Tree frogs are thought to be a min carrier of chytrid
Tree frogs are thought to be one of the main carriers of chytrid and are a priority research area along with cane toads. ©Matt Morten

Research is a key component of this programme. There are many unanswered questionsthat need to be addressed if we are going to restore this species. Within the Darwin project in Montserrat we will look at the ecology of the mountain chicken and its interaction with the two introduced amphibians, cane toads and tree frogs, which are presumed to be the main carriers of the disease as they seem to be able to survive with it. We aim to study the seasonality of the disease and variations in different regions of the island.

However there will also be a long term lab-based research programme that will address key questions such as why do some mountain chickens survive in the presence of chytrid? We also want to know whether there is any way we can develop some for of resistance to the disease. These aspects of the research have global implications for fighting chytridiomycosis.