Hilton Oyamaguchi, Saving the Rainforest- One Tadpole at a Time.
Hilton Oyamaguchi has spent the last few months of his life in Brazil, studying the mechanisms of diversification in frogs in the gradient between the Amazon rainforest and Brazilian savanna (Cerrado). The work of this young UCLA doctoral candidate is incredibly important— studying these mechanisms will help in mapping and predicting adaptive variation along the rainforest-savanna gradient. This information will be essential in showing which areas conserve the processes that generate and maintain rainforest diversity. In other words, Hilton is gathering research that will allow us to judge exactly which parts of the rainforest are essential to saving it all.
Or as Hilton puts it: “Last field season I started a common garden experiment in the São Paulo University raising tadpoles from my target species. This experiment is an important part of my project, because I can test if the observed variation in the morphology of my target species (Lesser Tree Frog - Dendropsophus minutus) is a heritable trait or if it is due to plasticity. I went to the south of the Amazon rainforest and to the Brazilian savanna to collect egg masses from my target species and brought them to the São Paulo University. I started a collaboration in Dr. Carlos Navas lab from the Physiology Department at São Paulo University, Brazil, where I was able to set this common garden experiment. The experiment is still running and one of my student (Ryo Okubo), who just graduated in biology from UCLA went to Brazil in the end of January. I trained him to take care of the tadpole colony and now he is running the experiment over there.”
Learn more about Hilton’s work in the Amazon rainforest at The G2 Gallery’s Young Environmentalist Symposium, May 10, 2012.