Honors & Awards

  • Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation

Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor's of Arts, Boston University, Biology with specialization in Ecology & Conservation Biology (2015)

All Publications

  • Land use impacts poison frog chemical defenses through changes in leaf litter ant communities NEOTROPICAL BIODIVERSITY Moskowitz, N. A., Dorritie, B., Fay, T., Nieves, O. C., Vidoudez, C., Fischer, E. K., Trauger, S. A., Coloma, L. A., Donoso, D. A., O'Connell, L. A., Cambridge Rindge Latin 2017 Biol, Masconomet 2017 Biotechnology Clas 2020; 6 (1)
  • Mechanisms of Convergent Egg Provisioning in Poison Frogs. Current biology : CB Fischer, E. K., Roland, A. B., Moskowitz, N. A., Vidoudez, C., Ranaivorazo, N., Tapia, E. E., Trauger, S. A., Vences, M., Coloma, L. A., O'Connell, L. A. 2019


    Parental provisioning of offspring with physiological products (nursing) occurs in many animals, yet little is known about the neuroendocrine basis of nursing in non-mammalian species. Within amphibians, maternal provisioning has evolved multiple times, with mothers of some species feeding unfertilized eggs to their developing offspring until tadpoles complete metamorphosis [1-3]. We conducted field studies in Ecuador and Madagascar to ask whether convergence at the behavioral level provides similar benefits to offspring and relies on shared neural mechanisms in dendrobatid and mantellid poison frogs. At an ecological level, we found that nursing allows poison frogs to provide chemical defenses to their tadpoles in both species. At the neural level, nursing was associated with increased activity in the lateral septum and preoptic area, demonstrating recruitment of shared brain regions in the convergent evolution of nursing within frogs and across vertebrates [4]. In contrast, only mantellids showed increased oxytocin neuron activity akin to that in nursing mammals [5], suggesting evolutionary versatility in molecular mechanisms. Our findings demonstrate that maternal provisioning provides similar potential benefits to offspring and relies on similar brain regions in poison frog species with convergently evolved toxicity and maternal care. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.032

    View details for PubMedID 31761700

  • The neural basis of tadpole transport in poison frogs. Proceedings. Biological sciences Fischer, E. K., Roland, A. B., Moskowitz, N. A., Tapia, E. E., Summers, K., Coloma, L. A., O'Connell, L. A. 2019; 286 (1907): 20191084


    Parental care has evolved repeatedly and independently across animals. While the ecological and evolutionary significance of parental behaviour is well recognized, underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We took advantage of behavioural diversity across closely related species of South American poison frogs (Family Dendrobatidae) to identify neural correlates of parental behaviour shared across sexes and species. We characterized differences in neural induction, gene expression in active neurons and activity of specific neuronal types in three species with distinct care patterns: male uniparental, female uniparental and biparental. We identified the medial pallium and preoptic area as core brain regions associated with parental care, independent of sex and species. The identification of neurons active during parental care confirms a role for neuropeptides associated with care in other vertebrates as well as identifying novel candidates. Our work is the first to explore neural and molecular mechanisms of parental care in amphibians and highlights the potential for mechanistic studies in closely related but behaviourally variable species to help build a more complete understanding of how shared principles and species-specific diversity govern parental care and other social behaviour.

    View details for DOI 10.1098/rspb.2019.1084

    View details for PubMedID 31311480

  • Seasonal changes in diet and chemical defense in the Climbing Mantella frog (Mantella laevigata) (vol 13, e0207940, 2018) PLOS ONE Moskowitz, N. A., Roland, A. B., Fischer, E. K., Ranaivorazo, N., Vidoudez, C., Aguilar, M. T., Weiss, H. 2019; 14 (6)