Conservation of the Harlequin Toad (Past)

The project goals were to produce a phylogeny of the toad genus Atelopus and determine the genetic constitution of the Costa Rican Pacific coastal population of Atelopus varius, the Harlequin Toad, which was declared extinct in 1996 and rediscovered in 2003. Since its rediscovery, only 31 individuals have been documented, but through fieldwork by Gideon Bradburd, former Yale Undergrad, two additional individuals were discovered, one of them a juvenile, indicating that the population is still reproductively active. Using noninvasive swab samples for available members of the extant population and formalin-fixed tissue from historic museum specimens, an attempt was made to compare current levels of allelic diversity to historic levels, to obtain knowledge of the genetic health of the population.