Karla Pelz

  • Project name: Conservation Strategy for Lake Lerma Salamander (Ambystoma lermense)
  • Project site: Ciénegas del Alto Lerma, Mexico
  • EDGE species: Lake Lerma salamander Ambystoma lermaense
  • Active: 2014 - 2017


Karla is a bright, capable researcher who is passionate about biodiversity conservation, ecology and genetics. She has demonstrated her commitment to conservation by conducting fieldwork in remote areas under often difficult conditions, and through fostering relationships with key stakeholders in all of her projects.

Karla has recently completed her PhD at the University of Arizona and has used her knowledge and expertise to conserve the Lake Lerma salamander and its habitat. In 2017 Karla became one of the first EDGE Affiliates.

EDGE Project

Through her EDGE Fellowship Karla aimed to generate the information needed to underpin, foster and conduct a conservation strategy for the Lake Lerma salamander and its habitat by:

  • Estimating population size and range of the Lake Lerma salamander in the Cienegas del Alto Lerma;
  • Assessing the population genetic structure of the Lake Lerma salamander;
  • Determining the incidence of chytrid fungus in the populations of Lake Lerma salamander in the study area;
  • Evaluating the conservation status of the Lake Lerma salamander and developing a strategy for the long-term conservation of the species and its habitat.


  • Karla developed the baseline for a long term monitoring program of A.lermense populations for the first time. Using traps to catch these critically endangered amphibians Karla has collected genetic samples and undertaken disease screening.
  • Invited to present her EDGE Fellowship research at27th International Congress for Conservation Biology and at the Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium 2015, where she was recognised as a ‘Future Leader of Amphibian Conservation’.
  • Karla developed and led an exhibition entitled “Wetlands of Alto Lerma: last refuge for the axolotl”. The exhibition travelled to several parts of the region, including Chapultepec Zoo. This was a great success, with authorities from three different local communities attending. There was a lot of interest in the exhibition and the species.
  • Karla produced a documentary on the issues facing the salamander and the wetlands, this was shown to local people and they created an English version for international use.

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