Dr. Raquel Salla

Why did you choose amphibians as your study focus? In fact, as soon as I started biology school I was scared to death of frogs! And one day an amazing teacher named Monica Jones decided to teach me more about amphibians. She showed me how important they are, how they are not dangerous, and how beautiful they can be! From that day on I decided that I would study and protect them. It was "scientific love" at first sight!

Today, which ecosystem has the most damaged environmental health? It is very difficult to quantify this for the whole world. In reality, all of our ecosystems are contaminated by human action. But perhaps the ecosystem that we most come into contact with and depend on daily is the aquatic one, because we depend on water for practically everything.

If some way was found to reverse some of this nuclear waste, could there be any chance of getting a population living in Chernobyl again? Yes, of course! In fact, every radioactive element has a "half-life" that is finite. That is, it goes through several processes of chemical changes in its atoms, until at a certain moment, the atom that was radioactive before no longer exists in the environment. It is as if it were gradually "degrading" (but through a radioactive decay). After a long time, the radioactivity is no longer there, and the organisms can grow and live in that region again.

From aposematism, we understand that the more colorful the more dangerous. But in the case of frogs, is this toxicity capable of killing a human being? Actually, not all very colorful species are actually poisonous. There are some species that have no toxins but are colorful as well. But still many have toxins, and this characteristic is very important. Some species of amphibians have neurotoxins, and in this case, if a person absorbs a very large amount of these toxins and is not treated, then yes, it is possible to cause death. But it is extremely rare for this to happen, because these animals are very difficult to find.

How do you react to sexist comments in science? When I was younger, I would get very angry and want to argue with the person. But as time went by I realized that this way of being didn't lead to anything, and also didn't make the person stop being sexist. So nowadays, although I still get very angry when I hear something sexist, I try to act differently: I try to talk to the person, little by little, and try to show him/her another point of view, a more inclusive one.

Where can we find more about your work, Raquel? For those who want to read articles and know more about my scientific publications, this is the link to my lattes resume: http://lattes.cnpq.br/1738422158151824. But I also have an Instagram page @raquel.salla (https://www.instagram.com/raquel.salla/?hl=pt-br) where I always share various activities of my day-to-day life in Science!