I am excited to announce that our 2021 VOF Natural Science Fellow has been selected!
Lauren Fuchs is currently a PhD student at George Mason University (GMU) and an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). Building upon her already established research, Lauren will be evaluating snake microbial assemblages across species and infection susceptibility to the pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola (Oo) here at VOF’s Preserve at Bull Run Mountains.
Ophidiomycosis (formerly known as snake fungal disease – SFD) is an emergent fungal infection that has been associated with widespread morbidity in a multitude of North American snake species and Lauren’s research fellowship project will ensure that VOF is doing everything that we can, as Natural Area Preserve Managers, to stay ahead of this understudied conservation threat.
In addition to this fungal research, we look forward to working with Lauren to potentially developing a community scientist (and student!) fueled project that utilizes herpetological observations uploaded to the iNaturalist app!
Stay tuned to this space to learn more about our scaly, limbless friends here at Bull Run Mountains – and keep an eye out for a return of our #sciencefellowshipsaturday posts!