Affiliated PhD Student (completed)
- April 2008-2013: PhD candidate in Conservation Medicine, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile.
- November 2008-Present: EDGE Fellow for the Conservation of Darwin’s frogs, Zoological Society of London.
- March 2005-Present: Academic and researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Ecology and Natural Resources, Universidad Andres Bello, Chile.
- September 2006-September 2007: MSc in Wild Animal Health, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London & The Royal Veterinary College, University of London.
- March 1998-December 2003: Veterinary Surgeon, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Austral de Chile.
Since 2004 I have been involved in animal conservation, working in different projects focussed in endangered mammals such as the southern river otter (Lontra provocax), marine otter (Lonra felina), Darwin’s fox (Pseudalopex fulvipes). More recently I have been involved in the protection and conservation of Darwin’s frogs of Chile. As part as a partnership with the Zoological Society of London we have started expeditions in search for the Northern Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum, EDGE #45). The other relative species, the Southern Darwin’s frog (R. darwinii, EDGE #544), was named in honour of Charles Darwin, who found this frog during his epic voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in February 1835, near the city of Valdivia. Rhinoderma Rufum was recognised as a separate species in 1902. The behaviour that sets these frogs apart from all other amphibians in the world is that the males care for their young by incubating them in their vocal sacs for part of their development. There has been no sign of R. rufum since 1980 and the reasons for its abrupt disappearence remain poorly understood. For that reason I became EDGE fellowship trying to answer why these frogs are disspaering and evaluating the impact of chytridiomycosis on native amphibians with special concern of Darwin´s frog, trough the project: “Saving the last mouth brooding frogs: is chytriomycosis driving Darwin’s frogs extinction?”.
Chytrid fungi has recently being identified in different latitudes of Chile, so the possible outcomes of this project such as the identification of priority conservation species, the development of recommendations for the government authorities, the setting up of a regional PCR chytrid diagnostic laboratory, and the establishment of conservation measures for the protection of amphibians are extremely necessary. Part of my research focuses into correlate the presence of the disease with the pattern of invasion of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) introduced in central Chile around 25 years ago, hypothesized to act as vector for this emerging disease.
I strongly believe coordinated efforts and a multidisciplinary approach to investigate and conserve Northern and Southern Darwin´s frogs (Rhinoderma rufum and R. darwinii) may save these amazing and unique species from extinction.
Dr. Andrew Cunningham, Reader and Head of Wildlife Epidemiology, Institute of Zoology.
Soto–Azat C., B.T. Clarke, J.C. Poynton, A.A. Cunningham (2010) Widespread historical presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in African pipid frogs.Biodiversity and Distributions 16: 126-131.
Soto–Azat C., B.T. Clarke, J.C. Poynton, M.C. Fisher, S. Walker, A.A. Cunningham (2009) Non-invasive sampling methods for the detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in archived amphibians. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 84: 163-166.
Soto–Azat C., F. Boher, M. Fabry, P. Pascual, G. Medina–Vogel (2008) Surgical implantation of intra-abdominal radiotransmitters in marine otters (Lontra felina) in Central Chile. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44: 979-982.
Medina–Vogel G., F. Boher, G. Flores, A. Santibáñez, C. Soto–Azat (2007). Spacing behaviour of Marine otters (Lontra felina) in relation to land refuges and fishery wastes in Central Chile. Journal of Mammalogy 88: 487–494.
Soto–Azat C., F. Boher, G. Flores, E. Mora, A. Santibáñez, G. Medina–Vogel (2006) Reversible anesthesia in wild marine otters (Lontra felina) using ketamine and medetomidine. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 37: 535–538.
Soto–Azat C., M. Sepúlveda, G. Medina–Vogel (2006) Aspectos veterinarios en huillines capturados: antecedentes, consideraciones y propuestas para un adecuado manejo. En: Cassini M.H., M. Sepúlveda (eds.). El Huillín Lontra provocax: Investigaciones sobre una nutria patagónica en peligro de extinción. Serie Fauna Neotropical 1, Publicaciones de la Organización PROFAUNA, Buenos Aires. Pp:147–152.
Soto–Azat C., R. Reyes, V. Gomez, G. Medina–Vogel (2006) Anestesia reversible a base de ketamina y medetomidina en huillines silvestres. En: Cassini M.H., M. Sepúlveda (eds.). El Huillín Lontra provocax: Investigaciones sobre una nutria patagónica en peligro de extinción. Serie Fauna Neotropical 1, Publicaciones de la Organización PROFAUNA, Buenos Aires. Pp:153–160.