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  Supporting the Sustainable Management of Amphibian and Reptile Biodiversity

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --Anon.






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Dr Robert Browne

Dr. Browne initiated the Internet based Amphibian and Reptile Conservation journal in 2011. He also founded the ARC Issues on Neurergus Salamanders, Giant Salamanders, and Conservation Breeding, and supported them through publications.

Dr. Robert K. Browne has an unusually wide range of experience and publications in scientific fields concerning herpetolological conservation. His response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis has focused on the sutainable management of amphibian and reptile biodiversity. Robert also has extensive experience in Internet marketing and business management.

Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as a research officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs for threatened herpetofauna in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.  

Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology,  parasitology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. 

Robert pioneered the use of carotonoids, highly unsaturated fatty acids, and UVB to prevent pathologies associated with nutritional deficiencies in amphibians.

Robert’s PhD research in the late 1990s was seminal to the development of gene banking to the preserve genetic diversity of threatened amphibian species, where he developed the first reproduction technology providing fertile amphibian eggs from cryopreserved sperm.

Since then his research has led to major advances in the use of hormones to promote amphibian reproduction that led to the first use of artificial fertilization to produce tadpoles for release of a Critically Endangered amphibian, the Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri). These techniques have since been adopted for a number of other Critically Endangered amphibian species including the Missisippi gopher frog (Lithobates sevosa).

Robert’s collaborative work with Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, USA, on the North American giant salamander (Hellbender; Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) in 2011 has supported the development of the first genetically representative gene bank for any amphibian. 

His collaboration with the Russian Institute of Cell Biophysics from 2009-present has resulted in the publication of articles describing the hormonal induction and cryopreservation of amphibian sperm, neither of which had previously been achieved, and the use of new methods for amphibian sperm cryopreservation. 

Recently, Robert has focussed on conservation programs for Critically Endangered amphibians giant salamanders (Cryptobranchids) in the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, and the USA, and on Neurergus newts in Iran and Iraq.  

His collaborative work in Iran and Iraq with the iconic and Critically Endangered Loristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri) and Kurdistan newt (N. microspilotus) has resulted in have provided new perspectives concerning their conservation. 

In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, Robert is establishing a sustainability and biodiversity conservation project based at Belize. Roberts considers that amphibian and reptile conservation must be embedded within sustainability to achieve its long term goals.

Scientific Publications:

Browne RK, Li H, Robinson H, Uteshev VK, Shishova NR, McGinnity D, Nofs S. Figiel CR, Mansour N, Agnew D, Carleton CL, Wu M, Gakhova EN, Byrne PG, Cosson J. 2014. Sperm motility in externally fertilising fish and amphibians. Theriogenology DIO 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.09.018.

Bahmani Z, Karamiani R, Rastegar-Pouyani N, Gharzi A., Browne R. K. 2014. The amphibian fauna of Kurdistan Province , Western Iran. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 31–35.

Mobaraki A, Amiri M, Alvandi R, Tehrani ME, Kia HZ, Khoshnamvand A, Bali A and Browne RK. 2014. A conservation reassessment of the Critically Endangered, Lorestan newt Neurergus kaiseri (Schmidt 1952). Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 16-25.

Browne RK, Li H, Wang Z, Hime P, McMillan A, Wu M, Diaz R, Hongxing Z, McGinnity D, and Briggler JT. 2014. The giant salamanders (Cryptobranchidae): Part B. Biology, ecology and reproduction. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. 5(4): 30-50.

Conde DA, Colcher F, Pearce-Kelly P, Flesness N, Byers O, Gusset M, Browne RK, Jones OR. 2013. Zoos through the Lens of the IUCN Red List: A global metapopulation approach to support conservation breeding programs. PLoS ONE 8(12): e80311. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080311

David J. Gower, Thomas Doherty-Bone,Simon P. Loader, Mark Wilkinson, Marcel T. Kouete, Benjamin Tapley, Frances Orton, Olivia Z. Daniel, Felicity Wynne, Edmund Flach,Hendrik Mu¨ller, Michele Menegon, Ian Stephen, Browne RK, Mathew C. Fisher, Andrew A. Cunningham, and Trenton W. J. Garner. 2013. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and lethal Chytridiomycosis in caecilian amphibians (Gymnophiona). EcoHealth. 10(2): 173-183.

Al-Sheikhly OF, Nader IA, Rastegar-Pouyani N, Browne RK. 2013. New localities of the Kurdistan newt Neurergus microspilotus and Lake Urmia newt Neurergus crocatus (Caudata: Salamandridae) in Iraq. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 6(4):42–49.

Rastegar-Pouyani N, Takesh M, Fattahi A, Sadeghi M, Khorshidi F, and Browne RK. 2013. Ecology of Kurdistan newt (Neurergus microspilotus: Salamandridae): Population and conservation with an appraisal of the potential impact of urbanization. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 6(4):30-35).

Shishova NV, Uteshev VK, PS Nikolai, Kuznetsova EA, AK Svetlana, Browne RK, Gakhova EN. 2013. The quality and fertility of sperm from postmortem European common frogs (Rana temporaria) refrigerated over seven days. Zoo Biology. 2013 Apr 22. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21070

Doherty-Bone TM, Gonwouo NL, Hirschfeld H T. Ohst T, Weldon C, Perkins M, Kouete MT, Browne RK, Loader SP, Gower DJ, Wilkinson MW, Rödel MO, Penner J, Barej MF, Schmitz A, J. Plötner J, Cunningham AA. 2012. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibians of Cameroon, including the first records of infected caecilian hosts. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 102: 187-194.

Rödel MO, Doherty-Bone TM, Kouete MT, Jaanzen P, Garrett K, Browne RK, Gonwouo NL, Sandberger L. 2012. A new small Phrynobatrachus (Amphibia: Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) from southern Cameroon. Zootaxa 3431:54–68.

Browne RK, Li H, Wang Z, Hime P, McMillan A, Wu M, Diaz R, Hongxing Z, McGinnity D, and Briggler JT. 2012. The giant salamanders (Cryptobranchidae): Part A. palaeontology, phylogeny, genetics, and morphology. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. 5(4):17-29.

Uteshev VK, Shishova NV, Browne RK, Gakhova EN. 2012. Hormonal induction of sperm from amphibians with Rana temporaria and Bufo bufo as anuran models. Reproduction, Fertility and Development. 24(4):599-607.

Zippel K, Johnson K, Gagliardo R, Gibson R, McFadden M, Browne RK, Martinez C, Townsend E. 2011. The Amphibian Ark: a global community for ex situ conservation of amphibians. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6:340-352.

Browne RK, Hong L, McGinnity D, Okada S, Zhenghuan W, Bodinof CM, Irwin KJ, McMillan A, Briggler JT. 2011. Survey techniques for giant salamanders and other aquatic Caudata. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 5(4): 1-16.

Browne RK, Wolfram K, Pereboom Z JJM, Garcia G. 2011. Zoo based amphibian research and conservation breeding programs. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 5(3): 1-14.

Verschooren E, Browne RK, Vercammen F, Pereboom  JJM. 2011. UV-B and the early growth and skeletal development of the Amazonian milk frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) from metamorphosis. Journal of Physiology and Pathophysiology 2(3): 34-42.

Browne RK, Li H, Robertson H, Uteshev VK, Shishova NR, McGinnity D, Nofs S, Figiel CR, Mansour N, Lloyd RE, Agnew D, Carleton CL, Wu M, Gakhova EN. 2011. Reptile and amphibian conservation through gene banking and other reproduction technologies. Russian J. Herpetology. 18(3): 165-174.

Browne RK, Figiel C. 2011. Chapter 2. Crypreservation in Amphibians” In: Cryopreservation of Aquatic Species.  Vol 8. Edited by Dr. Terrence Tiersch and Dr. Patricia Mazik. World Aquaculture Society, Baton Rouge, La Hardcover, ~450 pages.

Shishova NR., Uteshev VK., Kaurova SA., Browne RK., Gakhova EN. 2010. Cryopreservation of hormonally induced sperm for the conservation of threatened amphibians with Rana temporaria as a model research species. Theriogenology. 75(2): 220-232.

Antwis RE, Browne RK. 2009. Review.  Ultraviolet radiation and Vitamin D3 in Amphibian Health, Behaviour, Diet and Conservation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – part B 154(2): 184-190.

Lermen D, Blömeke B, Browne RK, Clarke A, Dyce PW, Fixemer T, Fuhr GR, Holt WV, Jewgenow K, Lloyd RE, Lötters S, Paulus M, Reid GM, Rapoport DH, Rawson D, Ringleb J, Ryder OA, Spörl G, Schmitt T, Veith M, Müller P. 2009. Meeting Review. Cryobanking of viable biomaterials: implementation of new strategies for conservation purposes. Molecular Ecology 18: 1030–1033.

Li H, Vaughan MJ, Browne RK. 2009. A complex enrichment diet improves growth and health in the endangered Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri). Zoo Biology. 28(3):197-213.

Browne RK, Gaikhorst G, Vitali S, Robert JD, Matson P. 2007. Exogenous hormones induce poor rates of oviposition in the anurans, Litoria aurea and L. moorei. Applied Herpetology 5: 81-86.

Browne, RK, Smith K. 2007. A new pipefish, Stigmatopora narinosa (Syngnathidae) from South Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria. 6:1-6.

Browne RK, Baker, JK, Connolly R. 2007. Seadragons, seahorses, and pipefish. In: Natural History of Gulf St Vincent. Eds, S. Bryars, S.A. Shepherd, P. Harbison, I. Kirkegaard. Royal Society of South Australia. 450 pp.

Browne RK , Zippel K. 2007. Reproduction and larval rearing.  Use of amphibians in research, laboratory, or classroom settings.  Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), Volume 48 (3): 214-234.

Browne RK, Zippel, Odum AR, Herman T. 2007. Physical facilities and associated services. Use of amphibians in research, laboratory, or classroom settings.  Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), Volume 48 (3):  188-202.

Browne RK , Li H. 2006. Sexually mediated shedding of Myxobolus fallax spores during spermiation of Litoria fallax (anura).  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 72(1): 71-75.

Browne RK, Seratt J, Vance C, Kouba A.  2006. Hormonal induction with priming and In vitro fertilization increases egg numbers and quality in the Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri). Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 4:34.

Browne RK, Seratt J, Li H, Kouba A.  2006. Progesterone improves the number and quality of hormonally induced fowler toad (Bufo fowleri) oocytes. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 4:3.

Browne RK, Edwards DL. 2003. The effect of temperature on the growth and development of green and golden bell frogs (Litoria aurea).  Journal of Thermal Biology. 28: 295-299.

Browne RK, Pomering M, Hamer AJ. 2003. High density effects on the growth, development and survival of Litoria aurea tadpoles. Aquaculture. 215 (1-4): 109-121.

Browne RK, Mahony M, Clulow J. 2002. A comparison of sucrose, saline, and saline with egg-yolk diluents on the cryopreservation of cane toad (Bufo marinus) sperm. Cryobiology. 44 (3): 251-257.

Browne RK, Davis J, Pomering M, Clulow J. 2002. Storage of cane toad (Bufo marinus) sperm for 6 days at 0ºC with subsequent cryopreservation. Reproduction, Fertility and Development. 14 (5): 267-273.

Browne RK, Clulow J, Manony M. 2002. The short-term storage and cryopreservation of spermatozoa from hylid and myobatrachid frogs. Cryo Letters 23(2): 129-136.

Browne RK, Clulow J, Mahony M. 2002. The effect of saccharides on the post-thaw recovery of cane toad (Bufo marinus) spermatozoa. Cryo Letters. 23(2): 121-128.

Browne RK, Scheltinga DM, Pomering M, Mahony M. 2002. Testicular myxosporidiasis in anurans, with a description of Myxobolus fallax n. sp.  Systematic Parasitology. 52(2): 97-110.

Browne RK, Clulow J, Mahony M. 2001. Short-term storage of cane toad (Bufo marinus) gametes. Reproduction. 121(1): 167-173.

Browne RK, Clulow J, Mahony M, Clark A. 1998. Successful recovery of motility and fertility of cryopreserved cane toad (Bufo marinus) sperm. Cryobiology. 37(4): 339-345.


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 Dr Robert Browne

Dr. Robert Browne Chairperson

Dr. Browne established the Internet based ARC in 2011 and expanded it globally in 2013. Robert is committed to achieving the ARC's goal to provide for the sustainable management of amphibians and reptiles. He has a wide international experience in herpetological conservation and has published over 40 scientific articles on amphibian and reptile conservation. see Biography