Season 1, Episode 2 - Reproductive Technologies in Wildlife
Updated: Feb 1
Check out the full video here
All the important links, repro news and guest bios from this month's episode
Dr Justine O'Brien
Dr Justine O’Brien is a University of Sydney graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a PhD in Veterinary Science for her work on gamete biology and assisted reproduction. She has 20 years experience in wildlife reproductive research specialising in strategies for maintaining population genetic diversity and reproductive health. Justine was co-founder and Scientific Director of the Species Preservation Lab (formerly the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center) for 12 years, working closely with other leading zoological organisations such as the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Justine joined the Taronga Conservation Society Australia in 2017 where her role is to manage and support conservation science programs in line with Taronga’s commitment to increase understanding and protection of wildlife through investigation, evidence-based application and communication of science to the community. Her research interests continue to focus on understanding reproductive physiology and to incorporate knowledge derived from zoo-based scientific programs into health assessments and conservation strategies for free-ranging wildlife populations. She holds multiple advisory positions in wildlife reproductive health, is an Honorary Associate at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW.
Early Career Researcher Spotlight
Rose Upton completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours I) majoring in Biological Sciences at The University of Newcastle in 2016. She joined the Conservation Biology Research Group at the University of Newcastle in 2014 where she completed her PhD in 2020, titled “Development of sperm cryopreservation and assisted reproductive technologies for the conservation of threatened Australian tree frogs”. Her work has had an emphasis on the endangered green and golden bell frog, Litoria aurea, though she has worked with many Australian amphibian species. She hopes that her work can improve the conservation outcomes for amphibians and other wildlife by providing insurance against extinction and better genetic management of amphibian breeding programs and threatened communities. Rose was recently involved in a project aiming to collect and cryopreserve sperm from several amphibian species effected by the 2019/20 bushfires.
Rose has recently moved to Louisiana in the United States to begin her postdoctoral research at the Aquatic Germplasm and Genetic Resources Center at Louisiana State University AgCenter. Her research aims to develop germplasm repository capabilities for the aquatic biomedical models Xenopus laevis and Ambystoma mexicanum.
Upcoming conferences and abstract deadlines
15th - 18th of December 2021, St. Louis, Missouri
Abstract submissions due by 2nd of August
24th - 26th of June 2022, Bologna, Italy
Abstract submissions due by 31st of October (with exception of student competition)
ICAR 26th - 30th of June 2022, Bologna, Italy
Abstract submissions due by 30th of November
Science of Wildlife Reproduction (tertiary workshop)
Upcoming awards and grants
Applications due by 15th of August
Royal Agriculture Society of NSW Foundation Rural Scholarships
Applications due 5th of September
Morris Animal Foundation Research Grants
Applications due 4th of October (for research in wildlife)
Paper of the month
Links to other information about ARTs in Wildlife
Taronga is the leading organisation in Australia applying cryopreservation technologies to reef management, restoration and research, for conservation management of the Great Barrier Reef. Read more here about the work Taronga is doing in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to create, store and care for the largest cryobank of keystone coral reef species in the world.
On December 10th 2020, Elizabeth Ann was born. The first successful birth of a black-footed ferret, cloned from the cells of Willa, who lived over 30 years ago. Read more about how this research hopes to re-establish a population of North America's only native ferret here.
An international research team have managed to apply a host of ARTs to harvest and fertilise oocytes collected from the two last surviving Northern White rhino females in the hope that surrogate Southern white rhino females will be able to carry and raise a new generation of Northern white rhinos. Read more here about how ARTs are contributing to saving a species from extinction.
If you would like to get involved or support Taronga in their efforts to conduct vital scientific conservation research here in Australia and across the world, please donate by clicking the link below.
Episode sponsored by Ceva Animal Health Australia