Featured project: Species in peril

Jai Ranganathan

Today’s featured #SciFund Challenge project is Species in Peril by the lab of Liz Hadly at Stanford University.

My favorite part of this video starts at the 27 second mark, when graduate student Danny Karp emerges from the inky shadows of a Costa Rican forest at night. He emerges, David Attenborough style, to excitedly point out two tropical frogs on a giant leaf. At that moment, you can feel his excitement and the excitement that comes upon stumbling upon something new in science.

That excitement about science is exactly what the #SciFund Challenge is all about.

More than a pretty face. This tuco tuco is just one of the species being studied by the Hadly lab.

This project is a little different than the other SciFund projects, because it features a whole range of research that is taking place in a single lab. And their research goes all the way from the Rocky Mountains of the United States to Costa Rica to Argentina. All of the biologists in Liz Hadly’s lab focus on the forces that are threatening species by reducing their genetic variation. Having a lot of genetic variation in a species matters! When the amount of variation declines, it makes species less able to deal with major environmental changes, changes like those coming around because of global warming.

How we do prevent the loss of genetic variation in species? How do we help species that have already suffered this loss? Check out Species in Peril and let’s come up with some answers.

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