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Sample records for amphibian chytrid fungus

  1. First evidence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranavirus in Hong Kong amphibian trade.

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Smith, Kristine M; Berger, Lee; Karesh, William B; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P; Skerratt, Lee F

    2014-01-01

    The emerging infectious amphibian diseases caused by amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranaviruses are responsible for global amphibian population declines and extinctions. Although likely to have been spread by a variety of activities, transcontinental dispersal appears closely associated with the international trade in live amphibians. The territory of Hong Kong reports frequent, high volume trade in amphibians, and yet the presence of Bd and ranavirus have not previously been detected in either traded or free-ranging amphibians. In 2012, a prospective surveillance project was conducted to investigate the presence of these pathogens in commercial shipments of live amphibians exported from Hong Kong International Airport. Analysis of skin (Bd) and cloacal (ranavirus) swabs by quantitative PCR detected pathogen presence in 31/265 (11.7%) and in 105/185 (56.8%) of amphibians, respectively. In addition, the water in which animals were transported tested positive for Bd, demonstrating the risk of pathogen pollution by the disposal of untreated wastewater. It is uncertain whether Bd and ranavirus remain contained within Hong Kong's trade sector, or if native amphibians have already been exposed. Rapid response efforts are now urgently needed to determine current pathogen distribution in Hong Kong, evaluate potential trade-associated exposure to free-ranging amphibians, and identify opportunities to prevent disease establishment. PMID:24599268

  2. First Evidence of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus in Hong Kong Amphibian Trade

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Smith, Kristine M.; Berger, Lee; Karesh, William B; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P.; Skerratt, Lee F.

    2014-01-01

    The emerging infectious amphibian diseases caused by amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranaviruses are responsible for global amphibian population declines and extinctions. Although likely to have been spread by a variety of activities, transcontinental dispersal appears closely associated with the international trade in live amphibians. The territory of Hong Kong reports frequent, high volume trade in amphibians, and yet the presence of Bd and ranavirus have not previously been detected in either traded or free-ranging amphibians. In 2012, a prospective surveillance project was conducted to investigate the presence of these pathogens in commercial shipments of live amphibians exported from Hong Kong International Airport. Analysis of skin (Bd) and cloacal (ranavirus) swabs by quantitative PCR detected pathogen presence in 31/265 (11.7%) and in 105/185 (56.8%) of amphibians, respectively. In addition, the water in which animals were transported tested positive for Bd, demonstrating the risk of pathogen pollution by the disposal of untreated wastewater. It is uncertain whether Bd and ranavirus remain contained within Hong Kong’s trade sector, or if native amphibians have already been exposed. Rapid response efforts are now urgently needed to determine current pathogen distribution in Hong Kong, evaluate potential trade-associated exposure to free-ranging amphibians, and identify opportunities to prevent disease establishment. PMID:24599268

  3. Presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in native amphibians exported from Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E

    2014-01-01

    The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis is driven by the spread of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd), a highly virulent pathogen threatening global amphibian biodiversity. Although pandemic in distribution, previous intensive field surveys have failed to detect Bd in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot home to hundreds of endemic amphibian species. Due to the presence of Bd in nearby continental Africa and the ecological crisis that can be expected following establishment in Madagascar, enhanced surveillance is imperative. I sampled 565 amphibians commercially exported from Madagascar for the presence of Bd upon importation to the USA, both to assist early detection efforts and demonstrate the conservation potential of wildlife trade disease surveillance. Bd was detected in three animals via quantitative PCR: a single Heterixalus alboguttatus, Heterixalus betsileo, and Scaphiophryne spinosa. This is the first time Bd has been confirmed in amphibians from Madagascar and presents an urgent call to action. Our early identification of pathogen presence prior to widespread infection provides the necessary tools and encouragement to catalyze a swift, targeted response to isolate and eradicate Bd from Madagascar. If implemented before establishment occurs, an otherwise likely catastrophic decline in amphibian biodiversity may be prevented. PMID:24599336

  4. Presence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Native Amphibians Exported from Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.

    2014-01-01

    The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis is driven by the spread of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd), a highly virulent pathogen threatening global amphibian biodiversity. Although pandemic in distribution, previous intensive field surveys have failed to detect Bd in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot home to hundreds of endemic amphibian species. Due to the presence of Bd in nearby continental Africa and the ecological crisis that can be expected following establishment in Madagascar, enhanced surveillance is imperative. I sampled 565 amphibians commercially exported from Madagascar for the presence of Bd upon importation to the USA, both to assist early detection efforts and demonstrate the conservation potential of wildlife trade disease surveillance. Bd was detected in three animals via quantitative PCR: a single Heterixalus alboguttatus, Heterixalus betsileo, and Scaphiophryne spinosa. This is the first time Bd has been confirmed in amphibians from Madagascar and presents an urgent call to action. Our early identification of pathogen presence prior to widespread infection provides the necessary tools and encouragement to catalyze a swift, targeted response to isolate and eradicate Bd from Madagascar. If implemented before establishment occurs, an otherwise likely catastrophic decline in amphibian biodiversity may be prevented. PMID:24599336

  5. Terrestrial Dispersal and Potential Environmental Transmission of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Ramirez, Sara D.; Berger, Lee; Richards-Hrdlicka, Kathryn L.; Jocque, Merlijn; Skerratt, Lee F.

    2015-01-01

    Dispersal and exposure to amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is not confined to the aquatic habitat, but little is known about pathways that facilitate exposure to wild terrestrial amphibians that do not typically enter bodies of water. We explored the possible spread of Bd from an aquatic reservoir to terrestrial substrates by the emergence of recently metamorphosed infected amphibians and potential deposition of Bd-positive residue on riparian vegetation in Cusuco National Park, Honduras (CNP). Amphibians and their respective leaf perches were both sampled for Bd presence and the pathogen was detected on 76.1% (35/46) of leaves where a Bd-positive frog had rested. Although the viability of Bd detected on these leaves cannot be discerned from our quantitative PCR results, the cool air temperature, closed canopy, and high humidity of this cloud forest environment in CNP is expected to encourage pathogen persistence. High prevalence of infection (88.5%) detected in the recently metamorphosed amphibians and frequent shedding of Bd-positive residue on foliage demonstrates a pathway of Bd dispersal between aquatic and terrestrial habitats. This pathway provides the opportunity for environmental transmission of Bd among and between amphibian species without direct physical contact or exposure to an aquatic habitat. PMID:25927835

  6. Terrestrial Dispersal and Potential Environmental Transmission of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis).

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Ramirez, Sara D; Berger, Lee; Richards-Hrdlicka, Kathryn L; Jocque, Merlijn; Skerratt, Lee F

    2015-01-01

    Dispersal and exposure to amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is not confined to the aquatic habitat, but little is known about pathways that facilitate exposure to wild terrestrial amphibians that do not typically enter bodies of water. We explored the possible spread of Bd from an aquatic reservoir to terrestrial substrates by the emergence of recently metamorphosed infected amphibians and potential deposition of Bd-positive residue on riparian vegetation in Cusuco National Park, Honduras (CNP). Amphibians and their respective leaf perches were both sampled for Bd presence and the pathogen was detected on 76.1% (35/46) of leaves where a Bd-positive frog had rested. Although the viability of Bd detected on these leaves cannot be discerned from our quantitative PCR results, the cool air temperature, closed canopy, and high humidity of this cloud forest environment in CNP is expected to encourage pathogen persistence. High prevalence of infection (88.5%) detected in the recently metamorphosed amphibians and frequent shedding of Bd-positive residue on foliage demonstrates a pathway of Bd dispersal between aquatic and terrestrial habitats. This pathway provides the opportunity for environmental transmission of Bd among and between amphibian species without direct physical contact or exposure to an aquatic habitat. PMID:25927835

  7. Rapid Response to Evaluate the Presence of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus in Wild Amphibian Populations in Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Smith, Kristine M.; Ramirez, Sara D.; Rabemananjara, Falitiana; Pessier, Allan P.; Brunner, Jesse L.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Berger, Lee; Skerratt, Lee F.

    2015-01-01

    We performed a rapid response investigation to evaluate the presence and distribution of amphibian pathogens in Madagascar following our identification of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranavirus in commercially exported amphibians. This targeted risk-based field surveillance program was conducted from February to April 2014 encompassing 12 regions and 47 survey sites. We simultaneously collected amphibian and environmental samples to increase survey sensitivity and performed sampling both in wilderness areas and commercial amphibian trade facilities. Bd was not detected in any of 508 amphibian skin swabs or 68 water filter samples, suggesting pathogen prevalence was below 0.8%, with 95% confidence during our visit. Ranavirus was detected in 5 of 97 amphibians, including one adult Mantidactylus cowanii and three unidentified larvae from Ranomafana National Park, and one adult Mantidactylus mocquardi from Ankaratra. Ranavirus was also detected in water samples collected from two commercial amphibian export facilities. We also provide the first report of an amphibian mass-mortality event observed in wild amphibians in Madagascar. Although neither Bd nor ranavirus appeared widespread in Madagascar during this investigation, additional health surveys are required to disentangle potential seasonal variations in pathogen abundance and detectability from actual changes in pathogen distribution and rates of spread. Accordingly, our results should be conservatively interpreted until a comparable survey effort during winter months has been performed. It is imperative that biosecurity practices be immediately adopted to limit the unintentional increased spread of disease through the movement of contaminated equipment or direct disposal of contaminated material from wildlife trade facilities. The presence of potentially introduced strains of ranaviruses suggests that Madagascar's reptile species might also be threatened by disease

  8. Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Madagascar neither Shows Widespread Presence nor Signs of Certain Establishment.

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Skerratt, Lee F

    2015-01-01

    The global spread of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is associated with amphibian mass mortality, population decline, and extinction. Over the past decade, concern has been expressed for the potential introduction of Bd to Madagascar, a global hotspot of amphibian biodiversity. Following years without detection, widespread Bd presence in Madagascar has now been reported (Bletz et al. 2015a), raising international conservation concern. Before reacting to this finding with a significant management response, the accuracy and context of the data warrant cautious review. Re-examination of a 10-year dataset together with results from more recent surveillance (Kolby et al. 2015) does not yet demonstrate widespread Bd presence. Detection of Bd at "positive" locations in Madagascar has been inconsistent for unknown reasons. Whether Bd is established in Madagascar (i.e. populations are self-sustaining) or instead requires continued introduction to persist also remains uncertain. The deployment of emergency conservation rescue initiatives is expected to target areas where the distribution of Bd and the risk of chytridiomycosis endangering amphibians is believed to overlap. Thus, erroneous description of Bd presence would misdirect limited conservation resources. Standardized surveillance and confirmatory surveys are now imperative to reliably characterize the distribution, potential spread, virulence and overall risk of Bd to amphibians in Madagascar. PMID:26465924

  9. Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Madagascar neither Shows Widespread Presence nor Signs of Certain Establishment

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Skerratt, Lee F.

    2015-01-01

    The global spread of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is associated with amphibian mass mortality, population decline, and extinction. Over the past decade, concern has been expressed for the potential introduction of Bd to Madagascar, a global hotspot of amphibian biodiversity. Following years without detection, widespread Bd presence in Madagascar has now been reported (Bletz et al. 2015a), raising international conservation concern. Before reacting to this finding with a significant management response, the accuracy and context of the data warrant cautious review. Re-examination of a 10-year dataset together with results from more recent surveillance (Kolby et al. 2015) does not yet demonstrate widespread Bd presence. Detection of Bd at “positive” locations in Madagascar has been inconsistent for unknown reasons. Whether Bd is established in Madagascar (i.e. populations are self-sustaining) or instead requires continued introduction to persist also remains uncertain. The deployment of emergency conservation rescue initiatives is expected to target areas where the distribution of Bd and the risk of chytridiomycosis endangering amphibians is believed to overlap. Thus, erroneous description of Bd presence would misdirect limited conservation resources. Standardized surveillance and confirmatory surveys are now imperative to reliably characterize the distribution, potential spread, virulence and overall risk of Bd to amphibians in Madagascar. PMID:26465924

  10. First survey for the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Connecticut (USA) finds widespread prevalence.

    PubMed

    Richards-Hrdlicka, Kathryn L; Richardson, Jonathan L; Mohabir, Leon

    2013-02-28

    The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is an emerging infectious fungal pathogen of amphibians and is linked to global population declines. Until now, there has only been 1 survey for the fungus in the northeastern USA, which focused primarily on northern New England. We tested for Bd in a large number of samples (916 individuals from 116 sites) collected throughout the state of Connecticut, representing 18 native amphibian species. In addition, 239 preserved wood frog Lithobates sylvaticus tadpoles from throughout the state were screened for the fungus. Bd presence was assessed in both the fresh field swabs and the preserved samples using a sensitive quantitative PCR assay. Our contemporary survey found widespread Bd prevalence throughout Connecticut, occurring in 14 species and in 28% of all sampled animals. No preserved L. sylvaticus specimens tested positive for the fungus. Two common species, bullfrogs R. catesbeiana and green frogs R. clamitans had particularly high infection rates (0.21-0.39 and 0.33-0.42, respectively), and given their wide distribution throughout the state, we suggest they may serve as sentinels for Bd occurrence in this region. Further analyses found that several other factors increase the likelihood of infection, including life stage, host sex, and host family. Within sites, ponds with ranids, especially green frogs, increased the likelihood of Bd prevalence. By studying Bd in populations not facing mass declines, the results from this study are an important contribution to our understanding of how some amphibian species and populations remain infected yet exhibit no signs of chytridiomycosis even when Bd is widely distributed. PMID:23446966

  11. Transition of chytrid fungus infection from mouthparts to hind limbs during amphibian metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Taegan A; Rohr, Jason R

    2015-03-01

    The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is implicated in worldwide amphibian declines. Bd has been shown to qualitatively transition from the mouthparts of tadpoles to the hindlimbs during metamorphosis, but we lack evidence of consistency in the timing of this transition across amphibian species. We also do not have predictive functions for the abundance of Bd in mouthparts and limbs as tadpoles develop or for the relationship between keratin and Bd abundance. Hence, researchers presently have little guidance on where to sample developing amphibians to maximize Bd detection, which could affect the accuracy of prevalence and abundance estimates for this deadly pathogen. Here, we show consistency in the timing of the transition of Bd from mouthparts to hind limbs across two frog species (Osteopilus septentrionalis and Mixophyes fasciolatus). Keratin and Bd simultaneously declined from the mouthparts starting at approximately Gosner stage 40. However, keratin on the hindlimbs began to appear at approximately stage 38 but, on average, Bd was not detectable on the hindlimbs until approximately stage 40, suggesting a lag between keratin and Bd arrival. Predictive functions for the relationships between developmental stage and keratin and developmental stage and Bd for mouthparts and hind limbs are provided so that researchers can optimize sampling designs and minimize erroneous conclusions associated with missing Bd infections or misestimating Bd abundance. PMID:25384612

  12. Effects of amphibian chytrid fungus on individual survival probability in wild boreal toads.

    PubMed

    Pilliod, David S; Muths, Erin; Scherer, Rick D; Bartelt, Paul E; Corn, Paul Stephen; Hossack, Blake R; Lambert, Brad A; McCaffery, Rebecca; Gaughan, Christopher

    2010-10-01

    Chytridiomycosis is linked to the worldwide decline of amphibians, yet little is known about the demographic effects of the disease. We collected capture-recapture data on three populations of boreal toads (Bufo boreas [Bufo = Anaxyrus]) in the Rocky Mountains (U.S.A.). Two of the populations were infected with chytridiomycosis and one was not. We examined the effect of the presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]; the agent of chytridiomycosis) on survival probability and population growth rate. Toads that were infected with Bd had lower average annual survival probability than uninfected individuals at sites where Bd was detected, which suggests chytridiomycosis may reduce survival by 31-42% in wild boreal toads. Toads that were negative for Bd at infected sites had survival probabilities comparable to toads at the uninfected site. Evidence that environmental covariates (particularly cold temperatures during the breeding season) influenced toad survival was weak. The number of individuals in diseased populations declined by 5-7%/year over the 6 years of the study, whereas the uninfected population had comparatively stable population growth. Our data suggest that the presence of Bd in these toad populations is not causing rapid population declines. Rather, chytridiomycosis appears to be functioning as a low-level, chronic disease whereby some infected individuals survive but the overall population effects are still negative. Our results show that some amphibian populations may be coexisting with Bd and highlight the importance of quantitative assessments of survival in diseased animal populations. PMID:20412086

  13. Presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in rainwater suggests aerial dispersal is possible

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Sara D. Ramirez; Lee Berger; Griffin, Dale W.; Merlijn Jocque; Lee F. Skerratt

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Global spread of the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) may involve dispersal mechanisms not previously explored. Weather systems accompanied by strong wind and rainfall have been known to assist the dispersal of microbes pathogenic to plants and animals, and we considered a similar phenomenon might occur with Bd. We investigated this concept by sampling rainwater from 20 precipitation events for the presence of Bd in Cusuco National Park, Honduras: a site where high Bd prevalence was previously detected in stream-associated amphibians. Quantitative PCR analysis confirmed the presence of Bd in rainwater in one (5 %) of the weather events sampled, although viability cannot be ascertained from molecular presence alone. The source of the Bd and distance that the contaminated rainwater traveled could not be determined; however, this collection site was located approximately 600 m from the nearest observed perennial river by straight-line aerial distance. Although our results suggest atmospheric Bd dispersal is uncommon and unpredictable, even occasional short-distance aerial transport could considerably expand the taxonomic diversity of amphibians vulnerable to exposure and at risk of decline, including terrestrial and arboreal species that are not associated with permanent water bodies.

  14. Effects of pond salinization on survival rate of amphibian hosts infected with the chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Stockwell, Michelle Pirrie; Storrie, Lachlan James; Pollard, Carla Jean; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael Joseph

    2015-04-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline and extinction of amphibian populations worldwide, but management options are limited. Recent studies show that sodium chloride (NaCl) has fungicidal properties that reduce the mortality rates of infected hosts in captivity. We investigated whether similar results can be obtained by adding salt to water bodies in the field. We increased the salinity of 8 water bodies to 2 or 4 ppt and left an additional 4 water bodies with close to 0 ppt and monitored salinity for 18 months. Captively bred tadpoles of green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) were released into each water body and their development, levels of B. dendrobatidis infection, and survival were monitored at 1, 4, and 12 months. The effect of salt on the abundance of nontarget organisms was also investigated in before and after style analyses. Salinities remained constant over time with little intervention. Hosts in water bodies with 4 ppt salt had a significantly lower prevalence of chytrid infection and higher survival, following metamorphosis, than hosts in 0 ppt salt. Tadpoles in the 4 ppt group were smaller in length after 1 month in the release site than those in the 0 and 2 ppt groups, but after metamorphosis body size in all water bodies was similar . In water bodies with 4 ppt salt, the abundance of dwarf tree frogs (Litoria fallax), dragonfly larvae, and damselfly larvae was lower than in water bodies with 0 and 2 ppt salt, which could have knock-on effects for community structure. Based on our results, salt may be an effective field-based B. dendrobatidis mitigation tool for lentic amphibians that could contribute to the conservation of numerous susceptible species. However, as in all conservation efforts, these benefits need to be weighed against negative effects on both target and nontarget organisms. PMID:25354647

  15. The Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Fully Aquatic Salamanders from Southeastern North America

    PubMed Central

    Chatfield, Matthew W. H.; Moler, Paul; Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the impact that the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has on fully aquatic salamander species of the eastern United States. As a first step in determining the impacts of Bd on these species, we aimed to determine the prevalence of Bd in wild populations of fully aquatic salamanders in the genera Amphiuma, Necturus, Pseudobranchus, and Siren. We sampled a total of 98 salamanders, representing nine species from sites in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Overall, infection prevalence was found to be 0.34, with significant differences among genera but no clear geographic pattern. We also found evidence for seasonal variation, but additional sampling throughout the year is needed to clarify this pattern. The high rate of infection discovered in this study is consistent with studies of other amphibians from the southeastern United States. Coupled with previously published data on life histories and population densities, the results presented here suggest that fully aquatic salamanders may be serving as important vectors of Bd and the interaction between these species and Bd warrants additional research. PMID:22984569

  16. Effects of the amphibian chytrid fungus and four insecticides on Pacific treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kleinhez, Peter; Boone, Michelle D.; Fellers, Gary

    2012-01-01

    Chemical contamination may influence host-pathogen interactions, which has implications for amphibian population declines. We examined the effects of four insecticides alone or as a mixture on development and metamorphosis of Pacific Treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla) in the presence or absence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]). Bd exposure had a negative impact on tadpole activity, survival to metamorphosis, time to metamorphosis, and time of tail absorption (with a marginally negative effect on mass at metamorphosis); however, no individuals tested positive for Bd at metamorphosis. The presence of sublethal concentrations of insecticides alone or in a mixture did not impact Pacific Treefrog activity as tadpoles, survival to metamorphosis, or time and size to metamorphosis. Insecticide exposure did not influence the effect of Bd exposure. Our study did not support our prediction that effects of Bd would be greater in the presence of expected environmental concentrations of insecticide(s), but it did show that Bd had negative effects on responses at metamorphosis that could reduce the quality of juveniles recruited into the population.

  17. Effects of amphibian chytrid fungus on individual survival probability in wild boreal toads

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pilliod, D.S.; Muths, E.; Scherer, R. D.; Bartelt, P.E.; Corn, P.S.; Hossack, B.R.; Lambert, B.A.; Mccaffery, R.; Gaughan, C.

    2010-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis is linked to the worldwide decline of amphibians, yet little is known about the demographic effects of the disease. We collected capture-recapture data on three populations of boreal toads (Bufo boreas [Bufo = Anaxyrus]) in the Rocky Mountains (U.S.A.). Two of the populations were infected with chytridiomycosis and one was not. We examined the effect of the presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]; the agent of chytridiomycosis) on survival probability and population growth rate. Toads that were infected with Bd had lower average annual survival probability than uninfected individuals at sites where Bd was detected, which suggests chytridiomycosis may reduce survival by 31-42% in wild boreal toads. Toads that were negative for Bd at infected sites had survival probabilities comparable to toads at the uninfected site. Evidence that environmental covariates (particularly cold temperatures during the breeding season) influenced toad survival was weak. The number of individuals in diseased populations declined by 5-7%/year over the 6 years of the study, whereas the uninfected population had comparatively stable population growth. Our data suggest that the presence of Bd in these toad populations is not causing rapid population declines. Rather, chytridiomycosis appears to be functioning as a low-level, chronic disease whereby some infected individuals survive but the overall population effects are still negative. Our results show that some amphibian populations may be coexisting with Bd and highlight the importance of quantitative assessments of survival in diseased animal populations. Journal compilation. ?? 2010 Society for Conservation Biology. No claim to original US government works.

  18. Sodium Chloride Inhibits the Growth and Infective Capacity of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus and Increases Host Survival Rates

    PubMed Central

    Stockwell, Michelle Pirrie; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael Joseph

    2012-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a recently emerged pathogen that causes the infectious disease chytridiomycosis and has been implicated as a contributing factor in the global amphibian decline. Since its discovery, research has been focused on developing various methods of mitigating the impact of chytridiomycosis on amphibian hosts but little attention has been given to the role of antifungal agents that could be added to the host's environment. Sodium chloride is a known antifungal agent used routinely in the aquaculture industry and this study investigates its potential for use as a disease management tool in amphibian conservation. The effect of 0–5 ppt NaCl on the growth, motility and survival of the chytrid fungus when grown in culture media and its effect on the growth, infection load and survivorship of infected Peron's tree frogs (Litoria peronii) in captivity, was investigated. The results reveal that these concentrations do not negatively affect the survival of the host or the pathogen. However, concentrations greater than 3 ppt significantly reduced the growth and motility of the chytrid fungus compared to 0 ppt. Concentrations of 1–4 ppt NaCl were also associated with significantly lower host infection loads while infected hosts exposed to 3 and 4 ppt NaCl were found to have significantly higher survival rates. These results support the potential for NaCl to be used as an environmentally distributed antifungal agent for the prevention of chytridiomycosis in susceptible amphibian hosts. However, further research is required to identify any negative effects of salt exposure on both target and non-target organisms prior to implementation. PMID:22590639

  19. Amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in coastal and montane California, USA Anurans

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fellers, Gary M.; Cole, Rebecca A.; Reinitz, David M.; Kleeman, Patrick M.

    2011-01-01

    We found amphibian chytrid fungus (Bd = Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) to be widespread within a coastalwatershed at Point Reyes National Seashore, California and within two high elevation watersheds at Yosemite NationalPark, California. Bd was associated with all six species that we sampled (Bufo boreas, B. canorus, Pseudacris regilla, Ranadraytonii, R. sierrae, and Lithobates catesbeianus). For those species sampled at 10 or more sites within a watershed, thepercentage of Bd-positive sites varied from a low of 20.7% for P. regilla at one Yosemite watershed to a high of 79.6% forP. regilla at the Olema watershed at Point Reyes. At Olema, the percent of Bd-positive water bodies declined each year ofour study (2005-2007). Because P. regilla was the only species found in all watersheds, we used that species to evaluatehabitat variables related to the sites where P. regilla was Bd-positive. At Olema, significant variables were year, length ofshoreline (perimeter), percentage cover of rooted vegetation, and water depth. At the two Yosemite watersheds, waterdepth, water temperature, and silt/mud were the most important covariates, though the importance of these three factorsdiffered between the two watersheds. The presence of Bd in species that are not declining suggests that some of theamphibians in our study were innately resistant to Bd, or had developed resistance after Bd became established.

  20. Prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sigafus, Brent H.; Hossack, Blake R.; Muths, Erin L.; Schwalbe, Cecil R.

    2014-01-01

    Information on disease presence can be of use to natural resource managers, especially in areas supporting threatened and endangered species that occur coincidentally with species that are suspected vectors for disease. Ad hoc reports may be of limited utility (Muths et al. 2009), but a general sense of pathogen presence (or absence) can inform management directed at T&E species, especially in regions where disease is suspected to have caused population declines (Bradley et al. 2002). The Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis), a species susceptible to infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) (Bradley et al. 2002), and the non-native, invasive American Bullfrog (L. catesbeianus), a suspected vector for chytridiomycosis (Schloegel et al. 2012, Gervasi et al. 2013), both occur at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR) and surrounding lands in southern Arizona. Efforts to eradicate the bullfrog from BANWR began in 1997 (Suhre, 2010). Eradication from the southern portion of BANWR was successful by 2008 but the bullfrog remains present at the Arivaca Cienega and in areas immediately adjacent to the refuge (Fig. 1). Curtailing the re-invasion of the bullfrog into BANWR will require vigilance as to ensure the health of Chiricahua Leopard Frog populations.

  1. Widespread occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the southeastern USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rothermel, Betsie B.; Walls, Susan C.; Mitchell, Joseph C.; Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr.; Irwin, Lisa K.; Green, David E.; Vazquez, Victoria M.; Petranka, James W.; Stevenson, Dirk J.

    2008-01-01

     From 1999 to 2006, we sampled >1200 amphibians for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis(Bd) at 30 sites in the southeastern USA. Using histological techniques or PCR assays, we detected chytrid infection in 10 species of aquatic-breeding amphibians in 6 states. The prevalence of chytrid infection was 17.8% for samples of postmetamorphic amphibians examined using skin swab-PCR assays (n = 202 samples from 12 species at 4 sites). In this subset of samples, anurans had a much higher prevalence of infection than caudates (39.2% vs. 5.5%, respectively). Mean prevalence in ranid frogs was 40.7%. The only infected salamanders were Notophthalmus viridescens at 3 sites. We found infected amphibians from late winter through late spring and in 1 autumn sample. Although we encountered moribund or dead amphibians at 9 sites, most mortality events were not attributed to Bd. Chytridiomycosis was established as the probable cause of illness or death in fewer than 10 individuals. Our observations suggest a pattern of widespread and subclinical infections. However, because most of the sites in our study were visited only once, we cannot dismiss the possibility that chytridiomycosis is adversely affecting some populations. Furthermore, although there is no evidence of chytrid-associated declines in our region, the presence of this pathogen is cause for concern given global climate change and other stressors. Although presence-absence surveys may still be needed for some taxa, such as bufonids, we recommend that future researchers focus on potential population-level effects at sites where Bd is now known to occur.

  2. Widespread occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the southeastern USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rothermel, B.B.; Walls, S.C.; Mitchell, J.C.; Dodd, C.K., Jr.; Irwin, L.K.; Green, D.E.; Vazquez, Victoria M.; Petranka, James W.; Stevenson, Dirk J.

    2008-01-01

    From 1999 to 2006, we sampled >1200 amphibians for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytnum dendrobatidis (Bd) at 30 sites in the southeastern USA. Using histological techniques or PCR assays, we detected chytrid infection in 10 species of aquatic-breeding amphibians in 6 states. The prevalence of chytrid infection was 17.8% for samples of postmetamorphic amphibians examined using skin swab-PCR assays (n = 202 samples from 12 species at 4 sites). In this subset of samples, anurans had a much higher prevalence of infection than caudates (39.2% vs. 5.5%, respectively). Mean prevalence in ranid frogs was 40.7 %. The only infected salamanders were Notophthalmus viridescens at 3 sites. We found infected amphibians from late winter through late spring and in 1 autumn sample. Although we encountered moribund or dead amphibians at 9 sites, most mortality events were not attributed to Bd. Chytridiomycosis was established as the probable cause of illness or death in fewer than 10 individuals. Our observations suggest a pattern of widespread and subclinical infections. However, because most of the sites in our study were visited only once, we cannot dismiss the possibility that chytridiomycosis is adversely affecting some populations. Furthermore, although there is no evidence of chytrid-associated declines in our region, the presence of this pathogen is cause for concern given global climate change and other stressors. Although presence-absence surveys may still be needed for some taxa, such as bufonids, we recommend that future researchers focus on potential population-level effects at sites where Bd is now known to occur. ?? Inter-Research 2008.

  3. Prevalence and Seasonality of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Along Widely Separated Longitudes Across the United States.

    PubMed

    Petersen, Christopher E; Lovich, Robert E; Phillips, Christopher A; Dreslik, Michael J; Lannoo, Michael J

    2016-06-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been implicated in amphibian declines on almost all continents. We report on prevalence and intensity of Bd in the United States amphibian populations across three longitudinally separated north-to-south transects conducted at 15 Department of Defense installations during two sampling periods (late-spring/early summer and mid to late summer). Such a standardized approach minimizes the effects of sampling and analytical bias, as well as human disturbance (by sampling restricted military bases), and therefore permits a cleaner interpretation of environmental variables known to affect chytrid dynamics such as season, temperature, rainfall, latitude, and longitude. Our prevalence of positive samples was 20.4% (137/670), and our mean intensity was 3.21 zoospore equivalents (SE = 1.03; range 0.001-103.59). Of the 28 amphibian species sampled, 15 tested positive. Three sites had no evidence of Bd infection; across the remaining 12 Bd-positive sites, neither infection prevalence nor intensity varied systematically. We found a more complicated pattern of Bd prevalence than anticipated. Early season samples showed no trend associated with increasing temperature and precipitation and decreasing (more southerly) latitudes; while in late season samples, the proportion of infected individuals decreased with increasing temperature and precipitation and decreasing latitudes. A similar pattern held for the east-west gradient, with the highest prevalence associated with more easterly/recently warmer sites in the early season then shifting to more westerly/recently cooler sites in the later season. Bd intensity across bases and sampling periods was comparatively low. Some of the trends in our data have been seen in previous studies, and our results offer further continental-level Bd sampling over which more concentrated local sampling efforts can be overlaid. PMID:26935823

  4. Chytrid fungus infections in laboratory and introduced Xenopus laevis populations: assessing the risks for U.K. native amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Tinsley, Richard C.; Coxhead, Peter G.; Stott, Lucy C.; Tinsley, Matthew C.; Piccinni, Maya Z.; Guille, Matthew J.

    2015-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is notorious amongst current conservation biology challenges, responsible for mass mortality and extinction of amphibian species. World trade in amphibians is implicated in global dissemination. Exports of South African Xenopus laevis have led to establishment of this invasive species on four continents. Bd naturally infects this host in Africa and now occurs in several introduced populations. However, no previous studies have investigated transfer of infection into co-occurring native amphibian faunas. A survey of 27 U.K. institutions maintaining X. laevis for research showed that most laboratories have low-level infection, a risk for native species if animals are released into the wild. RT-PCR assays showed Bd in two introduced U.K. populations of X. laevis, in Wales and Lincolnshire. Laboratory and field studies demonstrated that infection levels increase with stress, especially low temperature. In the U.K., native amphibians may be exposed to intense transmission in spring when they enter ponds to spawn alongside X. laevis that have cold-elevated Bd infections. Exposure to cross-infection has probably been recurrent since the introduction of X. laevis, >20 years in Lincolnshire and 50 years in Wales. These sites provide an important test for assessing the impact of X. laevis on Bd spread. However, RT-PCR assays on 174 native amphibians (Bufo, Rana, Lissotriton and Triturus spp.), sympatric with the Bd-infected introduced populations, showed no foci of self-sustaining Bd transmission associated with X. laevis. The abundance of these native amphibians suggested no significant negative population-level effect after the decades of co-occurrence. PMID:25843959

  5. Assessing the Threat of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in the Albertine Rift: Past, Present and Future

    PubMed Central

    Seimon, Tracie A.; Ayebare, Samuel; Sekisambu, Robert; Muhindo, Emmanuel; Mitamba, Guillain; Greenbaum, Eli; Menegon, Michele; Pupin, Fabio; McAloose, Denise; Ammazzalorso, Alyssa; Meirte, Danny; Lukwago, Wilbur; Behangana, Mathias; Seimon, Anton; Plumptre, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the cause of chytridiomycosis, is a pathogenic fungus that is found worldwide and is a major contributor to amphibian declines and extinctions. We report results of a comprehensive effort to assess the distribution and threat of Bd in one of the Earth’s most important biodiversity hotspots, the Albertine Rift in central Africa. In herpetological surveys conducted between 2010 and 2014, 1018 skin swabs from 17 amphibian genera in 39 sites across the Albertine Rift were tested for Bd by PCR. Overall, 19.5% of amphibians tested positive from all sites combined. Skin tissue samples from 163 amphibians were examined histologically; of these two had superficial epidermal intracorneal fungal colonization and lesions consistent with the disease chytridiomycosis. One amphibian was found dead during the surveys, and all others encountered appeared healthy. We found no evidence for Bd-induced mortality events, a finding consistent with other studies. To gain a historical perspective about Bd in the Albertine Rift, skin swabs from 232 museum-archived amphibians collected as voucher specimens from 1925–1994 were tested for Bd. Of these, one sample was positive; an Itombwe River frog (Phrynobatrachus asper) collected in 1950 in the Itombwe highlands. This finding represents the earliest record of Bd in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We modeled the distribution of Bd in the Albertine Rift using MaxEnt software, and trained our model for improved predictability. Our model predicts that Bd is currently widespread across the Albertine Rift, with moderate habitat suitability extending into the lowlands. Under climatic modeling scenarios our model predicts that optimal habitat suitability of Bd will decrease causing a major range contraction of the fungus by 2080. Our baseline data and modeling predictions are important for comparative studies, especially if significant changes in amphibian health status or climactic conditions are

  6. Assessing the Threat of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in the Albertine Rift: Past, Present and Future.

    PubMed

    Seimon, Tracie A; Ayebare, Samuel; Sekisambu, Robert; Muhindo, Emmanuel; Mitamba, Guillain; Greenbaum, Eli; Menegon, Michele; Pupin, Fabio; McAloose, Denise; Ammazzalorso, Alyssa; Meirte, Danny; Lukwago, Wilbur; Behangana, Mathias; Seimon, Anton; Plumptre, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the cause of chytridiomycosis, is a pathogenic fungus that is found worldwide and is a major contributor to amphibian declines and extinctions. We report results of a comprehensive effort to assess the distribution and threat of Bd in one of the Earth's most important biodiversity hotspots, the Albertine Rift in central Africa. In herpetological surveys conducted between 2010 and 2014, 1018 skin swabs from 17 amphibian genera in 39 sites across the Albertine Rift were tested for Bd by PCR. Overall, 19.5% of amphibians tested positive from all sites combined. Skin tissue samples from 163 amphibians were examined histologically; of these two had superficial epidermal intracorneal fungal colonization and lesions consistent with the disease chytridiomycosis. One amphibian was found dead during the surveys, and all others encountered appeared healthy. We found no evidence for Bd-induced mortality events, a finding consistent with other studies. To gain a historical perspective about Bd in the Albertine Rift, skin swabs from 232 museum-archived amphibians collected as voucher specimens from 1925-1994 were tested for Bd. Of these, one sample was positive; an Itombwe River frog (Phrynobatrachus asper) collected in 1950 in the Itombwe highlands. This finding represents the earliest record of Bd in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We modeled the distribution of Bd in the Albertine Rift using MaxEnt software, and trained our model for improved predictability. Our model predicts that Bd is currently widespread across the Albertine Rift, with moderate habitat suitability extending into the lowlands. Under climatic modeling scenarios our model predicts that optimal habitat suitability of Bd will decrease causing a major range contraction of the fungus by 2080. Our baseline data and modeling predictions are important for comparative studies, especially if significant changes in amphibian health status or climactic conditions are encountered

  7. Treatment of amphibians infected with chytrid fungus: learning from failed trials with itraconazole, antimicrobial peptides, bacteria, and heat therapy.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Geiger, Corina C; Reinert, Laura K; Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Lam, Brianna; Harris, Reid N; Briggs, Cheryl J; Vredenburg, Vance T; Voyles, Jamie

    2012-02-17

    Amphibian conservation goals depend on effective disease-treatment protocols. Desirable protocols are species, life stage, and context specific, but currently few treatment options exist for amphibians infected with the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Treatment options, at present, include antifungal drugs and heat therapy, but risks of toxicity and side-effects make these options untenable in some cases. Here, we report on the comparison of several novel treatments with a more generally accepted antifungal treatment in experimental scientific trials to treat Bd-infected frogs including Alytes obstetricans tadpoles and metamorphs, Bufo bufo and Limnodynastes peronii metamorphs, and Lithobates pipiens and Rana muscosa adults. The experimental treatments included commercial antifungal products (itraconazole, mandipropamid, steriplantN, and PIP Pond Plus), antimicrobial skin peptides from the Bd-resistant Pelophylax esculentus, microbial treatments (Pedobacter cryoconitis), and heat therapy (35°C for 24 h). None of the new experimental treatments were considered successful in terms of improving survival; however, these results may advance future research by indicating the limits and potential of the various protocols. Caution in the use of itraconazole is warranted because of observed toxicity in metamorphic and adult frogs, even at low concentrations. Results suggest that rather than focusing on a single cure-all, diverse lines of research may provide multiple options for treating Bd infection in amphibians. Learning from 'failed treatments' is essential for the timely achievement of conservation goals and one of the primary aims for a publicly accessible treatment database under development. PMID:22422126

  8. Endemic infection of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a frog community post-decline.

    PubMed

    Retallick, Richard W R; McCallum, Hamish; Speare, Rick

    2004-11-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline and extinction of numerous frog species worldwide. In Queensland, Australia, it has been proposed as the cause of the decline or apparent extinction of at least 14 high-elevation rainforest frog species. One of these, Taudactylus eungellensis, disappeared from rainforest streams in Eungella National Park in 1985-1986, but a few remnant populations were subsequently discovered. Here, we report the analysis of B. dendrobatidis infections in toe tips of T. eungellensis and sympatric species collected in a mark-recapture study between 1994 and 1998. This longitudinal study of the fungus in individually marked frogs sheds new light on the effect of this threatening infectious process in field, as distinct from laboratory, conditions. We found a seasonal peak of infection in the cooler months, with no evidence of interannual variation. The overall prevalence of infection was 18% in T. eungellensis and 28% in Litoria wilcoxii/jungguy, a sympatric frog that appeared not to decline in 1985-1986. No infection was found in any of the other sympatric species. Most importantly, we found no consistent evidence of lower survival in T. eungellensis that were infected at the time of first capture, compared with uninfected individuals. These results refute the hypothesis that remnant populations of T. eungellensis recovered after a B. dendrobatidis epidemic because the pathogen had disappeared. They show that populations of T. eungellensis now persist with stable, endemic infections of B. dendrobatidis. PMID:15502873

  9. Endemic Infection of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in a Frog Community Post-Decline

    PubMed Central

    2004-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline and extinction of numerous frog species worldwide. In Queensland, Australia, it has been proposed as the cause of the decline or apparent extinction of at least 14 high-elevation rainforest frog species. One of these, Taudactylus eungellensis, disappeared from rainforest streams in Eungella National Park in 1985–1986, but a few remnant populations were subsequently discovered. Here, we report the analysis of B. dendrobatidis infections in toe tips of T. eungellensis and sympatric species collected in a mark-recapture study between 1994 and 1998. This longitudinal study of the fungus in individually marked frogs sheds new light on the effect of this threatening infectious process in field, as distinct from laboratory, conditions. We found a seasonal peak of infection in the cooler months, with no evidence of interannual variation. The overall prevalence of infection was 18% in T. eungellensis and 28% in Litoria wilcoxii/jungguy, a sympatric frog that appeared not to decline in 1985–1986. No infection was found in any of the other sympatric species. Most importantly, we found no consistent evidence of lower survival in T. eungellensis that were infected at the time of first capture, compared with uninfected individuals. These results refute the hypothesis that remnant populations of T. eungellensis recovered after a B. dendrobatidis epidemic because the pathogen had disappeared. They show that populations of T. eungellensis now persist with stable, endemic infections of B. dendrobatidis. PMID:15502873

  10. Effects of Pesticide Mixtures on Host-Pathogen Dynamics of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Buck, Julia C.; Hua, Jessica; Brogan, William R.; Dang, Trang D.; Urbina, Jenny; Bendis, Randall J.; Stoler, Aaron B.; Blaustein, Andrew R.; Relyea, Rick A.

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic and natural stressors often interact to affect organisms. Amphibian populations are undergoing unprecedented declines and extinctions with pesticides and emerging infectious diseases implicated as causal factors. Although these factors often co-occur, their effects on amphibians are usually examined in isolation. We hypothesized that exposure of larval and metamorphic amphibians to ecologically relevant concentrations of pesticide mixtures would increase their post-metamorphic susceptibility to the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogen that has contributed to amphibian population declines worldwide. We exposed five anuran species (Pacific treefrog, Pseudacris regilla; spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer; Cascades frog, Rana cascadae; northern leopard frog, Lithobates pipiens; and western toad, Anaxyrus boreas) from three families to mixtures of four common insecticides (chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, permethrin, and endosulfan) or herbicides (glyphosate, acetochlor, atrazine, and 2,4-D) or a control treatment, either as tadpoles or as newly metamorphic individuals (metamorphs). Subsequently, we exposed animals to Bd or a control inoculate after metamorphosis and compared survival and Bd load. Bd exposure significantly increased mortality in Pacific treefrogs, spring peepers, and western toads, but not in Cascades frogs or northern leopard frogs. However, the effects of pesticide exposure on mortality were negligible, regardless of the timing of exposure. Bd load varied considerably across species; Pacific treefrogs, spring peepers, and western toads had the highest loads, whereas Cascades frogs and northern leopard frogs had the lowest loads. The influence of pesticide exposure on Bd load depended on the amphibian species, timing of pesticide exposure, and the particular pesticide treatment. Our results suggest that exposure to realistic pesticide concentrations has minimal effects on Bd-induced mortality, but can alter Bd load. This result

  11. Effects of amphibian chytrid fungus exposure on American toads in the presence of an insecticide.

    PubMed

    Wise, Rayona S; Rumschlag, Samantha L; Boone, Michelle D

    2014-11-01

    Abiotic factors such as pesticides may alter the impact of a pathogen on hosts, which could have implications for host-pathogen interactions and may explain variation in disease outbreaks in nature. In the present laboratory experiment, American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) metamorphs were exposed to the amphibian chytrid fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and environmentally relevant concentrations of the insecticide malathion to determine whether malathion altered the effects of Bd exposure on growth and survival of toad metamorphs. Exposure to Bd significantly decreased survival over the 51 d of the experiment, suggesting that Bd could reduce recruitment into the terrestrial life stage when exposure occurs at metamorphosis. Malathion did not impact survival, but a 12-h exposure at metamorphosis significantly reduced terrestrial growth. Toads that were exposed to both Bd and malathion showed a nonsignificant trend toward the smallest growth compared with other treatments. The present study suggests that Bd may pose a threat to American toads even though population declines have not been observed for this species; in addition, the presence of both the insecticide malathion and Bd could reduce terrestrial growth, which could have implications for lifetime fitness and suggests that environmental factors could play a role in pathogen impacts in nature. PMID:25099070

  12. Genomic Correlates of Virulence Attenuation in the Deadly Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Refsnider, Jeanine M.; Poorten, Thomas J.; Langhammer, Penny F.; Burrowes, Patricia A.; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2015-01-01

    Emerging infectious diseasespose a significant threat to global health, but predicting disease outcomes for particular species can be complicated when pathogen virulence varies across space, time, or hosts. The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused worldwide declines in frog populations. Not only do Bd isolates from wild populations vary in virulence, but virulence shifts can occur over short timescales when Bd is maintained in the laboratory. We leveraged changes in Bd virulence over multiple generations of passage to better understand mechanisms of pathogen virulence. We conducted whole-genome resequencing of two samples of the same Bd isolate, differing only in passage history, to identify genomic processes associated with virulence attenuation. The isolate with shorter passage history (and greater virulence) had greater chromosome copy numbers than the isolate maintained in culture for longer, suggesting that virulence attenuation may be associated with loss of chromosome copies. Our results suggest that genomic processes proposed as mechanisms for rapid evolution in Bd are correlated with virulence attenuation in laboratory culture within a single lineage of Bd. Moreover, these genomic processes can occur over extremely short timescales. On a practical level, our results underscore the importance of immediately cryo-archiving new Bd isolates and using fresh isolates, rather than samples cultured in the laboratory for long periods, for laboratory infection experiments. Finally, when attempting to predict disease outcomes for this ecologically important pathogen, it is critical to consider existing variation in virulence among isolates and the potential for shifts in virulence over short timescales. PMID:26333840

  13. Genomic Correlates of Virulence Attenuation in the Deadly Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Refsnider, Jeanine M; Poorten, Thomas J; Langhammer, Penny F; Burrowes, Patricia A; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2015-11-01

    Emerging infectious diseasespose a significant threat to global health, but predicting disease outcomes for particular species can be complicated when pathogen virulence varies across space, time, or hosts. The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused worldwide declines in frog populations. Not only do Bd isolates from wild populations vary in virulence, but virulence shifts can occur over short timescales when Bd is maintained in the laboratory. We leveraged changes in Bd virulence over multiple generations of passage to better understand mechanisms of pathogen virulence. We conducted whole-genome resequencing of two samples of the same Bd isolate, differing only in passage history, to identify genomic processes associated with virulence attenuation. The isolate with shorter passage history (and greater virulence) had greater chromosome copy numbers than the isolate maintained in culture for longer, suggesting that virulence attenuation may be associated with loss of chromosome copies. Our results suggest that genomic processes proposed as mechanisms for rapid evolution in Bd are correlated with virulence attenuation in laboratory culture within a single lineage of Bd. Moreover, these genomic processes can occur over extremely short timescales. On a practical level, our results underscore the importance of immediately cryo-archiving new Bd isolates and using fresh isolates, rather than samples cultured in the laboratory for long periods, for laboratory infection experiments. Finally, when attempting to predict disease outcomes for this ecologically important pathogen, it is critical to consider existing variation in virulence among isolates and the potential for shifts in virulence over short timescales. PMID:26333840

  14. Chytrid fungus acts as a generalist pathogen infecting species-rich amphibian families in Brazilian rainforests.

    PubMed

    Valencia-Aguilar, Anyelet; Ruano-Fajardo, Gustavo; Lambertini, Carolina; da Silva Leite, Domingos; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Mott, Tamí

    2015-05-11

    The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is among the main causes of declines in amphibian populations. This fungus is considered a generalist pathogen because it infects several species and spreads rapidly in the wild. To date, Bd has been detected in more than 100 anuran species in Brazil, mostly in the southern portion of the Atlantic forest. Here, we report survey data from some poorly explored regions; these data considerably extend current information on the distribution of Bd in the northern Atlantic forest region. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that Bd is a generalist pathogen in this biome. We also report the first positive record for Bd in an anuran caught in the wild in Amazonia. In total, we screened 90 individuals (from 27 species), of which 39 individuals (from 22 species) were Bd-positive. All samples collected in Bahia (2 individuals), Pernambuco (3 individuals), Pará (1 individual), and Minas Gerais (1 individual) showed positive results for Bd. We found a positive correlation between anuran richness per family and the number of infected species in the Atlantic forest, supporting previous observations that Bd lacks strong host specificity; of 38% of the anuran species in the Atlantic forest that were tested for Bd infection, 25% showed positive results. The results of our study exemplify the pandemic and widespread nature of Bd infection in amphibians. PMID:25958806

  15. Elevation, temperature, and aquatic connectivity all influence the infection dynamics of the amphibian chytrid fungus in adult frogs.

    PubMed

    Sapsford, Sarah J; Alford, Ross A; Schwarzkopf, Lin

    2013-01-01

    Infectious diseases can cause population declines and even extinctions. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused population declines and extinctions in amphibians on most continents. In the tropics, research on the dynamics of this disease has focused on amphibian populations in mountainous areas. In most of these areas, high and low elevation sites are connected by an assemblage of streams that may transport the infectious stage of the pathogen from high to low elevations, and, also, this pathogen, which grows well at cool temperatures, may persist better in cooler water flowing from high elevations. Thus, the dynamics of disease at low elevation sites without aquatic connections to higher elevation sites, i.e., non-contiguous low elevation sites, may differ from dynamics at contiguous low elevation sites. We sampled adult common mistfrogs (Litoria rheocola) at six sites of three types: two at high (> 400 m) elevations, two at low elevations contiguous with high elevation streams, and two at low elevations non-contiguous with any high elevation site. Adults were swabbed for Bd diagnosis from June 2010 to June 2011 in each season, over a total of five sampling periods. The prevalence of Bd fluctuated seasonally and was highest in winter across all site types. Site type significantly affected seasonal patterns of prevalence of Bd. Prevalence remained well above zero throughout the year at the high elevation sites. Prevalence declined to lower levels in contiguous low sites, and reached near-zero at non-contiguous low sites. Patterns of air temperature fluctuation were very similar at both the low elevation site types, suggesting that differences in water connectivity to high sites may have affected the seasonal dynamics of Bd prevalence between contiguous and non-contiguous low elevation site types. Our results also suggest that reservoir hosts may be important in the persistence of disease at low elevations. PMID:24324786

  16. Elevation, Temperature, and Aquatic Connectivity All Influence the Infection Dynamics of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Adult Frogs

    PubMed Central

    Sapsford, Sarah J.; Alford, Ross A.; Schwarzkopf, Lin

    2013-01-01

    Infectious diseases can cause population declines and even extinctions. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused population declines and extinctions in amphibians on most continents. In the tropics, research on the dynamics of this disease has focused on amphibian populations in mountainous areas. In most of these areas, high and low elevation sites are connected by an assemblage of streams that may transport the infectious stage of the pathogen from high to low elevations, and, also, this pathogen, which grows well at cool temperatures, may persist better in cooler water flowing from high elevations. Thus, the dynamics of disease at low elevation sites without aquatic connections to higher elevation sites, i.e., non-contiguous low elevation sites, may differ from dynamics at contiguous low elevation sites. We sampled adult common mistfrogs (Litoria rheocola) at six sites of three types: two at high (> 400m) elevations, two at low elevations contiguous with high elevation streams, and two at low elevations non-contiguous with any high elevation site. Adults were swabbed for Bd diagnosis from June 2010 to June 2011 in each season, over a total of five sampling periods. The prevalence of Bd fluctuated seasonally and was highest in winter across all site types. Site type significantly affected seasonal patterns of prevalence of Bd. Prevalence remained well above zero throughout the year at the high elevation sites. Prevalence declined to lower levels in contiguous low sites, and reached near-zero at non-contiguous low sites. Patterns of air temperature fluctuation were very similar at both the low elevation site types, suggesting that differences in water connectivity to high sites may have affected the seasonal dynamics of Bd prevalence between contiguous and non-contiguous low elevation site types. Our results also suggest that reservoir hosts may be important in the persistence of disease at low elevations. PMID:24324786

  17. Populations of a Susceptible Amphibian Species Can Grow despite the Presence of a Pathogenic Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Tobler, Ursina; Borgula, Adrian; Schmidt, Benedikt R.

    2012-01-01

    Disease can be an important driver of host population dynamics and epizootics can cause severe host population declines. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the pathogen causing amphibian chytridiomycosis, may occur epizootically or enzootically and can harm amphibian populations in many ways. While effects of Bd epizootics are well documented, the effects of enzootic Bd have rarely been described. We used a state-space model that accounts for observation error to test whether population trends of a species highly susceptible to Bd, the midwife toad Alytes obstetricans, are negatively affected by the enzootic presence of the pathogen. Unexpectedly, Bd had no negative effect on population growth rates from 2002–2008. This suggests that negative effects of disease on individuals do not necessarily translate into negative effects at the population level. Populations of amphibian species that are susceptible to the emerging disease chytridiomycosis can persist despite the enzootic presence of the pathogen under current environmental conditions. PMID:22496836

  18. Mapping the Global Emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Ronnenberg, Kathryn L.; Powell, Christopher I.; Walker, Susan F.; Bielby, Jon; Garner, Trenton W. J.; Weaver, George

    2013-01-01

    The rapid worldwide emergence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is having a profound negative impact on biodiversity. However, global research efforts are fragmented and an overarching synthesis of global infection data is lacking. Here, we provide results from a community tool for the compilation of worldwide Bd presence and report on the analyses of data collated over a four-year period. Using this online database, we analysed: 1) spatial and taxonomic patterns of infection, including amphibian families that appear over- and under-infected; 2) relationships between Bd occurrence and declining amphibian species, including associations among Bd occurrence, species richness, and enigmatic population declines; and 3) patterns of environmental correlates with Bd, including climate metrics for all species combined and three families (Hylidae, Bufonidae, Ranidae) separately, at both a global scale and regional (U.S.A.) scale. These associations provide new insights for downscaled hypothesis testing. The pathogen has been detected in 52 of 82 countries in which sampling was reported, and it has been detected in 516 of 1240 (42%) amphibian species. We show that detected Bd infections are related to amphibian biodiversity and locations experiencing rapid enigmatic declines, supporting the hypothesis that greater complexity of amphibian communities increases the likelihood of emergence of infection and transmission of Bd. Using a global model including all sampled species, the odds of Bd detection decreased with increasing temperature range at a site. Further consideration of temperature range, rather than maximum or minimum temperatures, may provide new insights into Bd-host ecology. Whereas caution is necessary when interpreting such a broad global dataset, the use of our pathogen database is helping to inform studies of the epidemiology of Bd, as well as enabling regional, national, and international prioritization of conservation efforts. We

  19. Mapping the global emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the amphibian chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Olson, Deanna H; Aanensen, David M; Ronnenberg, Kathryn L; Powell, Christopher I; Walker, Susan F; Bielby, Jon; Garner, Trenton W J; Weaver, George; Fisher, Matthew C

    2013-01-01

    The rapid worldwide emergence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is having a profound negative impact on biodiversity. However, global research efforts are fragmented and an overarching synthesis of global infection data is lacking. Here, we provide results from a community tool for the compilation of worldwide Bd presence and report on the analyses of data collated over a four-year period. Using this online database, we analysed: 1) spatial and taxonomic patterns of infection, including amphibian families that appear over- and under-infected; 2) relationships between Bd occurrence and declining amphibian species, including associations among Bd occurrence, species richness, and enigmatic population declines; and 3) patterns of environmental correlates with Bd, including climate metrics for all species combined and three families (Hylidae, Bufonidae, Ranidae) separately, at both a global scale and regional (U.S.A.) scale. These associations provide new insights for downscaled hypothesis testing. The pathogen has been detected in 52 of 82 countries in which sampling was reported, and it has been detected in 516 of 1240 (42%) amphibian species. We show that detected Bd infections are related to amphibian biodiversity and locations experiencing rapid enigmatic declines, supporting the hypothesis that greater complexity of amphibian communities increases the likelihood of emergence of infection and transmission of Bd. Using a global model including all sampled species, the odds of Bd detection decreased with increasing temperature range at a site. Further consideration of temperature range, rather than maximum or minimum temperatures, may provide new insights into Bd-host ecology. Whereas caution is necessary when interpreting such a broad global dataset, the use of our pathogen database is helping to inform studies of the epidemiology of Bd, as well as enabling regional, national, and international prioritization of conservation efforts. We

  20. Enhanced call effort in Japanese tree frogs infected by amphibian chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    An, Deuknam; Waldman, Bruce

    2016-03-01

    Some amphibians have evolved resistance to the devastating disease chytridiomycosis, associated with global population declines, but immune defences can be costly. We recorded advertisement calls of male Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) in the field. We then assessed whether individuals were infected by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causal agent of the disease. This allowed us to analyse call properties of males as a function of their infection status. Infected males called more rapidly and produced longer calls than uninfected males. This enhanced call effort may reflect pathogen manipulation of host behaviour to foster disease transmission. Alternatively, increased calling may have resulted from selection on infected males to reproduce earlier because of their shortened expected lifespan. Our results raise the possibility that sublethal effects of Bd alter amphibian life histories, which contributes to long-term population declines. PMID:26932682

  1. Amphibian pathogens at northern latitudes: presence of chytrid fungus and ranavirus in northeastern Canada.

    PubMed

    D'Aoust-Messier, Andrée-Michelle; Echaubard, Pierre; Billy, Vincent; Lesbarrères, David

    2015-03-01

    Infections by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and members of the genus Ranavirus (Rv) are increasingly reported as significant determinants of amphibian population die-offs. The complexity associated with their transmission and spatial distribution leads to an increase in demand for comprehensive reporting systems and global mapping of their distribution. Here, we document the distribution of these 2 pathogens in a remote northern temperate lowland where environmental sensitivity is high, providing important insight into the pathogens' natural history and infection patterns. Wood frog Lithobates sylvaticus tissues were collected from the James Bay area in northeastern Canada and were screened for the presence of Bd and Rv using conventional and real-time PCR. Both pathogens were present in the study area, which is the northernmost record in eastern North America. Interestingly, different patterns of distribution were observed between the eastern and western coasts of James Bay, suggesting differences in the spatial and transmission dynamics for each pathogen. Anthropogenic introduction may still influence the distribution patterns observed, even at these latitudes. The presence of infections in this remote area also raises further questions on the risk these pathogens pose to northern amphibian communities. We encourage further research in remote locations for a better understanding of these pathogens, their transmission dynamics, and especially their respective impacts on amphibian populations worldwide. PMID:25751857

  2. Spread of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus across Lowland Populations of Túngara Frogs in Panamá.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Brenes, Sofía; Rodriguez, David; Ibáñez, Roberto; Ryan, Michael J

    2016-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an emergent infectious disease partially responsible for worldwide amphibian population declines. The spread of Bd along highland habitats (> 500 meters above sea level, m a.s.l.) of Costa Rica and Panamá is well documented and has been linked to amphibian population collapses. In contrast, data are scarce on the prevalence and dispersal of Bd in lowland habitats where amphibians may be infected but asymptomatic. Here we describe the spread (2009 to 2014) of Bd across lowland habitats east of the Panamá Canal (< 500 m a.s.l.) with a focus on the Túngara frog (Physalaemus [Engystomops] pustulosus), one of the most common and abundant frog species in this region. Highland populations in western Panamá were already infected with Bd at the start of the study, which was consistent with previous studies indicating that Bd is enzootic in this region. In central Panamá, we collected the first positive samples in 2010, and by 2014, we detected Bd from remote sites in eastern Panamá (Darién National Park). We discuss the importance of studying Bd in lowland species, which may serve as potential reservoirs and agents of dispersal of Bd to highland species that are more susceptible to chytridiomycosis. PMID:27176629

  3. Spread of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus across Lowland Populations of Túngara Frogs in Panamá

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Brenes, Sofía; Rodriguez, David; Ibáñez, Roberto; Ryan, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an emergent infectious disease partially responsible for worldwide amphibian population declines. The spread of Bd along highland habitats (> 500 meters above sea level, m a.s.l.) of Costa Rica and Panamá is well documented and has been linked to amphibian population collapses. In contrast, data are scarce on the prevalence and dispersal of Bd in lowland habitats where amphibians may be infected but asymptomatic. Here we describe the spread (2009 to 2014) of Bd across lowland habitats east of the Panamá Canal (< 500 m a.s.l.) with a focus on the Túngara frog (Physalaemus [Engystomops] pustulosus), one of the most common and abundant frog species in this region. Highland populations in western Panamá were already infected with Bd at the start of the study, which was consistent with previous studies indicating that Bd is enzootic in this region. In central Panamá, we collected the first positive samples in 2010, and by 2014, we detected Bd from remote sites in eastern Panamá (Darién National Park). We discuss the importance of studying Bd in lowland species, which may serve as potential reservoirs and agents of dispersal of Bd to highland species that are more susceptible to chytridiomycosis. PMID:27176629

  4. Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature

    PubMed Central

    Rowley, Jodi J. L.; Alford, Ross A.

    2013-01-01

    Environmental context strongly affects many host-pathogen interactions, but the underlying causes of these effects at the individual level are usually poorly understood. The amphibian chytrid fungus has caused amphibian population declines and extinctions in many parts of the world. Many amphibian species that have declined or have been extirpated by the pathogen in some environments coexist with it in others. Here we show that in three species of rainforest frogs in nature, individuals' probability of infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus was strongly related to their thermal history. Individuals' probability of infection declined rapidly as they spent more time above the pathogen's upper optimum temperature. This relationship can explain population-level patterns of prevalence in nature, and suggests that natural or artificial selection for higher thermal preferences could reduce susceptibility to this pathogen. Similar individual-level insights could improve our understanding of environmental context-dependence in other diseases. PMID:23519020

  5. Physiological responses of Brazilian amphibians to an enzootic infection of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Bovo, Rafael P; Andrade, Denis V; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Longo, Ana V; Rodriguez, David; Haddad, Célio F B; Zamudio, Kelly R; Becker, C Guilherme

    2016-01-13

    Pathophysiological effects of clinical chytridiomycosis in amphibians include disorders of cutaneous osmoregulation and disruption of the ability to rehydrate, which can lead to decreased host fitness or mortality. Less attention has been given to physiological responses of hosts where enzootic infections of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) do not cause apparent population declines in the wild. Here, we experimentally tested whether an enzootic strain of Bd causes significant mortality and alters host water balance (evaporative water loss, EWL; skin resistance, R(s); and water uptake, WU) in individuals of 3 Brazilian amphibian species (Dendropsophus minutus, n = 19; Ischnocnema parva, n = 17; Brachycephalus pitanga, n = 15). Infections with enzootic Bd caused no significant mortality, but we found an increase in R(s) in 1 host species concomitant with a reduction in EWL. These results suggest that enzootic Bd infections can indeed cause sub-lethal effects that could lead to reduction of host fitness in Brazilian frogs and that these effects vary among species. Thus, our findings underscore the need for further assessment of physiological responses to Bd infections in different host species, even in cases of sub-clinical chytridiomycosis and long-term enzootic infections in natural populations. PMID:26758658

  6. Spatial Assessment of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in South Africa Confirms Endemic and Widespread Infection

    PubMed Central

    Tarrant, Jeanne; Cilliers, Dirk; du Preez, Louis H.; Weldon, Ché

    2013-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis has been identified as a major cause of global amphibian declines. Despite widespread evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in South African frogs, sampling for this disease has not focused on threatened species, or whether this pathogen poses a disease risk to these species. This study assessed the occurrence of Bd-infection in South African Red List species. In addition, all known records of infection from South Africa were used to model the ecological niche of Bd to provide a better understanding of spatial patterns and associated disease risk. Presence and prevalence of Bd was determined through quantitative real-time PCR of 360 skin swab samples from 17 threatened species from 38 sites across the country. Average prevalence was 14.8% for threatened species, with pathogen load varying considerably between species. MaxEnt was used to model the predicted distribution of Bd based on 683 positive records for South Africa. The resultant probability threshold map indicated that Bd is largely restricted to the wet eastern and coastal regions of South Africa. A lack of observed adverse impacts on wild threatened populations supports the endemic pathogen hypothesis for southern Africa. However, all threatened species occur within the limits of the predicted distribution for Bd, exposing them to potential Bd-associated risk factors. Predicting pathogen distribution patterns and potential impact is increasingly important for prioritising research and guiding management decisions. PMID:23894506

  7. Daphnia predation on the amphibian chytrid fungus and its impacts on disease risk in tadpoles.

    PubMed

    Searle, Catherine L; Mendelson, Joseph R; Green, Linda E; Duffy, Meghan A

    2013-10-01

    Direct predation upon parasites has the potential to reduce infection in host populations. For example, the fungal parasite of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is commonly transmitted through a free-swimming zoospore stage that may be vulnerable to predation. Potential predators of Bd include freshwater zooplankton that graze on organisms in the water column. We tested the ability of two species of freshwater crustacean (Daphnia magna and D. dentifera) to consume Bd and to reduce Bd density in water and infection in tadpoles. In a series of laboratory experiments, we allowed Daphnia to graze in water containing Bd while manipulating Daphnia densities, Daphnia species identity, grazing periods and concentrations of suspended algae (Ankistrodesmus falcatus). We then exposed tadpoles to the grazed water. We found that high densities of D. magna reduced the amount of Bd detected in water, leading to a reduction in the proportion of tadpoles that became infected. Daphnia dentifera, a smaller species of Daphnia, also reduced Bd in water samples, but did not have an effect on tadpole infection. We also found that algae affected Bd in complex ways. When Daphnia were absent, less Bd was detected in water and tadpole samples when concentrations of algae were higher, indicating a direct negative effect of algae on Bd. When Daphnia were present, however, the amount of Bd detected in water samples showed the opposite trend, with less Bd when densities of algae were lower. Our results indicate that Daphnia can reduce Bd levels in water and infection in tadpoles, but these effects vary with species, algal concentration, and Daphnia density. Therefore, the ability of predators to consume parasites and reduce infection is likely to vary depending on ecological context. PMID:24324864

  8. Daphnia predation on the amphibian chytrid fungus and its impacts on disease risk in tadpoles

    PubMed Central

    Searle, Catherine L; Mendelson, Joseph R; Green, Linda E; Duffy, Meghan A

    2013-01-01

    Direct predation upon parasites has the potential to reduce infection in host populations. For example, the fungal parasite of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is commonly transmitted through a free-swimming zoospore stage that may be vulnerable to predation. Potential predators of Bd include freshwater zooplankton that graze on organisms in the water column. We tested the ability of two species of freshwater crustacean (Daphnia magna and D. dentifera) to consume Bd and to reduce Bd density in water and infection in tadpoles. In a series of laboratory experiments, we allowed Daphnia to graze in water containing Bd while manipulating Daphnia densities, Daphnia species identity, grazing periods and concentrations of suspended algae (Ankistrodesmus falcatus). We then exposed tadpoles to the grazed water. We found that high densities of D. magna reduced the amount of Bd detected in water, leading to a reduction in the proportion of tadpoles that became infected. Daphnia dentifera, a smaller species of Daphnia, also reduced Bd in water samples, but did not have an effect on tadpole infection. We also found that algae affected Bd in complex ways. When Daphnia were absent, less Bd was detected in water and tadpole samples when concentrations of algae were higher, indicating a direct negative effect of algae on Bd. When Daphnia were present, however, the amount of Bd detected in water samples showed the opposite trend, with less Bd when densities of algae were lower. Our results indicate that Daphnia can reduce Bd levels in water and infection in tadpoles, but these effects vary with species, algal concentration, and Daphnia density. Therefore, the ability of predators to consume parasites and reduce infection is likely to vary depending on ecological context. PMID:24324864

  9. Short term minimum water temperatures determine levels of infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus in Alytes obstetricans tadpoles.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Carrascal, Luis M; Fernández-Loras, Andrés; Fisher, Matthew C; Bosch, Jaime

    2015-01-01

    Amphibians are one of the groups of wildlife most seriously threatened by emerging infectious disease. In particular, chytridiomycosis, caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for amphibian species declines on a worldwide scale. Population-level outcomes following the introduction of the pathogen are context dependent and mediated by a large suite of abiotic and biotic variables. In particular, studies have shown that temperature has a key role in determining infection dynamics owing to the ectothermic nature of the amphibian host and temperature-dependency of pathogen growth rates. To assess the temperature-dependent seasonality of infectious burdens in a susceptible host species, we monitored lowland populations of larval midwife toads, Alytes obstetricians, in Central Spain throughout the year. We found that infections were highly seasonal, and inversely correlated against water temperature, with the highest burdens of infection seen during the colder months. Short-term impacts of water-temperature were found, with the minimum temperatures occurring before sampling being more highly predictive of infectious burdens than were longer-term spans of temperature. Our results will be useful for selecting the optimal time for disease surveys and, more broadly, for determining the key periods to undertake disease mitigation. PMID:25793985

  10. Short Term Minimum Water Temperatures Determine Levels of Infection by the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Alytes obstetricans Tadpoles

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Carrascal, Luis M.; Fernández-Loras, Andrés; Fisher, Matthew C.; Bosch, Jaime

    2015-01-01

    Amphibians are one of the groups of wildlife most seriously threatened by emerging infectious disease. In particular, chytridiomycosis, caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for amphibian species declines on a worldwide scale. Population-level outcomes following the introduction of the pathogen are context dependent and mediated by a large suite of abiotic and biotic variables. In particular, studies have shown that temperature has a key role in determining infection dynamics owing to the ectothermic nature of the amphibian host and temperature-dependency of pathogen growth rates. To assess the temperature-dependent seasonality of infectious burdens in a susceptible host species, we monitored lowland populations of larval midwife toads, Alytes obstetricians, in Central Spain throughout the year. We found that infections were highly seasonal, and inversely correlated against water temperature, with the highest burdens of infection seen during the colder months. Short-term impacts of water-temperature were found, with the minimum temperatures occurring before sampling being more highly predictive of infectious burdens than were longer-term spans of temperature. Our results will be useful for selecting the optimal time for disease surveys and, more broadly, for determining the key periods to undertake disease mitigation. PMID:25793985

  11. Nothing a Hot Bath Won't Cure: Infection Rates of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Correlate Negatively with Water Temperature under Natural Field Settings

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Dramatic declines and extinctions of amphibian populations throughout the world have been associated with chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease caused by the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Previous studies indicated that Bd prevalence correlates with cooler temperatures in the field, and laboratory experiments have demonstrated that Bd ceases growth at temperatures above 28°C. Here we investigate how small-scale variations in water temperature correlate with Bd prevalence in the wild. We sampled 221 amphibians, including 201 lowland leopard frogs (Rana [Lithobates] yavapaiensis), from 12 sites in Arizona, USA, and tested them for Bd. Amphibians were encountered in microhabitats that exhibited a wide range of water temperatures (10–50°C), including several geothermal water sources. There was a strong inverse correlation between the water temperature in which lowland leopard frogs were captured and Bd prevalence, even after taking into account the influence of year, season, and host size. In locations where Bd was known to be present, the prevalence of Bd infections dropped from 75–100% in water <15°C, to less than 10% in water >30°C. A strong inverse correlation between Bd infection status and water temperature was also observed within sites. Our findings suggest that microhabitats where water temperatures exceed 30°C provide lowland leopard frogs with significant protection from Bd, which could have important implications for disease dynamics, as well as management applications. There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them - Sylvia Plath, “The Bell Jar” (1963). PMID:22205950

  12. Community Structure and Function of Amphibian Skin Microbes: An Experiment with Bullfrogs Exposed to a Chytrid Fungus.

    PubMed

    Walke, Jenifer B; Becker, Matthew H; Loftus, Stephen C; House, Leanna L; Teotonio, Thais L; Minbiole, Kevin P C; Belden, Lisa K

    2015-01-01

    The vertebrate microbiome contributes to disease resistance, but few experiments have examined the link between microbiome community structure and disease resistance functions. Chytridiomycosis, a major cause of amphibian population declines, is a skin disease caused by the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In a factorial experiment, bullfrog skin microbiota was reduced with antibiotics, augmented with an anti-Bd bacterial isolate (Janthinobacterium lividum), or unmanipulated, and individuals were then either exposed or not exposed to Bd. We found that the microbial community structure of individual frogs prior to Bd exposure influenced Bd infection intensity one week following exposure, which, in turn, was negatively correlated with proportional growth during the experiment. Microbial community structure and function differed among unmanipulated, antibiotic-treated, and augmented frogs only when frogs were exposed to Bd. Bd is a selective force on microbial community structure and function, and beneficial states of microbial community structure may serve to limit the impacts of infection. PMID:26445500

  13. Community Structure and Function of Amphibian Skin Microbes: An Experiment with Bullfrogs Exposed to a Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Walke, Jenifer B.; Becker, Matthew H.; Loftus, Stephen C.; House, Leanna L.; Teotonio, Thais L.; Minbiole, Kevin P. C.; Belden, Lisa K.

    2015-01-01

    The vertebrate microbiome contributes to disease resistance, but few experiments have examined the link between microbiome community structure and disease resistance functions. Chytridiomycosis, a major cause of amphibian population declines, is a skin disease caused by the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In a factorial experiment, bullfrog skin microbiota was reduced with antibiotics, augmented with an anti-Bd bacterial isolate (Janthinobacterium lividum), or unmanipulated, and individuals were then either exposed or not exposed to Bd. We found that the microbial community structure of individual frogs prior to Bd exposure influenced Bd infection intensity one week following exposure, which, in turn, was negatively correlated with proportional growth during the experiment. Microbial community structure and function differed among unmanipulated, antibiotic-treated, and augmented frogs only when frogs were exposed to Bd. Bd is a selective force on microbial community structure and function, and beneficial states of microbial community structure may serve to limit the impacts of infection. PMID:26445500

  14. Expanding Distribution of Lethal Amphibian Fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Europe.

    PubMed

    Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Martel, An; Asselberghs, Johan; Bales, Emma K; Beukema, Wouter; Bletz, Molly C; Dalbeck, Lutz; Goverse, Edo; Kerres, Alexander; Kinet, Thierry; Kirst, Kai; Laudelout, Arnaud; Marin da Fonte, Luis F; Nöllert, Andreas; Ohlhoff, Dagmar; Sabino-Pinto, Joana; Schmidt, Benedikt R; Speybroeck, Jeroen; Spikmans, Frank; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Veith, Michael; Vences, Miguel; Wagner, Norman; Pasmans, Frank; Lötters, Stefan

    2016-07-01

    Emerging fungal diseases can drive amphibian species to local extinction. During 2010-2016, we examined 1,921 urodeles in 3 European countries. Presence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans at new locations and in urodeles of different species expands the known geographic and host range of the fungus and underpins its imminent threat to biodiversity. PMID:27070102

  15. Expanding Distribution of Lethal Amphibian Fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Europe

    PubMed Central

    Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Martel, An; Asselberghs, Johan; Bales, Emma K.; Beukema, Wouter; Bletz, Molly C.; Dalbeck, Lutz; Goverse, Edo; Kerres, Alexander; Kinet, Thierry; Kirst, Kai; Laudelout, Arnaud; Marin da Fonte, Luis F.; Nöllert, Andreas; Ohlhoff, Dagmar; Sabino-Pinto, Joana; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Speybroeck, Jeroen; Spikmans, Frank; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Veith, Michael; Vences, Miguel; Wagner, Norman; Pasmans, Frank

    2016-01-01

    Emerging fungal diseases can drive amphibian species to local extinction. During 2010–2016, we examined 1,921 urodeles in 3 European countries. Presence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans at new locations and in urodeles of different species expands the known geographic and host range of the fungus and underpins its imminent threat to biodiversity. PMID:27070102

  16. The effects of the amphibian chytrid fungus, insecticide exposure, and temperature on larval anuran development and survival.

    PubMed

    Rumschlag, Samantha L; Boone, Michelle D; Fellers, Gary

    2014-11-01

    Chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated as a cause of amphibian declines. Susceptibility may be influenced by environmental factors that suppress the immune response. The authors conducted a laboratory study to examine the effect of temperature, insecticide exposure, and Bd exposure during larval anuran development. The authors examined the consequences of exposure to Bd, an insecticide (carbaryl or malathion), and static or fluctuating temperature (15 °C, 20 °C, 25 °C, or 15 °C to 25 °C 72-h flux) on larval development through metamorphosis of the Pacific treefrog (Pseudacris regilla). High and fluctuating temperature had negative effects on survival in the presence of Bd. Insecticides inhibited the effects of Bd; time to tail resorption of Pacific treefrogs decreased when tadpoles were exposed to carbaryl. The present study indicates that abiotic factors may play a role in the host-pathogen interactions in this system. PMID:25098758

  17. Presence and significance of chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and other amphibian pathogens at warm-water fish hatcheries in southeastern North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D. Earl; Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr.

    2007-01-01

    Our objective was to determine whether diseases known to have detrimental effects on amphibians (ranavirus, BD, mesomycetozoa, protozoa and helminths) are present in amphibian larvae living in warm-water fish hatcheries in the southeastern United States. We further examined hatchery records to assess the extent to which amphibian larvae have been transported throughout various regions and potentially contribute to spreading emerging infectious diseases. 

  18. Why Does Amphibian Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) Not Occur Everywhere? An Exploratory Study in Missouri Ponds

    PubMed Central

    Strauss, Alex; Smith, Kevin G.

    2013-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a globally emerging pathogen that has caused widespread amphibian population declines, extirpations, and extinctions. However, Bd does not occur in all apparently suitable amphibian populations, even within regions where it is widespread, and it is often unclear why Bd occurs in some habitats but not others. In this study, we rigorously surveyed the amphibian and invertebrate biodiversity of 29 ponds in Missouri, screened resident amphibian larvae (Rana (Lithobates) sp.) for Bd infection, and characterized the aquatic physiochemical environment of each pond (temperature pH, conductivity, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a). Our goal was to generate hypotheses toward answering the question, “Why does Bd not occur in all apparently suitable habitats?” Bd occurred in assayed amphibians in 11 of the 29 ponds in our study area (38% of ponds). We found no significant relationship between any single biotic or abiotic variable and presence of Bd. However, multivariate analyses (nonmetric multidimensional scaling and permutational tests of dispersion) revealed that ponds in which Bd occurred were a restricted subset of all ponds in terms of amphibian community structure, macroinvertebrate community structure, and pond physiochemistry. In other words, Bd ponds from 6 different conservation areas were more similar to each other than would be expected based on chance. The results of a structural equation model suggest that patterns in the occurrence of Bd among ponds are primarily attributable to variation in macroinvertebrate community structure. When combined with recent results showing that Bd can infect invertebrates as well as amphibians, we suggest that additional research should focus on the role played by non-amphibian biota in determining the presence, prevalence, and pathogenicity of Bd in amphibian populations. PMID:24086681

  19. Wildlife disease. Recent introduction of a chytrid fungus endangers Western Palearctic salamanders.

    PubMed

    Martel, A; Blooi, M; Adriaensen, C; Van Rooij, P; Beukema, W; Fisher, M C; Farrer, R A; Schmidt, B R; Tobler, U; Goka, K; Lips, K R; Muletz, C; Zamudio, K R; Bosch, J; Lötters, S; Wombwell, E; Garner, T W J; Cunningham, A A; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, A; Salvidio, S; Ducatelle, R; Nishikawa, K; Nguyen, T T; Kolby, J E; Van Bocxlaer, I; Bossuyt, F; Pasmans, F

    2014-10-31

    Emerging infectious diseases are reducing biodiversity on a global scale. Recently, the emergence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans resulted in rapid declines in populations of European fire salamanders. Here, we screened more than 5000 amphibians from across four continents and combined experimental assessment of pathogenicity with phylogenetic methods to estimate the threat that this infection poses to amphibian diversity. Results show that B. salamandrivorans is restricted to, but highly pathogenic for, salamanders and newts (Urodela). The pathogen likely originated and remained in coexistence with a clade of salamander hosts for millions of years in Asia. As a result of globalization and lack of biosecurity, it has recently been introduced into naïve European amphibian populations, where it is currently causing biodiversity loss. PMID:25359973

  20. Dead or alive? Viability of chytrid zoospores shed from live amphibian hosts.

    PubMed

    Maguire, Chelsea; DiRenzo, Graziella V; Tunstall, Tate S; Muletz, Carly R; Zamudio, Kelly R; Lips, Karen R

    2016-05-26

    Pathogens vary in virulence and rates of transmission because of many differences in the host, the pathogen, and their environment. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), affects amphibian hosts differently, causing extinction and population declines in some species but having limited effects on others. Phenotypic differences in zoospore production rates among Bd lineages likely contribute to some of the variation observed among host responses, although no studies have quantified the viability of zoospores shed from live animals. We compared host survivorship, infection intensity, shedding rates, and zoospore viability between 2 species of endangered tropical frogs, Hylomantis lemur and Atelopus zeteki, when exposed to a highly virulent lineage of Bd (JEL 423). We applied a dye to zoospores 30 to 60 min following animal soaks, to estimate shedding rate and proportion of live zoospores shed by different species. The average infection intensity for A. zeteki was nearly 17 times higher (31,455 ± 10,103 zoospore genomic equivalents [ZGEs]) than that of H. lemur (1832 ± 1086 ZGEs), and A. zeteki died earlier than H. lemur. The proportion of viable zoospores was ~80% in both species throughout the experiment, although A. zeteki produced many more zoospores, suggesting it may play a disproportionate role in spreading disease in communities where it occurs, because the large number of viable zoospores they produce might increase infection in other species where they are reintroduced. PMID:27225201

  1. Chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has nonamphibian hosts and releases chemicals that cause pathology in the absence of infection.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Taegan A; Brannelly, Laura A; Chatfield, Matthew W H; Johnson, Pieter T J; Joseph, Maxwell B; McKenzie, Valerie J; Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L; Venesky, Matthew D; Rohr, Jason R

    2013-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a pathogenic chytrid fungus implicated in worldwide amphibian declines, is considered an amphibian specialist. Identification of nonamphibian hosts could help explain the virulence, heterogeneous distribution, variable rates of spread, and persistence of B. dendrobatidis in freshwater ecosystems even after amphibian extirpations. Here, we test whether mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) and crayfish (Procambarus spp. and Orconectes virilis), which are syntopic with many amphibian species, are possible hosts for B. dendrobatidis. Field surveys in Louisiana and Colorado revealed that zoosporangia occur within crayfish gastrointestinal tracts, that B. dendrobatidis prevalence in crayfish was up to 29%, and that crayfish presence in Colorado wetlands was a positive predictor of B. dendrobatidis infections in cooccurring amphibians. In experiments, crayfish, but not mosquitofish, became infected with B. dendrobatidis, maintained the infection for at least 12 wk, and transmitted B. dendrobatidis to amphibians. Exposure to water that previously held B. dendrobatidis also caused significant crayfish mortality and gill recession. These results indicate that there are nonamphibian hosts for B. dendrobatidis and suggest that B. dendrobatidis releases a chemical that can cause host pathology, even in the absence of infection. Managing these biological reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis and identifying this chemical might provide new hope for imperiled amphibians. PMID:23248288

  2. Chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has nonamphibian hosts and releases chemicals that cause pathology in the absence of infection

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Taegan A.; Brannelly, Laura A.; Chatfield, Matthew W. H.; Johnson, Pieter T. J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; McKenzie, Valerie J.; Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L.; Venesky, Matthew D.; Rohr, Jason R.

    2013-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a pathogenic chytrid fungus implicated in worldwide amphibian declines, is considered an amphibian specialist. Identification of nonamphibian hosts could help explain the virulence, heterogeneous distribution, variable rates of spread, and persistence of B. dendrobatidis in freshwater ecosystems even after amphibian extirpations. Here, we test whether mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) and crayfish (Procambarus spp. and Orconectes virilis), which are syntopic with many amphibian species, are possible hosts for B. dendrobatidis. Field surveys in Louisiana and Colorado revealed that zoosporangia occur within crayfish gastrointestinal tracts, that B. dendrobatidis prevalence in crayfish was up to 29%, and that crayfish presence in Colorado wetlands was a positive predictor of B. dendrobatidis infections in cooccurring amphibians. In experiments, crayfish, but not mosquitofish, became infected with B. dendrobatidis, maintained the infection for at least 12 wk, and transmitted B. dendrobatidis to amphibians. Exposure to water that previously held B. dendrobatidis also caused significant crayfish mortality and gill recession. These results indicate that there are nonamphibian hosts for B. dendrobatidis and suggest that B. dendrobatidis releases a chemical that can cause host pathology, even in the absence of infection. Managing these biological reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis and identifying this chemical might provide new hope for imperiled amphibians. PMID:23248288

  3. Joint effects of habitat, zooplankton, host stage structure and diversity on amphibian chytrid.

    PubMed

    Hite, Jessica L; Bosch, Jaime; Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Medina, Daniel; Hall, Spencer R

    2016-07-27

    Why does the severity of parasite infection differ dramatically across habitats? This question remains challenging to answer because multiple correlated pathways drive disease. Here, we examined habitat-disease links through direct effects on parasites and indirect effects on parasite predators (zooplankton), host diversity and key life stages of hosts. We used a case study of amphibian hosts and the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in a set of permanent and ephemeral alpine ponds. A field experiment showed that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) killed the free-living infectious stage of the parasite. Yet, permanent ponds with more UVR exposure had higher infection prevalence. Two habitat-related indirect effects worked together to counteract parasite losses from UVR: (i) UVR reduced the density of parasite predators and (ii) permanent sites fostered multi-season host larvae that fuelled parasite production. Host diversity was unlinked to hydroperiod or UVR but counteracted parasite gains; sites with higher diversity of host species had lower prevalence of infection. Thus, while habitat structure explained considerable variation in infection prevalence through two indirect pathways, it could not account for everything. This study demonstrates the importance of creating mechanistic, food web-based links between multiple habitat dimensions and disease. PMID:27466456

  4. Possible modes of dissemination of the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the environment.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Megan L; Speare, Richard

    2005-07-18

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has spread at an alarming rate over large distances throughout sensitive frog populations in eastern Australia, Central America and New Zealand. Infected amphibians and contaminated water are implicated in translocation, but other vectors are unknown. Through in vitro studies we show that potential means of translocation may be moist soil and bird feathers. B. dendrobatidis survived for up to 3 mo in sterile, moist river sand with no other nutrients added. B. dendrobatidis attached to and grew on sterile feathers and were able to be transported by feathers to establish new cultures in media, surviving between 1 and 3 h of drying between transfers. If these in vitro results are valid in the natural environment, the findings raise the possibilities that B. dendrobatidis may be translocated by movement of moist river sand and that birds may carry the amphibian chytrid between frog habitats. However, further studies using sand and feathers containing normal microflora are essential. PMID:16119886

  5. Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Muths, Erin L.; Katz, Rachel A.; Canessa, Stefano; Adams, Michael J.; Ballard, Jennifer R.; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Coleman, Jeremy; Gray, Matthew J.; Harris, M. Camille; Harris, Reid N.; Hossack, Blake R.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Kolby, Jonathan E.; Lips, Karen R.; Lovich, Robert E.; McCallum, Hamish I.; Mendelson, Joseph R., III; Nanjappa, Priya; Olson, Deanna H.; Powers, Jenny G.; Richgels, Katherine L.D.; Russell, Robin E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieka; Watry, Mary Kay; Woodhams, Douglas C.; White, C. LeAnn

    2016-01-01

    The recently (2013) identified pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), poses a severe threat to the distribution and abundance of salamanders within the United States and Europe. Development of a response strategy for the potential, and likely, invasion of Bsal into the United States is crucial to protect global salamander biodiversity. A formal working group, led by Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins Science Center, and Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, was held at the USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States from June 23 to June 25, 2015, to identify crucial Bsal research and monitoring needs that could inform conservation and management strategies for salamanders in the United States. Key findings of the workshop included the following: (1) the introduction of Bsal into the United States is highly probable, if not inevitable, thus requiring development of immediate short-term and long-term intervention strategies to prevent Bsal establishment and biodiversity decline; (2) management actions targeted towards pathogen containment may be ineffective in reducing the long-term spread of Bsal throughout the United States; and (3) early detection of Bsal through surveillance at key amphibian import locations, among high-risk wild populations, and through analysis of archived samples is necessary for developing management responses. Top research priorities during the preinvasion stage included the following: (1) deployment of qualified diagnostic methods for Bsal and establishment of standardized laboratory practices, (2) assessment of susceptibility for amphibian hosts (including anurans), and (3) development and evaluation of short- and long-term pathogen intervention and management strategies. Several outcomes were achieved during the workshop, including development

  6. Effects of temperature and hydric environment on survival of the Panamanian Golden Frog infected with a pathogenic chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Bustamante, Heidi M; Livo, Lauren J; Carey, Cynthia

    2010-06-01

    Considerable controversy exists concerning whether or not climate changes (particularly global warming) are causing outbreaks of a lethal amphibian pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Longcore, Pessier & D.K. Nichols 1999). In the present study, groups of Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki Dunn, 1993), a critically endangered amphibian thought to be nearly extinct in Panama, were exposed to varying dosages of zoospores of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, temperatures and hydric environments in order to learn whether this species is susceptible to this pathogen and, if so, how environmental factors affect survival. This pathogen proved to be highly lethal for A. zeteki. Frogs exposed to a dosage of 100 Bd zoospores survived significantly (P<0.0001) longer than those that had been exposed to 10(4) or 10(6) zoospores. Exposed frogs housed at 23 °C survived significantly (P<0.0001) longer than those that were housed at 17 °C. Exposed frogs held in dry conditions survived significantly longer than those in wet conditions (P<0.0001). As a laboratory study, these results do not directly test hypotheses about the relation between climate change and the decline of these frogs in the field, but they inform the discussion about how environmental conditions can have an impact on the interaction between a susceptible amphibian and this pathogen. These data do not support the contention that rising global temperatures are necessary to cause the death of amphibians infected with this pathogen because the pathogen was equally lethal at 17 as at 23 °C, and frogs at the warmer temperature lived significantly longer than those at the cooler one. PMID:21392332

  7. Cell Density Effects of Frog Skin Bacteria on Their Capacity to Inhibit Growth of the Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Yasumiba, Kiyomi; Bell, Sara; Alford, Ross

    2016-01-01

    Bacterial symbionts on frog skin can reduce the growth of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) through production of inhibitory metabolites. Bacteria can be effective at increasing the resistance of amphibians to chytridiomycosis when added to amphibian skin, and isolates can be screened for production of metabolites that inhibit Bd growth in vitro. However, some bacteria use density-dependent mechanism such as quorum sensing to regulate metabolite production. It is therefore important to consider cell density effects when evaluating bacteria as possible candidates for bioaugmentation. The aim of our study was to evaluate how the density of cutaneous bacteria affects their inhibition of Bd growth in vitro. We sampled cutaneous bacteria isolated from three frog species in the tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, Australia, and selected ten isolates that were inhibitory to Bd in standardised pilot trials. We grew each isolate in liquid culture at a range of initial dilutions, sub-sampled each dilution at a series of times during the first 48 h of growth and measured spectrophotometric absorbance values, cell counts and Bd-inhibitory activity of cell-free supernatants at each time point. The challenge assay results clearly demonstrated that the inhibitory effects of most isolates were density dependent, with relatively low variation among isolates in the minimum cell density needed to inhibit Bd growth. We suggest the use of minimum cell densities and fast-growing candidate isolates to maximise bioaugmentation efforts. PMID:26563320

  8. The bacterially produced metabolite violacein is associated with survival of amphibians infected with a lethal fungus.

    PubMed

    Becker, Matthew H; Brucker, Robert M; Schwantes, Christian R; Harris, Reid N; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2009-11-01

    The disease chytridiomycosis, which is caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is associated with recent declines in amphibian populations. Susceptibility to this disease varies among amphibian populations and species, and resistance appears to be attributable in part to the presence of antifungal microbial species associated with the skin of amphibians. The betaproteobacterium Janthinobacterium lividum has been isolated from the skins of several amphibian species and produces the antifungal metabolite violacein, which inhibits B. dendrobatidis. In this study, we added J. lividum to red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to obtain an increased range of violacein concentrations on the skin. Adding J. lividum to the skin of the salamander increased the concentration of violacein on the skin, which was strongly associated with survival after experimental exposure to B. dendrobatidis. As expected from previous work, some individuals that did not receive J. lividum and were exposed to B. dendrobatidis survived. These individuals had concentrations of bacterially produced violacein on their skins that were predicted to kill B. dendrobatidis. Our study suggests that a threshold violacein concentration of about 18 microM on a salamander's skin prevents mortality and morbidity caused by B. dendrobatidis. In addition, we show that over one-half of individuals in nature support antifungal bacteria that produce violacein, which suggests that there is a mutualism between violacein-producing bacteria and P. cinereus and that adding J. lividum is effective for protecting individuals that lack violacein-producing skin bacteria. PMID:19717627

  9. The development of a spatially-explicit, individual-based, disease model for frogs and the chytrid fungus

    EPA Science Inventory

    Background / Question / Methods The fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (BD), has been associated with amphibian population declines and even extinctions worldwide. Transmission of the fungus between amphibian hosts occurs via motile zoospores, which are produced on...

  10. West Africa - a safe haven for frogs? A sub-continental assessment of the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis).

    PubMed

    Penner, Johannes; Adum, Gilbert B; McElroy, Matthew T; Doherty-Bone, Thomas; Hirschfeld, Mareike; Sandberger, Laura; Weldon, Ché; Cunningham, Andrew A; Ohst, Torsten; Wombwell, Emma; Portik, Daniel M; Reid, Duncan; Hillers, Annika; Ofori-Boateng, Caleb; Oduro, William; Plötner, Jörg; Ohler, Annemarie; Leaché, Adam D; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2013-01-01

    A putative driver of global amphibian decline is the panzootic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). While Bd has been documented across continental Africa, its distribution in West Africa remains ambiguous. We tested 793 West African amphibians (one caecilian and 61 anuran species) for the presence of Bd. The samples originated from seven West African countries - Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone - and were collected from a variety of habitats, ranging from lowland rainforests to montane forests, montane grasslands to humid and dry lowland savannahs. The species investigated comprised various life-history strategies, but we focused particularly on aquatic and riparian species. We used diagnostic PCR to screen 656 specimen swabs and histology to analyse 137 specimen toe tips. All samples tested negative for Bd, including a widespread habitat generalist Hoplobatrachus occipitalis which is intensively traded on the West African food market and thus could be a potential dispersal agent for Bd. Continental fine-grained (30 arc seconds) environmental niche models suggest that Bd should have a broad distribution across West Africa that includes most of the regions and habitats that we surveyed. The surprising apparent absence of Bd in West Africa indicates that the Dahomey Gap may have acted as a natural barrier. Herein we highlight the importance of this Bd-free region of the African continent - especially for the long-term conservation of several threatened species depending on fast flowing forest streams (Conraua alleni ("Vulnerable") and Petropedetes natator ("Near Threatened")) as well as the "Critically Endangered" viviparous toad endemic to the montane grasslands of Mount Nimba (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis). PMID:23426141

  11. West Africa - A Safe Haven for Frogs? A Sub-Continental Assessment of the Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)

    PubMed Central

    Penner, Johannes; Adum, Gilbert B.; McElroy, Matthew T.; Doherty-Bone, Thomas; Hirschfeld, Mareike; Sandberger, Laura; Weldon, Ché; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Ohst, Torsten; Wombwell, Emma; Portik, Daniel M.; Reid, Duncan; Hillers, Annika; Ofori-Boateng, Caleb; Oduro, William; Plötner, Jörg; Ohler, Annemarie; Leaché, Adam D.; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2013-01-01

    A putative driver of global amphibian decline is the panzootic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). While Bd has been documented across continental Africa, its distribution in West Africa remains ambiguous. We tested 793 West African amphibians (one caecilian and 61 anuran species) for the presence of Bd. The samples originated from seven West African countries - Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone - and were collected from a variety of habitats, ranging from lowland rainforests to montane forests, montane grasslands to humid and dry lowland savannahs. The species investigated comprised various life-history strategies, but we focused particularly on aquatic and riparian species. We used diagnostic PCR to screen 656 specimen swabs and histology to analyse 137 specimen toe tips. All samples tested negative for Bd, including a widespread habitat generalist Hoplobatrachus occipitalis which is intensively traded on the West African food market and thus could be a potential dispersal agent for Bd. Continental fine-grained (30 arc seconds) environmental niche models suggest that Bd should have a broad distribution across West Africa that includes most of the regions and habitats that we surveyed. The surprising apparent absence of Bd in West Africa indicates that the Dahomey Gap may have acted as a natural barrier. Herein we highlight the importance of this Bd-free region of the African continent - especially for the long-term conservation of several threatened species depending on fast flowing forest streams (Conraua alleni (“Vulnerable”) and Petropedetes natator (“Near Threatened”)) as well as the “Critically Endangered” viviparous toad endemic to the montane grasslands of Mount Nimba (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis). PMID:23426141

  12. Amphibian-killing chytrid in Brazil comprises both locally endemic and globally expanding populations.

    PubMed

    Jenkinson, T S; Betancourt Román, C M; Lambertini, C; Valencia-Aguilar, A; Rodriguez, D; Nunes-de-Almeida, C H L; Ruggeri, J; Belasen, A M; da Silva Leite, D; Zamudio, K R; Longcore, J E; Toledo, F L; James, T Y

    2016-07-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is the emerging infectious disease implicated in recent population declines and extinctions of amphibian species worldwide. Bd strains from regions of disease-associated amphibian decline to date have all belonged to a single, hypervirulent clonal genotype (Bd-GPL). However, earlier studies in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil detected a novel, putatively enzootic lineage (Bd-Brazil), and indicated hybridization between Bd-GPL and Bd-Brazil. Here, we characterize the spatial distribution and population history of these sympatric lineages in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. To investigate the genetic structure of Bd in this region, we collected and genotyped Bd strains along a 2400-km transect of the Atlantic Forest. Bd-Brazil genotypes were restricted to a narrow geographic range in the southern Atlantic Forest, while Bd-GPL strains were widespread and largely geographically unstructured. Bd population genetics in this region support the hypothesis that the recently discovered Brazilian lineage is enzootic in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and that Bd-GPL is a more recently expanded invasive. We collected additional hybrid isolates that demonstrate the recurrence of hybridization between panzootic and enzootic lineages, thereby confirming the existence of a hybrid zone in the Serra da Graciosa mountain range of Paraná State. Our field observations suggest that Bd-GPL may be more infective towards native Brazilian amphibians, and potentially more effective at dispersing across a fragmented landscape. We also provide further evidence of pathogen translocations mediated by the Brazilian ranaculture industry with implications for regulations and policies on global amphibian trade. PMID:26939017

  13. The effects of a fungicide and chytrid fungus on anuran larvae in aquatic mesocosms.

    PubMed

    Hanlon, Shane M; Lynch, Kyle J; Kerby, Jacob L; Parris, Matthew J

    2015-09-01

    The amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been linked to significant amphibian declines over the past three decades. The most severe effects of the pathogen have been primarily observed in relatively pristine areas that are not affected by many anthropogenic factors.One hypothesis concerning improved amphibian persistence with Bd in disturbed landscapes is that contaminants may abate the effects of Bd on amphibians. Recent laboratory studies have shown that pesticides, specifically the fungicide thiophanate-methyl (TM), can kill Bd outside of hosts and clear Bd infections within hosts. Using aquatic mesocosms, we tested the hypothesis that TM (0.43 mg/L) would alter growth and development of Lithobates sphenocephalus (southern leopard frog) tadpoles and Bd-infection loads in infected individuals. We hypothesized that the scope of such alterations and infection clearing would be affected by aquatic community variables, specifically zooplankton. TM altered zooplankton diversity (reduced cladoceran and increased copepod and ostracod abundances) and caused mortality to all tadpoles in TM-exposed tanks. In TM-free tanks, Bd-exposed tadpoles in high-density treatments metamorphosed smaller than Bd-unexposed, effects that were reversed in low-density treatments. Our study demonstrates the potential adverse effects of a fungicide and Bd on tadpoles and aquatic systems. PMID:25913318

  14. Coqui frogs persist with the deadly chytrid fungus despite a lack of defensive antimicrobial peptides.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Reinert, Laura K; Burrowes, Patricia A

    2015-02-10

    The amphibian skin fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) occurs widely in Puerto Rico and is thought to be responsible for the apparent extinction of 3 species of endemic frogs in the genus Eleutherodactylus, known as coquis. To examine immune defenses which may protect surviving species, we induced secretion of skin peptides from adult common coqui frogs E. coqui collected from upland forests at El Yunque. By matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, we were unable to detect peptide signals suggestive of antimicrobial peptides, and enriched peptides showed no capacity to inhibit growth of Bd. Thus, it appears that E. coqui depend on other skin defenses to survive in the presence of this deadly fungus. PMID:25667340

  15. Disease in a dynamic landscape: host behavior and wildfire reduce amphibian chytrid infection

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hossack, Blake R.; Lowe, Winsor H.; Ware, Joy L.; Corn, Paul Stephen

    2013-01-01

    Disturbances are often expected to magnify effects of disease, but these effects may depend on the ecology, behavior, and life history of both hosts and pathogens. In many ecosystems, wildfire is the dominant natural disturbance and thus could directly or indirectly affect dynamics of many diseases. To determine how probability of infection by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) varies relative to habitat use by individuals, wildfire, and host characteristics, we sampled 404 boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas boreas) across Glacier National Park, Montana (USA). Bd causes chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease linked with widespread amphibian declines, including the boreal toad. Probability of infection was similar for females and the combined group of males and juveniles. However, only 9% of terrestrial toads were infected compared to >30% of aquatic toads, and toads captured in recently burned areas were half as likely to be infected as toads in unburned areas. We suspect these large differences in infection reflect habitat choices by individuals that affect pathogen exposure and persistence, especially in burned forests where warm, arid conditions could limit Bd growth. Our results show that natural disturbances such as wildfire and the resulting diverse habitats can influence infection across large landscapes, potentially maintaining local refuges and host behaviors that facilitate evolution of disease resistance.

  16. Pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, but not B. salamandrivorans, detected on eastern hellbenders.

    PubMed

    Bales, Emma K; Hyman, Oliver J; Loudon, Andrew H; Harris, Reid N; Lipps, Gregory; Chapman, Eric; Roblee, Kenneth; Kleopfer, John D; Terrell, Kimberly A

    2015-01-01

    Recent worldwide declines and extinctions of amphibian populations have been attributed to chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Until recently, Bd was thought to be the only Batrachochytrium species that infects amphibians; however a newly described species, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bs), is linked to die-offs in European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Little is known about the distribution, host range, or origin of Bs. In this study, we surveyed populations of an aquatic salamander that is declining in the United States, the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis), for the presence of Bs and Bd. Skin swabs were collected from a total of 91 individuals in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, and tested for both pathogens using duplex qPCR. Bs was not detected in any samples, suggesting it was not present in these hellbender populations (0% prevalence, 95% confidence intervals of 0.0-0.04). Bd was found on 22 hellbenders (24% prevalence, 95% confidence intervals of 0.16 ≤ 0.24 ≤ 0.34), representing all four states. All positive samples had low loads of Bd zoospores (12.7 ± 4.9 S.E.M. genome equivalents) compared to other Bd susceptible species. More research is needed to determine the impact of Batrachochytrium infection on hellbender fitness and population viability. In particular, understanding how hellbenders limit Bd infection intensity in an aquatic environment may yield important insights for amphibian conservation. This study is among the first to evaluate the distribution of Bs in the United States, and is consistent with another, which failed to detect Bs in the U.S. Knowledge about the distribution, host-range, and origin of Bs may help control the spread of this pathogen, especially to regions of high salamander diversity, such as the eastern United States. PMID:25695636

  17. Genomic Transition to Pathogenicity in Chytrid Fungi

    PubMed Central

    Joneson, Suzanne; Stajich, Jason E.; Shiu, Shin-Han; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the molecular mechanisms of pathogen emergence is central to mitigating the impacts of novel infectious disease agents. The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is an emerging pathogen of amphibians that has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. Bd is the only member of its clade known to attack vertebrates. However, little is known about the molecular determinants of - or evolutionary transition to - pathogenicity in Bd. Here we sequence the genome of Bd's closest known relative - a non-pathogenic chytrid Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza (Hp). We first describe the genome of Hp, which is comparable to other chytrid genomes in size and number of predicted proteins. We then compare the genomes of Hp, Bd, and 19 additional fungal genomes to identify unique or recent evolutionary elements in the Bd genome. We identified 1,974 Bd-specific genes, a gene set that is enriched for protease, lipase, and microbial effector Gene Ontology terms. We describe significant lineage-specific expansions in three Bd protease families (metallo-, serine-type, and aspartyl proteases). We show that these protease gene family expansions occurred after the divergence of Bd and Hp from their common ancestor and thus are localized to the Bd branch. Finally, we demonstrate that the timing of the protease gene family expansions predates the emergence of Bd as a globally important amphibian pathogen. PMID:22072962

  18. Multiple emergences of genetically diverse amphibian-infecting chytrids include a globalized hypervirulent recombinant lineage

    PubMed Central

    Farrer, Rhys A.; Weinert, Lucy A.; Bielby, Jon; Garner, Trenton W. J.; Balloux, Francois; Clare, Frances; Bosch, Jaime; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Weldon, Che; du Preez, Louis H.; Anderson, Lucy; Pond, Sergei L. Kosakovsky; Shahar-Golan, Revital; Henk, Daniel A.; Fisher, Matthew C.

    2011-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a globally ubiquitous fungal infection that has emerged to become a primary driver of amphibian biodiversity loss. Despite widespread effort to understand the emergence of this panzootic, the origins of the infection, its patterns of global spread, and principle mode of evolution remain largely unknown. Using comparative population genomics, we discovered three deeply diverged lineages of Bd associated with amphibians. Two of these lineages were found in multiple continents and are associated with known introductions by the amphibian trade. We found that isolates belonging to one clade, the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL) have emerged across at least five continents during the 20th century and are associated with the onset of epizootics in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Australia, and Europe. The two newly identified divergent lineages, Cape lineage (BdCAPE) and Swiss lineage (BdCH), were found to differ in morphological traits when compared against one another and BdGPL, and we show that BdGPL is hypervirulent. BdGPL uniquely bears the hallmarks of genomic recombination, manifested as extensive intergenomic phylogenetic conflict and patchily distributed heterozygosity. We postulate that contact between previously genetically isolated allopatric populations of Bd may have allowed recombination to occur, resulting in the generation, spread, and invasion of the hypervirulent BdGPL leading to contemporary disease-driven losses in amphibian biodiversity. PMID:22065772

  19. Varying responses of northeastern North American amphibians to the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Gahl, Megan K; Longcore, Joyce E; Houlahan, Jeff E

    2012-02-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is widespread among amphibians in northeastern North America. It is unknown, however, whether Bd has the potential to cause extensive amphibian mortalities in northeastern North America as have occurred elsewhere. In the laboratory, we exposed seven common northeastern North American amphibian species to Bd to assess the likelihood of population-level effects from the disease. We exposed larval wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) and postmetamorphic frogs of six other species to two different strains of Bd, a northeastern strain (JEL404) and a strain that caused die-offs of amphibians in Panama (JEL423), under ideal in vitro growth conditions for Bd. Exposed American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) all died; thus, this species may be the most likely to die from Bd-caused disease in the wild. Both Bd strains were associated with mortalities of wood frogs, although half the metamorphs survived. The Bd strain from Panama killed metamorphic green frogs (L. clamitans), whereas the northeastern strain did not, which means novel strains of Bd may lead to death even when local strains may not. No mortality was observed in four species (bullfrogs [L. catesbeianus], northern leopard frogs [L. pipiens], spring peepers [Pseudacris crucifer], and blue-spotted salamanders [Ambystoma laterale]) and in some individuals of green frogs and wood frogs that we exposed. This finding suggests these six species may be Bd vectors. Our results show that systematic exposures of amphibian species to Bd in the laboratory may be a good first step in the identification of species susceptible to Bd-caused declines and in directing regional conservation efforts aimed at susceptible species. PMID:22181933

  20. Amphibians acquire resistance to live and dead fungus overcoming fungal immunosuppression.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Taegan A; Sears, Brittany F; Venesky, Matthew D; Bessler, Scott M; Brown, Jenise M; Deutsch, Kaitlin; Halstead, Neal T; Lentz, Garrett; Tenouri, Nadia; Young, Suzanne; Civitello, David J; Ortega, Nicole; Fites, J Scott; Reinert, Laura K; Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Raffel, Thomas R; Rohr, Jason R

    2014-07-10

    Emerging fungal pathogens pose a greater threat to biodiversity than any other parasitic group, causing declines of many taxa, including bats, corals, bees, snakes and amphibians. Currently, there is little evidence that wild animals can acquire resistance to these pathogens. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a pathogenic fungus implicated in the recent global decline of amphibians. Here we demonstrate that three species of amphibians can acquire behavioural or immunological resistance to B. dendrobatidis. Frogs learned to avoid the fungus after just one B. dendrobatidis exposure and temperature-induced clearance. In subsequent experiments in which B. dendrobatidis avoidance was prevented, the number of previous exposures was a negative predictor of B. dendrobatidis burden on frogs and B. dendrobatidis-induced mortality, and was a positive predictor of lymphocyte abundance and proliferation. These results suggest that amphibians can acquire immunity to B. dendrobatidis that overcomes pathogen-induced immunosuppression and increases their survival. Importantly, exposure to dead fungus induced a similar magnitude of acquired resistance as exposure to live fungus. Exposure of frogs to B. dendrobatidis antigens might offer a practical way to protect pathogen-naive amphibians and facilitate the reintroduction of amphibians to locations in the wild where B. dendrobatidis persists. Moreover, given the conserved nature of vertebrate immune responses to fungi and the fact that many animals are capable of learning to avoid natural enemies, these results offer hope that other wild animal taxa threatened by invasive fungi might be rescued by management approaches based on herd immunity. PMID:25008531

  1. Amphibians acquire resistance to live and dead fungus overcoming fungal immunosuppression

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Taegan A.; Sears, Brittany F.; Venesky, Matthew D.; Bessler, Scott M.; Brown, Jenise M.; Deutsch, Kaitlin; Halstead, Neal T.; Lentz, Garrett; Tenouri, Nadia; Young, Suzanne; Civitello, David J.; Ortega, Nicole; Fites, J. Scott; Reinert, Laura K.; Rollins-Smith, Louise A.; Raffel, Thomas R.; Rohr, Jason R.

    2015-01-01

    Emerging fungal pathogens pose a greater threat to biodiversity than any other parasitic group1, causing declines of many taxa, including bats, corals, bees, snakes and amphibians1–4. Currently, there is little evidence that wild animals can acquire resistance to these pathogens5. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a pathogenic fungus implicated in the recent global decline of amphibians6. Here we demonstrate that three species of amphibians can acquire behavioural or immunological resistance to B. dendrobatidis. Frogs learned to avoid the fungus after just one B. dendrobatidis exposure and temperature-induced clearance. In subsequent experiments in which B. dendrobatidis avoidance was prevented, the number of previous exposures was a negative predictor of B. dendrobatidis burden on frogs and B. dendrobatidis-induced mortality, and was a positive predictor of lymphocyte abundance and proliferation. These results suggest that amphibians can acquire immunity to B. dendrobatidis that overcomes pathogen-induced immunosuppression7–9 and increases their survival. Importantly, exposure to dead fungus induced a similar magnitude of acquired resistance as exposure to live fungus. Exposure of frogs to B. dendrobatidis antigens might offer a practical way to protect pathogen-naive amphibians and facilitate the reintroduction of amphibians to locations in the wild where B. dendrobatidis persists. Moreover, given the conserved nature of vertebrate immune responses to fungi5 and the fact that many animals are capable of learning to avoid natural enemies10, these results offer hope that other wild animal taxa threatened by invasive fungi might be rescued by management approaches based on herd immunity. PMID:25008531

  2. CITIZEN SCIENTISTS MONITOR A DEADLY FUNGUS THREATENING AMPHIBIAN COMMUNITIES IN NORTHERN COASTAL CALIFORNIA, USA.

    PubMed

    Group, Ecoclub Amphibian; Pope, Karen L; Wengert, Greta M; Foley, Janet E; Ashton, Donald T; Botzler, Richard G

    2016-07-01

    Ecoclub youth and supervising family members conducted citizen science to assess regional prevalence and distribution of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) among amphibians at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) and Redwood National and State Parks (Parks), Humboldt County, California, US, May 2013 through December 2014. Using quantitative real-time PCR, 26 (17%) of 155 samples were positive for Bd. Positive samples occurred in four frog and toad species: foothill yellow-legged frog ( Rana boylii ), northern red-legged frog ( Rana aurora ), Pacific chorus frog ( Pseudacris regilla ), and western toad (Anaxyrus [Bufo] boreas); no salamanders or anuran larvae were positive. Except for R. aurora , all infected anurans were first-time species reports for coastal northern California. At the Refuge, significantly fewer (6/71) postmetamorphic amphibians were positive compared to the Parks (20/69; P=0.0018). We assessed the association of being PCR-positive for Bd, season of sampling, and age of sampler (child, teen, or adult). The full model with season, species, and sampler age had the greatest support. Frogs tested in winter or spring were more likely to be positive than those tested in summer or fall; foothill yellow-legged frogs, northern red-legged frogs, and western toads were more likely to be positive than were Pacific chorus frogs; and the probability of being positive nearly doubled when a child (≤12 yr old) collected the sample compared to a teen or adult. Our results support other chytrid studies that found amphibians are more susceptible to Bd when temperatures are cool and that species differ in their susceptibility. The Ecoclub's findings provide new information important to conservation of northern California's coastal amphibians and demonstrate the value of involving children in citizen science. PMID:27195681

  3. Experimental evidence for American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) susceptibility to chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis).

    PubMed

    Gervasi, Stephanie S; Urbina, Jenny; Hua, Jessica; Chestnut, Tara; A Relyea, Rick; R Blaustein, Andrew

    2013-06-01

    The emerging fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been associated with global amphibian population declines and extinctions. American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) are widely reported to be a tolerant host and a carrier of Bd that spreads the pathogen to less tolerant hosts. Here, we examined whether bullfrogs raised from eggs to metamorphosis in outdoor mesocosms were susceptible to Bd. We experimentally exposed metamorphic juveniles to Bd in the laboratory and compared mortality rates of pathogen-exposed animals to controls (non-exposed) in two separate experiments; one using a Bd strain isolated from a Western toad and another using a strain isolated from an American bullfrog. We wanted to examine whether metamorphic bullfrogs were susceptible to either of these strains. We show that bullfrogs were susceptible to one strain of Bd and not the other. In both experiments, infection load detected in the skin decreased over time, suggesting that metamorphic bullfrogs from some populations may be inefficient long-term carriers of Bd. PMID:23539129

  4. Salamanders increase their feeding activity when infected with the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Hess, Alexandra; McAllister, Caroline; DeMarchi, Joseph; Zidek, Makenzie; Murone, Julie; Venesky, Matthew D

    2015-10-27

    Immune function is a costly line of defense against parasitism. When infected with a parasite, hosts frequently lose mass due to these costs. However, some infected hosts (e.g. highly resistant individuals) can clear infections with seemingly little fitness losses, but few studies have tested how resistant hosts mitigate these costly immune defenses. We explored this topic using eastern red-backed salamanders Plethodon cinereus and the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd is generally lethal for amphibians, and stereotypical symptoms of infection include loss in mass and deficits in feeding. However, individuals of P. cinereus can clear their Bd infections with seemingly few fitness costs. We conducted an experiment in which we repeatedly observed the feeding activity of Bd-infected and non-infected salamanders. We found that Bd-infected salamanders generally increased their feeding activity compared to non-infected salamanders. The fact that we did not observe any differences in mass change between the treatments suggests that increased feeding might help Bd-infected salamanders minimize the costs of an effective immune response. PMID:26503775

  5. Widespread occurrence of the chytrid fungus batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on oregon spotted frogs (rana pretiosa)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearl, C.A.; Bowerman, J.; Adams, M.J.; Chelgren, N.D.

    2009-01-01

    The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been associated with amphibian declines in multiple continents, including western North America. We investigated Bd prevalence in Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa), a species that has declined across its range in the Pacific Northwest. Polymerase chain reaction analysis of skin swabs indicated that Bd was prevalent within populations (420 of 617 juvenile and adults) and widespread among populations (36 of 36 sites) where we sampled R. pretiosa in Oregon and Washington. We rarely detected Bd in R. pretiosa larvae (2 of 72). Prevalence of Bd in postmetamorphic R. pretiosa was inversely related to frog size. We found support for an interactive effect of elevation and sampling date on Bd: prevalence of Bd generally increased with date, but this effect was more pronounced at lower elevations. We also found evidence that the body condition of juvenile R. pretiosa with Bd decreased after their first winter. Our data indicate that some Oregon spotted frog populations are currently persisting with relatively high Bd prevalence, but the risk posed by Bd is unknown. ?? 2010 International Association for Ecology and Health.

  6. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans sp. nov. causes lethal chytridiomycosis in amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Martel, An; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Blooi, Mark; Bert, Wim; Ducatelle, Richard; Fisher, Matthew C.; Woeltjes, Antonius; Bosman, Wilbert; Chiers, Koen; Bossuyt, Franky; Pasmans, Frank

    2013-01-01

    The current biodiversity crisis encompasses a sixth mass extinction event affecting the entire class of amphibians. The infectious disease chytridiomycosis is considered one of the major drivers of global amphibian population decline and extinction and is thought to be caused by a single species of aquatic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. However, several amphibian population declines remain unexplained, among them a steep decrease in fire salamander populations (Salamandra salamandra) that has brought this species to the edge of local extinction. Here we isolated and characterized a unique chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans sp. nov., from this salamander population. This chytrid causes erosive skin disease and rapid mortality in experimentally infected fire salamanders and was present in skin lesions of salamanders found dead during the decline event. Together with the closely related B. dendrobatidis, this taxon forms a well-supported chytridiomycete clade, adapted to vertebrate hosts and highly pathogenic to amphibians. However, the lower thermal growth preference of B. salamandrivorans, compared with B. dendrobatidis, and resistance of midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) to experimental infection with B. salamandrivorans suggest differential niche occupation of the two chytrid fungi. PMID:24003137

  7. The amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis detected in a community of stream and wetland amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, E.H.C.; Bailey, L.L.; Ware, J.L.; Duncan, K.C.

    2008-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, responsible for the potentially fatal amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, is known to occur in a large and ever increasing number of amphibian populations around the world. However, sampling has been biased towards stream- and wetland-breeding anurans, with little attention paid to stream-associated salamanders. We sampled three frog and three salamander species in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Maryland, by swabbing animals for PCR analysis to detect DNA of B. dendrobatidis. Using PCR, we detected B. dendrobatidis DNA in both stream and wetland amphibians, and report here the first occurrence of the pathogen in two species of stream-associated salamanders. Future research should focus on mechanisms within habitats that may affect persistence and dissemination of B. dendrobatidis among stream-associated salamanders.

  8. Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde: Risky hybrid sex by amphibian-parasitizing chytrids in the Brazilian Atlantic Forests.

    PubMed

    Ghosh, Pria; Fisher, Matthew C

    2016-07-01

    In their article in this issue of Molecular Ecology, Jenkinson et al. () and colleagues address a worrying question-how could arguably the most dangerous pathogen known to science, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), become even more virulent? The answer: start having sex. Jenkinson et al. present a case for how the introduction into Brazil of the globally invasive lineage of Bd, BdGPL, has disrupted the relationship between native amphibians and an endemic Bd lineage, BdBrazil. BdBrazil is hypothesized to be native to the Atlantic Forest and so have a long co-evolutionary history with biodiverse Atlantic Forest amphibian community. The authors suggest that this has resulted in a zone of hybrid Bd genotypes which are potentially more likely to cause fatal chytridiomycosis than either parent lineage. The endemic-nonendemic Bd hybrid genotypes described in this study, and the evidence for pathogen translocation via the global amphibian trade presented, highlights the danger of anthropogenic pathogen dispersal. This research emphasizes that biosecurity regulations may have to refocus on lineages within species if we are to mitigate against the danger of new, possibly hypervirulent genotypes of pathogens emerging as phylogeographic barriers are breached. PMID:27373706

  9. Widespread presence of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in wild amphibian communities in Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Bletz, Molly C.; Rosa, Gonçalo M.; Andreone, Franco; Courtois, Elodie A.; Schmeller, Dirk S.; Rabibisoa, Nirhy H. C.; Rabemananjara, Falitiana C. E.; Raharivololoniaina, Liliane; Vences, Miguel; Weldon, Ché; Edmonds, Devin; Raxworthy, Christopher J.; Harris, Reid N.; Fisher, Matthew C.; Crottini, Angelica

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been a significant driver of amphibian declines. While globally widespread, Bd had not yet been reported from within Madagascar. We document surveys conducted across the country between 2005 and 2014, showing Bd's first record in 2010. Subsequently, Bd was detected in multiple areas, with prevalence reaching up to 100%. Detection of Bd appears to be associated with mid to high elevation sites and to have a seasonal pattern, with greater detectability during the dry season. Lineage-based PCR was performed on a subset of samples. While some did not amplify with any lineage probe, when a positive signal was observed, samples were most similar to the Global Panzootic Lineage (BdGPL). These results may suggest that Bd arrived recently, but do not exclude the existence of a previously undetected endemic Bd genotype. Representatives of all native anuran families have tested Bd-positive, and exposure trials confirm infection by Bd is possible. Bd's presence could pose significant threats to Madagascar's unique “megadiverse” amphibians. PMID:25719857

  10. Widespread presence of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in wild amphibian communities in Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Bletz, Molly C; Rosa, Gonçalo M; Andreone, Franco; Courtois, Elodie A; Schmeller, Dirk S; Rabibisoa, Nirhy H C; Rabemananjara, Falitiana C E; Raharivololoniaina, Liliane; Vences, Miguel; Weldon, Ché; Edmonds, Devin; Raxworthy, Christopher J; Harris, Reid N; Fisher, Matthew C; Crottini, Angelica

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been a significant driver of amphibian declines. While globally widespread, Bd had not yet been reported from within Madagascar. We document surveys conducted across the country between 2005 and 2014, showing Bd's first record in 2010. Subsequently, Bd was detected in multiple areas, with prevalence reaching up to 100%. Detection of Bd appears to be associated with mid to high elevation sites and to have a seasonal pattern, with greater detectability during the dry season. Lineage-based PCR was performed on a subset of samples. While some did not amplify with any lineage probe, when a positive signal was observed, samples were most similar to the Global Panzootic Lineage (BdGPL). These results may suggest that Bd arrived recently, but do not exclude the existence of a previously undetected endemic Bd genotype. Representatives of all native anuran families have tested Bd-positive, and exposure trials confirm infection by Bd is possible. Bd's presence could pose significant threats to Madagascar's unique "megadiverse" amphibians. PMID:25719857

  11. Contribution of Multiple Inter-Kingdom Horizontal Gene Transfers to Evolution and Adaptation of Amphibian-Killing Chytrid, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Baofa; Li, Tong; Xiao, Jinhua; Liu, Li; Zhang, Peng; Murphy, Robert W.; He, Shunmin; Huang, Dawei

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are experiencing catastrophic declines driven by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although horizontal gene transfer (HGT) facilitates the evolution and adaptation in many fungi by conferring novel function genes to the recipient fungi, inter-kingdom HGT in Bd remains largely unexplored. In this study, our investigation detects 19 bacterial genes transferred to Bd, including metallo-beta-lactamase and arsenate reductase that play important roles in the resistance to antibiotics and arsenates. Moreover, three probable HGT gene families in Bd are from plants and one gene family coding the ankyrin repeat-containing protein appears to come from oomycetes. The observed multi-copy gene families associated with HGT are probably due to the independent transfer events or gene duplications. Five HGT genes with extracellular locations may relate to infection, and some other genes may participate in a variety of metabolic pathways, and in doing so add important metabolic traits to the recipient. The evolutionary analysis indicates that all the transferred genes evolved under purifying selection, suggesting that their functions in Bd are similar to those of the donors. Collectively, our results indicate that HGT from diverse donors may be an important evolutionary driver of Bd, and improve its adaptations for infecting and colonizing host amphibians.

  12. Amphibians.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1987

    1987-01-01

    Describes some of the characteristics of amphibians. Contains teaching activities ranging from a "frog sing-along" to lessons on amphibian adaptations, and night hikes to identify frog calls. Includes reproducible handouts to be used with the activities, and a quiz. (TW)

  13. Adaptive tolerance to a pathogenic fungus drives major histocompatibility complex evolution in natural amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Savage, Anna E; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2016-03-30

    Amphibians have been affected globally by the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and we are just now beginning to understand how immunogenetic variability contributes to disease susceptibility. Lineages of an expressed major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II locus involved in acquired immunity are associated with chytridiomycosis susceptibility in controlled laboratory challenge assays. Here, we extend these findings to natural populations that vary both in exposure and response to Bd We find that MHC alleles and supertypes associated with Bd survival in the field show a molecular signal of positive selection, while those associated with susceptibility do not, supporting the hypothesis that heritable Bd tolerance is rapidly evolving. We compare MHC supertypes to neutral loci to demonstrate where selection versus demography is shaping MHC variability. One population with Bd tolerance in nature shows a significant signal of directional selection for the same allele (allele Q) that was significantly associated with survival in an earlier laboratory study. Our findings indicate that selective pressure for Bd survival drives rapid immunogenetic adaptation in some natural populations, despite differences in environment and demography. Our field-based analysis of immunogenetic variation confirms that natural amphibian populations have the evolutionary potential to adapt to chytridiomycosis. PMID:27009220

  14. Adaptive tolerance to a pathogenic fungus drives major histocompatibility complex evolution in natural amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anna E.; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians have been affected globally by the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and we are just now beginning to understand how immunogenetic variability contributes to disease susceptibility. Lineages of an expressed major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II locus involved in acquired immunity are associated with chytridiomycosis susceptibility in controlled laboratory challenge assays. Here, we extend these findings to natural populations that vary both in exposure and response to Bd. We find that MHC alleles and supertypes associated with Bd survival in the field show a molecular signal of positive selection, while those associated with susceptibility do not, supporting the hypothesis that heritable Bd tolerance is rapidly evolving. We compare MHC supertypes to neutral loci to demonstrate where selection versus demography is shaping MHC variability. One population with Bd tolerance in nature shows a significant signal of directional selection for the same allele (allele Q) that was significantly associated with survival in an earlier laboratory study. Our findings indicate that selective pressure for Bd survival drives rapid immunogenetic adaptation in some natural populations, despite differences in environment and demography. Our field-based analysis of immunogenetic variation confirms that natural amphibian populations have the evolutionary potential to adapt to chytridiomycosis. PMID:27009220

  15. Co-Infection by Chytrid Fungus and Ranaviruses in Wild and Harvested Frogs in the Tropical Andes

    PubMed Central

    Warne, Robin W.; LaBumbard, Brandon; LaGrange, Seth; Vredenburg, Vance T.; Catenazzi, Alessandro

    2016-01-01

    While global amphibian declines are associated with the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), undetected concurrent co-infection by other pathogens may be little recognized threats to amphibians. Emerging viruses in the genus Ranavirus (Rv) also cause die-offs of amphibians and other ectotherms, but the extent of their distribution globally, or how co-infections with Bd impact amphibians are poorly understood. We provide the first report of Bd and Rv co-infection in South America, and the first report of Rv infections in the amphibian biodiversity hotspot of the Peruvian Andes, where Bd is associated with extinctions. Using these data, we tested the hypothesis that Bd or Rv parasites facilitate co-infection, as assessed by parasite abundance or infection intensity within individual adult frogs. Co-infection occurred in 30% of stream-dwelling frogs; 65% were infected by Bd and 40% by Rv. Among terrestrial, direct-developing Pristimantis frogs 40% were infected by Bd, 35% by Rv, and 20% co-infected. In Telmatobius frogs harvested for the live-trade 49% were co-infected, 92% were infected by Bd, and 53% by Rv. Median Bd and Rv loads were similar in both wild (Bd = 101.2 Ze, Rv = 102.3 viral copies) and harvested frogs (Bd = 103.1 Ze, Rv = 102.7 viral copies). While neither parasite abundance nor infection intensity were associated with co-infection patterns in adults, these data did not include the most susceptible larval and metamorphic life stages. These findings suggest Rv distribution is global and that co-infection among these parasites may be common. These results raise conservation concerns, but greater testing is necessary to determine if parasite interactions increase amphibian vulnerability to secondary infections across differing life stages, and constitute a previously undetected threat to declining populations. Greater surveillance of parasite interactions may increase our capacity to contain and mitigate the impacts of these and other wildlife

  16. Co-Infection by Chytrid Fungus and Ranaviruses in Wild and Harvested Frogs in the Tropical Andes.

    PubMed

    Warne, Robin W; LaBumbard, Brandon; LaGrange, Seth; Vredenburg, Vance T; Catenazzi, Alessandro

    2016-01-01

    While global amphibian declines are associated with the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), undetected concurrent co-infection by other pathogens may be little recognized threats to amphibians. Emerging viruses in the genus Ranavirus (Rv) also cause die-offs of amphibians and other ectotherms, but the extent of their distribution globally, or how co-infections with Bd impact amphibians are poorly understood. We provide the first report of Bd and Rv co-infection in South America, and the first report of Rv infections in the amphibian biodiversity hotspot of the Peruvian Andes, where Bd is associated with extinctions. Using these data, we tested the hypothesis that Bd or Rv parasites facilitate co-infection, as assessed by parasite abundance or infection intensity within individual adult frogs. Co-infection occurred in 30% of stream-dwelling frogs; 65% were infected by Bd and 40% by Rv. Among terrestrial, direct-developing Pristimantis frogs 40% were infected by Bd, 35% by Rv, and 20% co-infected. In Telmatobius frogs harvested for the live-trade 49% were co-infected, 92% were infected by Bd, and 53% by Rv. Median Bd and Rv loads were similar in both wild (Bd = 101.2 Ze, Rv = 102.3 viral copies) and harvested frogs (Bd = 103.1 Ze, Rv = 102.7 viral copies). While neither parasite abundance nor infection intensity were associated with co-infection patterns in adults, these data did not include the most susceptible larval and metamorphic life stages. These findings suggest Rv distribution is global and that co-infection among these parasites may be common. These results raise conservation concerns, but greater testing is necessary to determine if parasite interactions increase amphibian vulnerability to secondary infections across differing life stages, and constitute a previously undetected threat to declining populations. Greater surveillance of parasite interactions may increase our capacity to contain and mitigate the impacts of these and other wildlife

  17. Evidence of disease-related amphibian decline in Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin; Corn, Paul Stephen; Pessier, Allan P.; Green, D. Earl

    2003-01-01

    The recent discovery of a pathogenic fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) associated with declines of frogs in the American and Australian tropics, suggests that at least the proximate cause, may be known for many previously unexplained amphibian declines. We have monitored boreal toads in Colorado since 1991 at four sites using capturea??recapture of adults and counts of egg masses to examine the dynamics of this metapopulation. Numbers of male toads declined in 1996 and 1999 with annual survival rate averaging 78% from 1991 to 1994, 45% in 1995 and 3% between 1998 and 1999. Numbers of egg masses also declined. An etiological diagnosis of chytridiomycosis consistent with infections by the genus Batrachochytrium was made in six wild adult toads. Characteristic histomorphological features (i.e. intracellular location, shape of thalli, presence of discharge tubes and rhizoids) of chytrid organisms, and host tissue response (acanthosis and hyperkeratosis) were observed in individual toads. These characteristics were indistinguishable from previously reported mortality events associated with chytrid fungus. We also observed epizootiological features consistent with mortality events associated with chytrid fungus: an increase in the ratio of female:male toads captured, an apparent spread of mortalities within the metapopulation and mortalities restricted to post metamorphic animals. Eleven years of population data suggest that this metapopulation of toads is in danger of extinction, pathological and epizootiological evidence indicates that B. dendrobatidis has played a proximate role in this process

  18. Development of antimicrobial peptide defenses of southern leopard frogs, Rana sphenocephala, against the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Holden, Whitney M; Reinert, Laura K; Hanlon, Shane M; Parris, Matthew J; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian species face the growing threat of extinction due to the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes the disease chytridiomycosis. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) produced in granular glands of the skin are an important defense against this pathogen. Little is known about the ontogeny of AMP production or the impact of AMPs on potentially beneficial symbiotic skin bacteria. We show here that Rana (Lithobates) sphenocephala produces a mixture of four AMPs with activity against B. dendrobatidis, and we report the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of synthesized replicates of these four AMPs tested against B. dendrobatidis. Using mass spectrometry and protein quantification assays, we observed that R. sphenocephala does not secrete a mature suite of AMPs until approximately 12 weeks post-metamorphosis, and geographically disparate populations produce a different suite of peptides. Use of norepinephrine to induce maximal secretion significantly reduced levels of culturable skin bacteria. PMID:25218643

  19. Emerging infectious disease and the loss of biodiversity in a Neotropical amphibian community

    PubMed Central

    Lips, Karen R.; Brem, Forrest; Brenes, Roberto; Reeve, John D.; Alford, Ross A.; Voyles, Jamie; Carey, Cynthia; Livo, Lauren; Pessier, Allan P.; Collins, James P.

    2006-01-01

    Pathogens rarely cause extinctions of host species, and there are few examples of a pathogen changing species richness and diversity of an ecological community by causing local extinctions across a wide range of species. We report the link between the rapid appearance of a pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in an amphibian community at El Copé, Panama, and subsequent mass mortality and loss of amphibian biodiversity across eight families of frogs and salamanders. We describe an outbreak of chytridiomycosis in Panama and argue that this infectious disease has played an important role in amphibian population declines. The high virulence and large number of potential hosts of this emerging infectious disease threaten global amphibian diversity. PMID:16481617

  20. Cardiac adaptations of bullfrog tadpoles in response to chytrid infection.

    PubMed

    Salla, Raquel Fernanda; Gamero, Fernando Urban; Ribeiro, Larissa Rodrigues; Rizzi, Gisele Miglioranza; Medico, Samuel Espinosa Dal; Rissoli, Rafael Zanelli; Vieira, Conrado Augusto; Silva-Zacarin, Elaine Cristina Mathias; Leite, Domingos Silva; Abdalla, Fábio Camargo; Toledo, Luis Felipe; Costa, Monica Jones

    2015-08-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can result in heart failure in Bd-susceptible species. Since Bd infection generally does not cause mortality in North American bullfrogs, the aim of this work was to verify whether this species presents any cardiac adaptation that could improve the tolerance to the fungus. Thus, we analyzed tadpoles' activity level, relative ventricular mass, ventricle morphology, in loco heart frequency, and in vitro cardiac function. The results indicate that infected animals present an increase in both ventricular relative mass and in myofibrils' incidence, which accompanied the increase in myocytes' diameter. Such morphological alterations enabled an increase in the in vitro twitch force that, in vivo, would result in elevation of the cardiac stroke volume. This response requires much less energy expenditure than an elevation in heart frequency, but still enables the heart to pump a higher volume of blood per minute (i.e., an increase in cardiac output). As a consequence, the energy saved in the regulation of the cardiac function of Bd-infected tadpoles can be employed in other homeostatic adjustments to avoid the lethal effect of the fungus. Whether other species present this ability, and to what extent, remains uncertain, but such possible interspecific variability might explain different mortality rates among different species of Bd-infected amphibians. PMID:26055358

  1. Amphibian skin may select for rare environmental microbes

    PubMed Central

    Walke, Jenifer B; Becker, Matthew H; Loftus, Stephen C; House, Leanna L; Cormier, Guy; Jensen, Roderick V; Belden, Lisa K

    2014-01-01

    Host-microbe symbioses rely on the successful transmission or acquisition of symbionts in each new generation. Amphibians host a diverse cutaneous microbiota, and many of these symbionts appear to be mutualistic and may limit infection by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has caused global amphibian population declines and extinctions in recent decades. Using bar-coded 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, we addressed the question of symbiont transmission by examining variation in amphibian skin microbiota across species and sites and in direct relation to environmental microbes. Although acquisition of environmental microbes occurs in some host-symbiont systems, this has not been extensively examined in free-living vertebrate-microbe symbioses. Juvenile bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana), adult red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens), pond water and pond substrate were sampled at a single pond to examine host-specificity and potential environmental transmission of microbiota. To assess population level variation in skin microbiota, adult newts from two additional sites were also sampled. Cohabiting bullfrogs and newts had distinct microbial communities, as did newts across the three sites. The microbial communities of amphibians and the environment were distinct; there was very little overlap in the amphibians' core microbes and the most abundant environmental microbes, and the relative abundances of OTUs that were shared by amphibians and the environment were inversely related. These results suggest that, in a host species-specific manner, amphibian skin may select for microbes that are generally in low abundance in the environment. PMID:24858782

  2. Evaluating the links between climate, disease spread, and amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R; Romansic, John M; McCallum, Hamish; Hudson, Peter J

    2008-11-11

    Human alteration of the environment has arguably propelled the Earth into its sixth mass extinction event and amphibians, the most threatened of all vertebrate taxa, are at the forefront. Many of the worldwide amphibian declines have been caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and two contrasting hypotheses have been proposed to explain these declines. Positive correlations between global warming and Bd-related declines sparked the chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis, which proposes that global warming increased cloud cover in warm years that drove the convergence of daytime and nighttime temperatures toward the thermal optimum for Bd growth. In contrast, the spatiotemporal-spread hypothesis states that Bd-related declines are caused by the introduction and spread of Bd, independent of climate change. We provide a rigorous test of these hypotheses by evaluating (i) whether cloud cover, temperature convergence, and predicted temperature-dependent Bd growth are significant positive predictors of amphibian extinctions in the genus Atelopus and (ii) whether spatial structure in the timing of these extinctions can be detected without making assumptions about the location, timing, or number of Bd emergences. We show that there is spatial structure to the timing of Atelopus spp. extinctions but that the cause of this structure remains equivocal, emphasizing the need for further molecular characterization of Bd. We also show that the reported positive multi-decade correlation between Atelopus spp. extinctions and mean tropical air temperature in the previous year is indeed robust, but the evidence that it is causal is weak because numerous other variables, including regional banana and beer production, were better predictors of these extinctions. Finally, almost all of our findings were opposite to the predictions of the chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis. Although climate change is likely to play an important role in worldwide amphibian declines

  3. Evaluating the links between climate, disease spread, and amphibian declines

    PubMed Central

    Rohr, Jason R.; Raffel, Thomas R.; Romansic, John M.; McCallum, Hamish; Hudson, Peter J.

    2008-01-01

    Human alteration of the environment has arguably propelled the Earth into its sixth mass extinction event and amphibians, the most threatened of all vertebrate taxa, are at the forefront. Many of the worldwide amphibian declines have been caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and two contrasting hypotheses have been proposed to explain these declines. Positive correlations between global warming and Bd-related declines sparked the chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis, which proposes that global warming increased cloud cover in warm years that drove the convergence of daytime and nighttime temperatures toward the thermal optimum for Bd growth. In contrast, the spatiotemporal-spread hypothesis states that Bd-related declines are caused by the introduction and spread of Bd, independent of climate change. We provide a rigorous test of these hypotheses by evaluating (i) whether cloud cover, temperature convergence, and predicted temperature-dependent Bd growth are significant positive predictors of amphibian extinctions in the genus Atelopus and (ii) whether spatial structure in the timing of these extinctions can be detected without making assumptions about the location, timing, or number of Bd emergences. We show that there is spatial structure to the timing of Atelopus spp. extinctions but that the cause of this structure remains equivocal, emphasizing the need for further molecular characterization of Bd. We also show that the reported positive multi-decade correlation between Atelopus spp. extinctions and mean tropical air temperature in the previous year is indeed robust, but the evidence that it is causal is weak because numerous other variables, including regional banana and beer production, were better predictors of these extinctions. Finally, almost all of our findings were opposite to the predictions of the chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis. Although climate change is likely to play an important role in worldwide amphibian declines

  4. Global amphibian declines: perspectives from the United States and beyond

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Densmore, Christine L.

    2011-01-01

    Over recent decades, amphibians have experienced population declines, extirpations and species-level extinctions at an alarming rate. Numerous potential etiologies for amphibian declines have been postulated including climate and habitat degradation. Other potential anthropogenic causes including overexploitation and the frequent introductions of invasive predatory species have also been blamed for amphibian declines. Still other underlying factors may include infectious diseases caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, pathogenic viruses (Ranavirus), and other agents. It is nearly certain that more than one etiology is to blame for the majority of the global amphibian declines, and that these causal factors include some combination of climatological or physical habitat destabilization and infectious disease, most notably chytridiomycosis. Scientific research efforts are aimed at elucidating these etiologies on local, regional, and global scales that we might better understand and counteract the driving forces behind amphibian declines. Conservation efforts as outlined in the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan of 2005 are also being made to curtail losses and prevent further extinctions wherever possible.

  5. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and lethal chytridiomycosis in caecilian amphibians (Gymnophiona).

    PubMed

    Gower, David J; Doherty-Bone, Thomas; Loader, Simon P; Wilkinson, Mark; Kouete, Marcel T; Tapley, Benjamin; Orton, Frances; Daniel, Olivia Z; Wynne, Felicity; Flach, Edmund; Müller, Hendrik; Menegon, Michele; Stephen, Ian; Browne, Robert K; Fisher, Mathew C; Cunningham, Andrew A; Garner, Trenton W J

    2013-06-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is commonly termed the 'amphibian chytrid fungus' but thus far has been documented to be a pathogen of only batrachian amphibians (anurans and caudatans). It is not proven to infect the limbless, generally poorly known, and mostly soil-dwelling caecilians (Gymnophiona). We conducted the largest qPCR survey of Bd in caecilians to date, for more than 200 field-swabbed specimens from five countries in Africa and South America, representing nearly 20 species, 12 genera, and 8 families. Positive results were recovered for 58 specimens from Tanzania and Cameroon (4 families, 6 genera, 6+ species). Quantities of Bd were not exceptionally high, with genomic equivalent (GE) values of 0.052-17.339. In addition, we report the first evidence of lethal chytridiomycosis in caecilians. Mortality in captive (wild-caught, commercial pet trade) Geotrypetes seraphini was associated with GE scores similar to those we detected for field-swabbed, wild animals. PMID:23677560

  6. Amphibian chytridiomycosis: a review with focus on fungus-host interactions.

    PubMed

    Van Rooij, Pascale; Martel, An; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Pasmans, Frank

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian declines and extinctions are emblematic for the current sixth mass extinction event. Infectious drivers of these declines include the recently emerged fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Chytridiomycota). The skin disease caused by these fungi is named chytridiomycosis and affects the vital function of amphibian skin. Not all amphibians respond equally to infection and host responses might range from resistant, over tolerant to susceptible. The clinical outcome of infection is highly dependent on the amphibian host, the fungal virulence and environmental determinants. B. dendrobatidis infects the skin of a large range of anurans, urodeles and caecilians, whereas to date the host range of B. salamandrivorans seems limited to urodeles. So far, the epidemic of B. dendrobatidis is mainly limited to Australian, neotropical, South European and West American amphibians, while for B. salamandrivorans it is limited to European salamanders. Other striking differences between both fungi include gross pathology and thermal preferences. With this review we aim to provide the reader with a state-of-the art of host-pathogen interactions for both fungi, in which new data pertaining to the interaction of B. dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans with the host's skin are integrated. Furthermore, we pinpoint areas in which more detailed studies are necessary or which have not received the attention they merit. PMID:26607488

  7. Population genetic structure and disease in montane boreal toads: More heterozygous individuals are more likely to be infected with amphibian chytrid

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Addis, Brett; Lowe, Winsor; Hossack, Blake R.; Allendorf, Fred

    2015-01-01

    Amphibians are more threatened than any other vertebrate group, with 41 % of species classified as threatened. The causes of most declines are not well understood, though many declines have been linked to disease. Additionally, amphibians are physiologically constrained to moist habitats and considered poor dispersers; thus, they may suffer genetic consequences of population isolation. To understand threats to the persistence of boreal toads (Bufo boreas) in Glacier National Park, USA, we genotyped 551 individuals at 11 microsatellite loci and used Bayesian clustering methods to describe population genetic structure and identify barriers to gene flow. We found evidence of two primary genetic groups that differed substantially in elevation and two secondary groups within the high elevation group. There was also evidence of further substructure within the southern high elevation group, suggesting mountain ridges are barriers to gene flow at local scales. Overall, genetic variation was high, but allelic richness declined with increasing elevation, reflecting greater isolation or smaller effective population sizes of high altitude populations. We tested for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen which causes chytridiomycosis, and we found that 35 of 199 toads were positive for Bd. Unexpectedly, more heterozygous individuals were more likely to be infected. This suggests that dispersal facilitates the spread of disease because heterozygosity may be highest where dispersal and gene flow are greatest.

  8. Thermoregulatory behaviour affects prevalence of chytrid fungal infection in a wild population of Panamanian golden frogs.

    PubMed

    Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L

    2010-02-22

    Predicting how climate change will affect disease dynamics requires an understanding of how the environment affects host-pathogen interactions. For amphibians, global declines and extinctions have been linked to a pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Using a combination of body temperature measurements and disease assays conducted before and after the arrival of B. dendrobatidis, this study tested the hypothesis that body temperature affects the prevalence of infection in a wild population of Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki). The timing of first detection of the fungus was consistent with that of a wave of epidemic infections spreading south and eastward through Central America. During the epidemic, many golden frogs modified their thermoregulatory behaviour, raising body temperatures above their normal set point. Odds of infection decreased with increasing body temperature, demonstrating that even slight environmental or behavioural changes have the potential to affect an individual's vulnerability to infection. The thermal dependency of the relationship between B. dendrobatidis and its amphibian hosts demonstrates how the progression of an epidemic can be influenced by complex interactions between host and pathogen phenotypes and the environments in which they are found. PMID:19864287

  9. Evidence of a salt refuge: chytrid infection loads are suppressed in hosts exposed to salt.

    PubMed

    Stockwell, M P; Clulow, J; Mahony, M J

    2015-03-01

    With the incidence of emerging infectious diseases on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to identify refuge areas that protect hosts from pathogens and therefore prevent population declines. For the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, temperature and humidity refuge areas for amphibian hosts exist but are difficult to manipulate. Other environmental features that may affect the outcome of infection include water quality, drying regimes, abundance of alternate hosts and isolation from other hosts. We identified relationships between water bodies with these features and infection levels in the free-living hosts inhabiting them. Where significant relationships were identified, we used a series of controlled experiments to test for causation. Infection loads were negatively correlated with the salt concentration of the aquatic habitat and the degree of water level fluctuation and positively correlated with fish abundance. However, only the relationship with salt was confirmed experimentally. Free-living hosts inhabiting water bodies with mean salinities of up to 3.5 ppt had lower infection loads than those exposed to less salt. The experiment confirmed that exposure to sodium chloride concentrations >2 ppt significantly reduced host infection loads compared to no exposure (0 ppt). These results suggest that the exposure of amphibians to salt concentrations found naturally in lentic habitats may be responsible for the persistence of some susceptible species in the presence of B. dendrobatidis. By manipulating the salinity of water bodies, it may be possible to create refuges for declining amphibians, thus allowing them to be reintroduced to their former ranges. PMID:25416999

  10. Skin microbes on frogs prevent morbidity and mortality caused by a lethal skin fungus.

    PubMed

    Harris, Reid N; Brucker, Robert M; Walke, Jenifer B; Becker, Matthew H; Schwantes, Christian R; Flaherty, Devon C; Lam, Brianna A; Woodhams, Douglas C; Briggs, Cheryl J; Vredenburg, Vance T; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2009-07-01

    Emerging infectious diseases threaten human and wildlife populations. Altered ecological interactions between mutualistic microbes and hosts can result in disease, but an understanding of interactions between host, microbes and disease-causing organisms may lead to management strategies to affect disease outcomes. Many amphibian species in relatively pristine habitats are experiencing dramatic population declines and extinctions due to the skin disease chytridiomycosis, which is caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Using a randomized, replicated experiment, we show that adding an antifungal bacterial species, Janthinobacterium lividum, found on several species of amphibians to the skins of the frog Rana muscosa prevented morbidity and mortality caused by the pathogen. The bacterial species produces the anti-chytrid metabolite violacein, which was found in much higher concentrations on frog skins in the treatments where J. lividum was added. Our results show that cutaneous microbes are a part of amphibians' innate immune system, the microbial community structure on frog skins is a determinant of disease outcome and altering microbial interactions on frog skins can prevent a lethal disease outcome. A bioaugmentation strategy may be an effective management tool to control chytridiomycosis in amphibian survival assurance colonies and in nature. PMID:19322245

  11. Susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis is associated with MHC class II conformation

    PubMed Central

    Bataille, Arnaud; Cashins, Scott D.; Grogan, Laura; Skerratt, Lee F.; Hunter, David; McFadden, Michael; Scheele, Benjamin; Brannelly, Laura A.; Macris, Amy; Harlow, Peter S.; Bell, Sara; Berger, Lee; Waldman, Bruce

    2015-01-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) alleles encoding molecules that foster the survival of Bd-infected amphibians. We found that Bd-resistant amphibians across four continents share common amino acids in three binding pockets of the MHC-II antigen-binding groove. Moreover, strong signals of selection acting on these specific sites were evident among all species co-existing with the pathogen. In the laboratory, we experimentally inoculated Australian tree frogs with Bd to test how each binding pocket conformation influences disease resistance. Only the conformation of MHC-II pocket 9 of surviving subjects matched those of Bd-resistant species. This MHC-II conformation thus may determine amphibian resistance to Bd, although other MHC-II binding pockets also may contribute to resistance. Rescuing amphibian biodiversity will depend on our understanding of amphibian immune defence mechanisms against Bd. The identification of adaptive genetic markers for Bd resistance represents an important step forward towards that goal. PMID:25808889

  12. Susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis is associated with MHC class II conformation.

    PubMed

    Bataille, Arnaud; Cashins, Scott D; Grogan, Laura; Skerratt, Lee F; Hunter, David; McFadden, Michael; Scheele, Benjamin; Brannelly, Laura A; Macris, Amy; Harlow, Peter S; Bell, Sara; Berger, Lee; Waldman, Bruce

    2015-04-22

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) alleles encoding molecules that foster the survival of Bd-infected amphibians. We found that Bd-resistant amphibians across four continents share common amino acids in three binding pockets of the MHC-II antigen-binding groove. Moreover, strong signals of selection acting on these specific sites were evident among all species co-existing with the pathogen. In the laboratory, we experimentally inoculated Australian tree frogs with Bd to test how each binding pocket conformation influences disease resistance. Only the conformation of MHC-II pocket 9 of surviving subjects matched those of Bd-resistant species. This MHC-II conformation thus may determine amphibian resistance to Bd, although other MHC-II binding pockets also may contribute to resistance. Rescuing amphibian biodiversity will depend on our understanding of amphibian immune defence mechanisms against Bd. The identification of adaptive genetic markers for Bd resistance represents an important step forward towards that goal. PMID:25808889

  13. RANAVIRUS CAUSES MASS DIE-OFFS OF ALPINE AMPHIBIANS IN THE SOUTHWESTERN ALPS, FRANCE.

    PubMed

    Miaud, Claude; Pozet, Françoise; Gaudin, Nadine Curt Grand; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Labrut, Sophie

    2016-04-28

    Pathogenic fungi and viruses cause mortality outbreaks in wild amphibians worldwide. In the summer of 2012, dead tadpoles and adults of the European common frog Rana temporaria were reported in alpine lakes in the southwestern Alps (Mercantour National Park, France). A preliminary investigation using molecular diagnostic techniques identified a Ranavirus as the potential pathogenic agent. Three mortality events were recorded in the park, and samples were collected. The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was not detected in any of the dead adult and juvenile frogs sampled (n=16) whereas all specimens were positive for a Ranavirus. The genome sequence of this Ranavirus was identical to previously published sequences of the common midwife toad virus (CMTV), a Ranavirus that has been associated with amphibian mortalities throughout Europe. We cultured virus from the organs of the dead common frogs and infecting adult male common frogs collected in another alpine region where no frog mortality had been observed. The experimentally infected frogs suffered 100% mortality (n=10). The alpine die-off is the first CMTV outbreak associated with mass mortality in wild amphibians in France. We describe the lesions observed and summarize amphibian populations affected by Ranaviruses in Europe. In addition, we discuss the ecologic specificities of mountain amphibians that may contribute to increasing their risk of exposure to and transmission of Ranaviruses. PMID:26967128

  14. More than Skin Deep: Functional Genomic Basis for Resistance to Amphibian Chytridiomycosis

    PubMed Central

    Ellison, Amy R.; Tunstall, Tate; DiRenzo, Graziella V.; Hughey, Myra C.; Rebollar, Eria A.; Belden, Lisa K.; Harris, Reid N.; Ibáñez, Roberto; Lips, Karen R.; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2015-01-01

    The amphibian-killing chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is one of the most generalist pathogens known, capable of infecting hundreds of species globally and causing widespread population declines and extinctions. However, some host species are seemingly unaffected by Bd, tolerating or clearing infections without clinical signs of disease. Variation in host immune responses is commonly evoked for these resistant or tolerant species, yet to date, we have no direct comparison of amphibian species responses to infection at the level of gene expression. In this study, we challenged four Central American frog species that vary in Bd susceptibility, with a sympatric virulent strain of the pathogen. We compared skin and spleen orthologous gene expression using differential expression tests and coexpression gene network analyses. We found that resistant species have reduced skin inflammatory responses and increased expression of genes involved in skin integrity. In contrast, only highly susceptible species exhibited suppression of splenic T-cell genes. We conclude that resistance to chytridiomycosis may be related to a species’ ability to escape the immunosuppressive activity of the fungus. Moreover, our results indicate that within-species differences in splenic proteolytic enzyme gene expression may contribute to intraspecific variation in survival. This first comparison of amphibian functional immunogenomic architecture in response to Bd provides insights into key genetic mechanisms underlying variation in disease outcomes among amphibian species. PMID:25539724

  15. More than skin deep: functional genomic basis for resistance to amphibian chytridiomycosis.

    PubMed

    Ellison, Amy R; Tunstall, Tate; DiRenzo, Graziella V; Hughey, Myra C; Rebollar, Eria A; Belden, Lisa K; Harris, Reid N; Ibáñez, Roberto; Lips, Karen R; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-01-01

    The amphibian-killing chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is one of the most generalist pathogens known, capable of infecting hundreds of species globally and causing widespread population declines and extinctions. However, some host species are seemingly unaffected by Bd, tolerating or clearing infections without clinical signs of disease. Variation in host immune responses is commonly evoked for these resistant or tolerant species, yet to date, we have no direct comparison of amphibian species responses to infection at the level of gene expression. In this study, we challenged four Central American frog species that vary in Bd susceptibility, with a sympatric virulent strain of the pathogen. We compared skin and spleen orthologous gene expression using differential expression tests and coexpression gene network analyses. We found that resistant species have reduced skin inflammatory responses and increased expression of genes involved in skin integrity. In contrast, only highly susceptible species exhibited suppression of splenic T-cell genes. We conclude that resistance to chytridiomycosis may be related to a species' ability to escape the immunosuppressive activity of the fungus. Moreover, our results indicate that within-species differences in splenic proteolytic enzyme gene expression may contribute to intraspecific variation in survival. This first comparison of amphibian functional immunogenomic architecture in response to Bd provides insights into key genetic mechanisms underlying variation in disease outcomes among amphibian species. PMID:25539724

  16. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2015-01-01

    There is broad concern that a mass extinction of amphibians and reptiles is now underway. Here I apply an extremely conservative Bayesian method to estimate the number of recent amphibian and squamate extinctions in nine important tropical and subtropical regions. The data stem from a combination of museum collection databases and published site surveys. The method computes an extinction probability for each species by considering its sighting frequency and last sighting date. It infers hardly any extinction when collection dates are randomized and it provides underestimates when artificial extinction events are imposed. The method also appears to be insensitive to trends in sampling; therefore, the counts it provides are absolute minimums. Extinctions or severe population crashes have accumulated steadily since the 1970s and 1980s, and at least 3.1% of frog species have already disappeared. Based on these data and this conservative method, the best estimate of the global grand total is roughly 200 extinctions. Consistent with previous results, frog losses are heavy in Latin America, which has been greatly affected by the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Extinction rates are now four orders-of-magnitude higher than background, and at least another 6.9% of all frog species may be lost within the next century, even if there is no acceleration in the growth of environmental threats. PMID:26438855

  17. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2015-10-20

    There is broad concern that a mass extinction of amphibians and reptiles is now underway. Here I apply an extremely conservative Bayesian method to estimate the number of recent amphibian and squamate extinctions in nine important tropical and subtropical regions. The data stem from a combination of museum collection databases and published site surveys. The method computes an extinction probability for each species by considering its sighting frequency and last sighting date. It infers hardly any extinction when collection dates are randomized and it provides underestimates when artificial extinction events are imposed. The method also appears to be insensitive to trends in sampling; therefore, the counts it provides are absolute minimums. Extinctions or severe population crashes have accumulated steadily since the 1970s and 1980s, and at least 3.1% of frog species have already disappeared. Based on these data and this conservative method, the best estimate of the global grand total is roughly 200 extinctions. Consistent with previous results, frog losses are heavy in Latin America, which has been greatly affected by the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Extinction rates are now four orders-of-magnitude higher than background, and at least another 6.9% of all frog species may be lost within the next century, even if there is no acceleration in the growth of environmental threats. PMID:26438855

  18. Chytrid mycoparasitism of entomophthoralean azygospores.

    PubMed

    Hajek, Ann E; Longcore, Joyce E; Rabern Simmons, D; Peters, Kenlyn; Humber, Richard A

    2013-11-01

    Mycoparasitism - when one fungus parasitizes another - has been reported to affect Beauveria bassiana and mycorrhizal fungi in the field. However, mycoparasitism of any fungi in the Order Entomophthorales has never been reported before now. The majority of entomophthoralean species persist as resting spores (either zygospores or azygospores) in the environment and dormant entomophthoralean resting spores (whether formed as zygospores or azygospores) are thought to be especially well adapted for survival over long periods due to their thick double walls. Entomophthoralean resting spores can accumulate in the soil as large reservoirs of inoculum which can facilitate the onset and development of epizootics. We report parasitism of azygospores of the gypsy moth pathogen Entomophaga maimaiga caged in soil from southern Ohio by the chytrid fungus Gaertneriomyces semiglobifer. G. semiglobifer had previously been isolated from soil samples from North America, Europe and Australia or horse manure from Virginia. After isolation and identification of G. semiglobifer, azygospores of E. maimaiga exposed to zoospores of G. semiglobifer exhibited high levels of mycoparasitism and G. semiglobifer was subsequently reisolated from mycoparasitized resting spores. We discuss the importance of this finding to the epizootiology of insect diseases caused by entomophthoralean fungi. PMID:24140499

  19. Amphibian decline and extinction: what we know and what we need to learn.

    PubMed

    Collins, James P

    2010-11-01

    For over 350 million yr, thousands of amphibian species have lived on Earth. Since the 1980s, amphibians have been disappearing at an alarming rate, in many cases quite suddenly. What is causing these declines and extinctions? In the modern era (post 1500) there are 6 leading causes of biodiversity loss in general, and all of these acting alone or together are responsible for modern amphibian declines: commercial use; introduced/exotic species that compete with, prey on, and parasitize native frogs and salamanders; land use change; contaminants; climate change; and infectious disease. The first 3 causes are historical in the sense that they have been operating for hundreds of years, although the rate of change due to each accelerated greatly after about the mid-20th century. Contaminants, climate change, and emerging infectious diseases are modern causes suspected of being responsible for the so-called 'enigmatic decline' of amphibians in protected areas. Introduced/exotic pathogens, land use change, and infectious disease are the 3 causes with a clear role in amphibian decline as well as extinction; thus far, the other 3 causes are only implicated in decline and not extinction. The present work is a review of the 6 causes with a focus on pathogens and suggested areas where new research is needed. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a chytrid fungus that is an emerging infectious disease causing amphibian population decline and species extinction. Historically, pathogens have not been seen as a major cause of extinction, but Bd is an exception, which is why it is such an interesting, important pathogen to understand. The late 20th and early 21st century global biodiversity loss is characterized as a sixth extinction event. Amphibians are a striking example of these losses as they disappear at a rate that greatly exceeds historical levels. Consequently, modern amphibian decline and extinction is a lens through which we can view the larger story of biodiversity

  20. Epizootiology of sixty-four amphibian morbidity and mortality events in the USA, 1996-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D.E.; Converse, K.A.; Schrader, A.K.

    2002-01-01

    A total of 44 amphibian mortality events and 20 morbidity events were reviewed retrospectively. The most common cause of amphibian mortality events was infection by ranaviruses (Family: Iridoviridae). Ranavirus epizootics have abrupt onset and affect late-stage larvae and recent metamorphs. Mortality events due to ranavirus infections affected only widespread and abundant amphibian species, and there was a clear association with high population densities. Chytrid fungal infections accounted for seven mortality events in postmetamorphic anurans only. Chytrid epizootics are insidious and easily overlooked in the field. While both ranavirus and chytrid fungal epizootics were associated with >90% mortality rates at affected sites, only the chytrid fungal infections were linked to multiple amphibian population declines. Three primitive fungal organisms in the newly erected clade, Mesomycetozoa, caused morbidities and mortalities in anurans and salamanders.

  1. Epizootiology of sixty-four amphibian morbidity and mortality events in the USA, 1996-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D.E.; Converse, K.A.; Schrader, Audra K.

    2002-01-01

    A total of 44 amphibian mortality events and 20 morbidity events were reviewed retrospectively. The most common cause of amphibian mortality events was infection by ranaviruses (Family: Iridoviridae). Ranavirus epizootics have abrupt onset and affect late-stage larvae and recent metamorphs. Mortality events due to ranavirus infections affected only widespread and abundant amphibian species, and there was a clear association with high population densities. Chytrid fungal infections accounted for seven mortality events in postmetamorphic anurans only. Chytrid epizootics are insidious and easily overlooked in the field. While both ranavirus and chytrid fungal epizootics were associated with > 90% mortality rates at affected sites, only the chytrid fungal infections were linked to multiple amphibian population declines. Three primitive fungal organisms in the newly erected clade, Mesomycetozoa, caused morbidities and mortalities in anurans and salamanders.

  2. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibians of Cameroon, including first records for caecilians.

    PubMed

    Doherty-Bone, T M; Gonwouo, N L; Hirschfeld, M; Ohst, T; Weldon, C; Perkins, M; Kouete, M T; Browne, R K; Loader, S P; Gower, D J; Wilkinson, M W; Rödel, M O; Penner, J; Barej, M F; Schmitz, A; Plötner, J; Cunningham, A A

    2013-02-28

    Amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been hypothesised to be an indigenous parasite of African amphibians. In Cameroon, however, previous surveys in one region (in the northwest) failed to detect this pathogen, despite the earliest African Bd having been recorded from a frog in eastern Cameroon, plus one recent record in the far southeast. To reconcile these contrasting results, we present survey data from 12 localities across 6 regions of Cameroon from anurans (n = 1052) and caecilians (n = 85) of ca. 108 species. Bd was detected in 124 amphibian hosts at 7 localities, including Mt. Oku, Mt. Cameroon, Mt. Manengouba and lowland localities in the centre and west of the country. None of the hosts were observed dead or dying. Infected amphibian hosts were not detected in other localities in the south and eastern rainforest belt. Infection occurred in both anurans and caecilians, making this the first reported case of infection in the latter order (Gymnophiona) of amphibians. There was no significant difference between prevalence and infection intensity in frogs and caecilians. We highlight the importance of taking into account the inhibition of diagnostic qPCR in studies on Bd, based on all Bd-positive hosts being undetected when screened without bovine serum albumin in the qPCR mix. The status of Bd as an indigenous, cosmopolitan amphibian parasite in Africa, including Cameroon, is supported by this work. Isolating and sequencing strains of Bd from Cameroon should now be a priority. Longitudinal host population monitoring will be required to determine the effects, if any, of the infection on amphibians in Cameroon. PMID:23446968

  3. Quantitative Proteomics of an Amphibian Pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, following Exposure to Thyroid Hormone

    PubMed Central

    Thekkiniath, Jose; Zabet-Moghaddam, Masoud; Kottapalli, Kameswara Rao; Pasham, Mithun R.; San Francisco, Susan; San Francisco, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a chytrid fungus, has increasingly been implicated as a major factor in the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. The fungus causes chytridiomycosis in susceptible species leading to massive die-offs of adult amphibians. Although Bd infects the keratinized mouthparts of tadpoles and negatively affects foraging behavior, these infections are non-lethal. An important morphogen controlling amphibian metamorphosis is thyroid hormone (T3). Tadpoles may be infected with Bd and the fungus may be exposed to T3 during metamorphosis. We hypothesize that exposure of Bd to T3 may induce the expression of factors associated with host colonization and pathogenicity. We utilized a proteomics approach to better understand the dynamics of the Bd-T3 interaction. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), we generated a data set of a large number of cytoplasmic and membrane proteins following exposure of Bd to T3. From these data, we identified a total of 263 proteins whose expression was significantly changed following T3 exposure. We provide evidence for expression of an array of proteins that may play key roles in both genomic and non-genomic actions of T3 in Bd. Additionally, our proteomics study shows an increase in several proteins including proteases and a class of uncommon crinkler and crinkler-like effector proteins suggesting their importance in Bd pathogenicity as well as those involved in metabolism and energy transfer, protein fate, transport and stress responses. This approach provides insights into the mechanistic basis of the Bd-amphibian interaction following T3 exposure. PMID:26046527

  4. Quantitative Proteomics of an Amphibian Pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, following Exposure to Thyroid Hormone.

    PubMed

    Thekkiniath, Jose; Zabet-Moghaddam, Masoud; Kottapalli, Kameswara Rao; Pasham, Mithun R; San Francisco, Susan; San Francisco, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a chytrid fungus, has increasingly been implicated as a major factor in the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. The fungus causes chytridiomycosis in susceptible species leading to massive die-offs of adult amphibians. Although Bd infects the keratinized mouthparts of tadpoles and negatively affects foraging behavior, these infections are non-lethal. An important morphogen controlling amphibian metamorphosis is thyroid hormone (T3). Tadpoles may be infected with Bd and the fungus may be exposed to T3 during metamorphosis. We hypothesize that exposure of Bd to T3 may induce the expression of factors associated with host colonization and pathogenicity. We utilized a proteomics approach to better understand the dynamics of the Bd-T3 interaction. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), we generated a data set of a large number of cytoplasmic and membrane proteins following exposure of Bd to T3. From these data, we identified a total of 263 proteins whose expression was significantly changed following T3 exposure. We provide evidence for expression of an array of proteins that may play key roles in both genomic and non-genomic actions of T3 in Bd. Additionally, our proteomics study shows an increase in several proteins including proteases and a class of uncommon crinkler and crinkler-like effector proteins suggesting their importance in Bd pathogenicity as well as those involved in metabolism and energy transfer, protein fate, transport and stress responses. This approach provides insights into the mechanistic basis of the Bd-amphibian interaction following T3 exposure. PMID:26046527

  5. Amphibian immune defenses against chytridiomycosis: impacts of changing environments.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Ramsey, Jeremy P; Pask, James D; Reinert, Laura K; Woodhams, Douglas C

    2011-10-01

    Eco-immunology is the field of study that attempts to understand the functions of the immune system in the context of the host's environment. Amphibians are currently suffering devastating declines and extinctions in nearly all parts of the world due to the emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Because chytridiomycosis is a skin infection and remains confined to the skin, immune defenses of the skin are critical for survival. Skin defenses include secreted antimicrobial peptides and immunoglobulins as well as antifungal metabolites produced by symbiotic skin bacteria. Low temperatures, toxic chemicals, and stress inhibit the immune system and may impair natural defenses against B. dendrobatidis. Tadpoles' mouth parts can be infected by B. dendrobatidis. Damage to the mouth parts can impair growth, and the affected tadpoles maintain the pathogen in the environment even when adults have dispersed. Newly metamorphosing frogs appear to be especially vulnerable to infection and to the lethal effects of this pathogen because the immune system undergoes a dramatic reorganization at metamorphosis, and postmetamorphic defenses are not yet mature. Here we review our current understanding of amphibian immune defenses against B. dendrobatidis and the ability of the pathogen to resist those defenses. We also briefly review what is known about the impacts of temperature, environmental chemicals, and stress on the host-pathogen interactions and suggest future directions for research. PMID:21816807

  6. Swabbing Often Fails to Detect Amphibian Chytridiomycosis under Conditions of Low Infection Load

    PubMed Central

    Shin, Jaehyub; Bataille, Arnaud; Kosch, Tiffany A.; Waldman, Bruce

    2014-01-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (denoted Bd), causes large-scale epizootics in naïve amphibian populations. Intervention strategies to rapidly respond to Bd incursions require sensitive and accurate diagnostic methods. Chytridiomycosis usually is assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) amplification of amphibian skin swabs. Results based on this method, however, sometimes yield inconsistent results on infection status and inaccurate scores of infection intensity. In Asia and other regions where amphibians typically bear low Bd loads, swab results are least reliable. We developed a Bd-sampling method that collects zoospores released by infected subjects into an aquatic medium. Bd DNA is extracted by filters and amplified by nested PCR. Using laboratory colonies and field populations of Bombina orientalis, we compare results with those obtained on the same subjects by qPCR of DNA extracted from swabs. Many subjects, despite being diagnosed as Bd-negative by conventional methods, released Bd zoospores into collection containers and thus must be considered infected. Infection loads determined from filtered water were at least 1000 times higher than those estimated from swabs. Subjects significantly varied in infection load, as they intermittently released zoospores, over a 5-day period. Thus, the method might be used to compare the infectivity of individuals and study the periodicity of zoospore release. Sampling methods based on water filtration can dramatically increase the capacity to accurately diagnose chytridiomycosis and contribute to a better understanding of the interactions between Bd and its hosts. PMID:25333363

  7. Swabbing often fails to detect amphibian Chytridiomycosis under conditions of low infection load.

    PubMed

    Shin, Jaehyub; Bataille, Arnaud; Kosch, Tiffany A; Waldman, Bruce

    2014-01-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (denoted Bd), causes large-scale epizootics in naïve amphibian populations. Intervention strategies to rapidly respond to Bd incursions require sensitive and accurate diagnostic methods. Chytridiomycosis usually is assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) amplification of amphibian skin swabs. Results based on this method, however, sometimes yield inconsistent results on infection status and inaccurate scores of infection intensity. In Asia and other regions where amphibians typically bear low Bd loads, swab results are least reliable. We developed a Bd-sampling method that collects zoospores released by infected subjects into an aquatic medium. Bd DNA is extracted by filters and amplified by nested PCR. Using laboratory colonies and field populations of Bombina orientalis, we compare results with those obtained on the same subjects by qPCR of DNA extracted from swabs. Many subjects, despite being diagnosed as Bd-negative by conventional methods, released Bd zoospores into collection containers and thus must be considered infected. Infection loads determined from filtered water were at least 1000 times higher than those estimated from swabs. Subjects significantly varied in infection load, as they intermittently released zoospores, over a 5-day period. Thus, the method might be used to compare the infectivity of individuals and study the periodicity of zoospore release. Sampling methods based on water filtration can dramatically increase the capacity to accurately diagnose chytridiomycosis and contribute to a better understanding of the interactions between Bd and its hosts. PMID:25333363

  8. Inhibition of Local Immune Responses by the Frog-Killing Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Fites, J. Scott; Reinert, Laura K.; Chappell, Timothy M.

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians are suffering unprecedented global declines. A leading cause is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Chytridiomycosis is a skin disease which disrupts transport of essential ions leading to death. Soluble factors produced by B. dendrobatidis impair amphibian and mammalian lymphocytes in vitro, but previous studies have not shown the effects of these inhibitory factors in vivo. To demonstrate in vivo inhibition of immunity by B. dendrobatidis, a modified delayed-type-hypersensitivity (DTH) protocol was developed to induce innate and adaptive inflammatory swelling in the feet of Xenopus laevis by injection of killed bacteria or phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Compared to previous protocols for PHA injection in amphibians, this method induced up to 20-fold greater inflammatory swelling. Using this new protocol, we measured DTH responses induced by killed bacteria or PHA in the presence of B. dendrobatidis supernatants. Swelling induced by single injection of PHA or killed bacteria was not significantly affected by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. However, swelling caused by a secondary injection of PHA, was significantly reduced by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. As previously described in vitro, factors from B. dendrobatidis appear to inhibit lymphocyte-mediated inflammatory swelling but not swelling caused by an inducer of innate leukocytes. This suggests that B. dendrobatidis is capable of inhibiting lymphocytes in a localized response to prevent adaptive immune responses in the skin. The modified protocol used to induce inflammatory swelling in the present study may be more effective than previous methods to investigate amphibian immune competence, particularly in nonmodel species. PMID:25156734

  9. Inhibition of local immune responses by the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Fites, J Scott; Reinert, Laura K; Chappell, Timothy M; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2014-11-01

    Amphibians are suffering unprecedented global declines. A leading cause is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Chytridiomycosis is a skin disease which disrupts transport of essential ions leading to death. Soluble factors produced by B. dendrobatidis impair amphibian and mammalian lymphocytes in vitro, but previous studies have not shown the effects of these inhibitory factors in vivo. To demonstrate in vivo inhibition of immunity by B. dendrobatidis, a modified delayed-type-hypersensitivity (DTH) protocol was developed to induce innate and adaptive inflammatory swelling in the feet of Xenopus laevis by injection of killed bacteria or phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Compared to previous protocols for PHA injection in amphibians, this method induced up to 20-fold greater inflammatory swelling. Using this new protocol, we measured DTH responses induced by killed bacteria or PHA in the presence of B. dendrobatidis supernatants. Swelling induced by single injection of PHA or killed bacteria was not significantly affected by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. However, swelling caused by a secondary injection of PHA, was significantly reduced by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. As previously described in vitro, factors from B. dendrobatidis appear to inhibit lymphocyte-mediated inflammatory swelling but not swelling caused by an inducer of innate leukocytes. This suggests that B. dendrobatidis is capable of inhibiting lymphocytes in a localized response to prevent adaptive immune responses in the skin. The modified protocol used to induce inflammatory swelling in the present study may be more effective than previous methods to investigate amphibian immune competence, particularly in nonmodel species. PMID:25156734

  10. Unlikely Remedy: Fungicide Clears Infection from Pathogenic Fungus in Larval Southern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

    PubMed Central

    Hanlon, Shane M.; Kerby, Jacob L.; Parris, Matthew J.

    2012-01-01

    Amphibians are often exposed to a wide variety of perturbations. Two of these, pesticides and pathogens, are linked to declines in both amphibian health and population viability. Many studies have examined the separate effects of such perturbations; however, few have examined the effects of simultaneous exposure of both to amphibians. In this study, we exposed larval southern leopard frog tadpoles (Lithobates sphenocephalus) to the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and the fungicide thiophanate-methyl (TM) at 0.6 mg/L under laboratory conditions. The experiment was continued until all larvae completed metamorphosis or died. Overall, TM facilitated increases in tadpole mass and length. Additionally, individuals exposed to both TM and Bd were heavier and larger, compared to all other treatments. TM also cleared Bd in infected larvae. We conclude that TM affects larval anurans to facilitate growth and development while clearing Bd infection. Our findings highlight the need for more research into multiple perturbations, specifically pesticides and disease, to further promote amphibian heath. PMID:22912890

  11. The Emerging Amphibian Fungal Disease, Chytridiomycosis: A Key Example of the Global Phenomenon of Wildlife Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Daszak, Peter

    2016-06-01

    The spread of amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is associated with the emerging infectious wildlife disease chytridiomycosis. This fungus poses an overwhelming threat to global amphibian biodiversity and is contributing toward population declines and extinctions worldwide. Extremely low host-species specificity potentially threatens thousands of the 7,000+ amphibian species with infection, and hosts in additional classes of organisms have now also been identified, including crayfish and nematode worms.Soon after the discovery of B. dendrobatidis in 1999, it became apparent that this pathogen was already pandemic; dozens of countries and hundreds of amphibian species had already been exposed. The timeline of B. dendrobatidis's global emergence still remains a mystery, as does its point of origin. The reason why B. dendrobatidis seems to have only recently increased in virulence to catalyze this global disease event remains unknown, and despite 15 years of investigation, this wildlife pandemic continues primarily uncontrolled. Some disease treatments are effective on animals held in captivity, but there is currently no proven method to eradicate B. dendrobatidis from an affected habitat, nor have we been able to protect new regions from exposure despite knowledge of an approaching "wave" of B. dendrobatidis and ensuing disease.International spread of B. dendrobatidis is largely facilitated by the commercial trade in live amphibians. Chytridiomycosis was recently listed as a globally notifiable disease by the World Organization for Animal Health, but few countries, if any, have formally adopted recommended measures to control its spread. Wildlife diseases continue to emerge as a consequence of globalization, and greater effort is urgently needed to protect global health. PMID:27337484

  12. Distribution and environmental limitations of an amphibian pathogen in the Rocky Mountains, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, E.; Pilliod, D.S.; Livo, L.J.

    2008-01-01

    Amphibian populations continue to be imperiled by the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). Understanding where B. dendrobatidis (Bd) occurs and how it may be limited by environmental factors is critical to our ability to effectively conserve the amphibians affected by Bd. We sampled 1247 amphibians (boreal toads and surrogates) at 261 boreal toad (Bufo boreas) breeding sites (97 clusters) along an 11?? latitudinal gradient in the Rocky Mountains to determine the distribution of B. dendrobatidis and examine environmental factors, such as temperature and elevation, that might affect its distribution. The fungus was detected at 64% of all clusters and occurred across a range of elevations (1030-3550 m) and latitudes (37.6-48.6??) but we detected it in only 42% of clusters in the south (site elevations higher), compared to 84% of clusters in the north (site elevations lower). Maximum ambient temperature (daily high) explained much of the variation in Bd occurrence in boreal toad populations and thus perhaps limits the occurrence of the pathogen in the Rocky Mountains to areas where climatic conditions facilitate optimal growth of the fungus. This information has implications in global climate change scenarios where warming temperatures may facilitate the spread of disease into previously un- or little-affected areas (i.e., higher elevations). This study provides the first regional-level, field-based effort to examine the relationship of environmental and geographic factors to the distribution of B. dendrobatidis in North America and will assist managers to focus on at-risk populations as determined by the local temperature regimes, latitude and elevation.

  13. Linking global climate and temperature variability to widespread amphibian declines putatively caused by disease.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R

    2010-05-01

    The role of global climate change in the decline of biodiversity and the emergence of infectious diseases remains controversial, and the effect of climatic variability, in particular, has largely been ignored. For instance, it was recently revealed that the proposed link between climate change and widespread amphibian declines, putatively caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), was tenuous because it was based on a temporally confounded correlation. Here we provide temporally unconfounded evidence that global El Niño climatic events drive widespread amphibian losses in genus Atelopus via increased regional temperature variability, which can reduce amphibian defenses against pathogens. Of 26 climate variables tested, only factors associated with temperature variability could account for the spatiotemporal patterns of declines thought to be associated with Bd. Climatic predictors of declines became significant only after controlling for a pattern consistent with epidemic spread (by temporally detrending the data). This presumed spread accounted for 59% of the temporal variation in amphibian losses, whereas El Niño accounted for 59% of the remaining variation. Hence, we could account for 83% of the variation in declines with these two variables alone. Given that global climate change seems to increase temperature variability, extreme climatic events, and the strength of Central Pacific El Niño episodes, climate change might exacerbate worldwide enigmatic declines of amphibians, presumably by increasing susceptibility to disease. These results suggest that changes to temperature variability associated with climate change might be as significant to biodiversity losses and disease emergence as changes to mean temperature. PMID:20404180

  14. Long-term endemism of two highly divergent lineages of the amphibian-killing fungus in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, D; Becker, C G; Pupin, N C; Haddad, C F B; Zamudio, K R

    2014-02-01

    The recent global spread of the amphibian-killing fungus [Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd)] has been closely tied to anthropogenic activities; however, regional patterns of spread are not completely understood. Using historical samples, we can test whether Bd was a spreading or endemic pathogen in a region within a particular time frame, because those two disease states provide different predictions for the regional demographic dynamics and population genetics of Bd. Testing historical patterns of pathogen prevalence and population genetics under these predictions is key to understanding the evolution and origin of Bd. Focusing on the Atlantic Forest (AF) of Brazil, we used qPCR assays to determine the presence or absence of Bd on 2799 preserved postmetamorphic anurans collected between 1894 and 2010 and used semi-nested PCRs to determine the frequency of rRNA ITS1 haplotypes from 52 samples. Our earliest date of detection was 1894. A mean prevalence of 23.9% over time and spatiotemporal patterns of Bd clusters indicate that Bd has been enzootic in the Brazilian AF with no evidence of regional spread within the last 116 years. ITS1 haplotypes confirm the long-term presence of two divergent strains of Bd (BdGPL and Bd-Brazil) and three spatiotemporally broad genetic demes within BdGPL, indicating that Bd was not introduced into southeast Brazil by the bullfrog trade. Our data show that the evolutionary history and pathogen dynamics of Bd in Brazil is better explained by the endemic pathogen hypothesis. PMID:24471406

  15. Fungal infection intensity and zoospore output of Atelopus zeteki, a potential acute chytrid supershedder.

    PubMed

    Direnzo, Graziella V; Langhammer, Penny F; Zamudio, Kelly R; Lips, Karen R

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians vary in their response to infection by the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Highly susceptible species are the first to decline and/or disappear once Bd arrives at a site. These competent hosts likely facilitate Bd proliferation because of ineffective innate and/or acquired immune defenses. We show that Atelopus zeteki, a highly susceptible species that has undergone substantial population declines throughout its range, rapidly and exponentially increases skin Bd infection intensity, achieving intensities that are several orders of magnitude greater than most other species reported. We experimentally infected individuals that were never exposed to Bd (n = 5) or previously exposed to an attenuated Bd strain (JEL427-P39; n = 3). Within seven days post-inoculation, the average Bd infection intensity was 18,213 zoospores (SE: 9,010; range: 0 to 66,928). Both average Bd infection intensity and zoospore output (i.e., the number of zoospores released per minute by an infected individual) increased exponentially until time of death (t50 = 7.018, p<0.001, t46 = 3.164, p = 0.001, respectively). Mean Bd infection intensity and zoospore output at death were 4,334,422 zoospores (SE: 1,236,431) and 23.55 zoospores per minute (SE: 22.78), respectively, with as many as 9,584,158 zoospores on a single individual. The daily percent increases in Bd infection intensity and zoospore output were 35.4% (SE: 0.05) and 13.1% (SE: 0.04), respectively. We also found that Bd infection intensity and zoospore output were positively correlated (t43 = 3.926, p<0.001). All animals died between 22 and 33 days post-inoculation (mean: 28.88; SE: 1.58). Prior Bd infection had no effect on survival, Bd infection intensity, or zoospore output. We conclude that A. zeteki, a highly susceptible amphibian species, may be an acute supershedder. Our results can inform epidemiological models to estimate Bd outbreak probability, especially as they relate to

  16. Fungal Infection Intensity and Zoospore Output of Atelopus zeteki, a Potential Acute Chytrid Supershedder

    PubMed Central

    DiRenzo, Graziella V.; Langhammer, Penny F.; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Lips, Karen R.

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians vary in their response to infection by the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Highly susceptible species are the first to decline and/or disappear once Bd arrives at a site. These competent hosts likely facilitate Bd proliferation because of ineffective innate and/or acquired immune defenses. We show that Atelopus zeteki, a highly susceptible species that has undergone substantial population declines throughout its range, rapidly and exponentially increases skin Bd infection intensity, achieving intensities that are several orders of magnitude greater than most other species reported. We experimentally infected individuals that were never exposed to Bd (n = 5) or previously exposed to an attenuated Bd strain (JEL427-P39; n = 3). Within seven days post-inoculation, the average Bd infection intensity was 18,213 zoospores (SE: 9,010; range: 0 to 66,928). Both average Bd infection intensity and zoospore output (i.e., the number of zoospores released per minute by an infected individual) increased exponentially until time of death (t50 = 7.018, p<0.001, t46 = 3.164, p = 0.001, respectively). Mean Bd infection intensity and zoospore output at death were 4,334,422 zoospores (SE: 1,236,431) and 23.55 zoospores per minute (SE: 22.78), respectively, with as many as 9,584,158 zoospores on a single individual. The daily percent increases in Bd infection intensity and zoospore output were 35.4% (SE: 0.05) and 13.1% (SE: 0.04), respectively. We also found that Bd infection intensity and zoospore output were positively correlated (t43 = 3.926, p<0.001). All animals died between 22 and 33 days post-inoculation (mean: 28.88; SE: 1.58). Prior Bd infection had no effect on survival, Bd infection intensity, or zoospore output. We conclude that A. zeteki, a highly susceptible amphibian species, may be an acute supershedder. Our results can inform epidemiological models to estimate Bd outbreak probability, especially

  17. Immunomodulatory Metabolites Released by the Frog-Killing Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Fites, J. Scott; Reinert, Laura K.; Shiakolas, Andrea R.; Umile, Thomas P.; Minbiole, Kevin P. C.

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungal pathogen in the phylum Chytridiomycota that causes the skin disease chytridiomycosis. Chytridiomycosis is considered an emerging infectious disease linked to worldwide amphibian declines and extinctions. Although amphibians have well-developed immune defenses, clearance of this pathogen from the skin is often impaired. Previously, we showed that the adaptive immune system is involved in the control of the pathogen, but B. dendrobatidis releases factors that inhibit in vitro and in vivo lymphocyte responses and induce lymphocyte apoptosis. Little is known about the nature of the inhibitory factors released by this fungus. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of three fungal metabolites produced by B. dendrobatidis but not by the closely related nonpathogenic chytrid Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza. These metabolites are methylthioadenosine (MTA), tryptophan, and an oxidized product of tryptophan, kynurenine (Kyn). Independently, both MTA and Kyn inhibit the survival and proliferation of amphibian lymphocytes and the Jurkat human T cell leukemia cell line. However, working together, they become effective at much lower concentrations. We hypothesize that B. dendrobatidis can adapt its metabolism to release products that alter the local environment in the skin to inhibit immunity and enhance the survival of the pathogen. PMID:26371122

  18. Trophic dynamics in an aquatic community: interactions among primary producers, grazers, and a pathogenic fungus.

    PubMed

    Buck, Julia C; Scholz, Katharina I; Rohr, Jason R; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2015-05-01

    Free-living stages of parasites are consumed by a variety of predators, which might have important consequences for predators, parasites, and hosts. For example, zooplankton prey on the infectious stage of the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogen responsible for amphibian population declines and extinctions worldwide. Predation on parasites is predicted to influence community structure and function, and affect disease risk, but relatively few studies have explored its consequences empirically. We investigated interactions among Rana cascadae tadpoles, zooplankton, and Bd in a fully factorial experiment in outdoor mesocosms. We measured growth, development, survival, and infection of amphibians and took weekly measurements of the abundance of zooplankton, phytoplankton (suspended algae), and periphyton (attached algae). We hypothesized that zooplankton might have positive indirect effects on tadpoles by consuming Bd zoospores and by consuming phytoplankton, thus reducing the shading of a major tadpole resource, periphyton. We also hypothesized that zooplankton would have negative effects on tadpoles, mediated by competition for algal resources. Mixed-effects models, repeated-measures ANOVAs, and a structural equation model revealed that zooplankton significantly reduced phytoplankton but had no detectable effects on Bd or periphyton. Hence, the indirect positive effects of zooplankton on tadpoles were negligible when compared to the indirect negative effect mediated by competition for phytoplankton. We conclude that examination of host-pathogen dynamics within a community context may be necessary to elucidate complex community dynamics. PMID:25432573

  19. Immunomodulatory metabolites released by the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Fites, J Scott; Reinert, Laura K; Shiakolas, Andrea R; Umile, Thomas P; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2015-12-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungal pathogen in the phylum Chytridiomycota that causes the skin disease chytridiomycosis. Chytridiomycosis is considered an emerging infectious disease linked to worldwide amphibian declines and extinctions. Although amphibians have well-developed immune defenses, clearance of this pathogen from the skin is often impaired. Previously, we showed that the adaptive immune system is involved in the control of the pathogen, but B. dendrobatidis releases factors that inhibit in vitro and in vivo lymphocyte responses and induce lymphocyte apoptosis. Little is known about the nature of the inhibitory factors released by this fungus. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of three fungal metabolites produced by B. dendrobatidis but not by the closely related nonpathogenic chytrid Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza. These metabolites are methylthioadenosine (MTA), tryptophan, and an oxidized product of tryptophan, kynurenine (Kyn). Independently, both MTA and Kyn inhibit the survival and proliferation of amphibian lymphocytes and the Jurkat human T cell leukemia cell line. However, working together, they become effective at much lower concentrations. We hypothesize that B. dendrobatidis can adapt its metabolism to release products that alter the local environment in the skin to inhibit immunity and enhance the survival of the pathogen. PMID:26371122

  20. A Fungal Pathogen of Amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Attenuates in Pathogenicity with In Vitro Passages

    PubMed Central

    Langhammer, Penny F.; Lips, Karen R.; Burrowes, Patricia A.; Tunstall, Tate; Palmer, Crystal M.; Collins, James P.

    2013-01-01

    Laboratory investigations into the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), have accelerated recently, given the pathogen’s role in causing the global decline and extinction of amphibians. Studies in which host animals were exposed to Bd have largely assumed that lab-maintained pathogen cultures retained the infective and pathogenic properties of wild isolates. Attenuated pathogenicity is common in artificially maintained cultures of other pathogenic fungi, but to date, it is unknown whether, and to what degree, Bd might change in culture. We compared zoospore production over time in two samples of a single Bd isolate having different passage histories: one maintained in artificial media for more than six years (JEL427-P39), and one recently thawed from cryopreserved stock (JEL427-P9). In a common garden experiment, we then exposed two different amphibian species, Eleutherodactylus coqui and Atelopus zeteki, to both cultures to test whether Bd attenuates in pathogenicity with in vitro passages. The culture with the shorter passage history, JEL427-P9, had significantly greater zoospore densities over time compared to JEL427-P39. This difference in zoospore production was associated with a difference in pathogenicity for a susceptible amphibian species, indicating that fecundity may be an important virulence factor for Bd. In the 130-day experiment, Atelopus zeteki frogs exposed to the JEL427-P9 culture experienced higher average infection intensity and 100% mortality, compared with 60% mortality for frogs exposed to JEL427-P39. This effect was not observed with Eleutherodactylus coqui, which was able to clear infection. We hypothesize that the differences in phenotypic performance observed with Atelopus zeteki are rooted in changes of the Bd genome. Future investigations enabled by this study will focus on the underlying mechanisms of Bd pathogenicity. PMID:24130895

  1. A fungal pathogen of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, attenuates in pathogenicity with in vitro passages.

    PubMed

    Langhammer, Penny F; Lips, Karen R; Burrowes, Patricia A; Tunstall, Tate; Palmer, Crystal M; Collins, James P

    2013-01-01

    Laboratory investigations into the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), have accelerated recently, given the pathogen's role in causing the global decline and extinction of amphibians. Studies in which host animals were exposed to Bd have largely assumed that lab-maintained pathogen cultures retained the infective and pathogenic properties of wild isolates. Attenuated pathogenicity is common in artificially maintained cultures of other pathogenic fungi, but to date, it is unknown whether, and to what degree, Bd might change in culture. We compared zoospore production over time in two samples of a single Bd isolate having different passage histories: one maintained in artificial media for more than six years (JEL427-P39), and one recently thawed from cryopreserved stock (JEL427-P9). In a common garden experiment, we then exposed two different amphibian species, Eleutherodactylus coqui and Atelopus zeteki, to both cultures to test whether Bd attenuates in pathogenicity with in vitro passages. The culture with the shorter passage history, JEL427-P9, had significantly greater zoospore densities over time compared to JEL427-P39. This difference in zoospore production was associated with a difference in pathogenicity for a susceptible amphibian species, indicating that fecundity may be an important virulence factor for Bd. In the 130-day experiment, Atelopus zeteki frogs exposed to the JEL427-P9 culture experienced higher average infection intensity and 100% mortality, compared with 60% mortality for frogs exposed to JEL427-P39. This effect was not observed with Eleutherodactylus coqui, which was able to clear infection. We hypothesize that the differences in phenotypic performance observed with Atelopus zeteki are rooted in changes of the Bd genome. Future investigations enabled by this study will focus on the underlying mechanisms of Bd pathogenicity. PMID:24130895

  2. Variation in the Presence of Anti-Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Bacteria of Amphibians Across Life Stages and Elevations in Ecuador.

    PubMed

    Bresciano, J C; Salvador, C A; Paz-Y-Miño, C; Parody-Merino, A M; Bosch, J; Woodhams, D C

    2015-06-01

    Amphibian populations are decreasing worldwide due to a variety of factors. In South America, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is linked to many population declines. The pathogenic effect of Bd on amphibians can be inhibited by specific bacteria present on host skin. This symbiotic association allows some amphibians to resist the development of the disease chytridiomycosis. Here, we aimed (1) to determine for the first time if specific anti-Bd bacteria are present on amphibians in the Andes of Ecuador, (2) to monitor anti-Bd bacteria across developmental stages in a focal amphibian, the Andean marsupial tree frog, Gastrotheca riobambae, that deposits larvae in aquatic habitats, and (3) to compare the Bd presence associated with host assemblages including 10 species at sites ranging in biogeography from Amazonian rainforest (450 masl) to Andes montane rainforest (3200 masl). We sampled and identified skin-associated bacteria of frogs in the field using swabs and a novel methodology of aerobic counting plates, and a combination of morphological, biochemical, and molecular identification techniques. The following anti-Bd bacteria were identified and found to be shared among several hosts at high-elevation sites where Bd was present at a prevalence of 32.5%: Janthinobacterium lividum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Serratia sp. Bd were detected in Gastrotheca spp. and not detected in the lowlands (sites below 1000 masl). In G. riobambae, recognized Bd-resistant bacteria start to be present at the metamorphic stage. Overall bacterial abundance was significantly higher post-metamorphosis and on species sampled at lower elevations. Further metagenomic studies are needed to evaluate the roles of host identity, life-history stage, and biogeography of the microbiota and their function in disease resistance. PMID:25669915

  3. Potential interactions among disease, pesticides, water quality and adjacent land cover in amphibian habitats in the United States.

    PubMed

    Battaglin, W A; Smalling, K L; Anderson, C; Calhoun, D; Chestnut, T; Muths, E

    2016-10-01

    To investigate interactions among disease, pesticides, water quality, and adjacent land cover, we collected samples of water, sediment, and frog tissue from 21 sites in 7 States in the United States (US) representing a variety of amphibian habitats. All samples were analyzed for >90 pesticides and pesticide degradates, and water and frogs were screened for the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) using molecular methods. Pesticides and pesticide degradates were detected frequently in frog breeding habitats (water and sediment) as well as in frog tissue. Fungicides occurred more frequently in water, sediment, and tissue than was expected based upon their limited use relative to herbicides or insecticides. Pesticide occurrence in water or sediment was not a strong predictor of occurrence in tissue, but pesticide concentrations in tissue were correlated positively to agricultural and urban land, and negatively to forested land in 2-km buffers around the sites. Bd was detected in water at 45% of sites, and on 34% of swabbed frogs. Bd detections in water were not associated with differences in land use around sites, but sites with detections had colder water. Frogs that tested positive for Bd were associated with sites that had higher total fungicide concentrations in water and sediment, but lower insecticide concentrations in sediments relative to frogs that were Bd negative. Bd concentrations on frog swabs were positively correlated to dissolved organic carbon, and total nitrogen and phosphorus, and negatively correlated to pH and water temperature. Data were collected from a range of locations and amphibian habitats and represent some of the first field-collected information aimed at understanding the interactions between pesticides, land use, and amphibian disease. These interactions are of particular interest to conservation efforts as many amphibians live in altered habitats and may depend on wetlands embedded in these landscapes to survive

  4. Mitigating amphibian disease: strategies to maintain wild populations and control chytridiomycosis

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Rescuing amphibian diversity is an achievable conservation challenge. Disease mitigation is one essential component of population management. Here we assess existing disease mitigation strategies, some in early experimental stages, which focus on the globally emerging chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. We discuss the precedent for each strategy in systems ranging from agriculture to human medicine, and the outlook for each strategy in terms of research needs and long-term potential. Results We find that the effects of exposure to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis occur on a spectrum from transient commensal to lethal pathogen. Management priorities are divided between (1) halting pathogen spread and developing survival assurance colonies, and (2) prophylactic or remedial disease treatment. Epidemiological models of chytridiomycosis suggest that mitigation strategies can control disease without eliminating the pathogen. Ecological ethics guide wildlife disease research, but several ethical questions remain for managing disease in the field. Conclusions Because sustainable conservation of amphibians in nature is dependent on long-term population persistence and co-evolution with potentially lethal pathogens, we suggest that disease mitigation not focus exclusively on the elimination or containment of the pathogen, or on the captive breeding of amphibian hosts. Rather, successful disease mitigation must be context specific with epidemiologically informed strategies to manage already infected populations by decreasing pathogenicity and host susceptibility. We propose population level treatments based on three steps: first, identify mechanisms of disease suppression; second, parameterize epizootiological models of disease and population dynamics for testing under semi-natural conditions; and third, begin a process of adaptive management in field trials with natural populations. PMID:21496358

  5. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are ecologically significant in various ecosystems through their role in shaping food web structure, facilitating energy transfer, and controlling disease. Here in this review, we mainly focus on parasitic chytrids, the dominant parasites in aquatic ecosystems, and explain their roles in aquatic food webs, particularly as prey for zooplankton. Chytrids have a free-living zoosporic stage, during which they actively search for new hosts. Zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size, shape, and nutritional quality. In the field, densities of chytrids can be high, ranging from 101 to 109 spores L−1. When large inedible phytoplankton species are infected by chytrids, nutrients within host cells are transferred to zooplankton via the zoospores of parasitic chytrids. This new pathway, the “mycoloop,” may play an important role in shaping aquatic ecosystems, by altering sinking fluxes or determining system stability. The grazing of zoospores by zooplankton may also suppress outbreaks of parasitic chytrids. A food web model demonstrated that the contribution of the mycoloop to zooplankton production increased with nutrient availability and was also dependent on the stability of the system. Further studies with advanced molecular tools are likely to discover greater chytrid diversity and evidence of additional mycoloops in lakes and oceans. PMID:24795703

  6. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are ecologically significant in various ecosystems through their role in shaping food web structure, facilitating energy transfer, and controlling disease. Here in this review, we mainly focus on parasitic chytrids, the dominant parasites in aquatic ecosystems, and explain their roles in aquatic food webs, particularly as prey for zooplankton. Chytrids have a free-living zoosporic stage, during which they actively search for new hosts. Zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size, shape, and nutritional quality. In the field, densities of chytrids can be high, ranging from 10(1) to 10(9) spores L(-1). When large inedible phytoplankton species are infected by chytrids, nutrients within host cells are transferred to zooplankton via the zoospores of parasitic chytrids. This new pathway, the "mycoloop," may play an important role in shaping aquatic ecosystems, by altering sinking fluxes or determining system stability. The grazing of zoospores by zooplankton may also suppress outbreaks of parasitic chytrids. A food web model demonstrated that the contribution of the mycoloop to zooplankton production increased with nutrient availability and was also dependent on the stability of the system. Further studies with advanced molecular tools are likely to discover greater chytrid diversity and evidence of additional mycoloops in lakes and oceans. PMID:24795703

  7. Isolation and characterization of a novel chytrid species (phylum Blastocladiomycota), parasitic on the green alga Haematococcus.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Yoram; Aflalo, Claude; Zarka, Aliza; Gutman, Jenia; James, Timothy Y; Boussiba, Sammy

    2008-01-01

    A parasite was found in cultures of the green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis that grew epibiotically on algal cells and caused epidemics resulting in damage to the host cultures. The parasite was isolated into axenic culture on solid and liquid media. It was demonstrated to be the sole causative agent of the epidemics. According to its life cycle and phylogenetic analysis based on 18S ribosomal DNA sequences, the pathogen appears to represent a novel chytrid fungus closely related to the vascular plant pathogen Physoderma (Blastocladiomycota), although it differs from all other known chytrids by its infective stage, a wall-less propagule endowed with amoeboid motion and lacking the group's typical flagellum. PMID:18222678

  8. An alternative framework for responding to the amphibian crisis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin L.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2015-01-01

    Volumes of data illustrate the severity of the crisis affecting amphibians, where > 32% of amphibians worldwide are threatened with declining populations. Although there have been isolated victories, the current approach to the issue is unsuccessful. We suggest that a radically different approach, something akin to human emergency response management (i.e. the Incident Command System), is one alternative to addressing the inertia and lack of cohesion in responding to amphibian issues. We acknowledge existing efforts and the useful research that has been conducted, but we suggest that a change is warranted and that the identification of a new amphibian chytrid provides the impetus for such a change. Our goal is to recognize that without a centralized effort we (collectively) are likely to fail in responding to this challenge.

  9. Projecting the Global Distribution of the Emerging Amphibian Fungal Pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Based on IPCC Climate Futures.

    PubMed

    Xie, Gisselle Yang; Olson, Deanna H; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2016-01-01

    Projected changes in climate conditions are emerging as significant risk factors to numerous species, affecting habitat conditions and community interactions. Projections suggest species range shifts in response to climate change modifying environmental suitability and is supported by observational evidence. Both pathogens and their hosts can shift ranges with climate change. We consider how climate change may influence the distribution of the emerging infectious amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogen associated with worldwide amphibian population losses. Using an expanded global Bd database and a novel modeling approach, we examined a broad set of climate metrics to model the Bd-climate niche globally and regionally, then project how climate change may influence Bd distributions. Previous research showed that Bd distribution is dependent on climatic variables, in particular temperature. We trained a machine-learning model (random forest) with the most comprehensive global compilation of Bd sampling records (~5,000 site-level records, mid-2014 summary), including 13 climatic variables. We projected future Bd environmental suitability under IPCC scenarios. The learning model was trained with combined worldwide data (non-region specific) and also separately per region (region-specific). One goal of our study was to estimate of how Bd spatial risks may change under climate change based on the best available data. Our models supported differences in Bd-climate relationships among geographic regions. We projected that Bd ranges will shift into higher latitudes and altitudes due to increased environmental suitability in those regions under predicted climate change. Specifically, our model showed a broad expansion of areas environmentally suitable for establishment of Bd on amphibian hosts in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. Our projections are useful for the development of monitoring designs in these areas, especially for

  10. Projecting the Global Distribution of the Emerging Amphibian Fungal Pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Based on IPCC Climate Futures

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Deanna H.; Blaustein, Andrew R.

    2016-01-01

    Projected changes in climate conditions are emerging as significant risk factors to numerous species, affecting habitat conditions and community interactions. Projections suggest species range shifts in response to climate change modifying environmental suitability and is supported by observational evidence. Both pathogens and their hosts can shift ranges with climate change. We consider how climate change may influence the distribution of the emerging infectious amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogen associated with worldwide amphibian population losses. Using an expanded global Bd database and a novel modeling approach, we examined a broad set of climate metrics to model the Bd-climate niche globally and regionally, then project how climate change may influence Bd distributions. Previous research showed that Bd distribution is dependent on climatic variables, in particular temperature. We trained a machine-learning model (random forest) with the most comprehensive global compilation of Bd sampling records (~5,000 site-level records, mid-2014 summary), including 13 climatic variables. We projected future Bd environmental suitability under IPCC scenarios. The learning model was trained with combined worldwide data (non-region specific) and also separately per region (region-specific). One goal of our study was to estimate of how Bd spatial risks may change under climate change based on the best available data. Our models supported differences in Bd-climate relationships among geographic regions. We projected that Bd ranges will shift into higher latitudes and altitudes due to increased environmental suitability in those regions under predicted climate change. Specifically, our model showed a broad expansion of areas environmentally suitable for establishment of Bd on amphibian hosts in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. Our projections are useful for the development of monitoring designs in these areas, especially for

  11. Disease Risk in Temperate Amphibian Populations Is Higher at Closed-Canopy Sites

    PubMed Central

    Becker, C. Guilherme; Rodriguez, David; Longo, Ana V.; Talaba, Amanda L.; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2012-01-01

    Habitat loss and chytridiomycosis (a disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis - Bd) are major drivers of amphibian declines worldwide. Habitat loss regulates host-pathogen interactions by altering biotic and abiotic factors directly linked to both host and pathogen fitness. Therefore, studies investigating the links between natural vegetation and chytridiomycosis require integrative approaches to control for the multitude of possible interactions of biological and environmental variables in spatial epidemiology. In this study, we quantified Bd infection dynamics across a gradient of natural vegetation and microclimates, looking for causal associations between vegetation cover, multiple microclimatic variables, and pathogen prevalence and infection intensity. To minimize the effects of host diversity in our analyses, we sampled amphibian populations in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, a region with relatively high single-host dominance. We sampled permanent ponds for anurans, focusing on populations of the habitat generalist frog Lithobates clamitans, and recorded various biotic and abiotic factors that potentially affect host-pathogen interactions: natural vegetation, canopy density, water temperature, and host population and community attributes. We screened for important explanatory variables of Bd infections and used path analyses to statistically test for the strength of cascading effects linking vegetation cover, microclimate, and Bd parameters. We found that canopy density, natural vegetation, and daily average water temperature were the best predictors of Bd. High canopy density resulted in lower water temperature, which in turn predicted higher Bd prevalence and infection intensity. Our results confirm that microclimatic shifts arising from changes in natural vegetation play an important role in Bd spatial epidemiology, with areas of closed canopy favoring Bd. Given increasing rates of anthropogenic habitat modification

  12. Wetland characteristics influence disease risk for a threatened amphibian.

    PubMed

    Heard, Geoffrey W; Scroggie, Michael P; Clemann, Nick; Ramsey, David S L

    2014-06-01

    Identifying determinants of the probability and intensity of infections is important for understanding the epidemiology of wildlife diseases, and for managing their impact on threatened species. Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has decimated populations of some amphibians. However, recent studies have identified important environmental constraints on the disease, related to the pathogen's physiological tolerances. In this study, we identified several intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of the probability and intensity of chytrid infections for the threatened growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis) in southeastern Australia, and used mark-recapture to estimate the effect of chytrid infections on the probability of survival of these frogs. Water temperature and salinity had negative effects on both the probability and intensity of chytrid infections. We coupled models of the infection process with a model of the effect of chytrid infections on the probability of survival to assess variation in the impact of chytridiomycosis between wetlands with differing temperature and salinity profiles. Our results suggest that warm, saline wetlands may be refuges from chytridiomycosis for L. raniformis, and should be priorities for protection. Our results also suggest that management actions that increase water temperature (e.g., reducing canopy shading) and salinity (e.g., complementing inflows with groundwater) could be trialed to reduce the impacts of chytridiomycosis on this species. This and other recent studies highlight the value of research on environmental risk factors for chytridiomycosis. PMID:24988766

  13. 75 FR 56975 - Injurious Wildlife Species; Review of Information Concerning a Petition To List All Live...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-09-17

    ... Information Concerning a Petition To List All Live Amphibians in Trade as Injurious Unless Free of..., all live amphibians or their eggs in trade as injurious unless certified as free of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus). The importation and introduction of live amphibians infected with chytrid...

  14. Amphibian Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob

    Anuran amphibians (frogs and toads) of most of the 3,500 species that exist today are highly vocal animals. In most frogs, males will spend considerable energy on calling and incur sizeable predation risks and the females’ detection and localization of the calls of conspecific males is often a prerequisite for successful mating. Therefore, acoustic communication is evidently evolutionarily important in the anurans, and their auditory system is probably shaped by the selective pressures associated with production, detection and localization of the communication calls.

  15. Chytrids dominate arctic marine fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Hassett, B T; Gradinger, R

    2016-06-01

    Climate change is altering Arctic ecosystem structure by changing weather patterns and reducing sea ice coverage. These changes are increasing light penetration into the Arctic Ocean that are forecasted to increase primary production; however, increased light can also induce photoinhibition and cause physiological stress in algae and phytoplankton that can favour disease development. Fungi are voracious parasites in many ecosystems that can modulate the flow of carbon through food webs, yet are poorly characterized in the marine environment. We provide the first data from any marine ecosystem in which fungi in the Chytridiomycota dominate fungal communities and are linked in their occurrence to light intensities and algal stress. Increased light penetration stresses ice algae and elevates disease incidence under reduced snow cover. Our results show that chytrids dominate Arctic marine fungal communities and have the potential to rapidly change primary production patterns with increased light penetration. PMID:26754171

  16. Acid tolerance in amphibians

    SciTech Connect

    Pierce, B.A.

    1985-04-01

    Studies of amphibian acid tolerance provide information about the potential effects of acid deposition on amphibian communities. Amphibians as a group appear to be relatively acid tolerant, with many species suffering increased mortality only below pH 4. However, amphibians exhibit much intraspecific variation in acid tolerance, and some species are sensitive to even low levels of acidity. Furthermore, nonlethal effects, including depression of growth rates and increases in developmental abnormalities, can occur at higher pH.

  17. Synergism between UV-B radiation and pathogen magnifies amphibian embryo mortality in nature

    SciTech Connect

    Kiesecker, J.M.; Blaustein, R.

    1995-11-21

    Previous research has shown that amphibians have differential sensitivity to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. In some species, ambient levels of UV-B radiation cause embryonic mortality in nature. The detrimental effects of UV-B alone or with other agents may ultimately affect amphibians at the population level. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a synergistic effect between UV-B radiation and a pathogenic fungus in the field that increases the mortality of amphibian embryos compared with either factor alone. Studies investigating single factors for causes of amphibian egg mortality or population declines may not reveal the complex factors involved in declines.

  18. Surgery in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian surgery has been especially described in research. Since the last decade, interest for captive amphibians has increased, so have the indications for surgical intervention. Clinicians should not hesitate to advocate such manipulations. Amphibian surgeries have no overwhelming obstacles. These patients heal well and tolerate blood loss more than higher vertebrates. Most procedures described in reptiles (mostly lizards) can be undertaken in most amphibians if equipment can be matched to the patients' size. In general, the most difficult aspect would be the provision of adequate anesthesia. PMID:26611925

  19. Freeze tolerance of soil chytrids from temperate climates in Australia.

    PubMed

    Gleason, Frank H; Letcher, Peter M; McGee, Peter A

    2008-08-01

    Very little is known about the capacity of soil chytrids to withstand freezing in the field. Tolerance to freezing was tested in 21 chytrids isolated from cropping and undisturbed soils in temperate Australia. Samples of thalli grown on peptone-yeast-glucose (PYG) agar were incubated for seven days at -15 degrees C. Recovery of growth after thawing and transferring to fresh medium at 20 degrees C indicated survival. All isolates in the Blastocladiales and Spizellomycetales survived freezing in all tests. All isolates in the Chytridiales also survived freezing in some tests. None of the isolates in the Rhizophydiales survived freezing in any of the tests. However, some isolates in the Rhizophydiales recovered growth after freezing if they were grown on PYG agar supplemented with either 1% sodium chloride or 1% glycerol prior to freezing. After freezing, the morphology of the thalli of all isolates was observed under LM. In those isolates that recovered growth after transfer to fresh media, mature zoosporangia were observed in the monocentric isolates and resistant sporangia or resting spores in the polycentric isolates. Encysted zoospores in some monocentric isolates also survived freezing. In some of the experiments the freezing and thawing process caused visible structural damage to the thalli. The production of zoospores after freezing and thawing was also used as an indicator of freeze tolerance. The chytrids in this study responded differently to freezing. These data add significantly to our limited knowledge of freeze tolerance in chytrids but leave many questions unanswered. PMID:18550351

  20. Morphological and molecular characterization of a new species of leech (Glossiphoniidae, Hirudinida): Implications for the health of its imperiled amphibian host (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis).

    PubMed

    Hopkins, William A; Moser, William E; Garst, David W; Richardson, Dennis J; Hammond, Charlotte I; Lazo-Wasem, Eric A

    2014-01-01

    The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is among the most intriguing and imperiled amphibians in North America. Since the 1970s and 80s, western populations of the Ozark and eastern subspecies in Missouri have declined by nearly 80%. As a result of population declines, the Ozark hellbender was recently federally protected as an endangered species, and the eastern subspecies was granted protection under CITES. Although habitat degradation is probably the biggest threat to hellbender populations, recent evidence suggests that pathogens including chytrid fungus and "flesh-eating" bacteria may also contribute to declines in Ozark hellbenders. Leeches, which are very common on Ozark hellbenders, have recently been implicated as possible vectors of disease among Ozark hellbenders but have not been described in eastern hellbenders or outside of Missouri and Arkansas. We discovered a population of leeches on eastern hellbenders in southwest Virginia and confirmed that the species of leech is within the genus Placobdella, but is morphologically and genetically distinct from all previously described leech species. We named the new species Placobdella appalachiensis sp. n. Moser and Hopkins, based on the mountainous region in which it was discovered. Our surveys over a three consecutive year period suggested that this leech species may be patchily distributed and/or have a narrow geographic range. We consistently detected leeches at one site (mean prevalence in 80 hellbenders = 27.5%; median intensity = 3.0 leeches per parasitized hellbender [range 1 - >250 leeches]) during three years of surveys, but we never found leeches in any of our other seven study sites in two streams (mean prevalence in 139 hellbenders = 0%). We found a significant positive relationship between hellbender body size and the intensity of parasitism, and we suggest the possibility that the behavioral ecology of adults leading up to reproduction may increase their encounter rates with parasites. We

  1. Morphological and molecular characterization of a new species of leech (Glossiphoniidae, Hirudinida): Implications for the health of its imperiled amphibian host (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, William A.; Moser, William E.; Garst, David W.; Richardson, Dennis J.; Hammond, Charlotte I.; Lazo-Wasem, Eric A.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is among the most intriguing and imperiled amphibians in North America. Since the 1970s and 80s, western populations of the Ozark and eastern subspecies in Missouri have declined by nearly 80%. As a result of population declines, the Ozark hellbender was recently federally protected as an endangered species, and the eastern subspecies was granted protection under CITES. Although habitat degradation is probably the biggest threat to hellbender populations, recent evidence suggests that pathogens including chytrid fungus and “flesh-eating” bacteria may also contribute to declines in Ozark hellbenders. Leeches, which are very common on Ozark hellbenders, have recently been implicated as possible vectors of disease among Ozark hellbenders but have not been described in eastern hellbenders or outside of Missouri and Arkansas. We discovered a population of leeches on eastern hellbenders in southwest Virginia and confirmed that the species of leech is within the genus Placobdella, but is morphologically and genetically distinct from all previously described leech species. We named the new species Placobdella appalachiensis sp. n. Moser and Hopkins, based on the mountainous region in which it was discovered. Our surveys over a three consecutive year period suggested that this leech species may be patchily distributed and/or have a narrow geographic range. We consistently detected leeches at one site (mean prevalence in 80 hellbenders = 27.5%; median intensity = 3.0 leeches per parasitized hellbender [range 1 – >250 leeches]) during three years of surveys, but we never found leeches in any of our other seven study sites in two streams (mean prevalence in 139 hellbenders = 0%). We found a significant positive relationship between hellbender body size and the intensity of parasitism, and we suggest the possibility that the behavioral ecology of adults leading up to reproduction may increase their encounter rates

  2. Epidemic disease decimates amphibian abundance, species diversity, and evolutionary history in the highlands of central Panama.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Andrew J; Lips, Karen R; Bermingham, Eldredge

    2010-08-01

    Amphibian populations around the world are experiencing unprecedented declines attributed to a chytrid fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Despite the severity of the crisis, quantitative analyses of the effects of the epidemic on amphibian abundance and diversity have been unavailable as a result of the lack of equivalent data collected before and following disease outbreak. We present a community-level assessment combining long-term field surveys and DNA barcode data describing changes in abundance and evolutionary diversity within the amphibian community of El Copé, Panama, following a disease epidemic and mass-mortality event. The epidemic reduced taxonomic, lineage, and phylogenetic diversity similarly. We discovered that 30 species were lost, including five undescribed species, representing 41% of total amphibian lineage diversity in El Copé. These extirpations represented 33% of the evolutionary history of amphibians within the community, and variation in the degree of population loss and decline among species was random with respect to the community phylogeny. Our approach provides a fast, economical, and informative analysis of loss in a community whether measured by species or phylogenetic diversity. PMID:20643927

  3. Epidemic disease decimates amphibian abundance, species diversity, and evolutionary history in the highlands of central Panama

    PubMed Central

    Crawford, Andrew J.; Lips, Karen R.; Bermingham, Eldredge

    2010-01-01

    Amphibian populations around the world are experiencing unprecedented declines attributed to a chytrid fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Despite the severity of the crisis, quantitative analyses of the effects of the epidemic on amphibian abundance and diversity have been unavailable as a result of the lack of equivalent data collected before and following disease outbreak. We present a community-level assessment combining long-term field surveys and DNA barcode data describing changes in abundance and evolutionary diversity within the amphibian community of El Copé, Panama, following a disease epidemic and mass-mortality event. The epidemic reduced taxonomic, lineage, and phylogenetic diversity similarly. We discovered that 30 species were lost, including five undescribed species, representing 41% of total amphibian lineage diversity in El Copé. These extirpations represented 33% of the evolutionary history of amphibians within the community, and variation in the degree of population loss and decline among species was random with respect to the community phylogeny. Our approach provides a fast, economical, and informative analysis of loss in a community whether measured by species or phylogenetic diversity. PMID:20643927

  4. Climate change and amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.

    2005-01-01

    Amphibian life histories are exceedingly sensitive to temperature and precipitation, and there is good evidence that recent climate change has already resulted in a shift to breeding earlier in the year for some species. There are also suggestions that the recent increase in the occurrence of El Niño events has caused declines of anurans in Central America and is linked to elevated mortality of amphibian embryos in the northwestern United States. However, evidence linking amphibian declines in Central America to climate relies solely on correlations, and the mechanisms underlying the declines are not understood. Connections between embryo mortality and declines in abundance have not been demonstrated. Analyses of existing data have generally failed to find a link between climate and amphibian declines. It is likely, however, that future climate change will cause further declines of some amphibian species. Reduced soil moisture could reduce prey species and eliminate habitat. Reduced snowfall and increased summer evaporation could have dramatic effects on the duration or occurrence of seasonal wetlands, which are primary habitat for many species of amphibians. Climate change may be a relatively minor cause of current amphibian declines, but it may be the biggest future challenge to the persistence of many species

  5. AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DYNAMICS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Agriculture has contributed to loss of vertebrate biodiversity in many regions, including the U.S. Corn Belt. Amphibian populations, in particular, have experienced widespread and often inexplicable declines, range reductions, and extinctions. However, few attempts have been made...

  6. Vikers Viking Amphibian - biplane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1924-01-01

    Vikers Viking Amphibian - biplane: Initially procured in 1921 by the U.S. Navy during their studies of foreign designs, the Vickers Viking IV became NACA 17 during its short period of study at Langley.

  7. Amphibian biology and husbandry.

    PubMed

    Pough, F Harvey

    2007-01-01

    Extant amphibians comprise three lineages-- salamanders (Urodela or Caudata), frogs and toads (Anura), and caecilians (Gymnophiona, Apoda, or Caecilia)--which contain more than 6,000 species. Fewer than a dozen species of amphibians are commonly maintained in laboratory colonies, and the husbandry requirements for the vast majority of amphibians are poorly known. For these species, a review of basic characteristics of amphibian biology supplemented by inferences drawn from the morphological and physiological characteristics of the species in question provides a basis for decisions about housing and feeding. Amphibians are ectotherms, and their skin is permeable to water, ions, and respiratory gases. Most species are secretive and, in many cases, nocturnal. The essential characteristics of their environment include appropriate levels of humidity, temperature, and lighting as well as retreat sites. Terrestrial and arboreal species require moist substrates, water dishes, and high relative humidity. Because temperature requirements for most species are poorly known, it is advisable to use a temperature mosaic that will allow an animal to find an appropriate temperature within its cage. Photoperiod may affect physiology and behavior (especially reproduction and hibernation), and although the importance of ultraviolet light for calcium metabolism by amphibians is not yet known, ecological observations suggest that it might be important for some species of frogs. Some amphibians are territorial, and some use olfactory cues to mark their territory and to recognize other individuals of their species. All amphibians are carnivorous as adults, and the feeding response of many species is elicited by the movement of prey. Diets should include a mixture of prey species, and it may be advisable to load prey with vitamins and minerals. PMID:17592184

  8. Parasitic chytrids sustain zooplankton growth during inedible algal bloom

    PubMed Central

    Rasconi, Serena; Grami, Boutheina; Niquil, Nathalie; Jobard, Marlène; Sime-Ngando, Télesphore

    2014-01-01

    This study assesses the quantitative impact of parasitic chytrids on the planktonic food web of two contrasting freshwater lakes during different algal bloom situations. Carbon-based food web models were used to investigate the effects of chytrids during the spring diatom bloom in Lake Pavin (oligo-mesotrophic) and the autumn cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Aydat (eutrophic). Linear inverse modeling was employed to estimate undetermined flows in both lakes. The Monte Carlo Markov chain linear inverse modeling procedure provided estimates of the ranges of model-derived fluxes. Model results confirm recent theories on the impact of parasites on food web function through grazers and recyclers. During blooms of “inedible” algae (unexploited by planktonic herbivores), the epidemic growth of chytrids channeled 19–20% of the primary production in both lakes through the production of grazer exploitable zoospores. The parasitic throughput represented 50% and 57% of the zooplankton diet, respectively, in the oligo-mesotrophic and in the eutrophic lakes. Parasites also affected ecological network properties such as longer carbon path lengths and loop strength, and contributed to increase the stability of the aquatic food web, notably in the oligo-mesotrophic Lake Pavin. PMID:24904543

  9. Parasitic chytrids sustain zooplankton growth during inedible algal bloom.

    PubMed

    Rasconi, Serena; Grami, Boutheina; Niquil, Nathalie; Jobard, Marlène; Sime-Ngando, Télesphore

    2014-01-01

    This study assesses the quantitative impact of parasitic chytrids on the planktonic food web of two contrasting freshwater lakes during different algal bloom situations. Carbon-based food web models were used to investigate the effects of chytrids during the spring diatom bloom in Lake Pavin (oligo-mesotrophic) and the autumn cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Aydat (eutrophic). Linear inverse modeling was employed to estimate undetermined flows in both lakes. The Monte Carlo Markov chain linear inverse modeling procedure provided estimates of the ranges of model-derived fluxes. Model results confirm recent theories on the impact of parasites on food web function through grazers and recyclers. During blooms of "inedible" algae (unexploited by planktonic herbivores), the epidemic growth of chytrids channeled 19-20% of the primary production in both lakes through the production of grazer exploitable zoospores. The parasitic throughput represented 50% and 57% of the zooplankton diet, respectively, in the oligo-mesotrophic and in the eutrophic lakes. Parasites also affected ecological network properties such as longer carbon path lengths and loop strength, and contributed to increase the stability of the aquatic food web, notably in the oligo-mesotrophic Lake Pavin. PMID:24904543

  10. Characterization of a new chytrid species parasitic on the dinoflagellate, Peridinium gatunense.

    PubMed

    Leshem, Tamar; Letcher, Peter M; Powell, Martha J; Sukenik, Assaf

    2016-01-01

    Only a few chytrid fungi have been reported as parasites of dinoflagellates. Among these reports, chytrids are periodically observed growing on the dinoflagellate, Peridinium gatunense, in Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel. Because of the distinctive roles of parasitic chytrid fungi in decreasing phytoplankton populations and in transforming inedible algae into chytrid biomass which zooplankton grazers can eat, characterizing dinoflagellate parasites contributes to our understanding of the sustainability of this important water resource. An undescribed chytrid parasite of P. gatunense from Lake Kinneret has recently been brought into pure culture (KLL_TL-060613), facilitating exploration of its infection process. To evaluate the ability of this chytrid to affect host populations, we determined the effect of: (1) temperature and light (or dark) on prevalence of infection and (2) host growth phase and parasite:host ratio on percentage of infection. The greatest amplification in host infection occurred in cultures grown in the dark at 25 C. The percentage of host cells infected increased as the availability of host cells compared to parasite cells increased. These results demonstrate that environmental factors influence the chytrid's potential to affect Peridinium gatunense populations. Because this chytrid had not been described taxonomically, we characterized its thallus morphology, development, zoospore ultrastructure and phylogenetic relationships. Zoospore ultrastructure was compatible with the Group II type zoospore characteristic of the family Chytridiaceae in the Chytridiales. Consistent with this observation, phylogenetic analyses of nuc 28S rDNA D1-D3 domains (28S) placed the chytrid in a clade among described taxa in the Chytridiaceae. Because thallus morphology was distinct from these other taxa, as well as other described parasites of dinoflagellates, this chytrid is described as a new genus and species, Dinochytrium kinnereticum. PMID:27582565

  11. Adaptive colouration in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Rudh, Andreas; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians, i.e. salamanders, frogs and caecilians show a wide range of bright colours in combination with contrasting patterns. There is variation among species, populations and also within species and populations. Furthermore, individuals often change colours during developmental stages or in response to environmental factors. This extraordinary variation means that there are excellent opportunities to test hypotheses of the adaptive significance of colours using amphibian species as models. We review the present view of functions of colouration in amphibians with the main focus on relatively unexplored topics. Variation in colouration has been found to play a role in thermoregulation, UV protection, predator avoidance and sexual signalling. However, many proposed cases of adaptive functions of colouration in amphibians remain virtually scientifically unexplored and surprisingly few genes influencing pigmentation or patterning have been detected. We would like to especially encourage more studies that take advantage of recent developments in measurement of visual properties of several possible signalling receivers (e.g. predators, competitors or mates). Future investigations on interactions between behaviour, ecology and vision have the potential to challenge our current view of the adaptive function of colouration in amphibians. PMID:23664831

  12. DEVELOPMENTAL DIVERSITY OF AMPHIBIANS

    PubMed Central

    Elinson, Richard P.; del Pino, Eugenia M.

    2011-01-01

    The current model amphibian, Xenopus laevis, develops rapidly in water to a tadpole which metamorphoses into a frog. Many amphibians deviate from the X. laevis developmental pattern. Among other adaptations, their embryos develop in foam nests on land or in pouches on their mother’s back or on a leaf guarded by a parent. The diversity of developmental patterns includes multinucleated oogenesis, lack of RNA localization, huge non-pigmented eggs, and asynchronous, irregular early cleavages. Variations in patterns of gastrulation highlight the modularity of this critical developmental period. Many species have eliminated the larva or tadpole and directly develop to the adult. The wealth of developmental diversity among amphibians coupled with the wealth of mechanistic information from X. laevis permit comparisons that provide deeper insights into developmental processes. PMID:22662314

  13. Electrolyte depletion and osmotic imbalance in amphibians with chytridiomycosis.

    PubMed

    Voyles, Jamie; Berger, Lee; Young, Sam; Speare, Rick; Webb, Rebecca; Warner, Jeffrey; Rudd, Donna; Campbell, Ruth; Skerratt, Lee F

    2007-09-14

    Mounting evidence implicates the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in global amphibian declines and extinctions. While the virulence of this disease has been clearly demonstrated, there is, as yet, no mechanistic explanation for how B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians. To investigate the pathology of chytridiomycosis, blood samples were collected from uninfected, aclinically infected and clinically diseased amphibians and analyzed for a wide range of biochemical and hematological parameters. Here, we show that green tree frogs Litoria caerulea with severe chytridiomycosis had reduced plasma osmolality, sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride concentrations. Stable plasma albumin, hematocrit and urea levels indicated that hydration status was unaffected, signifying depletion of electrolytes from circulation rather than dilution due to increased water uptake. We suggest that B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians by disrupting normal epidermal functioning, leading to osmotic imbalance through loss of electrolytes. Determining how B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians is fundamental to understanding the host-pathogen relationship and thus the population declines attributed to B. dendrobatidis. Understanding the mechanisms of mortality may also explain interspecific variation in susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. PMID:17972752

  14. Fungus Amongus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wakeley, Deidra

    2005-01-01

    This role-playing simulation is designed to help teach middle level students about the typical lifecycle of a fungus. In this interactive simulation, students assume the roles of fungi, spores, living and dead organisms, bacteria, and rain. As they move around a playing field collecting food and water chips, they discover how the organisms…

  15. Amphibians of Olympic National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    U.S. Geological Survey

    2000-01-01

    Amphibians evolved from fishes about 360 million years ago and were the first vertebrates adapted to life on land. The word amphibian means "double life." It refers to the life history of many amphibians, which spend part of their life in water and part on land. There are three major groups of amphibians: salamanders, frogs, and toads, and caecilians. Salamanders, frogs, and toads can be found in Olympic National Park (ONP), but caecilians live only in tropical regions. Many amphibians are generalist predators, eating almost any prey they can fit into their mouths.

  16. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis prevalence and haplotypes in domestic and imported pet amphibians in Japan.

    PubMed

    Tamukai, Kenichi; Une, Yumi; Tominaga, Atsushi; Suzuki, Kazutaka; Goka, Koichi

    2014-05-13

    The international trade in amphibians is believed to have increased the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis, which has caused a rapid decline in amphibian populations worldwide. We surveyed amphibians imported into Japan and those held in captivity for a long period or bred in Japan to clarify the Bd infection status. Samples were taken from 820 individuals of 109 amphibian species between 2008 and 2011 and were analyzed by a nested-PCR assay. Bd prevalence in imported amphibians was 10.3% (58/561), while it was 6.9% (18/259) in those in private collections and commercially bred amphibians in Japan. We identified the genotypes of this fungus using partial DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Sequencing of PCR products of all 76 Bd-positive samples revealed 11 haplotypes of the Bd ITS region. Haplotype A (DNA Data Bank of Japan accession number AB435211) was found in 90% (52/58) of imported amphibians. The results show that Bd is currently entering Japan via the international trade in exotic amphibians as pets, suggesting that the trade has indeed played a major role in the spread of Bd. PMID:24991744

  17. Nucleotide sequences of 5S ribosomal RNA from four oomycete and chytrid water molds.

    PubMed

    Walker, W F; Doolittle, W F

    1982-09-25

    The nucleotide sequences of the 5S rRNAs of the oomycete water molds Saprolegnia ferax and Pythium hydnosporum and of the chytrid water molds Blastocladiella simplex and Phlyctochytrium irregulare were determined by chemical and enzymatic partial degradation of 3' and 5' end-labelled molecules, followed by gel sequence analysis. The two oomycete sequences differed in 24 positions and the two chytrid sequences differed in 27 positions. These pairs differed in a mean of 44 positions. The chytrid sequences clearly most resemble the sequence from the zygomycete Phycomyces, while the oomycete sequences appear to be allied with those from protozoa and slime molds. PMID:6890670

  18. Rainforest: Reptiles and Amphibians

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Olson, Susanna

    2006-01-01

    Rainforest reptiles and amphibians are a vibrantly colored, multimedia art experience. To complete the entire project one may need to dedicate many class periods to production, yet in each aspect of the project a new and important skill, concept, or element is being taught or reinforced. This project incorporates the study of warm and cool color…

  19. Distribution of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Pacific Northwestern USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearl, Christopher A.; Bull, E.L.; Green, D.E.; Bowerman, Jay; Adams, Michael J.; Hyatt, A.; Wente, W.

    2007-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis (infection by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) has been associated with amphibian declines in at least four continents. We report results of disease screens from 210 pond-breeding amphibians from 37 field sites in Oregon and Washington. We detected B. dendrobatidis on 28% of sampled amphibians, and we found a?Y 1 detection of B. dendrobatidis from 43% of sites. Four of seven species tested positive for B. dendrobatidis, including the Northern Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora), Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris), and Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa). We also detected B. dendrobatidis in nonnative American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) from six sites in western and central Oregon. Our study and other recently published findings suggest that B. dendrobatidis has few geographic and host taxa limitations among North American anurans. Further research on virulence, transmissibility, persistence, and interactions with other stressors is needed to assess the potential impact of B. dendrobatidis on Pacific Northwestern amphibians.

  20. Amphibian development in microgravity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Souza, K. A.

    1987-01-01

    The results of experiments performed by the U.S. Biosatellites 1 and 2 and the Gemini VIII and XII missions and by the Soviet Salyut and Soyuz missions on the effect of gravity on the development of prefertilized amphibian egg and, in particular, of the vestibular system of amphibian embryo are described. In these experiments, the condition of microgravity was reached only after the prefertilized eggs were in the early stages of first cell division or in the blastula stage. No significant changes were observed in the morphology of the embryos or in the vestibular system of embyos developed, respectively, for 2-5 days or 20 days under conditions of microgravity. Experiments planned for future spaceflights are discussed.

  1. A non-lethal technique for detecting the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on tadpoles.

    PubMed

    Retallick, Richard W R; Miera, Verma; Richards, Kathryn L; Field, Kimberleigh J; Collins, James P

    2006-09-14

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection on post-metamorphic frogs and salamanders is commonly diagnosed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of skin scrapings taken with mildly abrasive swabs. The technique is sensitive, non-lethal, and repeatable for live animals. Tadpoles are generally not sampled by swabbing but are usually killed and their mouthparts excised to test for the pathogen. We evaluated a technique for non-lethal Bd diagnosis using quantitative PCR (qPCR) on swabs scraped over the mouthparts of live tadpoles. The sensitivity of non-lethal (swabbing) and lethal (removal of mouthparts) sampling was assessed using 150 Bd-infected Rana subaquavocalis tadpoles. Swabbing was consistently less sensitive than lethal sampling, but still detected Bd. Experimental Bd prevalence was 41.1% when estimated by destructively sampling mouthparts and 4.7 to 36.6% (mean = 21.4%) when estimated with swabs. Detection rates from swabbing varied with investigator and time since infection. The likelihood of detecting Bd-infected tadpoles was similar regardless of size and developmental stage. Swabbing mouthparts of live tadpoles is a feasible and effective survey technique for Bd, but, because it is less sensitive, more tadpoles must be sampled to estimate prevalence at a confidence level comparable to destructive sampling. PMID:17067076

  2. 'Salamander plague' on Britain's doorstep.

    PubMed

    Mills, Georgina

    2015-01-24

    Chytridiomycosis can cause mass declines in amphibians, and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the classic cause of this disease. However, recently, a second strain of chytrid fungus has emerged in Europe, resulting in major declines in fire salamanders. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) discussed this, and the implications for the UK, at a meeting in December in London. Georgina Mills reports. PMID:25614547

  3. A new genus and family for the misclassified chytrid, Rhizophlyctis harderi.

    PubMed

    Powell, Martha J; Letcher, Peter M; Chambers, James G; Roychoudhury, Sonali

    2015-01-01

    A chytrid first discovered in Mediterranean sands and called Rhizophlyctis harderi was classified in the genus Rhizophlyctis based on its interbiotic vegetative thalli with multiple rhizoidal axes and resting thalli with tufts of rhizoid-like appendages. Developmental, electron microscopic and molecular analyses, however, have brought into question the proper placement of this chytrid. Because its original description was in German and not Latin, the name R. harderi is not validly published. We found that this chytrid produces three thallus forms that could place it in three different morpho-genera: Rhizophydium, Phlyctochytrium or Rhizophlyctis. The ultrastructural architecture of its zoospore is different from that of zoospores of Rhizophlyctis rosea, the type species for Rhizophlyctis, and shares zoospore ultrastructural characteristics with the Rhizophydiales. Zoospores of this chytrid exhibit a distinctive kinetosome-associated structure (KAS), a curved shield bridged to two of the kinetosomal triplets and a layered cap anterior to the kinetosome. Phylogenetic analyses of nuc rDNA also support the placement of this chytrid in the Rhizophydiales and not in the Rhizophlyctidales. Given its molecularly based phylogenetic placement and its distinctive zoospore architecture, we describe this chytrid in a new genus, Uebelmesseromyces, in the Rhizophydiales and erect Uebelmesseromycetaceae as a new family to accommodate it. PMID:25572098

  4. Field Surveys of Amphibian Populations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brodman, Robert

    2000-01-01

    Describes a course on amphibian research for environmental science majors. Involves students in field studies and introduces them to investigative research. Evaluates the course. (Contains 19 references.) (YDS)

  5. Leaf Litter Inhibits Growth of an Amphibian Fungal Pathogen.

    PubMed

    Stoler, Aaron B; Berven, Keith A; Raffel, Thomas R

    2016-06-01

    Past studies have found a heterogeneous distribution of the amphibian chytrid fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Recent studies have accounted for some of this heterogeneity through a positive association between canopy cover and Bd abundance, which is attributed to the cooling effect of canopy cover. We questioned whether leaf litter inputs that are also associated with canopy cover might also alter Bd growth. Leaf litter inputs exhibit tremendous interspecific chemical variation, and we hypothesized that Bd growth varies with leachate chemistry. We also hypothesized that Bd uses leaf litter as a growth substrate. To test these hypotheses, we conducted laboratory trials in which we exposed cultures of Bd to leachate of 12 temperate leaf litter species at varying dilutions. Using a subset of those 12 litter species, we also exposed Bd to pre-leached litter substrate. We found that exposure to litter leachate and substrate reduced Bd spore and sporangia densities, although there was substantial variation among treatments. In particular, Bd densities were inversely correlated with concentrations of phenolic acids. We conducted a field survey of phenolic concentrations in natural wetlands which verified that the leachate concentrations in our lab study are ecologically relevant. Our study reinforces prior indications that positive associations between canopy cover and Bd abundance are likely mediated by water temperature effects, but this phenomenon might be counteracted by changes in aquatic chemistry from leaf litter inputs. PMID:26935822

  6. Early 1900s Detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Korean Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Fong, Jonathan J.; Cheng, Tina L.; Bataille, Arnaud; Pessier, Allan P.; Waldman, Bruce; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2015-01-01

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a major conservation concern because of its role in decimating amphibian populations worldwide. We used quantitative PCR to screen 244 museum specimens from the Korean Peninsula, collected between 1911 and 2004, for the presence of Bd to gain insight into its history in Asia. Three specimens of Rugosa emeljanovi (previously Rana or Glandirana rugosa), collected in 1911 from Wonsan, North Korea, tested positive for Bd. Histology of these positive specimens revealed mild hyperkeratosis – a non-specific host response commonly found in Bd-infected frogs – but no Bd zoospores or zoosporangia. Our results indicate that Bd was present in Korea more than 100 years ago, consistent with hypotheses suggesting that Korean amphibians may be infected by endemic Asian Bd strains. PMID:25738656

  7. Early 1900 s detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Korean amphibians.

    PubMed

    Fong, Jonathan J; Cheng, Tina L; Bataille, Arnaud; Pessier, Allan P; Waldman, Bruce; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2015-01-01

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a major conservation concern because of its role in decimating amphibian populations worldwide. We used quantitative PCR to screen 244 museum specimens from the Korean Peninsula, collected between 1911 and 2004, for the presence of Bd to gain insight into its history in Asia. Three specimens of Rugosa emeljanovi (previously Rana or Glandirana rugosa), collected in 1911 from Wonsan, North Korea, tested positive for Bd. Histology of these positive specimens revealed mild hyperkeratosis - a non-specific host response commonly found in Bd-infected frogs - but no Bd zoospores or zoosporangia. Our results indicate that Bd was present in Korea more than 100 years ago, consistent with hypotheses suggesting that Korean amphibians may be infected by endemic Asian Bd strains. PMID:25738656

  8. Motile zoospores of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis move away from antifungal metabolites produced by amphibian skin bacteria.

    PubMed

    Lam, Brianna A; Walton, D Brian; Harris, Reid N

    2011-03-01

    Chytridiomycosis is an amphibian skin disease that threatens amphibian biodiversity worldwide. The fungal agent of chytridiomycosis is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. There is considerable variation in disease outcomes such that some individuals and populations co-exist with the fungus and others quickly succumb to disease. Amphibians in populations that co-exist with the B. dendrobatidis have sublethal infections on their skins. Symbiotic skin bacteria have been shown in experiments and surveys to play a role in protecting amphibians from chytridiomycosis. Little is known about the mechanisms that antifungal skin bacteria use to ameliorate the effects of B. dendrobatidis. In this study, we identified that B. dendrobatidis isolate JEL 310 zoospores display chemotaxis, in the presence of two bacterially-produced metabolites (2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol and indole-3-carboxaldehyde). In the presence of either metabolite, B. dendrobatidis zoospores move more frequently away from the metabolite. Using parameters estimated from this study, a simple stochastic model of a random walk on a lattice was evaluated. The model shows that these individual behaviors over short time-scales directly lead to population behaviors over long time-scales, such that most zoospores will escape, or not infect a tryptone substrate containing the bacterially-produced metabolite, whereas many zoospores will infect the tryptone substrate containing no metabolite. These results suggest that amphibians that have skin bacteria produce antifungal metabolites that might be able to keep B. dendrobatidis infections below the lethal threshold and thus are able to co-exist with the fungus. PMID:21769695

  9. Trouble in the aquatic world: How wildlife professionals are battling amphibian declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Olson, Deanna H.; Chestnut, Tara E.

    2014-01-01

    A parasitic fungus, similar to the one that caused the extinction of numerous tropical frog and toad species, is killing salaman-ders in Europe. Scientists first identified the fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, in 2013 as the culprit behind the death of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) in the Netherlands (Martel et al. 2013) and are now exploring its potential impact to other species. Although the fungus, which kills the amphibians by infecting their skin, has not yet spread to the United States, researchers believe it's only a mat-ter of time before it does and, when that happens, the impact on salamander populations could be devastating (Martel et al. 2014). Reports of worldwide declines of amphibians began a quarter of a century ago (Blaustein & Wake 1990). Globally, some amphibian popula-tion declines occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and declining trends continued in North America (Houlahan et al. 2000). In the earlier years, population declines were attributed primar-ily to overharvest due to unregulated supply of species such as the northern leopard frog (Litho-bates pipiens) for educational use (Dodd 2013). In later years, however, causes of declines were less evident. In 1989, herpetologists at the First World Congress of Herpetology traded alarming stories of losses across continents and in seemingly pro-tected landscapes, making it clear that amphibian population declines were a "global phenomenon." In response to these reports, in 1991, the Interna-tional Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) established the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force to better understand the scale and scope of global amphibian declines. Unfortunate-ly, the absence of long-term monitoring data and targeted studies made it difficult for the task force to compile information.

  10. Seasonal Variation in Population Abundance and Chytrid Infection in Stream-Dwelling Frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

    PubMed

    Ruggeri, Joice; Longo, Ana V; Gaiarsa, Marília P; Alencar, Laura R V; Lambertini, Carolina; Leite, Domingos S; Carvalho-e-Silva, Sergio P; Zamudio, Kelly R; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Martins, Marcio

    2015-01-01

    Enigmatic amphibian declines were first reported in southern and southeastern Brazil in the late 1980s and included several species of stream-dwelling anurans (families Hylodidae and Cycloramphidae). At that time, we were unaware of the amphibian-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd); therefore, pollution, habitat loss, fragmentation and unusual climatic events were hypothesized as primary causes of these declines. We now know that multiple lineages of Bd have infected amphibians of the Brazilian Atlantic forest for over a century, yet declines have not been associated specifically with Bd outbreaks. Because stream-dwelling anurans occupy an environmental hotspot ideal for disease transmission, we investigated temporal variation in population and infection dynamics of three stream-adapted species (Hylodes asper, H. phyllodes, and Cycloramphus boraceiensis) on the northern coast of São Paulo state, Brazil. We surveyed standardized transects along streams for four years, and show that fluctuations in the number of frogs correlate with specific climatic variables that also increase the likelihood of Bd infections. In addition, we found that Bd infection probability in C. boraceiensis, a nocturnal species, was significantly higher than in Hylodes spp., which are diurnal, suggesting that the nocturnal activity may either facilitate Bd zoospore transmission or increase susceptibility of hosts. Our findings indicate that, despite long-term persistence of Bd in Brazil, some hosts persist with seasonally variable infections, and thus future persistence in the face of climate change will depend on the relative effect of those changes on frog recruitment and pathogen proliferation. PMID:26161777

  11. Seasonal Variation in Population Abundance and Chytrid Infection in Stream-Dwelling Frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

    PubMed Central

    Ruggeri, Joice; Longo, Ana V.; Gaiarsa, Marília P.; Alencar, Laura R. V.; Lambertini, Carolina; Leite, Domingos S.; Carvalho-e-Silva, Sergio P.; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Martins, Marcio

    2015-01-01

    Enigmatic amphibian declines were first reported in southern and southeastern Brazil in the late 1980s and included several species of stream-dwelling anurans (families Hylodidae and Cycloramphidae). At that time, we were unaware of the amphibian-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd); therefore, pollution, habitat loss, fragmentation and unusual climatic events were hypothesized as primary causes of these declines. We now know that multiple lineages of Bd have infected amphibians of the Brazilian Atlantic forest for over a century, yet declines have not been associated specifically with Bd outbreaks. Because stream-dwelling anurans occupy an environmental hotspot ideal for disease transmission, we investigated temporal variation in population and infection dynamics of three stream-adapted species (Hylodes asper, H. phyllodes, and Cycloramphus boraceiensis) on the northern coast of São Paulo state, Brazil. We surveyed standardized transects along streams for four years, and show that fluctuations in the number of frogs correlate with specific climatic variables that also increase the likelihood of Bd infections. In addition, we found that Bd infection probability in C. boraceiensis, a nocturnal species, was significantly higher than in Hylodes spp., which are diurnal, suggesting that the nocturnal activity may either facilitate Bd zoospore transmission or increase susceptibility of hosts. Our findings indicate that, despite long-term persistence of Bd in Brazil, some hosts persist with seasonally variable infections, and thus future persistence in the face of climate change will depend on the relative effect of those changes on frog recruitment and pathogen proliferation. PMID:26161777

  12. Chemosignals, hormones, and amphibian reproduction.

    PubMed

    Woodley, Sarah

    2015-02-01

    This article is part of a Special Issue "Chemosignals and Reproduction". Amphibians are often thought of as relatively simple animals especially when compared to mammals. Yet the chemosignaling systems used by amphibians are varied and complex. Amphibian chemosignals are particularly important in reproduction, in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Chemosignaling is most evident in salamanders and newts, but increasing evidence indicates that chemical communication facilitates reproduction in frogs and toads as well. Reproductive hormones shape the production, dissemination, detection, and responsiveness to chemosignals. A large variety of chemosignals have been identified, ranging from simple, invariant chemosignals to complex, variable blends of chemosignals. Although some chemosignals elicit straightforward responses, others have relatively subtle effects. Review of amphibian chemosignaling reveals a number of issues to be resolved, including: 1) the significance of the complex, individually variable blends of courtship chemosignals found in some salamanders, 2) the behavioral and/or physiological functions of chemosignals found in anuran "breeding glands", 3) the ligands for amphibian V2Rs, especially V2Rs expressed in the main olfactory epithelium, and 4) the mechanism whereby transdermal delivery of chemosignals influences behavior. To date, only a handful of the more than 7000 species of amphibians has been examined. Further study of amphibians should provide additional insight to the role of chemosignals in reproduction. PMID:24945995

  13. DNA barcoding amphibians and reptiles.

    PubMed

    Vences, Miguel; Nagy, Zoltán T; Sonet, Gontran; Verheyen, Erik

    2012-01-01

    Only a few major research programs are currently targeting COI barcoding of amphibians and reptiles (including chelonians and crocodiles), two major groups of tetrapods. Amphibian and reptile species are typically old, strongly divergent, and contain deep conspecific lineages which might lead to problems in species assignment with incomplete reference databases. As far as known, there is no single pair of COI primers that will guarantee a sufficient rate of success across all amphibian and reptile taxa, or within major subclades of amphibians and reptiles, which means that the PCR amplification strategy needs to be adjusted depending on the specific research question. In general, many more amphibian and reptile taxa have been sequenced for 16S rDNA, which for some purposes may be a suitable complementary marker, at least until a more comprehensive COI reference database becomes available. DNA barcoding has successfully been used to identify amphibian larval stages (tadpoles) in species-rich tropical assemblages. Tissue sampling, DNA extraction, and amplification of COI is straightforward in amphibians and reptiles. Single primer pairs are likely to have a failure rate between 5 and 50% if taxa of a wide taxonomic range are targeted; in such cases the use of primer cocktails or subsequent hierarchical usage of different primer pairs is necessary. If the target group is taxonomically limited, many studies have followed a strategy of designing specific primers which then allow an easy and reliable amplification of all samples. PMID:22684953

  14. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming.

    PubMed

    Pounds, J Alan; Bustamante, Martín R; Coloma, Luis A; Consuegra, Jamie A; Fogden, Michael P L; Foster, Pru N; La Marca, Enrique; Masters, Karen L; Merino-Viteri, Andrés; Puschendorf, Robert; Ron, Santiago R; Sánchez-Azofeifa, G Arturo; Still, Christopher J; Young, Bruce E

    2006-01-12

    As the Earth warms, many species are likely to disappear, often because of changing disease dynamics. Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming. Seventeen years ago, in the mountains of Costa Rica, the Monteverde harlequin frog (Atelopus sp.) vanished along with the golden toad (Bufo periglenes). An estimated 67% of the 110 or so species of Atelopus, which are endemic to the American tropics, have met the same fate, and a pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is implicated. Analysing the timing of losses in relation to changes in sea surface and air temperatures, we conclude with 'very high confidence' (> 99%, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) that large-scale warming is a key factor in the disappearances. We propose that temperatures at many highland localities are shifting towards the growth optimum of Batrachochytrium, thus encouraging outbreaks. With climate change promoting infectious disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable. PMID:16407945

  15. Sex determination: the amphibian models.

    PubMed

    Eggert, Christophe

    2004-01-01

    We review and discuss current knowledge about sex determination in amphibians. The astonishing wide variety of mechanisms of genotypic sex determination is presented and discussed in an evolutionary context. We recall the natural occurrence of transitory juvenile hermaphroditism in some species. Our present knowledge of the mechanisms of sex determination in amphibians is compared to that in mammals. The influence of epigenetic factors, and especially temperature is highlighted. In amphibians, the influence of temperature on sexual differentiation, that can prevail over genotypic sex determination, remains poorly considered in publications. We suggest that studies on genetic and epigenetic factors of gonadal sex differentiation in amphibians could provide substantial information on the evolutionary process of sex determination mechanisms in current living vertebrates. PMID:15762298

  16. Polarity of the Amphibian Egg

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malacinski, G. M.

    1983-01-01

    Amphibian egg polarity and the mechanism which generates the polarity is addressed. Of particular concern is the question of whether the activation rotation which responds to gravity is a prerequisite for normal development.

  17. Interventions for reducing extinction risk in chytridiomycosis-threatened amphibians.

    PubMed

    Scheele, Ben C; Hunter, David A; Grogan, Laura F; Berger, Lee; Kolby, Jon E; McFadden, Michael S; Marantelli, Gerry; Skerratt, Lee F; Driscoll, Don A

    2014-10-01

    Wildlife diseases pose an increasing threat to biodiversity and are a major management challenge. A striking example of this threat is the emergence of chytridiomycosis. Despite diagnosis of chytridiomycosis as an important driver of global amphibian declines 15 years ago, researchers have yet to devise effective large-scale management responses other than biosecurity measures to mitigate disease spread and the establishment of disease-free captive assurance colonies prior to or during disease outbreaks. We examined the development of management actions that can be implemented after an epidemic in surviving populations. We developed a conceptual framework with clear interventions to guide experimental management and applied research so that further extinctions of amphibian species threatened by chytridiomycosis might be prevented. Within our framework, there are 2 management approaches: reducing Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (the fungus that causes chytridiomycosis) in the environment or on amphibians and increasing the capacity of populations to persist despite increased mortality from disease. The latter approach emphasizes that mitigation does not necessarily need to focus on reducing disease-associated mortality. We propose promising management actions that can be implemented and tested based on current knowledge and that include habitat manipulation, antifungal treatments, animal translocation, bioaugmentation, head starting, and selection for resistance. Case studies where these strategies are being implemented will demonstrate their potential to save critically endangered species. PMID:24975971

  18. North American amphibians: distribution and diversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    : Green, David M., (Edited By); Weir, Linda A.; Casper, Gary S.; Lannoo, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Some 300 species of amphibians inhabit North America. The past two decades have seen an enormous growth in interest about amphibians and an increased intensity of scientific research into their fascinating biology and continent-wide distribution. This atlas presents the spectacular diversity of North American amphibians in a geographic context. It covers all formally recognized amphibian species found in the United States and Canada, many of which are endangered or threatened with extinction. Illustrated with maps and photos, the species accounts provide current information about distribution, habitat, and conservation. Researchers, professional herpetologists, and anyone intrigued by amphibians will value North American Amphibians as a guide and reference.

  19. Pathogen pollution and the emergence of a deadly amphibian pathogen.

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Valerie J; Peterson, Anna C

    2012-11-01

    Imagine a single pathogen that is responsible for mass mortality of over a third of an entire vertebrate class. For example, if a single pathogen were causing the death, decline and extinction of 30% of mammal species (including humans), the entire world would be paying attention. This is what has been happening to the world's amphibians - the frogs, toads and salamanders that are affected by the chytrid fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (referred to as Bd), which are consequently declining at an alarming rate. It has aptly been described as the worst pathogen in history in terms of its effects on biodiversity (Kilpatrick et al. 2010). The pathogen was only formally described about 13 years ago (Longcore et al. 1999), and scientists are still in the process of determining where it came from and investigating the question: why now? Healthy debate has ensued as to whether Bd is a globally endemic organism that only recently started causing high mortality due to shifting host responses and/or environmental change (e.g. Pounds et al. 2006) or whether a virulent strain of the pathogen has rapidly disseminated around the world in recent decades, affecting new regions with a vengeance (e.g. Morehouse et al. 2003; Weldon et al. 2004; Lips et al. 2008). We are finally beginning to shed more light on this question, due to significant discoveries that have emerged as a result of intensive DNA-sequencing methods comparing Bd isolates from different amphibian species across the globe. Evidence is mounting that there is indeed a global panzootic lineage of Bd (BdGPL) in addition to what appear to be more localized endemic strains (Fisher et al. 2009; James et al. 2009; Farrer et al. 2011). Additionally, BdGPL appears to be a hypervirulent strain that has resulted from the hybridization of different Bd strains that came into contact in recent decades, and is now potentially replacing the less-virulent endemic strains of the pathogen (Farrer et al. 2011

  20. Dinomyces arenysensis gen. et sp. nov. (Rhizophydiales, Dinomycetaceae fam. nov.), a chytrid infecting marine dinoflagellates.

    PubMed

    Lepelletier, Frédéric; Karpov, Sergey A; Alacid, Elisabet; Le Panse, Sophie; Bigeard, Estelle; Garcés, Esther; Jeanthon, Christian; Guillou, Laure

    2014-03-01

    Environmental 18S rRNA gene surveys of microbial eukaryotes have recently revealed the diversity of major parasitic agents in pelagic freshwater systems, consisting primarily of chytrid fungi. To date, only a few studies have reported the presence of chydrids in the marine environment and a limited number of marine chytrids have been properly identified and characterized. Here, we report the isolation and cultivation of a marine chytrid from samples taken during a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum in the Arenys de Mar harbour (Mediterranean Sea, Spain). Cross-infections using cultures and natural phytoplankton communities revealed that this chytrid is only able to infect certain species of dinoflagellates, with a rather wide host range but with a relative preference for Alexandrium species. Phylogenetic analyses showed that it belongs to the order Rhizophydiales, but cannot be included in any of the existing families within this order. Several ultrastructural characters confirmed the placement of this taxon within the Rhizophydiales as well its novelty notably in terms of zoospore structure. This marine chytridial parasitoid is described as a new genus and species, Dinomyces arenysensis, within the Dinomycetaceae fam. nov. PMID:24709472

  1. Whether the weather drives patterns of endemic amphibian chytridiomycosis: a pathogen proliferation approach.

    PubMed

    Murray, Kris A; Skerratt, Lee F; Garland, Stephen; Kriticos, Darren; McCallum, Hamish

    2013-01-01

    The pandemic amphibian disease chytridiomycosis often exhibits strong seasonality in both prevalence and disease-associated mortality once it becomes endemic. One hypothesis that could explain this temporal pattern is that simple weather-driven pathogen proliferation (population growth) is a major driver of chytridiomycosis disease dynamics. Despite various elaborations of this hypothesis in the literature for explaining amphibian declines (e.g., the chytrid thermal-optimum hypothesis) it has not been formally tested on infection patterns in the wild. In this study we developed a simple process-based model to simulate the growth of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) under varying weather conditions to provide an a priori test of a weather-linked pathogen proliferation hypothesis for endemic chytridiomycosis. We found strong support for several predictions of the proliferation hypothesis when applied to our model species, Litoria pearsoniana, sampled across multiple sites and years: the weather-driven simulations of pathogen growth potential (represented as a growth index in the 30 days prior to sampling; GI30) were positively related to both the prevalence and intensity of Bd infections, which were themselves strongly and positively correlated. In addition, a machine-learning classifier achieved ~72% success in classifying positive qPCR results when utilising just three informative predictors 1) GI30, 2) frog body size and 3) rain on the day of sampling. Hence, while intrinsic traits of the individuals sampled (species, size, sex) and nuisance sampling variables (rainfall when sampling) influenced infection patterns obtained when sampling via qPCR, our results also strongly suggest that weather-linked pathogen proliferation plays a key role in the infection dynamics of endemic chytridiomycosis in our study system. Predictive applications of the model include surveillance design, outbreak preparedness and response, climate change scenario modelling and

  2. First report of chytrid mycoparasitism of entomophthoralean azygospores

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mycoparasitism–when one fungus parasitizes another–has been reported to affect Beauveria bassiana and mycorrhizal fungi in the field. However, mycoparasitism of any fungi in the Order Entomophthorales has never been reported before now. The majority of entomophthoralean species persist as resting sp...

  3. BIOTIC FACTORS IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Amphibians evolved in, and continue to exist in, habitats that are replete with many other organisms. Some of these organisms serve as prey for amphibians and others interact with amphibians as predators, competitors, pathogens, or symbionts. Still other organisms in their enviro...

  4. Occurrence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Pacific Northwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearl, C.A.; Bull, E.L.; Green, D.E.; Bowerman, J.; Adams, M.J.; Hyatt, A.; Wente, W.H.

    2007-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis (infection by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) has been associated with amphibian declines in at least four continents. We report results of disease screens from 210 pond-breeding amphibians from 37 field sites in Oregon and Washington. We detected B. dendrobatidis on 28% of sampled amphibians, and we found ??? 1 detection of B. dendrobatidis from 43% of sites. Four of seven species tested positive for B. dendrobatidis, including the Northern Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora), Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris), and Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa). We also detected B. dendrobatidis in nonnative American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) from six sites in western and central Oregon. Our study and other recently published findings suggest that B. dendrobatidis has few geographic and host taxa limitations among North American anurans. Further research on virulence, transmissibility, persistence, and interactions with other stressors is needed to assess the potential impact of B. dendrobatidis on Pacific Northwestern amphibians. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

  5. Agricultural ponds support amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knutson, M.G.; Richardson, W.B.; Reineke, D.M.; Gray, B.R.; Parmelee, J.R.; Weick, S.E.

    2004-01-01

    In some agricultural regions, natural wetlands are scarce, and constructed agricultural ponds may represent important alternative breeding habitats for amphibians. Properly managed, these agricultural ponds may effectively increase the total amount of breeding habitat and help to sustain populations. We studied small, constructed agricultural ponds in southeastern Minnesota to assess their value as amphibian breeding sites. Our study examined habitat factors associated with amphibian reproduction at two spatial scales: the pond and the landscape surrounding the pond. We found that small agricultural ponds in southeastern Minnesota provided breeding habitat for at least 10 species of amphibians. Species richness and multispecies reproductive success were more closely associated with characteristics of the pond (water quality, vegetation, and predators) compared with characteristics of the surrounding landscape, but individual species were associated with both pond and landscape variables. Ponds surrounded by row crops had similar species richness and reproductive success compared with natural wetlands and ponds surrounded by nongrazed pasture. Ponds used for watering livestock had elevated concentrations of phosphorus, higher turbidity, and a trend toward reduced amphibian reproductive success. Species richness was highest in small ponds, ponds with lower total nitrogen concentrations, tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) present, and lacking fish. Multispecies reproductive success was best in ponds with lower total nitrogen concentrations, less emergent vegetation, and lacking fish. Habitat factors associated with higher reproductive success varied among individual species. We conclude that small, constructed farm ponds, properly managed, may help sustain amphibian populations in landscapes where natural wetland habitat is rare. We recommend management actions such as limiting livestock access to the pond to improve water quality, reducing nitrogen input, and

  6. The Metamorphosis of Amphibian Toxicogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Helbing, Caren C.

    2012-01-01

    Amphibians are important vertebrates in toxicology often representing both aquatic and terrestrial forms within the life history of the same species. Of the thousands of species, only two have substantial genomics resources: the recently published genome of the Pipid, Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis, and transcript information (and ongoing genome sequencing project) of Xenopus laevis. However, many more species representative of regional ecological niches and life strategies are used in toxicology worldwide. Since Xenopus species diverged from the most populous frog family, the Ranidae, ~200 million years ago, there are notable differences between them and the even more distant Caudates (salamanders) and Caecilians. These differences include genome size, gene composition, and extent of polyploidization. Application of toxicogenomics to amphibians requires the mobilization of resources and expertise to develop de novo sequence assemblies and analysis strategies for a broader range of amphibian species. The present mini-review will present the advances in toxicogenomics as pertains to amphibians with particular emphasis upon the development and use of genomic techniques (inclusive of transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) and the challenges inherent therein. PMID:22435070

  7. METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS AND AMPHIBIAN CONSERVATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    In many respects, amphibian spatial dynamics resemble classical metapopulation models, where subpopulations in breeding ponds blink in and out of existance and where extinction and colonization rates are functions of pond spatial arrangement. This "ponds-as-patches" view of amphi...

  8. Multiple overseas dispersal in amphibians.

    PubMed Central

    Vences, Miguel; Vieites, David R; Glaw, Frank; Brinkmann, Henner; Kosuch, Joachim; Veith, Michael; Meyer, Axel

    2003-01-01

    Amphibians are thought to be unable to disperse over ocean barriers because they do not tolerate the osmotic stress of salt water. Their distribution patterns have therefore generally been explained by vicariance biogeography. Here, we present compelling evidence for overseas dispersal of frogs in the Indian Ocean region based on the discovery of two endemic species on Mayotte. This island belongs to the Comoro archipelago, which is entirely volcanic and surrounded by sea depths of more than 3500 m. This constitutes the first observation of endemic amphibians on oceanic islands that did not have any past physical contact to other land masses. The two species of frogs had previously been thought to be nonendemic and introduced from Madagascar, but clearly represent new species based on their morphological and genetic differentiation. They belong to the genera Mantidactylus and Boophis in the family Mantellidae that is otherwise restricted to Madagascar, and are distinguished by morphology and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences from mantellid species occurring in Madagascar. This discovery permits us to update and test molecular clocks for frogs distributed in this region. The new calibrations are in agreement with previous rate estimates and indicate two further Cenozoic transmarine dispersal events that had previously been interpreted as vicariance: hyperoliid frogs from Africa to Madagascar (Heterixalus) and from Madagascar to the Seychelles islands (Tachycnemis). Our results provide the strongest evidence so far that overseas dispersal of amphibians exists and is no rare exception, although vicariance certainly retains much of its importance in explaining amphibian biogeography. PMID:14667332

  9. Ecopathology of Ranaviruses Infecting Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Debra; Gray, Matthew; Storfer, Andrew

    2011-01-01

    Ranaviruses are capable of infecting amphibians from at least 14 families and over 70 individual species. Ranaviruses infect multiple cell types, often culminating in organ necrosis and massive hemorrhaging. Subclinical infections have been documented, although their role in ranavirus persistence and emergence remains unclear. Water is an effective transmission medium for ranaviruses, and survival outside the host may be for significant duration. In aquatic communities, amphibians, reptiles and fish may serve as reservoirs. Controlled studies have shown that susceptibility to ranavirus infection and disease varies among amphibian species and developmental stages, and likely is impacted by host-pathogen coevolution, as well as, exogenous environmental factors. Field studies have demonstrated that the likelihood of epizootics is increased in areas of cattle grazing, where aquatic vegetation is sparse and water quality is poor. Translocation of infected amphibians through commercial trade (e.g., food, fish bait, pet industry) contributes to the spread of ranaviruses. Such introductions may be of particular concern, as several studies report that ranaviruses isolated from ranaculture, aquaculture, and bait facilities have greater virulence (i.e., ability to cause disease) than wild-type isolates. Future investigations should focus on the genetic basis for pathogen virulence and host susceptibility, ecological and anthropogenic mechanisms contributing to emergence, and vaccine development for use in captive populations and species reintroduction programs. PMID:22163349

  10. Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2000-01-01

    For many years, ecological research on amphibians and reptiles has lagged behind that of other vertebrates such as fishes, birds, and mammals, despite the known importance of these animals in their environments. The lack of study has been particularly acute in the he area of ecotoxicology where the number of published scientific papers is a fraction of that found for the other vertebrate classes. Recently, scientists have become aware of severe crises among amphibian populations, including unexplained and sudden extinctions, worldwide declines, and hideous malformations. In many of these instances, contaminants have been listed as probable contributors. Data on the effects of contaminants on reptiles are so depauperate that even the most elementary interpretations are difficult. This state-of-the-science review and synthesis of amphibian and reptile ecotoxicology demonstrates the inter-relationships among distribution, ecology, physiology, and contaminant exposure, and interprets these topics as they pertain to comparative toxicity, population declines, malformations, and risk assessment . In this way, the book identifies and serves as a basis for the most pressing research needs in the coming years. The editors have invited 27 other internationally respected experts to examine the state of existing data in specific areas, interpret it in light of current problems, and identify research gaps and needs. Through its emphasis on recent research, extensive reviews and synthesis, Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles will remain a definitive reference work well into the new century.

  11. The metamorphosis of amphibian toxicogenomics.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Caren C

    2012-01-01

    Amphibians are important vertebrates in toxicology often representing both aquatic and terrestrial forms within the life history of the same species. Of the thousands of species, only two have substantial genomics resources: the recently published genome of the Pipid, Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis, and transcript information (and ongoing genome sequencing project) of Xenopus laevis. However, many more species representative of regional ecological niches and life strategies are used in toxicology worldwide. Since Xenopus species diverged from the most populous frog family, the Ranidae, ~200 million years ago, there are notable differences between them and the even more distant Caudates (salamanders) and Caecilians. These differences include genome size, gene composition, and extent of polyploidization. Application of toxicogenomics to amphibians requires the mobilization of resources and expertise to develop de novo sequence assemblies and analysis strategies for a broader range of amphibian species. The present mini-review will present the advances in toxicogenomics as pertains to amphibians with particular emphasis upon the development and use of genomic techniques (inclusive of transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) and the challenges inherent therein. PMID:22435070

  12. The Red Queen Race between Parasitic Chytrids and Their Host, Planktothrix: A Test Using a Time Series Reconstructed from Sediment DNA

    PubMed Central

    Kyle, Marcia; Haande, Sigrid; Ostermaier, Veronika; Rohrlack, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Parasitic chytrid fungi (phylum Chytridiomycota) are known to infect specific phytoplankton, including the filamentous cyanobacterium Planktothrix. Subspecies, or chemotypes of Planktothrix can be identified by the presence of characteristic oligopeptides. Some of these oligopeptides can be associated with important health concerns due to their potential for toxin production. However, the relationship between chytrid parasite and Planktothrix host is not clearly understood and more research is needed. To test the parasite - host relationship over time, we used a sediment core extracted from a Norwegian lake known to contain both multiple Planktothrix chemotype hosts and their parasitic chytrid. Sediment DNA of chytrids and Planktothrix was amplified and a 35-year coexistence was found. It is important to understand how these two antagonistic species can coexistence in a lake. Reconstruction of the time series showed that between 1979–1990 at least 2 strains of Planktothrix were present and parasitic pressure exerted by chytrids was low. After this period one chemotype became dominant and yet showed continued low susceptibility to chytrid parasitism. Either environmental conditions or intrinsic characteristics of Planktothrix could have been responsible for this continued dominance. One possible explanation could be found in the shift of Planktothrix to the metalimnion, an environment that typically consists of low light and decreased temperatures. Planktothrix are capable of growth under these conditions while the chytrid parasites are constrained. Another potential explanation could be due to the differences between cellular oligopeptide variations found between Planktothrix chemotypes. These oligopeptides can function as defense systems against chytrids. Our findings suggest that chytrid driven diversity was not maintained over time, but that the combination of environmental constraints and multiple oligopeptide production to combat chytrids could have allowed

  13. Female Sexual Arousal in Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Wilczynski, Walter; Lynch, Kathleen S.

    2010-01-01

    Rather than being a static, species specific trait, reproductive behavior in female amphibians is variable within an individual during the breeding season when females are capable of reproductive activity. Changes in receptivity coincide with changes in circulating estrogen. Estrogen is highest at the point when females are ready to choose a male and lay eggs. At this time female receptivity (her probability of responding to a male vocal signal) is highest and her selectivity among conspecific calls (measured by her probability of responding to a degraded or otherwise usually unattractive male signal) is lowest. These changes occur even though females retain the ability to discriminate different acoustic characteristics of various conspecific calls. After releasing her eggs, female amphibians quickly become less receptive and more choosy in terms of their responses to male sexual advertisement signals. Male vocal signals stimulate both behavior and estrogen changes in amphibian females making mating more probable. The changes in female reproductive behavior are the same as those generally accepted as indicative of a change in female sexual arousal leading to copulation. They are situationally triggered, gated by interactions with males, and decline with the consummation of sexual reproduction with a chosen male. The changes can be triggered by either internal physiological state or by the presence of stimuli presented by males, and the same stimuli change both behavior and physiological (endocrine) state in such a way as to make acceptance of a male more likely. Thus amphibian females demonstrate many of the same general characteristics of changing female sexual state that in mammals indicate sexual arousal. PMID:20816968

  14. Impending conservation crisis for Southeast Asian amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Rowley, Jodi; Brown, Rafe; Bain, Raoul; Kusrini, Mirza; Inger, Robert; Stuart, Bryan; Wogan, Guin; Thy, Neang; Chan-ard, Tanya; Trung, Cao Tien; Diesmos, Arvin; Iskandar, Djoko T.; Lau, Michael; Ming, Leong Tzi; Makchai, Sunchai; Truong, Nguyen Quang; Phimmachak, Somphouthone

    2010-01-01

    With an understudied amphibian fauna, the highest deforestation rate on the planet and high harvesting pressures, Southeast Asian amphibians are facing a conservation crisis. Owing to the overriding threat of habitat loss, the most critical conservation action required is the identification and strict protection of habitat assessed as having high amphibian species diversity and/or representing distinctive regional amphibian faunas. Long-term population monitoring, enhanced survey efforts, collection of basic biological and ecological information, continued taxonomic research and evaluation of the impact of commercial trade for food, medicine and pets are also needed. Strong involvement of regional stakeholders, students and professionals is essential to accomplish these actions. PMID:20007165

  15. Thermal physiology, disease, and amphibian declines on the eastern slopes of the Andes.

    PubMed

    Catenazzi, Alessandro; Lehr, Edgar; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2014-04-01

    Rising temperatures, a widespread consequence of climate change, have been implicated in enigmatic amphibian declines from habitats with little apparent human impact. The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), now widespread in Neotropical mountains, may act in synergy with climate change causing collapse in thermally stressed hosts. We measured the thermal tolerance of frogs along a wide elevational gradient in the Tropical Andes, where frog populations have collapsed. We used the difference between critical thermal maximum and the temperature a frog experiences in nature as a measure of tolerance to high temperatures. Temperature tolerance increased as elevation increased, suggesting that frogs at higher elevations may be less sensitive to rising temperatures. We tested the alternative pathogen optimal growth hypothesis that prevalence of the pathogen should decrease as temperatures fall outside the optimal range of pathogen growth. Our infection-prevalence data supported the pathogen optimal growth hypothesis because we found that prevalence of Bd increased when host temperatures matched its optimal growth range. These findings suggest that rising temperatures may not be the driver of amphibian declines in the eastern slopes of the Andes. Zoonotic outbreaks of Bd are the most parsimonious hypothesis to explain the collapse of montane amphibian faunas; but our results also reveal that lowland tropical amphibians, despite being shielded from Bd by higher temperatures, are vulnerable to climate-warming stress. PMID:24372791

  16. Survey of helminths, ectoparasites, and chytrid fungus of an introduced population of cane toads, Rhinella marina (Anura: Bufonidae), from Grenada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Drake, Michael C.; Zieger, Ulrike; Groszkowski, Andrew; Gallardo, Bruce; Sages, Patti; Reavis, Roslyn; Faircloth, Leslie; Jacobson, Krystin; Lonce, Nicholas; Pinckney, Rhonda D.; Cole, Rebecca Ann

    2014-01-01

    One hundred specimens of Rhinella marina, (Anura: Bufonidae) collected in St. George's parish, Grenada, from September 2010 to August 2011, were examined for the presence of ectoparasites and helminths. Ninety-five (95%) toads were parasitized by one or more parasite species. Nine species of parasites were found: 1 digenean, 2 acanthocephalans, 4 nematodes, 1 arthropod and 1 pentastome. The endoparasites represented 98.9% of the total number of parasite specimens collected. Grenada represents a new locality record for Mesocoelium monas, Raillietiella frenatus, Pseudoacanthacephalus sp., Aplectana sp., Physocephalus sp., Acanthacephala cystacanth and Physalopteridae larvae. The digenean M. monas occurred with the highest prevalence of 82%, contrasting many studies of R. marina where nematodes dominate the parasite infracommunity. Female toads were found to have a significantly higher prevalence of Amblyomma dissimile than male toads. Only two parasites exhibited a significant difference between wet and dry season with Parapharyngodon grenadensis prevalence highest in the wet season and A. dissimile prevalence highest during the dry season. Additionally, A. dissimile was significantly more abundant during the dry season.

  17. AMPHIBIANS AS BIOINDICATORS OF WETLAND CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    King county has over ten years of data on the distribution and abundance of amphibians in wetlands. Changes in wetland amphibian composition are being analyzed in relationship to physical changes within wetlands and surrounding land-use development and change. In addition to tes...

  18. Colloquium paper: are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wake, David B; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2008-08-12

    Many scientists argue that we are either entering or in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction. Intense human pressure, both direct and indirect, is having profound effects on natural environments. The amphibians--frogs, salamanders, and caecilians--may be the only major group currently at risk globally. A detailed worldwide assessment and subsequent updates show that one-third or more of the 6,300 species are threatened with extinction. This trend is likely to accelerate because most amphibians occur in the tropics and have small geographic ranges that make them susceptible to extinction. The increasing pressure from habitat destruction and climate change is likely to have major impacts on narrowly adapted and distributed species. We show that salamanders on tropical mountains are particularly at risk. A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming. This disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen and implicated in serious declines and extinctions of >200 species of amphibians, poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. Our data for frogs in the Sierra Nevada of California show that the fungus is having a devastating impact on native species, already weakened by the effects of pollution and introduced predators. A general message from amphibians is that we may have little time to stave off a potential mass extinction. PMID:18695221

  19. Fire and amphibians in North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pilliod, D.S.; Bury, R.B.; Hyde, E.J.; Pearl, C.A.; Corn, P.S.

    2003-01-01

    Information on amphibian responses to fire and fuel reduction practices is critically needed due to potential declines of species and the prevalence of new, more intensive fire management practices in North American forests. The goals of this review are to summarize the known and potential effects of fire and fuels management on amphibians and their aquatic habitats, and to identify information gaps to help direct future scientific research. Amphibians as a group are taxonomically and ecologically diverse; in turn, responses to fire and associated habitat alteration are expected to vary widely among species and among geographic regions. Available data suggest that amphibian responses to fire are spatially and temporally variable and incompletely understood. Much of the limited research has addressed short-term (1-3 years) effects of prescribed fire on terrestrial life stages of amphibians in the southeastern United States. Information on the long-term negative effects of fire on amphibians and the importance of fire for maintaining amphibian communities is sparse for the majority of taxa in North America. Given the size and severity of recent wildland fires and the national effort to reduce fuels on federal lands, future studies are needed to examine the effects of these landscape disturbances on amphibians. We encourage studies to address population-level responses of amphibians to fire by examining how different life stages are affected by changes in aquatic, riparian, and upland habitats. Research designs need to be credible and provide information that is relevant for fire managers and those responsible for assessing the potential effects of various fuel reduction alternatives on rare, sensitive, and endangered amphibian species. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Ecology and pathology of amphibian ranaviruses.

    PubMed

    Gray, Matthew J; Miller, Debra L; Hoverman, Jason T

    2009-12-01

    Mass mortality of amphibians has occurred globally since at least the early 1990s from viral pathogens that are members of the genus Ranavirus, family Iridoviridae. The pathogen infects multiple amphibian hosts, larval and adult cohorts, and may persist in herpetofaunal and osteichthyan reservoirs. Environmental persistence of ranavirus virions outside a host may be several weeks or longer in aquatic systems. Transmission occurs by indirect and direct routes, and includes exposure to contaminated water or soil, casual or direct contact with infected individuals, and ingestion of infected tissue during predation, cannibalism, or necrophagy. Some gross lesions include swelling of the limbs or body, erythema, swollen friable livers, and hemorrhage. Susceptible amphibians usually die from chronic cell death in multiple organs, which can occur within a few days following infection or may take several weeks. Amphibian species differ in their susceptibility to ranaviruses, which may be related to their co-evolutionary history with the pathogen. The occurrence of recent widespread amphibian population die-offs from ranaviruses may be an interaction of suppressed and naïve host immunity, anthropogenic stressors, and novel strain introduction. This review summarizes the ecological research on amphibian ranaviruses, discusses possible drivers of emergence and conservation strategies, and presents ideas for future research directions. We also discuss common pathological signs of ranaviral disease, methods for diagnostic evaluation, and ranavirus surveillance methods. In as much as ranaviral disease is listed as a notifiable disease by the World Organization for Animal Health and is a threat to amphibian survival, we recommend that biosecurity precautions are implemented by nations to reduce the likelihood of transporting ranavirus virions among populations. Biosecurity precautions include disinfecting footwear and equipment that comes in contact with surface water inhabited

  1. NUDC expression during amphibian development.

    PubMed

    Moreau, N; Aumais, J P; Prudhomme, C; Morris, S M; Yu-Lee, L Y

    2001-10-01

    To identify gene products important for gastrulation in the amphibian Pleurodeles waltl, a screen for regional differences in new protein expression at the early gastrula stage was performed. A 45 kDa protein whose synthesis was specific for progenitor endodermal cells was identified. Microsequencing and cDNA cloning showed that P45 is highly homologous to rat NUDC, a protein suggested to play a role in nuclear migration. Although PNUDC can be detected in all regions of the embryo, its de novo synthesis is tightly regulated spatially and temporally throughout oogenesis and embryonic development. New PNUDC synthesis in the progenitor endodermal cells depends on induction by the mesodermal cells in the gastrula. During development, PNUDC is localized in the egg cortical cytoplasm, at the cleavage furrow during the first embryonic division, around the nuclei and cortical regions of bottle cells in the gastrula, and at the basal region of polarized tissues in the developing embryo. These results show for the first time the expression and compartmentalization of PNUDC at distinct stages during amphibian development. PMID:11732844

  2. Sperm storage in caecilian amphibians

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Female sperm storage has evolved independently multiple times among vertebrates to control reproduction in response to the environment. In internally fertilising amphibians, female salamanders store sperm in cloacal spermathecae, whereas among anurans sperm storage in oviducts is known only in tailed frogs. Facilitated through extensive field sampling following historical observations we tested for sperm storing structures in the female urogenital tract of fossorial, tropical caecilian amphibians. Findings In the oviparous Ichthyophis cf. kohtaoensis, aggregated sperm were present in a distinct region of the posterior oviduct but not in the cloaca in six out of seven vitellogenic females prior to oviposition. Spermatozoa were found most abundantly between the mucosal folds. In relation to the reproductive status decreased amounts of sperm were present in gravid females compared to pre-ovulatory females. Sperm were absent in females past oviposition. Conclusions Our findings indicate short-term oviductal sperm storage in the oviparous Ichthyophis cf. kohtaoensis. We assume that in female caecilians exhibiting high levels of parental investment sperm storage has evolved in order to optimally coordinate reproductive events and to increase fitness. PMID:22672478

  3. Nutrition and health in amphibian husbandry.

    PubMed

    Ferrie, Gina M; Alford, Vance C; Atkinson, Jim; Baitchman, Eric; Barber, Diane; Blaner, William S; Crawshaw, Graham; Daneault, Andy; Dierenfeld, Ellen; Finke, Mark; Fleming, Greg; Gagliardo, Ron; Hoffman, Eric A; Karasov, William; Klasing, Kirk; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Lankton, Julia; Lavin, Shana R; Lentini, Andrew; Livingston, Shannon; Lock, Brad; Mason, Tom; McComb, Alejandra; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Probst, Tom; Rodriguez, Carlos; Schad, Kristine; Semmen, Kent; Sincage, Jamie; Stamper, M Andrew; Steinmetz, Jason; Sullivan, Kathleen; Terrell, Scott; Wertan, Nina; Wheaton, Catharine J; Wilson, Brad; Valdes, Eduardo V

    2014-01-01

    Amphibian biology is intricate, and there are many inter-related factors that need to be understood before establishing successful Conservation Breeding Programs (CBPs). Nutritional needs of amphibians are highly integrated with disease and their husbandry needs, and the diversity of developmental stages, natural habitats, and feeding strategies result in many different recommendations for proper care and feeding. This review identifies several areas where there is substantial room for improvement in maintaining healthy ex situ amphibian populations specifically in the areas of obtaining and utilizing natural history data for both amphibians and their dietary items, achieving more appropriate environmental parameters, understanding stress and hormone production, and promoting better physical and population health. Using a scientific or research framework to answer questions about disease, nutrition, husbandry, genetics, and endocrinology of ex situ amphibians will improve specialists' understanding of the needs of these species. In general, there is a lack of baseline data and comparative information for most basic aspects of amphibian biology as well as standardized laboratory approaches. Instituting a formalized research approach in multiple scientific disciplines will be beneficial not only to the management of current ex situ populations, but also in moving forward with future conservation and reintroduction projects. This overview of gaps in knowledge concerning ex situ amphibian care should serve as a foundation for much needed future research in these areas. PMID:25296396

  4. Nutrition and Health in Amphibian Husbandry

    PubMed Central

    Ferrie, Gina M.; Alford, Vance C.; Atkinson, Jim; Baitchman, Eric; Barber, Diane; Blaner, William S.; Crawshaw, Graham; Daneault, Andy; Dierenfeld, Ellen; Finke, Mark; Fleming, Greg; Gagliardo, Ron; Hoffman, Eric A.; Karasov, William; Klasing, Kirk; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Lankton, Julia; Lavin, Shana R.; Lentini, Andrew; Livingston, Shannon; Lock, Brad; Mason, Tom; McComb, Alejandra; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P.; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Probst, Tom; Rodriguez, Carlos; Schad, Kristine; Semmen, Kent; Sincage, Jamie; Stamper, M. Andrew; Steinmetz, Jason; Sullivan, Kathleen; Terrell, Scott; Wertan, Nina; Wheaton, Catharine J.; Wilson, Brad; Valdes, Eduardo V.

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian biology is intricate, and there are many inter-related factors that need to be understood before establishing successful Conservation Breeding Programs (CBPs). Nutritional needs of amphibians are highly integrated with disease and their husbandry needs, and the diversity of developmental stages, natural habitats, and feeding strategies result in many different recommendations for proper care and feeding. This review identifies several areas where there is substantial room for improvement in maintaining healthy ex situ amphibian populations specifically in the areas of obtaining and utilizing natural history data for both amphibians and their dietary items, achieving more appropriate environmental parameters, understanding stress and hormone production, and promoting better physical and population health. Using a scientific or research framework to answer questions about disease, nutrition, husbandry, genetics, and endocrinology of ex situ amphibians will improve specialists’ understanding of the needs of these species. In general, there is a lack of baseline data and comparative information for most basic aspects of amphibian biology as well as standardized laboratory approaches. Instituting a formalized research approach in multiple scientific disciplines will be beneficial not only to the management of current ex situ populations, but also in moving forward with future conservation and reintroduction projects. This overview of gaps in knowledge concerning ex situ amphibian care should serve as a foundation for much needed future research in these areas. PMID:25296396

  5. Suitability of amphibians and reptiles for translocation.

    PubMed

    Germano, Jennifer M; Bishop, Phillip J

    2009-02-01

    Translocations are important tools in the field of conservation. Despite increased use over the last few decades, the appropriateness of translocations for amphibians and reptiles has been debated widely over the past 20 years. To provide a comprehensive evaluation of the suitability of amphibians and reptiles for translocation, we reviewed the results of amphibian and reptile translocation projects published between 1991 and 2006. The success rate of amphibian and reptile translocations reported over this period was twice that reported in an earlier review in 1991. Success and failure rates were independent of the taxonomic class (Amphibia or Reptilia) released. Reptile translocations driven by human-wildlife conflict mitigation had a higher failure rate than those motivated by conservation, and more recent projects of reptile translocations had unknown outcomes. The outcomes of amphibian translocations were significantly related to the number of animals released, with projects releasing over 1000 individuals being most successful. The most common reported causes of translocation failure were homing and migration of introduced individuals out of release sites and poor habitat. The increased success of amphibian and reptile translocations reviewed in this study compared with the 1991 review is encouraging for future conservation projects. Nevertheless, more preparation, monitoring, reporting of results, and experimental testing of techniques and reintroduction questions need to occur to improve translocations of amphibians and reptiles as a whole. PMID:19143783

  6. Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition.

    PubMed

    Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Ferrie, Gina M; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P; Schad, Kristine; Stamper, M Andrew; Gagliardo, Ron; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Valdes, Eduardo V

    2014-01-01

    The Epidemiology Working Group, a subgroup of the participants of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Workshop on "Ex situ Amphibian Medicine and Nutrition," identified a critical need to design and implement approaches that will facilitate the assessment and evaluation of factors impacting amphibian health. In this manuscript, we describe and summarize the outcomes of this workshop with regards (a) the identified gaps in knowledge, (b) identified priorities for closing these gaps, and (c) compile a list of actions to address these priorities. Four general areas of improvement were identified in relation to how measurements are currently being taken to evaluate ex situ amphibian health: nutrition, infectious diseases, husbandry, and integrated biology including genetics and endocrinology. The proposed actions that will be taken in order to address the identified gaps include: (1) identify and quantify major health issues affecting ex situ amphibian populations, (2) identify and coordinate laboratories to conduct analyses using standardized and validated protocols to measure nutritional, infectious diseases, genetic, and hormonal parameters, (3) determine in situ baseline distribution of parameters related to amphibian health, and (4) establish an inter-disciplinary research approach to target specific hypotheses related to amphibian health such as the effects of population genetics (e.g., relatedness, inbreeding) on disease susceptibility, or how environmental parameters are related to chronic stress and hormone production. We think is important to address current gaps in knowledge regarding amphibian health in order to increase the probability to succeed in addressing the issues faced by in situ and ex situ amphibians populations. We are confident that the recommendations provided in this manuscript will facilitate to address these challenges and could have a positive impact in both the health of in situ and ex situ amphibian populations, worldwide. PMID:25279727

  7. [Perspective on gravitational biology of amphibians].

    PubMed

    Yamashita, Masamichi; Naitoh, Tomio; Wassersug, Richard J

    2002-12-01

    We review here the scientific significance of the use of amphibians for research in gravitational biology. Since amphibian eggs are quite large, yet develop rapidly and externally, it is easy to observe their development. Consequently amphibians were the first vertebrates to have their early developmental processes investigated in space. Though several deviations from normal embryonic development occur when amphibians are raised in microgravity, their developmental program is robust enough to return the organisms to an ostensibly normal morphology by the time they hatch. Evolutionally, amphibians were the first vertebrate animal to come out of the water and onto land. Subsequently they diversified and have adaptively radiated to various habitats. They now inhabit aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal and fossorial niches. This diversity can be used to help study the biological effects of gravity at the organismal level, where macroscopic phenomena are associated with gravitational loading. By choosing different amphibian models and using a comparative approach one can effectively identify the action of gravity on biological systems, and the adaptation that vertebrates have made to this loading. Advances in cellular and molecular biology provide powerful tools for the study in many fields, including gravitational biology, and amphibians have proven to be good models for studies at those levels as well. The low metabolic rates of amphibians make them convenient organisms to work with (compared to birds and mammals) in the difficult and confined spaces on orbiting research platforms. We include here a review of what is known about and the potential for further behavioral and physiological researches in space using amphibians. PMID:12721528

  8. Ecotoxicology of organic contaminants to amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.

    2000-01-01

    The effects of organic contaminants on amphibians are poorly known but of considerable interest. These contaminants include the highly toxic dioxins and furans as well as PCBs, PAHs and organochlorine pesticides. Although these compounds may have lower acute toxicity than dioxins and furans, they have been implicated in several problems associated with genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, malformations and reduced growth. There is evidence that amphibian tadpoles bioaccumulate these organic compounds and may have biological concentrating factors ranging in the hundreds. This chapter reviews what is known about the effects and concentrations of organic contaminants in amphibians and provides recommendations for further research

  9. Cardiovascular physiology and diseases of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Heinz-Taheny, Kathleen M

    2009-01-01

    The class Amphibia includes three orders of amphibians: the anurans (frogs and toads), urodeles (salamanders, axolotls, and newts), and caecilians. The diversity of lifestyles across these three orders has accompanying differences in the cardiovascular anatomy and physiology allowing for adaptations to aquatic or terrestrial habitats, pulmonic or gill respiration, hibernation, and body elongation (in the caecilian). This article provides a review of amphibian cardiovascular anatomy and physiology with discussion of unique species adaptations. In addition, amphibians as cardiovascular animal models and commonly encountered natural diseases are covered. PMID:19131029

  10. The parasitic chytrid, Zygorhizidium, facilitates the growth of the cladoceran zooplankter, Daphnia, in cultures of the inedible alga, Asterionella

    PubMed Central

    Kagami, Maiko; von Elert, Eric; Ibelings, Bas W; de Bruin, Arnout; Van Donk, Ellen

    2007-01-01

    In food-web studies, parasites are often ignored owing to their insignificant biomass. We provide evidence that parasites may affect trophic transfer in aquatic food webs. Many phytoplankton species are susceptible to parasitic fungi (chytrids). Chytrid infections of diatoms in lakes may reach epidemic proportions during diatom spring blooms, so that numerous free-swimming fungal zoospores (2–3 μm in diameter) are produced. Analysis shows that these zoospores are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and sterols (particularly cholesterol), which indicates that they provide excellent food for zooplankters such as Daphnia. In life-table experiments using the large diatom Asterionella formosa as food, Daphnia growth increased significantly in treatments where a parasite was present. By grazing on the zoospores, Daphnia acquired important supplementary nutrients and were able to grow. When large inedible algae are infected by parasites, nutrients within the algal cells are consumed by these chytrids, some of which, in turn, are grazed by Daphnia. Thus, chytrids transfer energy and nutrients from their hosts to zooplankton. This study suggests that parasitic fungi alter trophic relationships in freshwater ecosystems and may be the important components in shaping the community and the food-web dynamics of lakes. PMID:17439852

  11. A hydrogenosome with pyruvate formate-lyase: anaerobic chytrid fungi use an alternative route for pyruvate catabolism.

    PubMed

    Akhmanova, A; Voncken, F G; Hosea, K M; Harhangi, H; Keltjens, J T; op den Camp, H J; Vogels, G D; Hackstein, J H

    1999-06-01

    The chytrid fungi Piromyces sp. E2 and Neocallimastix sp. L2 are obligatory amitochondriate anaerobes that possess hydrogenosomes. Hydrogenosomes are highly specialized organelles engaged in anaerobic carbon metabolism; they generate molecular hydrogen and ATP. Here, we show for the first time that chytrid hydrogenosomes use pyruvate formate-lyase (PFL) and not pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFO) for pyruvate catabolism, unlike all other hydrogenosomes studied to date. Chytrid PFLs are encoded by a multigene family and are abundantly expressed in Piromyces sp. E2 and Neocallimastix sp. L2. Western blotting after cellular fractionation, proteinase K protection assays and determinations of enzyme activities reveal that PFL is present in the hydrogenosomes of Piromyces sp. E2. The main route of the hydrogenosomal carbon metabolism involves PFL; the formation of equimolar amounts of formate and acetate by isolated hydrogenosomes excludes a significant contribution by PFO. Our data support the assumption that chytrid hydrogenosomes are unique and argue for a polyphyletic origin of these organelles. PMID:10361311

  12. Report of Amphibian Development Group

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malacinski, G.

    1985-01-01

    Amphibian and fish embryos are extremely well suited for studies on pattern specification, whereas other systems (e.g., avian or mammalian) might be just as well suited for studies on differentiation or growth. Those distinctions are important for at least two reasons: (1) More precise focus regarding underlying mechanisms is called for when those distinctions are made. That facilitates the formulation of specific models or hypotheses; and (2) stress effects (i.e., the effects of weightlessness on structures (e.g., bones) which normally bear a load) are distinguished as being indirect, in contrast to direct effects of microgravity, which would be expected to act on pattern specification. That is, direct gravity effects are distinguished from indirect stress effects.

  13. Cytosolic enzymes with a mitochondrial ancestry from the anaerobic chytrid Piromyces sp. E2.

    PubMed

    Akhmanova, A; Voncken, F G; Harhangi, H; Hosea, K M; Vogels, G D; Hackstein, J H

    1998-12-01

    The anaerobic chytrid Piromyces sp. E2 lacks mitochondria, but contains hydrogen-producing organelles, the hydrogenosomes. We are interested in how the adaptation to anaerobiosis influenced enzyme compartmentalization in this organism. Random sequencing of a cDNA library from Piromyces sp. E2 resulted in the isolation of cDNAs encoding malate dehydrogenase, aconitase and acetohydroxyacid reductoisomerase. Phylogenetic analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences revealed that they are closely related to their mitochondrial homologues from aerobic eukaryotes. However, the deduced sequences lack N-terminal extensions, which function as mitochondrial leader sequences in the corresponding mitochondrial enzymes from aerobic eukaryotes. Subcellular fractionation and enzyme assays confirmed that the corresponding enzymes are located in the cytosol. As anaerobic chytrids evolved from aerobic, mitochondria-bearing ancestors, we suggest that, in the course of the adaptation from an aerobic to an anaerobic lifestyle, mitochondrial enzymes were retargeted to the cytosol with the concomitant loss of their N-terminal leader sequences. PMID:9988478

  14. Amphibian responses to photoinduced toxicity of PAHs

    SciTech Connect

    Hatch, A.C.; Burton, G.A. Jr.

    1995-12-31

    Amphibians are essential components of many ecosystems, yet little information exists on their sensitivity to environmental stressors. Recent evidence shows amphibian diversity is declining. Others have suggested this decline is a result of increasing ultraviolet (UV) light levels. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widespread pollutants in the aquatic environment and their toxicity is increased in the presence of UV light. Embryos of two frogs (Rana pipiens and Xenopus laevis) were exposed to a PAH, fluoranthene, to evaluate amphibian responses to this common contaminant in the presence of sunlight. Hatching rate and development were measured in field and laboratory exposures at multiple concentrations and varying UV intensities. Hatching rate was relatively unaffected, while newly hatched larvae were sensitive to low (ug/L) concentrations. Response was related to both PAH concentration and UV intensity. Results suggest that PAH contamination in the aquatic environment may contribute to declines in amphibian populations.

  15. Amphibian macrophage development and antiviral defenses.

    PubMed

    Grayfer, Leon; Robert, Jacques

    2016-05-01

    Macrophage lineage cells represent the cornerstone of vertebrate physiology and immune defenses. In turn, comparative studies using non-mammalian animal models have revealed that evolutionarily distinct species have adopted diverse molecular and physiological strategies for controlling macrophage development and functions. Notably, amphibian species present a rich array of physiological and environmental adaptations, not to mention the peculiarity of metamorphosis from larval to adult stages of development, involving drastic transformation and differentiation of multiple new tissues. Thus it is not surprising that different amphibian species and their respective tadpole and adult stages have adopted unique hematopoietic strategies. Accordingly and in order to establish a more comprehensive view of these processes, here we review the hematopoietic and monopoietic strategies observed across amphibians, describe the present understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving amphibian, an in particular Xenopus laevis macrophage development and functional polarization, and discuss the roles of macrophage-lineage cells during ranavirus infections. PMID:26705159

  16. Amphibians and Reptiles of Los Alamos County

    SciTech Connect

    Teralene S. Foxx; Timothy K. Haarmann; David C. Keller

    1999-10-01

    Recent studies have shown that amphibians and reptiles are good indicators of environmental health. They live in terrestrial and aquatic environments and are often the first animals to be affected by environmental change. This publication provides baseline information about amphibians and reptiles that are present on the Pajarito Plateau. Ten years of data collection and observations by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and hobbyists are represented.

  17. Transdermal delivery of corticosterone in terrestrial amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wack, Corina L; Lovern, Matthew B; Woodley, Sarah K

    2010-12-01

    Stressors elicit allostatic responses that allow animals to cope with changing and challenging environments and also cause release of glucocorticoid hormones (GCs). Compared to other vertebrate classes, relatively little is known about amphibian behavioral and physiological responses to GCs. To understand the effects of elevated plasma GCs in amphibians, exogenous application of GCs is necessary, but traditional methods to elevate GCs require handling and/or anesthesia which themselves are stressors. A less invasive alternative successfully used in birds and reptiles utilizes transdermal delivery by applying GCs via a dermal patch. We asked whether dermal patches containing corticosterone (CORT, the main GC in amphibians) would elevate plasma CORT in terrestrial salamanders and frogs. We explored the use of the dermal patch to deliver CORT in an acute, sustained, and repeated manner. Patches adhered well to the amphibians' moist skin and were easily removed to regulate the time course of CORT delivery. Application of CORT treated patches elevated plasma CORT concentrations compared to vehicle patches in all species. Patches delivered physiological levels of plasma CORT in ecologically relevant time frames. Repeated application and removal of CORT patches were used to simulate exposure to repeated stressors. Application of patches did not represent a stressor because plasma CORT concentrations were similar between animals that received vehicle patches and untreated animals. Thus, transdermal delivery of GCs represents a potentially useful tool to better understand amphibian allostatic responses to stressors, and perhaps amphibian population declines. PMID:20850442

  18. Partitioning the net effect of host diversity on an emerging amphibian pathogen

    PubMed Central

    Becker, C. Guilherme; Rodriguez, David; Toledo, L. Felipe; Longo, Ana V.; Lambertini, Carolina; Corrêa, Décio T.; Leite, Domingos S.; Haddad, Célio F. B.; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2014-01-01

    The ‘dilution effect’ (DE) hypothesis predicts that diverse host communities will show reduced disease. The underlying causes of pathogen dilution are complex, because they involve non-additive (driven by host interactions and differential habitat use) and additive (controlled by host species composition) mechanisms. Here, we used measures of complementarity and selection traditionally employed in the field of biodiversity–ecosystem function (BEF) to quantify the net effect of host diversity on disease dynamics of the amphibian-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Complementarity occurs when average infection load in diverse host assemblages departs from that of each component species in uniform populations. Selection measures the disproportionate impact of a particular species in diverse assemblages compared with its performance in uniform populations, and therefore has strong additive and non-additive properties. We experimentally infected tropical amphibian species of varying life histories, in single- and multi-host treatments, and measured individual Bd infection loads. Host diversity reduced Bd infection in amphibians through a mechanism analogous to complementarity (sensu BEF), potentially by reducing shared habitat use and transmission among hosts. Additionally, the selection component indicated that one particular terrestrial species showed reduced infection loads in diverse assemblages at the expense of neighbouring aquatic hosts becoming heavily infected. By partitioning components of diversity, our findings underscore the importance of additive and non-additive mechanisms underlying the DE. PMID:25297867

  19. Endemic Asian Chytrid Strain Infection in Threatened and Endemic Anurans of the Northern Western Ghats, India

    PubMed Central

    Dahanukar, Neelesh; Krutha, Keerthi; Paingankar, Mandar S.; Padhye, Anand D.; Modak, Nikhil; Molur, Sanjay

    2013-01-01

    The Western Ghats of India harbors a rich diversity of amphibians with more than 77% species endemic to this region. At least 42% of the endemic species are threatened due to several anthropogenic stressors. However, information on amphibian diseases and their impacts on amphibian populations in this region are scarce. We report the occurrence of Batrachochytridium dendrobatidis (Bd), an epidermal aquatic fungal pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis in amphibians, from the Western Ghats. In the current study we detected the occurrence of a native Asian Bd strain from three endemic and threatened species of anurans, Bombay Night Frog Nyctibatrachus humayuni, Leith's Leaping Frog Indirana leithii and Bombay Bubble Nest Frog Raorchestes bombayensis, for the first time from the northern Western Ghats of India based on diagnostic nested PCR, quantitative PCR, DNA sequencing and histopathology. While, the Bd infected I. leithii and R. bombayensis did not show any external symptoms, N. humayuni showed lesions on the skin, browning of skin and sloughing. Sequencing of Bd 5.8S ribosomal RNA gene, and the ITS1 and ITS2 regions, revealed that the current Bd strain is related to a haplotype endemic to Asia. Our findings confirm the presence of Bd in northern Western Ghats and the affected amphibians may or may not show detectable clinical symptoms. We suggest that the significance of diseases as potential threat to amphibian populations of the Western Ghats needs to be highlighted from the conservation point of view. PMID:24147018

  20. Endemic Asian chytrid strain infection in threatened and endemic anurans of the Northern Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Dahanukar, Neelesh; Krutha, Keerthi; Paingankar, Mandar S; Padhye, Anand D; Modak, Nikhil; Molur, Sanjay

    2013-01-01

    The Western Ghats of India harbors a rich diversity of amphibians with more than 77% species endemic to this region. At least 42% of the endemic species are threatened due to several anthropogenic stressors. However, information on amphibian diseases and their impacts on amphibian populations in this region are scarce. We report the occurrence of Batrachochytridium dendrobatidis (Bd), an epidermal aquatic fungal pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis in amphibians, from the Western Ghats. In the current study we detected the occurrence of a native Asian Bd strain from three endemic and threatened species of anurans, Bombay Night Frog Nyctibatrachus humayuni, Leith's Leaping Frog Indirana leithii and Bombay Bubble Nest Frog Raorchestes bombayensis, for the first time from the northern Western Ghats of India based on diagnostic nested PCR, quantitative PCR, DNA sequencing and histopathology. While, the Bd infected I. leithii and R. bombayensis did not show any external symptoms, N. humayuni showed lesions on the skin, browning of skin and sloughing. Sequencing of Bd 5.8S ribosomal RNA gene, and the ITS1 and ITS2 regions, revealed that the current Bd strain is related to a haplotype endemic to Asia. Our findings confirm the presence of Bd in northern Western Ghats and the affected amphibians may or may not show detectable clinical symptoms. We suggest that the significance of diseases as potential threat to amphibian populations of the Western Ghats needs to be highlighted from the conservation point of view. PMID:24147018

  1. Establishing a baseline and faunal history in amphibian monitoring programs: The amphibians of Harris Neck, GA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodd, C.K., Jr.; Barichivich, W.J.

    2007-01-01

    We conducted an intensive inventory of Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Georgia to determine the feasibility of establishing an amphibian monitoring program at this location. Thirteen semi-aquatic amphibian species were identified at 21 locations. Amphibian species richness at Harris Neck was similar to that of nearby barrier islands. The amphibian fauna of Harris Neck has long been affected by human-induced landscape changes, including the inadvertent introduction of tadpoles from distant fish hatcheries and the creation of artificial impoundments. Land-use history provides important information necessary to understand current amphibian distribution, especially when census data are used to establish a baseline from which to monitor future status and trends.

  2. Environmental determinants of recent endemism of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections in amphibian assemblages in the absence of disease outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Spitzen-Van Der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Martel, An; Hallmann, Caspar A; Bosman, Wilbert; Garner, Trenton W J; Van Rooij, Pascale; Jooris, Robert; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Pasmans, Frank

    2014-10-01

    The inconsistent distribution of large-scale infection mediated die-offs and the subsequent population declines of several animal species, urges us to understand how, when, and why species are affected by disease. It is often unclear when or under what conditions a pathogen constitutes a threat to a host. Often, variation of environmental conditions plays a role. Globally Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes amphibian declines; however, host responses are inconsistent and this fungus appears equally capable of reaching a state of endemism and subsequent co-existence with native amphibian assemblages. We sought to identify environmental and temporal factors that facilitate host-pathogen coexistence in northern Europe. To do this, we used molecular diagnostics to examine archived and wild amphibians for infection and general linear mixed models to explore relationships between environmental variables and prevalence of infection in 5 well-sampled amphibian species. We first detected infection in archived animals collected in 1999, and infection was ubiquitous, but rare, throughout the study period (2008-2010). Prevalence of infection exhibited significant annual fluctuations. Despite extremely rare cases of lethal chytridiomycosis in A. obstetricans, Bd prevalence was uncorrelated with this species' population growth. Our results suggest context dependent and species-specific host susceptibility. Thus, we believe recent endemism of Bd coincides with environmentally driven Bd prevalence fluctuations that preclude the build-up of Bd infection beyond the critical threshold for large-scale mortality and host population crashes. PMID:24641583

  3. Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Wake, David B.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2008-01-01

    Many scientists argue that we are either entering or in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction. Intense human pressure, both direct and indirect, is having profound effects on natural environments. The amphibians—frogs, salamanders, and caecilians—may be the only major group currently at risk globally. A detailed worldwide assessment and subsequent updates show that one-third or more of the 6,300 species are threatened with extinction. This trend is likely to accelerate because most amphibians occur in the tropics and have small geographic ranges that make them susceptible to extinction. The increasing pressure from habitat destruction and climate change is likely to have major impacts on narrowly adapted and distributed species. We show that salamanders on tropical mountains are particularly at risk. A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming. This disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen and implicated in serious declines and extinctions of >200 species of amphibians, poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. Our data for frogs in the Sierra Nevada of California show that the fungus is having a devastating impact on native species, already weakened by the effects of pollution and introduced predators. A general message from amphibians is that we may have little time to stave off a potential mass extinction. PMID:18695221

  4. Vertebral development and amphibian evolution.

    PubMed

    Carroll, R L; Kuntz, A; Albright, K

    1999-01-01

    Amphibians provide an unparalleled opportunity to integrate studies of development and evolution through the investigation of the fossil record of larval stages. The pattern of vertebral development in modern frogs strongly resembles that of Paleozoic labyrinthodonts in the great delay in the ossification of the vertebrae, with the centra forming much later than the neural arches. Slow ossification of the trunk vertebrae in frogs and the absence of ossification in the tail facilitate the rapid loss of the tail during metamorphosis, and may reflect retention of the pattern in their specific Paleozoic ancestors. Salamanders and caecilians ossify their centra at a much earlier stage than frogs, which resembles the condition in Paleozoic lepospondyls. The clearly distinct patterns and rates of vertebral development may indicate phylogenetic separation between the ultimate ancestors of frogs and those of salamanders and caecilians within the early radiation of ancestral tetrapods. This divergence may date from the Lower Carboniferous. Comparison with the molecular regulation of vertebral development described in modern mammals and birds suggests that the rapid chondrification of the centra in salamanders relative to that of frogs may result from the earlier migration of sclerotomal cells expressing Pax1 to the area surrounding the notochord. PMID:11324019

  5. The phylogeny of amphibian metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Reiss, John O

    2002-01-01

    Frogs have one of the most extreme metamorphoses among vertebrates. How did this metamorphosis evolve? By combining the methods previously proposed by Mabee and Humphries (1993) and Velhagen (1997), I develop a phylogenetic method suited for rigorous analysis of this question. In a preliminary analysis using 12 transformation sequence characters and 36 associated event sequence characters, all drawn from the osteology of the skull, the evolution of metamorphosis is traced on an assumed phylogeny. This phylogeny has lissamphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians) monophyletic, with frogs the sister group of salamanders. Successive outgroups used are temnospondyls and discosauriscids, both of which are fossil groups for which ontogenetic data are available. In the reconstruction of character evolution, an unambiguous change (synapomorphy) along the branch leading to lissamphibians is a delay in the lengthening of the maxilla until metamorphosis, in accordance with my previous suggestion (Reiss, 1996). However, widening of the interpterygoid vacuity does not appear as a synapomophy of lissamphibians, due to variation in the character states in the outgroups. From a more theoretical perspective, the reconstructed evolution of amphibian metamorphosis involves examples of heterochrony, through the shift of ancestral premetamorphic events to the metamorphic period, caenogenesis, through the origin of new larval features, and terminal addition, through the origin of new adult features. Other changes don't readily fit these categories. This preliminary study provides evidence that metamorphic changes in frogs arose as further modifications of changes unique to lissamphibians, as well as a new method by which such questions can be examined. PMID:16351859

  6. Estimating terrestrial amphibian pesticide body burden through dermal exposure

    EPA Science Inventory

    Dermal exposure presents a potentially significant but understudied route for pesticide uptake in terrestrial amphibians. Our study measured dermal uptake of pesticides of varying hydrophobicity (logKow) in frogs. Amphibians were indirectly exposed to one of five pesticide active...

  7. ESTIMATING AMPHIBIAN OCCUPANCY RATES IN PONDS UNDER COMPLEX SURVEY DESIGNS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Monitoring the occurrence of specific amphibian species in ponds is one component of the US Geological Survey's Amphibian Monitoring and Research Initiative. Two collaborative studies were conducted in Olympic National Park and southeastern region of Oregon. The number of ponds...

  8. Amphibian parathyroids: morphological and functional aspects.

    PubMed

    Srivastav, A K; Das, V K; Das, S; Sasayama, Y; Suzuki, N

    1995-10-01

    Amphibians living partially or totally in a terrestrial environment are the first tetrapods to possess parathyroid glands. Purely aquatic amphibians and amphibian larvae lack these endocrine glands. The parathyroids develop at the time of metamorphosis. The parathyroid glands in caecilians consist of a single cell type, that of urodeles may be composed of basal (supporting) cells and suprabasal (chief) cells, and that of anurans of small and large chief cells. Parathyroid glands of caecilians and anurans lack connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. The parathyroid cells become activated in response to decreased blood calcium concentration and undergo changes indicating increased parathyroid hormone secretion. Increased blood calcium concentration suppresses secretory activity. Usually, parathyroidectomy elicits hypocalcemia in most amphibians. Such operations have no effect in lower urodeles. Parathyroid hormone administration provokes hypercalcemia in most amphibians. The parathyroids of caecilians have not been studied in detail. The urodeles and anurans exhibit seasonal changes in the parathyroid glands. These changes may be initiated by environmental stimuli such as light, temperature, or alterations in blood calcium levels caused by natural hibernation. PMID:8580512

  9. Heterogeneous occupancy and density estimates of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in waters of North America.

    PubMed

    Chestnut, Tara; Anderson, Chauncey; Popa, Radu; Blaustein, Andrew R; Voytek, Mary; Olson, Deanna H; Kirshtein, Julie

    2014-01-01

    Biodiversity losses are occurring worldwide due to a combination of stressors. For example, by one estimate, 40% of amphibian species are vulnerable to extinction, and disease is one threat to amphibian populations. The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a contributor to amphibian declines worldwide. Bd research has focused on the dynamics of the pathogen in its amphibian hosts, with little emphasis on investigating the dynamics of free-living Bd. Therefore, we investigated patterns of Bd occupancy and density in amphibian habitats using occupancy models, powerful tools for estimating site occupancy and detection probability. Occupancy models have been used to investigate diseases where the focus was on pathogen occurrence in the host. We applied occupancy models to investigate free-living Bd in North American surface waters to determine Bd seasonality, relationships between Bd site occupancy and habitat attributes, and probability of detection from water samples as a function of the number of samples, sample volume, and water quality. We also report on the temporal patterns of Bd density from a 4-year case study of a Bd-positive wetland. We provide evidence that Bd occurs in the environment year-round. Bd exhibited temporal and spatial heterogeneity in density, but did not exhibit seasonality in occupancy. Bd was detected in all months, typically at less than 100 zoospores L(-1). The highest density observed was ∼3 million zoospores L(-1). We detected Bd in 47% of sites sampled, but estimated that Bd occupied 61% of sites, highlighting the importance of accounting for imperfect detection. When Bd was present, there was a 95% chance of detecting it with four samples of 600 ml of water or five samples of 60 mL. Our findings provide important baseline information to advance the study of Bd disease ecology, and advance our understanding of amphibian exposure to free-living Bd in aquatic

  10. Heterogeneous occupancy and density estimates of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in waters of North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chestnut, Tara E.; Anderson, Chauncey; Popa, Radu; Blaustein, Andrew R.; Voytek, Mary; Olson, Deanna H.; Kirshtein, Julie

    2014-01-01

    Biodiversity losses are occurring worldwide due to a combination of stressors. For example, by one estimate, 40% of amphibian species are vulnerable to extinction, and disease is one threat to amphibian populations. The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a contributor to amphibian declines worldwide. Bd research has focused on the dynamics of the pathogen in its amphibian hosts, with little emphasis on investigating the dynamics of free-living Bd. Therefore, we investigated patterns of Bd occupancy and density in amphibian habitats using occupancy models, powerful tools for estimating site occupancy and detection probability. Occupancy models have been used to investigate diseases where the focus was on pathogen occurrence in the host. We applied occupancy models to investigate free-living Bd in North American surface waters to determine Bd seasonality, relationships between Bd site occupancy and habitat attributes, and probability of detection from water samples as a function of the number of samples, sample volume, and water quality. We also report on the temporal patterns of Bd density from a 4-year case study of a Bd-positive wetland. We provide evidence that Bd occurs in the environment year-round. Bd exhibited temporal and spatial heterogeneity in density, but did not exhibit seasonality in occupancy. Bd was detected in all months, typically at less than 100 zoospores L−1. The highest density observed was ∼3 million zoospores L−1. We detected Bd in 47% of sites sampled, but estimated that Bd occupied 61% of sites, highlighting the importance of accounting for imperfect detection. When Bd was present, there was a 95% chance of detecting it with four samples of 600 ml of water or five samples of 60 mL. Our findings provide important baseline information to advance the study of Bd disease ecology, and advance our understanding of amphibian exposure to free-living Bd in aquatic