Dr Karrie Rose is the Manager of the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, a program of Taronga Conservation Society Australia. She takes us behind the scenes of a ‘typical’ day at the office.
Karrie is meeting one of the curators of the Australian Museum to give her a few interesting skulls. During these meetings they exchange unusual or rare creatures Karrie comes across so that the museum can use them for both scientific research and museum displays.
The next appointment is with a Dwarf Tree Frog. In collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Karrie organised the collection of a few frogs that were part of a disease outbreak in wild frogs from Kooragang Island. With such a mass mortality event, the researchers are taking blood samples from the remaining live frogs and comparing them to samples from dead frogs.
Before she has time to analyse the frogs in detail, Karrie’s next meeting starts. This time it’s with folks from Taronga Wildlife Hospital and the Taronga Foundation to talk about research into marine pollution. The group discusses how Taronga can collate all data from the hospital and Registry to demonstrate and talk about the effects pollution has on marine wildlife.
Karrie returns to the lab to collect a blood sample from the tiny surviving Dwarf Tree Frog. This is no easy task, as the frog is no bigger than the end of her pinky finger, but Karrie must find out whether he has any blood parasites. She uses the finest needle, generally used in delivering insulin, to extract a tiny drop of blood to help provide a diagnosis.
One part of Karrie’s job is to publish the findings of her research. One of her last field projects was on a bacterial infection in critically endangered lizards on Christmas Island. She needs to share her findings witht he scientific world so everyone can benefit from her work.
“There’s so much interesting stuff to discover,” Karrie says.
“Every week there’s something completely new that we haven’t seen before. It’s challenging to keep up with this, but it’s such an exciting time to be in this field!”