VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Rayna Bell

of Cornell University


Rayna is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University studying diversification and conservation of African reedfrogs. When she's not in the field or planning her next expedition, Rayna spends her time in the genetics lab and teaching biology to undergrads at Cornell.

How Do Frogs Colonize Oceanic Islands?

When I first started this project, I figured my chances of actually finding the ancestral species, let alone the specific source population, were slim to none. But the presence of seven endemic amphibians on two tiny oceanic islands serves as a constant reminder that with enough time, anything is possible!

The Quest for Giant Treefrog Tadpoles

Finding tadpoles of the Príncipe Giant Treefrog will help identify what types of habitat this endemic species relies on, but after many years of searching for them, finding these elusive tadpoles has also become a matter of personal pride.

How Coloring Books & Playing Cards Can Help Save Rare Speicies

As part of a nine-person biodiversity and education expedition to the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, Young Explorer Rayna Bell is searching for elusive treefrogs at night and spreading knowledge about local biodiversity during the day.

Racing Against the Clock to Document Biodiversity in Africa’s Eden

With the recent discovery of offshore oil, São Toméans will soon face the challenge of reconciling rapid economic development with preserving their natural heritage. The problem is that no one knows how many species occupy the islands or how irreplaceable that diversity might be.