Thursday, 7 November 2013

Elena Tonelli and the Tanzanian hyper-endemics

Posted by Stuart Marsden

It is a pleasure to welcome Elena Tonelli, a new PhD student in our group. Elena, from Rovereto in Italy, will be studying the hyper-endemic amphibians of the Uzungwa Scarp forest in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Although there are new discoveries to be made at the site, the work of another of the group’s PhD students, Michele Menegon, has shown there to be high diversity of amphibians on the scarp, and several species which have tiny ranges in just small portions of the forest. Elena’s PhD continues work done on the scarp by Andrew Bowkett of Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust , who joins me and Ed Harris from MMU, and Michele on the supervisory team. 

Elena is heading out to Uzunwga in mid-November to start the first of three field seasons. The objectives of her PhD are
To survey amphibians across the scarp to determine species richness patterns and the ranges of individual species.

  1. To determine the habitat associations of individual species and how anthropogenic habitat alterations might affect species’ ability to survive.
  2. To identify patterns of turnover in species distributions and richness and the factors that affect them.
  3. To use the results of 1-3 to inform management of the site for the long-term preservation of amphibian richness in general, and the survival of the hyper-endemics in particular.

Elena is sponsored by Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust


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