Searle Lab

Aquatic disease ecology at Purdue University

Welcome to the Searle Lab website!

Our lab studies infectious disease ecology in freshwater systems. We use a combination of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to understand the effects of community structure and composition on infectious disease dynamics.


February 14, 2018

Hector is spending this semester surveying amphibians in Costa Rica. Here are some photos from his trip:

Water filterin

Filtering water to detect the presence of B. dendrobatidis from stream samples.


A critically endangered lowland robber frog.


A critically endangered Golfito robber frog.

environmental data

Collecting environmental data.


Swabbing frogs to detect B. dendrobatidis infection.

February 5, 2018

Our new lab t-shirts arrived! Thanks to Grace Sanabria for the awesome design! 


December 2, 2017

Photo from our end-of-semester lab party:

2017 lab holiday party

Top row (left to right): Spencer, Dr. Searle, Hector, Mackenzie, Prasanna, Juliana. Bottom row: Abbie, Marin, Brittany, Maggie. (Missing: David)

November 8, 2017

Congratulations to Spencer on receiving an Indiana Academy of Sciences grant! Spencer’s project is titled: “Interactions of amphibian overwintering strategies and infection of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Indiana amphibians.”

August 21, 2017

Fall semester has begun and we have two new undergraduates and one high school student joining the lab. Welcome to the lab, Laura, Brittany and Prasanna!

July 28, 2017

Congratulations to Liz on completing her summer REU project. Liz presented a talk and poster titled "Comparison of frog call characteristics between natural and man-made habitats."


July 24, 2017

This week, Hector is attending the Latin American Congress of Herpetology in Quito, Ecuador. He is giving a talk titled "Rediscovery and monitoring of two critically endangered frogs in environmental refuges from chytridiomycosis."

Latin American Congress 2017

July 5, 2017

Congratulations and good luck to Baylie Hochstedler! Baylie recently completed her undergraduate honors thesis and graduated from Purdue with a degree in Biological Sciences. She will be starting a master’s program in Infectious Disease and Immunology at Loyola University this fall. Good luck Baylie!

Baylie poster

May 22, 2017

We have two new undergraduates joining us this summer. Liz Rosario is from the University of Puerto Rico and is funded through the NIH MARC program. Marin Bray is a Purdue student funded through the Summer Stays program. Both Liz and Marin will be working with Spencer to study the effects of habitat restoration on the health and abundance of amphibians in Tippecanoe County. Welcome to the lab, Liz and Marin!


May 8, 2017

It was a beautiful day to kick off the start of the summer. Baylie and Abbie went to Fairfields lakes to collect water for upcoming experiments.


May 6, 2017

Spencer partnered with NICHES Land Trust to organize a Bioblitz at the Weiler-Leopold Nature Preserve.

NICHES bioblitz

April 25, 2017

Congratulations to Baylie on earning a McAtee award! The McAtee fund was originally established by Mary Frances McAtee to provide Purdue undergraduates with research experience in ecology. Baylie will be using her award to fund her research in the lab this summer.

April 11, 2017

Undergraduate students from around Purdue presented the results of their research at the Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium. Baylie, Juliana and Mackenzie all did an excellent job presenting their posters!


Juliana presenting her poster titled "The effects of food availability and disease on invasibility of a zooplankton population."


Mackenzie presenting her poster titled "Comparing feeding rates of two species of freshwater zooplankton."


Baylie presenting her poster titled "The effects of resources and parasitism on competition between a native and invasive zooplankton."

February 21, 2017

Congratulations to Hector on receiving a College of Science International Travel Grant and an Andrews Environmental Travel Grant! Hector will be using his CoS award to travel to the Latin American Congress of Herpetology in Ecuador this June and his Andrews grant to conduct field work in Costa Rica this summer.

February 8, 2017

Spencer has been braving the cold weather to swab amphibians for Bd at the Ross Reserve. He is investigating the overwintering strategies of Bd in frog hosts.

Ross Winter Frog

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