Amphibian assisted reproductive technologies: moving from technology to application

J. Clulow*, R. Upton, V. L. Trudeau, S. Clulow

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Amphibians have experienced a catastrophic decline since the 1980s driven by disease, habitat loss, and impacts of invasive species and face ongoing threats from climate change. About 40% of extant amphibians are under threat of extinction and about 200 species have disappeared completely. Reproductive technologies and biobanking of cryopreserved materials offer technologies that could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation programs involving management of captive breeding and wild populations through reduced costs, better genetic management and reduced risk of species extinctions. However, there are relatively few examples of applications of these technologies in practice in on-the-ground conservation programs, and no example that we know of where genetic diversity has been restored to a threatened amphibian species in captive breeding or in wild populations using cryopreserved genetic material. This gap in the application of technology to conservation programs needs to be addressed if assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and biobanking are to realise their potential in amphibian conservation. We review successful technologies including non-invasive gamete collection, IVF and sperm cryopreservation that work well enough to be applied to many current conservation programs. We consider new advances in technology (vitrification and laser warming) of cryopreservation of aquatic embryos of fish and some marine invertebrates that may help us to overcome factors limiting amphibian oocyte and embryo cryopreservation. Finally, we address two case studies that illustrate the urgent need and the opportunity to implement immediately ARTs, cryopreservation and biobanking to amphibian conservation. These are (1) managing the biosecurity (disease risk) of the frogs of New Guinea which are currently free of chytridiomycosis, but are at high risk (2) the Sehuencas water frog of Bolivia, which until recently had only one known surviving male.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReproductive sciences in animal conservation
    EditorsPierre Comizzoli, Janine L. Brown, William V. Holt
    Place of PublicationCham
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages51
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030236335
    ISBN (Print)9783030236328
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
    ISSN (Print)0065-2598
    ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


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