I am a postdoctoral research associate in the Richards-Zawacki lab. I am currently studying the impacts of a changing climate on the amphibian immune system, and how future climate scenarios may affect the occurrence of chytridiomycosis outbreaks in North American amphibian populations.
My research interests include disease ecology and amphibian conservation physiology, and the intersection of these fields. I am broadly interested in the drivers of variation in susceptibility between species and individuals, with a focus on the devastating amphibian disease chytridiomycosis. I am currently focused on the effects of a changing climate on the amphibian immune system, and how this additional stressor may affect disease dynamics in North America.
When I’m not in the field or the lab, I enjoy hiking, dancing, photography, and going on adventures with my husband Jeff and my pup Darcy.
Follow my work on Google Scholar.
In 2008, I received my Bachelor of Science with Honors from Cornell University. For my honors work, I examined patterns of behavioral and phenotypic variation across genetically divergent populations of the Central American tree frog, Dendropsophus ebraccatus. After working as a research and conservation intern at the Santa Barbara Zoo (California, USA), I received a Fulbright Graduate Student Award to study amphibian disease ecology in New Zealand. This developed into a Master of Science, which I received with Distinction in 2011. For my masters, I examined the susceptibility of New Zealand’s endemic frog species to the amphibian chytrid fungus and investigated the role of host re-infection in the progression of disease. Before beginning my PhD at the University of Queensland in 2016, I worked as a field research assistant radio-tracking arboreal geckos with Ecogecko Consultants in New Zealand, and as a research assistant examining thermal positioning behaviors in a live-bearing lizard at the University of Otago.
I received my PhD from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, in 2016. For my PhD, I examined the role of routine skin sloughing in the pathogenesis of chytridiomycosis, and how variation in sloughing rates and skin characteristics can drive variation in disease susceptibility across species. This work demonstrates the importance of understanding basic physiological functioning for the conservation of threatened organisms.
An Australian green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) in the midst of sloughing, or shedding its skin.
Ohmer, M.E.B., Cramp, R.L., White, C.R., and Franklin, C.E. (2015) Skin sloughing rate increases with chytrid fungus infection load in a susceptible amphibian. Functional Ecology 29:674-682.
Cramp, R., McPhee, R., Meyer, E., Ohmer, M., and Franklin, C. (2014) First line of defence: the role of sloughing in the regulation of cutaneous microbes. Conservation Physiology 2:cou012.
Ohmer, M.E., Herbert, S.M., Speare, R., and Bishop, P.J. (2013) Experimental exposure indicates the amphibian chytrid pathogen poses low risk to New Zealand’s threatened endemic frogs. Animal Conservation 16:422-429.
Shaw, S.D., Skerratt, L.F., Haigh, A., Bell, B., Daglish, L., Bishop, P.J., Summers, R., Moreno, V., Melzer, S., Ohmer, M., Herbert, S., Gleeson, D., Rowe, L., and Speare, R. (2013) The distribution and host range of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in New Zealand, 1930–2010. Ecology 94:2108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-1994.1
Ohmer, M.E., and Bishop, P. (2011) Citation rate and perceived subject bias in the amphibian-decline literature. Conservation Biology 25:195-199.
Ohmer, M.E., Robertson, J.M., and Zamudio, K.R. (2009) Discordance in body size, color pattern, and advertisement call across genetically distinct regions of a neotropical anuran (Dendropsophus ebraccatus). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 97:298-313.