The Conservation Research Bridge Program (Bridge) at the Amphibian Foundation is the 'tip of the spear' for our conservation efforts, and this is the team that gets things done for wild amphibians at AF. Designed as a 'Gap-year' program, the Bridge advances the science of amphibian conservation through a career-building, mentored research program which provides a multitude of unparalleled and unique opportunities in the lab and in the field, working with endangered species,  in a supportive scientific environment.


Amphibian Foundation's Conservation Research Bridge Program works closely with state and federal agencies, as well as academic and zoological partners to conserve some of the most endangered species in the US.

Some populations have declined to the point where captive survival-assurance colonies are necessary to keep them from disappearing altogether. In these extreme cases, an immediate and multi-faceted approach is necessary, which often depends on a broad network of dedicated professionals and land managers willing to act for the benefit of amphibians, wildlife, and ecosystems in general.


Some people might think that amphibians only live in wild and faraway places.  But did you know that there are 14 species of frogs and 14 species of salamanders that can be found within the Atlanta metropolitan area?  While many of these amphibian species are somewhat resilient to the sometimes harsh conditions of urban living, ongoing human changes to the quality of the land and water within Atlanta negatively affects many species of frogs and salamanders that live here.


Emergent infectious diseases, such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also known as chytrid (pronounced KIH-trid), are capable of killing large percentages of the amphibian populations with which it comes into contact — some areas report amphibian death rates as high as 85% (Central Panama) or even 100% (Bsal in Europe). AF works in protected areas within the extremely limited ranges of sensitive amphibian populations, and therefore, biosecurity and vector awareness is paramount.

Furthermore, we conduct amphibian disease research in these imperiled amphibian communities to keep an 'eye' on amphibian health in ways that can't necessarily be seen with the naked eye.


"The only hope for populations and species at imminent risk of extinction is the immediate rescue for the establishment and management of captive survival-assurance colonies" - Amphibian Conservation Action Plan, 2006 Report.


The microbiome research at AF looks at the microbiological communities on the skin and in the gut of amphibian species known for being good 'invaders' of new geographic regions. Two notorious amphibian invaders (and there are more) are the American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus and African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis.


A large part of AF's mission involves engaging the community on issues impacting the wildlife in their neighborhoods. You can see some of our favorites below:

Meet the Bridge Program Faculty & Staff

The Conservation Research Bridge Program (Bridge) at the Amphibian Foundation is the 'tip of the spear' for our conservation efforts, and this is the team that gets things done for wild amphibians at AF. Designed as a 'Gap-year' program, the Bridge advances the science of amphibian conservation through a career-building, mentored research program which provides a multitude of unparalleled and unique opportunities in the lab and in the field, working with endangered species, in a supportive scientific environment.
Mark Mandica

Mark Mandica

Executive Director
Crystal Mandica

Crystal Mandica

Director of Education
Roxana Pena Popo

Roxana Pena Popo

Research Coordinator
Ashley Byrd

Ashley Byrd

Conservation Collections Coordinator
Maura Dudley

Maura Dudley

Urban Ecologist
Sasha Greenspan

Sasha Greenspan

Amphibian Disease Biologist
Marjan Ghadrdan

Marjan Ghadrdan

Venomous Programs Coordinator
John Measey

John Measey

Invasion Biologist
Erin Thibodeau

Erin Thibodeau

Bridge Program Coordinator
Casey Perkins

Casey Perkins

Field Biologist
John Palis

John Palis

Consulting Biologist
Kevin Blackwell

Kevin Blackwell

Staff Photographer