Brian Gratwicke is a conservation biologist and leads the amphibian conservation programs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). Gratwicke’s focus has been on building capacity to conserve amphibians in Appalachia and Panama, developing outreach and educational programs and exhibits to build public support for amphibian conservation, and research to develop tools that will allow us to reintroduce amphibians back into the wild.
B.S., University of Zimbabwe, Ph.D., Oxford University
At SCBI, Gratwicke’s focus is working with talented Panamanian conservation biologists and zoo partners to build an ex situ amphibian facility in Panama. That facility maintains and grows captive assurance populations of some of the species most heavily affected by the impacts of the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus. Gratwicke focuses his research on developing applied solutions for the chytrid fungus threat, including research into the area of beneficial skin bacteria and identifying genetic traits associated with resistance to the disease. He also conducts research into emerging diseases and the effects of climate change on Appalachian salamanders.
Brian grew up in Zimbabwe and began his conservation work researching the impacts to freshwater fish in Africa. In 2000, he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship that took him to Oxford where he studied the marine fish communities in the British Virgin Islands for his doctorate. When he completed his doctorate, Gratwicke moved to Washington, D.C. and worked as a program administrator and then assistant director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Save the Tiger Fund. There, he helped raise funds and award grants to people working to save tigers in 13 Asian countries. This experience was Gratwicke real conservation education, where he learned more about the limited set of tools that all conservation projects use to mitigate threats to species.
Becker, Matthew H., Jenifer B. Walke, Shawna Cikanek, Anna E. Savage, Nichole Mattheus, Celina N. Santiago, Kevin PC Minbiole, Reid N. Harris, Lisa K. Belden, and Brian Gratwicke (2015). Composition of symbiotic bacteria predicts survival in Panamanian golden frogs infected with a lethal fungus. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 282, 1805: 20142881.
Gratwicke B, TE Lovejoy, DE Wildt (2012) Will Amphibians Croak Under the Endangered Species Act? Bioscience 62:2 197-202.
Gratwicke B, MJ Evans, PT Jenkins, MD Kusrini, RD Moore, J Sevin and DE Wildt (2010). Is the international frog legs trade a potential vector for deadly amphibian pathogens? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8: 438–442.