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The Amphibian Foundation’s (AF) Bridge Program offers the unique opportunity for adults (18+) to conduct conservation and biological research in a collaborative and mentored scientific environment.

The program is available to people before, during, or after college, and allows students to explore conservation research as a potential career field. Students will work as conservation researchers and apprentices, developing the confidence, resilience, and adaptiveness that define a successful scientist. AF will provide valuable one-on-one time with all students in a supportive, thriving environment where you will contribute directly to our mission. We will also work closely with you to help you achieve your personal, academic and career goals. Your work with the AF will contribute to the conservation of threatened and endangered amphibians. .

Although a degree is not required, applicants should have a strong interest in biology, conservation, and amphibians, and the ability to work well with colleagues with different backgrounds and interests. Students will be based at AF’s headquarters in Atlanta, located on the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, for the duration of the program, with many opportunities for field work.

The Bridge Program offers two tracks, depending on student preference and availability.

Track 1: 15-week program for Conservation Research Assistants

Conservation Research Assistants work as an apprentice across many concentrations including:

• restoration conservation
• urban ecology
• animal husbandry (science of caring for animals)
• scientific illustration
• natural history
• biological monitoring of local, native, and reintroduced amphibians and reptiles

For the first ten weeks, assistants rotate working in the captive propagation (breeding) and husbandry labs and other concentrations. Assistants may participate in educational or outreach events. The last five weeks are spent specializing in a field of interest and the semester ends with a research symposium and graduation. Assistants interested in continuing the program may repeat Track 1 or transfer to Track 2 as a Conservation Research Scholar.

Track 2: One-year program for Conservation Research Scholars

Like Conservation Research Assistants, the Conservation Research Scholars work as an apprentice across many conservation topics for the first fifteen weeks. Scholars, with their mentor, then design and implement their own mentored research project for the remainder of the year. Research studies will explore ecological, physiological, life-history, biomechanical, and scientifically interesting questions. It will also improve AF’s husbandry and conservation efforts and could be published in scientific literature.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in learning more, or applying to the program? Click the link below, fill out a short application, and AF staff will talk with you about your specific needs and goals.


Apply to the Bridge Program

Director: Tobias Landberg Ph.D

Dr. Tobias Landberg, Director of Research
Dr. Landberg is AF’s Director of Research and has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Amphibian Foundation since 2016. In collaboration with AF leadership, Dr. Landberg established the Bridge Program for Conservation Research in 2019 to help address amphibian conservation while offering valuable professional experience to students during transition periods.

Google Scholar | ResearchGate | Instagram

Instructors

  • Mark Mandica
  • Crystal Mandica
  • Duncan Irschick
  • J Spahr
  • Henry Adams
  • Mark Mandica
  • Crystal Mandica
  • Duncan Irschick
  • J Spahr
  • Henry Adams
  • Mark Mandica, Executive Director of the Amphibian Foundation, instructs students on field studies on endangered species, monitoring urban and experimentally released amphibians, and scientific illustration
  • Crystal Mandica, Director of Education at the Foundation, works with students on scientific engagement, particularly through a diverse offering of youth programming.
  • Duncan Irschick, Professor at UMass Amherst, instructs students on 3D imaging, modeling and biomechanics
  • J Spahr, Professional Illustrator, instructs students in scientific illustration, and the creation of compelling graphics.
  • Henry Adams, Biologist and Illustrator, instructs students in amphibian disease pathology, disease surveillance, and PCR. He also mentors students in scientific illustration.

Pricing, Dates, and Registration

Room & board not included


Conservation Research Assistant
1 or 2 semester apprenticeship (15 weeks each)

Full time (40 hours/week): $10,000
(Additional second semester: $8000)

Part time (20 hours/week): $6,000
(Additional second semester: $5000)


Conservation Research Scholar
1 year apprenticeship (45 weeks)

Full time (40 hours/week): $25,000

Part time (20 hours/week): $13,000


Semesters

Spring 2020: January 13 to April 24
Summer 2020: May 11 to August 21
Fall 2020: September 8 to December 18


Larval Salamander

Bridge Program Concentrations

Conduct Field Restoration and Conservation

Conduct Field Restoration and Conservation

Work in the field with some of the most endangered species in the southeastern United States, including the imperiled Gopher Frog (Rana capito)—Georgia’s rarest frog. Staff at the Amphibian Foundation have been working on their conservation for more than ten years.
Help Endangered Species in the Lab

Help Endangered Species in the Lab

Care for vulnerable amphibians and reptiles in the lab and help propagate captive populations of endangered species, such as the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum), which has declined in population by 90% since 2000.
Learn Functional Ecology & Ecophysiology

Learn Functional Ecology & Ecophysiology

Generate knowledge on how species function in their environment, leading to better conservation practices. The focal species at AF are locally or federally imperiled, yet very little is known about how they function in the environment.
Perform Biological Monitoring

Perform Biological Monitoring

Assess populations to help make conservation plans. At the heart of conservation efforts are biological monitoring initiatives. Assessing wild populations and the status of experimentally released animals is key to understanding the impact of conservation efforts, as well as predicting when to enact a conservation plan.
Engage in Outreach and Education

Engage in Outreach and Education

Educate people across the state and nation within AF’s Education & Outreach Program, which provides unlimited opportunities to engage the community in learning about reptiles and amphibians. We have partnerships with many area schools, colleges, and organizations.
Access Exciting Courses in Biology

Access Exciting Courses in Biology

The Amphibian Foundation offers, with partners, an exciting selection of classes that students can take to further their herpetological knowledge. These courses include Biology of the Amphibians and Biology of the Reptiles, both of which are offered at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. The Master Herpetologist Program is taught at the Amphibian Foundation and in the field with Georgia DNR and the Orianne Society.
Learn Survey Techniques

Learn Survey Techniques

Detect amphibians and reptiles using sampling techniques such as Visible Implant Elastomer, Dipnetting, Funnel & Pitfall Traps, Hoop Nets, and Nocturnal Sonic Surveys.
Practice Scientific Illustration

Practice Scientific Illustration

Get guidance from professional scientific illustrators in a variety of media including pen and ink, watercolor, and digital renderings using PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Procreate. AF values the connection between art and science and strives to empower students to produce compelling graphics to accompany research.
Learn 3D Imaging, Modeling, and Biomechanics

Learn 3D Imaging, Modeling, and Biomechanics

Work with 'Beast-Cam' technology and learn about generating perfect 3D models, which can be manipulated and animated.
Train and Certify in Venomous Snake Biology, Conservation, and Handling

Train and Certify in Venomous Snake Biology, Conservation, and Handling

Working with the Rattlesnake Conservancy, our students are trained and certified in properly handling venomous snakes, an extremely valuable skill when working in the field.
Propagate Endangered Species

Propagate Endangered Species

Experience AF’s Amphibian Research and Conservation Center, a solar-powered outdoor research lab with 33 artificial and experimentally controlled wetlands called mesocosms. These mesocosms hold hundreds of frogs and salamanders for conservation research programs. Many conservation programs rely on population augmentation using techniques such as assisted metamorphosis (head-starting, or rearing animals from egg to metamorphosis before releasing) and captive propagation (producing animals at AF which would be candidates for experimental release in the wild).
Make Lasting Connections in Research and Conservation

Make Lasting Connections in Research and Conservation

Network and meet experts in the field. AF’s conservation efforts are collaborative with a growing base of passionate partners. Students connect with partners and researchers from state and federal agencies, other non-profits, and universities.

Learn more

Learn Techniques in Amphibian Disease Pathology

Learn Techniques in Amphibian Disease Pathology

Emergent infectious disease is a main cause of the global amphibian declines, which now effect 43% of the world's amphibian species. Disease testing and surveillance is a vital part of amphibian community monitoring, both in the lab and in the field.
Learn Specimen Preparation Techniques and Museum Studies

Learn Specimen Preparation Techniques and Museum Studies

Proper specimen preparation, as fluid (alcoholic) or skeletal specimens, is an important tool for scientific and illustrative investigations. We train students to prepare these specimens for research, including the maintenance of the dermestid beetle colony used to clean skeletal material.
Work in Restricted and Protected Habitats

Work in Restricted and Protected Habitats

Through our valued partnerships, the Amphibian Foundation works in some of the most restricted areas of the southeastern US, such as military installations and Wildlife Management Areas. Our students have access to some of the most pristine areas, with opportunities to witness wildlife of all kinds while studying focal species.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in learning more, or applying to the program? Click the link below, fill out a short application, and AF staff will talk with you about your specific needs and goals.


Apply to the Bridge Program