Laura’s is a post doctoral research fellow at JCU where she is studying the effects that disease has on reproduction in a declining native Australian amphibian species, the alpine tree frog. She is interested in how amimals cope with and continue to persist in the face of devestating disease.  One mechanism of population persistance is increased reproductive effort.  She aims to use the knowledge from her field work and experiements to improve conservation efforts for amphibians.

Laura received her a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and Bachelor of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2010. She went on to complete her Masters of Science in environmental biology from Tulane University in 2011 where she participated in a number of amphibian projects including clinical chemotherapy trials for treating Bd, studying non-amphibian hosts of the amphibian chytrid fungus, quantifying sub-lethal effects of disease, and determining best practice methods for marking amphibians.

Laura received her PhD at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland Australia in 2016. For her PhD research she explored the interactions between frogs, disease, and the management of critically endangered species. She explored pathogenesis of disease on understudied and endangered species, as well as determining mechanisms of population persistence. She hopes to be able to directly use the information generated from her research to further conservation efforts to protect Australia’s declining frog species.

Laura was a post doctoral research fellow from 2016-2018 at the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Corinne Richards-Zawacki.  Her research there focused on the effects of climate change on amphibian species and communities, specifically investigating the effects of pond drying on the amphibian immune system and physiology.  She also explored disease dynamics in local amphibian populations through different sites and seasons in an effort to help predict impacts of disease on populations in the face of a changing environment.


  • Laura’s research interests include amphibians, wildlife disease, endangered species, conservation, and chytridiomycosis. She is particularly interested in the mechanisms of population persistence for species declining due to disease, particularly with species and populations that have not developed an effective immune response. She is interested in the interactions between chytridiomycosis and amphibian reproduction. Laura is interested in directly combining academic research into management strategies for the protection of endangered species.
Research Disciplines

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 22+ research outputs authored by Dr Laura Brannelly from 2013 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Effects of disease on reproduction plasticity and evolution in amphibians

Indicative Funding
$365,058 over 3 years
The project aims to explore the impact of chytridiomycosis on reproductive success in amphibians by utilizing a holistic approach of both lab and field techniques, to understand ecological mechanisms for resilience of wildlife to emerging diseases. Mortality rates remain high for some recovering species, raising the hypothesis that evolution of increased reproductive output may be key rather than increased immunity. The expected outcomes of this project include developing novel approaches to conservation of a broad range of wildlife under threat from emerging pathogens. This project will benefit amphibians by improving population persistence using methods targeted to enhance the mechanisms that are effecting wild populations.
Laura Brannelly (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Reproduction; Chytridiomycosis; Australian Alps; Conservation

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
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  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
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  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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