoles at Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania. Wood frogs, and amphibians in general, are susceptible to population decline due to infectious diseases. Dr. Mesa and his colleagues are seeking more robust biomonitoring techniques to better understand the relationships between vulnerable amphibian populations and factors leading to decline.

The research was conducted alongside Wildlife Biologist Aura Stauffer and Harrisburg University undergraduate students Maurice Lopez-Soliz and Jordan Mears The work was supported by the PA Department of Conservation & Natural ResourcesHarrisburg University, and the South Mountain Partnership.

The authors stated: “This study is a step forward to refine and broaden biomonitoring approaches, at a landscape scale, in Michaux State Forest and potentially other regions in Pennsylvania. Future efforts should additionally use metabarcoding for amphibian species detection to gain deeper understanding of pathogen/host/disease dynamics.”

These contributions will influence the 2025–2035 PA Wildlife Action Plan. State Wildlife Action Plans are the blueprints used to implement fish and wildlife conservation strategies to maintain common species and prevent species with the greatest conservation needs from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.


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