Searle Lab

Aquatic disease ecology at Purdue University



March 24, 2018

Spencer and Marin presented the results of their research at the Indiana Academy of Sciences this weekend.

IAS 2018

Marin presenting her poster titled "Examining differences in anuran communities between man-made and natural wetlands in central Indiana"

IAS 2018b

Spencer giving his talk titled "Examining the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in anurans during winter in Indiana"

March 3, 2018

Congratulations to Laura on winning the gold medal in the Animal Sciences category of the Lafayette Regional Science and Engineering Fair for her project titled "The effect of salinity and common hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) on Daphnia presence."

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.


November 28, 2016

Spencer led today's lab meeting demonstrating how to preserve amphibans for collections:


September 20, 2016

Click here to see the press release for our new article, "Population density, not host competence, drives patterns of disease in an invaded community" in The American Naturalist.

August 22, 2016

Fall classes have begun and we have one new undergraduate joining our lab. Welcome to the lab, Juliana!

August 12, 2016

Hector has returned from his summer in Costa Rica. Here are some photos from his trip:




August 7, 2016

Dr. Searle traveled to the Ecological Society of America conference in Fort Lauderdale to present some of our recent work modeling amphibian evolution in response to Bd.


July 11, 2016

Abbie has been working hard to clean up the mesocosms at the Ross Reserve. She recently set up a pilot study to see how Daphnia populations fluctuate in the mesocosms throughout the season.

Ross Reserve mesocosms

June 14, 2016

Hector has been busy swabbing frogs in Costa Rica. The rainy season has made field work difficult, but he's still found some cool species!



June 13, 2016

Spencer Siddons has joined the lab as a Ph.D. student. Spencer recently earned his master’s degree from the University of South Dakota and is broadly interested in amphibian ecology, disease dynamics, and conservation. Welcome to the lab, Spencer!

May 16, 2016

Hector has arrived in Costa Rica to start his summer field work. He will be swabbing amphibians to test for the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in many locations throughout the country.

April 12, 2016

Maggie and Baylie present the results of their independent projects at the Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium. Maggie presented the final results of her honors thesis studying the effects of food availability on competition and infection in two species of Daphnia. Baylie presented the beginning of her honors work investigating the effects of predators on disease susceptibility.



January 11, 2016

Spring semester has begun and we have two new undergraduates joining us. Welcome to the lab, Baylie and David!

December 8, 2015

Freshman biology students present the results of their group projects from the course, “Year 1 Biology Lab: Disease Ecology” taught by Dr. Searle. The students learned how to design and conduct their own ecological experiments and present their results in a poster session. Mackenzie did a great job as the undergraduate teaching assistant for this course.


August 24, 2015

Hector Zumbado-Ulate has joined the lab as a Ph.D. student. Hector has a master’s degree from the University of Costa Rica and is interested in studying parasite-mediated competition in amphibians. Welcome to the lab, Hector!

June, 2015

Abbie has been busy sorting through soil samples to find D. pulex ephippia to hatch.

Sorting through soil samples to find ephippia

April 14, 2015

Maggie Wigren presented the results of the first half of her honor's thesis. She studied the effects of food availability on pathogen spore production in D. dentifera. She will be continuing this work throughout the next year.


April 14, 2015

Abbie, Kaitlin, and Dr. Searle took a trip to Fairfields Lakes to collect water and sample for Daphnia.




March 16, 2015

Abigail Merrick has joined the lab as a full-time technician. Abbie recently finished her bachelor's degree in agronomy from Purdue University. Welcome to the lab, Abbie!

February, 2015

Everyone has been very busy in the lab lately. Kaitlin and Maggie are leading their first independent projects while Abby and Mackenzie are helping Dr. Searle develop a new lab course in disease ecology.

Mackenzie Kaitlin and Maggie


January 12, 2015

Spring classes have begun and we have three new undergraduates joining us. Welcome to the lab Maggie, Mackenzie and Abby!

August 25, 2014

Fall classes have begun at Purdue. One brave undergraduate (Kaitlin O'Leary) will be helping Dr. Searle set up the lab this semester. We have a lot of boxes to unpack!