Young scientist on trail of vanishing amphibians

A 14-year-old young scientist from a Phoenix, Arizona, suburb is hot on the trail of why frogs and other amphibians are vanishing. He is one of the students who came to Washington, D.C., for the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science competition.

The awards ceremony this month was the culmination of an intense week during which the 40 finalists were queried by judges and the public. These high achievers were whittled down from nearly 2,000 contestants nationwide, representing excellence across many disciplines.

Scott Boisvert is the young scientist from a suburb of Phoenix. At 14, he approached the University of Arizona to request time in their laboratory. Over the course of four years he refined a project studying a fungus linked to the decline of amphibians across the globe.

“It is actually the largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs,” says Boisvert. “I was trying to see if different chemistry in the environment, different chemicals and substances in the water across Arizona, could potentially kill the fungus and stop its spread and infection of the amphibians.”

According to Boisvert, his research has been accepted for publication in a professional science journal. He hopes his findings help guide habitat conservation managers around the world. At the Intel Science Talent Search, the work earned him a 10th place finish and a $20,000 award.

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