Cooperative Research Units
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Biomarkers of Health and Reproduction in Amphibians for use by the ARMI Program


June 2004 - January 2006


Several lines of evidence indicate that amphibian populations are declining globally. However, factors for these declines can be varied and the contribution of environmental contaminants, in particular, is not fully understood. This research will be conducted in and around Big Bend National Park in Texas, an apex site for ongoing Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). Waterborne contaminants have been implicated in reproductive disruption of birds and fish inhabiting the lower Rio Grande valley and Big Bend regions of Texas, but to our knowledge the impact of aquatic contaminants on reproductive and developmental biomarkers in amphibians has not been examined. Elemental contaminants will be determined in selected sites of the study the area and reproductive and health biomarkers will be measured in Rio Grande leopard frogs. In addition, a new biomarker of thyroid disruption recently reported for teleost fishes will be tested for it use in amphibians.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Hu, F., Sharma, B., Mukhi, S., Patino, R., and Carr, J. 2006. The Colloidal Thyroxine (T4) Ring as a Novel Biomarker of Perchlorate Exposure in the African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis. Toxicological Science 93:268-277.
  • Sharma, B., Hu, F., Carr, J.A. and Patiño, R. 2011. Water quality and amphibian health in the Big Bend Region of the Rio Grande Basin. Texas Journal of Science 63: 233-266.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies

  • Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI)


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey