Science.gov

Sample records for amphibian population declines

  1. Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines.

    PubMed Central

    Daszak, P.; Berger, L.; Cunningham, A. A.; Hyatt, A. D.; Green, D. E.; Speare, R.

    1999-01-01

    We review recent research on the pathology, ecology, and biogeography of two emerging infectious wildlife diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranaviral disease, in the context of host-parasite population biology. We examine the role of these diseases in the global decline of amphibian populations and propose hypotheses for the origins and impact of these panzootics. Finally, we discuss emerging infectious diseases as a global threat to wildlife populations. PMID:10603206

  2. ALIEN SPECIES: THEIR ROLE IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES AND RESTORATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Alien species (also referred to as exotic, invasive, introduced, or normative species) have been implicated as causal agents in population declines of many amphibian species. Herein, we evaluate the relative contributions of alien species and other factors in adversely affecting ...

  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. AMPHIBIAN DECLINE, ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION AND LOCAL POPULATION ADAPTATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Amphibian population declines have been noted on both local and global scales. Causes for these declines are unknown although many hypotheses have been offered. In areas adjacent to human development, loss of habitat is a fairly well accepted cause. However in isolated, seemingl...

  5. Possible interrelations among environmental toxicants, amphibian development, and decline of amphibian populations.

    PubMed Central

    Carey, C; Bryant, C J

    1995-01-01

    Many amphibian populations are declining in a number of geographical locations throughout the world. In most cases, the cause or causes are unknown, but are assumed to result from man-made alterations in the environment. We review existing evidence concerning how environmental xenobiotics could contribute to declines of amphibian populations by impacting growth and development of the young. This paper examines the potential roles of toxicants in: a) affecting the susceptibility of young to disease; b) retarding growth and development of amphibian young; c) affecting the ability of larvae to avoid predation; d) affecting the development of physiological, morphological, or behavioral processes in a manner that subsequently impairs the ability of the young for future reproduction; and e) directly causing mortality of young. These issues are not well studied, and more studies are needed before the roles of environmental xenobiotics in amphibian declines are fully understood. PMID:7556018

  6. The role of multiple stressor causes in declining amphibian populations: a wingspread workshop summary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krest, S.K.; Linder, G.; Sparling, D.W.

    2003-01-01

    Numerous studies have documented the decline of amphibian populations over the past decade and no single factor has been the linked to these widespread declines. Determining the causes of declining amphibian populations worldwide has proven difficult because of the variety of anthropogenic and natural suspect agents. A Wingspread workshop, convened by The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), brought together individuals with expertise in the areas of amphibian biology, ecotoxicology, natural resource management, and environmental policy. This workshop had three objectives: 1) create a network for future discussions on multiple stressor causes of declines; 2) characterize and prioritize technical issues critical to the analysis of the decline problem; and 3) identify and develop resource management approaches to promote sustainable and healthy amphibian populations. The workshop proceedings will be summarized in a book entitled, 'Multiple Stressors and Declining Amphibian Populations: Evaluating Cause and Effect.' This paper summarizes the results of the workshop.

  7. The role of multiple stressor causes in declining amphibian populations: A wingspread workshop summary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krest, S.K.; Linder, G.; Sparling, D.W.

    2003-01-01

    Numerous studies have documented the decline of amphibian populations over the past decade and no single factor has been the linked to these widespread declines. Determining the causes of declining amphibian populations worldwide has proven difficult because of the variety of anthropogenic and natural suspect agents. A Wingspread workshop, convened by The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), brought together individuals with expertise in the areas of amphibian biology, ecotoxicology, natural resource management, and environmental policy. This workshop had three objectives: 1) create a network for future discussions on multiple Stressor causes of declines; 2) characterize and prioritize technical issues critical to the analysis of the decline problem; and 3) identify and develop resource management approaches to promote sustainable and healthy amphibian populations. The workshop proceedings will be summarized in a book entitled, "Multiple Stressors and Declining Amphibian Populations: Evaluating Cause and Effect." This paper summarizes the results of the workshop.

  8. Amphibian populations in the terrestrial environment: Is there evidence of declines of terrestrial forest amphibians in northwestern California?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Welsh, H.H., Jr.; Fellers, G.M.; Lind, A.J.

    2007-01-01

    Amphibian declines have been documented worldwide; however the vast majority are species associated with aquatic habitats. Information on the status and trends of terrestrial amphibians is almost entirely lacking. Here we use data collected across a 12-yr period (sampling from 1984-86 and from 1993-95) to address the question of whether evidence exists for declines among terrestrial amphibians in northwestern California forests. The majority of amphibians, both species and relative numbers, in these forests are direct-developing salamanders of the family Plethodontidae. We examined amphibian richness and evenness, and the relative abundances of the four most common species of plethodontid salamanders. We examined evidence of differences between years in two ecological provinces (coastal and interior) and across young, mature, and late seral forests and with reference to a moisture gradient from xeric to hydric within late seral forests. We found evidence of declines in species richness across years on late seral mesic stands and in the coastal ecological province, but these differences appeared to be caused by differences in the detection of rarer species, rather than evidence of an overall pattern. We also found differences among specific years in numbers of individuals of the most abundant species, Ensatina eschscholtzii, but these differences also failed to reflect a consistent pattern of declines between the two decadal sample periods. Results showing differences in richness, evenness, and relative abundances along both the seral and moisture continua were consistent with previous research. Overall, we found no compelling evidence of a downward trend in terrestrial plethodontid salamanders. We believe that continued monitoring of terrestrial salamander populations is important to understanding mechanisms of population declines in amphibian species. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

  9. Direct evidence for the role of pesticides in amphibian population declines in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    For 20 years, conservationists have agreed that amphibian populations around the world are declining. Proposed causes of these declines include habitat loss, environmental contaminants, disease, introduced predators, global climate change, and others. Substantial but indirect evidence through labo...

  10. Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife: role in amphibian population declines and global implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Daszak, P.; Berger, Lee; Cunningham, A.A.; Hyatt, A.D.; Green, D.E.; Speare, R.

    1999-01-01

    We review recent research on the pathology, ecology, and biogeography of two emerging infectious wildlife diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranaviral disease, in the context of host-parasite population biology. We examine the role of these diseases in the global decline of amphibian populations and propose hypotheses for the origins and impact of these panzootics. Finally, we discuss emerging infectious diseases as a global threat to wildlife populations.

  11. Infectious disease and worldwide declines of amphibian populations, with comments on emerging diseases in coral reef organisms and in humans.

    PubMed Central

    Carey, C

    2000-01-01

    Many populations of amphibians are declining on all six continents on which they occur. Some causes of amphibian declines, such as habitat destruction, direct application of xenobiotics, and introduction of predators or competitors, are clearly attributable to human activities. Infectious disease appears to be the direct cause of mass amphibian die-offs in relatively undisturbed areas of the world where anthropomorphic environmental disruption is minimal. In these cases, it is not yet clear whether these epizootics result from the natural evolution of new pathogens or from environmental changes that promote the emergence of pathogenic forms and/or that weaken the immune defenses of amphibians. Because some aspects of pathogen-related amphibian mass mortalities are similar to outbreaks of new diseases in humans and coral reef organisms, amphibian declines may be part of a much larger pattern than previously appreciated. PMID:10698730

  12. Chytridiomycosis and amphibian population declines continue to spread eastward in Panama.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Kilburn, Vanessa L; Reinert, Laura K; Voyles, Jamie; Medina, Daniel; Ibáñez, Roberto; Hyatt, Alex D; Boyle, Donna G; Pask, James D; Green, David M; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2008-09-01

    Chytridiomycosis is a globally emerging disease of amphibians and the leading cause of population declines and extirpations at species-diverse montane sites in Central America. We continued long-term monitoring efforts for the presence of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and for amphibian populations at two sites in western Panama, and we began monitoring at three new sites to the east. Population declines associated with chytridiomycosis emergence were detected at Altos de Campana National Park. We also detected Bd in three species east of the Panama Canal at Soberanía National Park, and prevalence data suggests that Bd may be enzootic in the lowlands of the park. However, no infected frogs were found further east at Tortí (prevalence <7.5% with 95% confidence). Our results suggest that Panama's diverse and not fully described amphibian communities east of the canal are at risk. Precise predictions of future disease emergence events are not possible until factors underlying disease emergence, such as dispersal, are understood. However, if the fungal pathogen spreads in a pattern consistent with previous disease events in Panama, then detection of Bd at Tortí and other areas east of the Panama Canal is imminent. Therefore, development of new management strategies and increased precautions for tourism, recreation, and biology are urgently needed. PMID:18807089

  13. Ecophysiology meets conservation: understanding the role of disease in amphibian population declines

    PubMed Central

    Blaustein, Andrew R.; Gervasi, Stephanie S.; Johnson, Pieter T. J.; Hoverman, Jason T.; Belden, Lisa K.; Bradley, Paul W.; Xie, Gisselle Y.

    2012-01-01

    Infectious diseases are intimately associated with the dynamics of biodiversity. However, the role that infectious disease plays within ecological communities is complex. The complex effects of infectious disease at the scale of communities and ecosystems are driven by the interaction between host and pathogen. Whether or not a given host–pathogen interaction results in progression from infection to disease is largely dependent on the physiological characteristics of the host within the context of the external environment. Here, we highlight the importance of understanding the outcome of infection and disease in the context of host ecophysiology using amphibians as a model system. Amphibians are ideal for such a discussion because many of their populations are experiencing declines and extinctions, with disease as an important factor implicated in many declines and extinctions. Exposure to pathogens and the host's responses to infection can be influenced by many factors related to physiology such as host life history, immunology, endocrinology, resource acquisition, behaviour and changing climates. In our review, we discuss the relationship between disease and biodiversity. We highlight the dynamics of three amphibian host–pathogen systems that induce different effects on hosts and life stages and illustrate the complexity of amphibian–host–parasite systems. We then review links between environmental stress, endocrine–immune interactions, disease and climate change. PMID:22566676

  14. 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...

  15. Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rain forests of Australia and Central America

    PubMed Central

    Berger, Lee; Speare, Rick; Daszak, Peter; Green, D. Earl; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Goggin, C. Louise; Slocombe, Ron; Ragan, Mark A.; Hyatt, Alex D.; McDonald, Keith R.; Hines, Harry B.; Lips, Karen R.; Marantelli, Gerry; Parkes, Helen

    1998-01-01

    Epidermal changes caused by a chytridiomycete fungus (Chytridiomycota; Chytridiales) were found in sick and dead adult anurans collected from montane rain forests in Queensland (Australia) and Panama during mass mortality events associated with significant population declines. We also have found this new disease associated with morbidity and mortality in wild and captive anurans from additional locations in Australia and Central America. This is the first report of parasitism of a vertebrate by a member of the phylum Chytridiomycota. Experimental data support the conclusion that cutaneous chytridiomycosis is a fatal disease of anurans, and we hypothesize that it is the proximate cause of these recent amphibian declines. PMID:9671799

  16. Amphibian Decline: An Integrated Analysis of Multiple Stressor Effects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2003-01-01

    Although the effects of contaminants on amphibians have been studied for decades, relatively little is known about these effects compared to the more intensively studied mammals. and birds. Science has advanced its understanding of the complexities linked to declining amphibian populations; however, there are many remaining questions whose answers would directly benefit amphibians and adaptive management plans ministering to them. In an effort to answer those questions and focus on ecological risk assessment of amphibians, scientists, researchers, and resource management professionals from diverse fields participated in a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)-Johnson Foundation Wingspread conference with three goals: characterize a process that would bring a range of interdisciplinary technical and management tools to the tasks of causal analysis; demonstrate the current state of available technical tools to assess amphibian populations exposed to various environmental stressors; and focus on identifying research that would likely benefit sustainable populations through adaptive management programs. A result of the Wingspread conference, Amphibian Decline examines the ecotoxicology and stressors of amphibians in an attempt to address issues related to declining amphibian populations and the role that various stressors might have in those losses. It identifies gaps in current data, interprets information into an existing framework, and points toward critical areas for future research. Through the combined efforts of research and resource management communities, recommendations can be developed to change current policies and management actions to address the problem of amphibian decline.

  17. Pesticides are involved with population declines of amphibians in the California Sierra Nevadas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.; Fellers, G.; McConnell, L.

    2001-01-01

    Several species of frogs and toads are in serious decline in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. These species include the threatened red-legged frog ( Rana aurora ), foothill yellow-legged frog ( R. boylii ), mountain yellow-legged frog ( R. muscosa ), Cascades frog ( Rana cascadae ), western toad ( Bufo boreas ) and Yosemite toad ( B. canorus ). For many of these species current distributions are down to 10% of historical ranges. Several factors including introduced predators, habitat loss, and ultraviolet radiation have been suggested as causes of these declines. Another probable cause is air-borne pesticides from the Central Valley of California. The Central Valley, especially the San Joaquin Valley, is a major agricultural region where millions of pounds of active ingredient pesticides are applied each year (http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/dprdatabase.htm). Prevailing westerly winds from the Pacific Coast transport these pesticides into the into the Sierras.

  18. FACTORS IMPLICATED IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES IN THE US, AND AN EVALUATION OF THE CASE FOR INVASIVE SPECIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Factors known or suspected to be adversely affecting native amphibian populations in the US were identified using information from 267 species accounts written in a standardized format by multiple authors in a forthcoming book. Land use was the most frequently implicated adverse ...

  19. 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.

  20. Establishing causality in the decline and deformity of amphibians: The amphibian research and monitoring initiative model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Little, E.E.; Bridges, C.M.; Linder, G.; Boone, M.

    2003-01-01

    Research to date has indicated that a range of environmental variables such as disease, parasitism, predation, competition, environmental contamination, solar ultraviolet radiation, climate change, or habitat alteration may be responsible for declining amphibian populations and the appearance of deformed organisms, yet in many cases no definitive environmental variable stands out as a causal factor. Multiple Stressors are often present in the habitat, and interactions among these can magnify injury to biota. This raises the possibility that the additive or synergistic impact of these Stressors may be the underlying cause of amphibian declines. Effective management for the restoration of amphibian populations requires the identification of causal factors contributing to their declines. A systematic approach to determine causality is especially important because initial impressions may be misleading or ambiguous. In addition, the evaluation of amphibian populations requires consideration of a broader spatial scale than commonly used in regulatory monitoring. We describe a systematic three-tiered approach to determine causality in amphibian declines and deformities. Tier 1 includes an evaluation of historic databases and extant data and would involve a desktop synopsis of the status of various stressors as well as site visits. Tier 2 studies are iterative, hypothesis driven studies beginning with general tests and continuing with analyses of increasing complexity as certain stressors are identified for further investigation. Tier 3 applies information developed in Tier 2 as predictive indicators of habitats and species at risk over broad landscape scales and provides decision support for the adaptive management of amphibian recovery. This comprehensive, tiered program could provide a mechanistic approach to identifying and addressing specific stressors responsible for amphibian declines across various landscapes.

  1. A review of the role of contaminants in amphibian declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.

    2003-01-01

    CONCLUSIONS--Although there are no published studies that demonstrate beyond all doubt that contaminants are involved in long term population declines of amphibians, there is ample evidence and reason to encourage active research and concern about effects. Many contaminants are lethal to amphibians at environmentally realistic concentrations. Acute mortality from these compounds may be difficult to detect because investigators would have to be present shortly after exposures. Chronic mortality may be masked by metapopulation phenomena so that areas that serve as population sinks may be repeatedly recolonized and difficult to identify. Metapopulation dynamics also make it more difficult to define discrete populations. Contaminants also have many sublethal effects on behavior, energetics, malformations, and diverse effects on physiological pathways which, by themselves might not lead to overt death but could alter reproduction or interact with other factors to result in gradual declines in populations. Scientific understanding of these interactions, and of the ecotoxicology of amphibians in general is far behind what is known about birds, fish, and mammals, and research is desperately needed in this area. Some specific suggestions for critically needed research include: (1) Determination of lethal concentrations of common contaminants - pesticides, PAHs, metals--under environmentally realistic conditions of light, temperature, and water chemistry. (2) Better understanding of the effects of long term (weeks, months), low- concentration exposure of persistent pesticides and stable contaminants on amphibians. (3) Development and refinement of bioindicators in amphibians to use in monitoring and screening for potential effects of contaminants in declining amphibian populations. (4) Further studies on the interaction between contaminants and disease agents including immunosuppression in amphibians. (5) Additional research on the interaction between ultraviolet radiation

  2. Direct and indirect effects of climate change on amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blaustein, Andrew R.; Walls, Susan C.; Bancroft, Betsy A.; Lawler, Joshua J.; Searle, Catherine L.; Gervasi, Stephanie S.

    2010-01-01

    As part of an overall decline in biodiversity, populations of many organisms are declining and species are being lost at unprecedented rates around the world. This includes many populations and species of amphibians. Although numerous factors are affecting amphibian populations, we show potential direct and indirect effects of climate change on amphibians at the individual, population and community level. Shifts in amphibian ranges are predicted. Changes in climate may affect survival, growth, reproduction and dispersal capabilities. Moreover, climate change can alter amphibian habitats including vegetation, soil, and hydrology. Climate change can influence food availability, predator-prey relationships and competitive interactions which can alter community structure. Climate change can also alter pathogen-host dynamics and greatly influence how diseases are manifested. Changes in climate can interact with other stressors such as UV-B radiation and contaminants. The interactions among all these factors are complex and are probably driving some amphibian population declines and extinctions.

  3. Removal of nonnative fish results in population expansion of a declining amphibian (mountain yellow-legged frog, Rana muscosa).

    PubMed

    Knapp, Roland A; Boiano, Daniel M; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2007-02-01

    The mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) was once a common inhabitant of the Sierra Nevada (California, USA), but has declined precipitously during the past century due in part to the introduction of nonnative fish into naturally fishless habitats. The objectives of the current study were to describe (1) the effect of fish removal from three lakes (located in two watersheds) on the small, remnant R. muscosa populations inhabiting those lakes, and (2) the initial development of metapopulation structure in each watershed as R. muscosa from expanding populations in fish-removal lakes dispersed to adjacent habitats. At all three fish-removal lakes, R. muscosa population densities increased significantly following the removal of predatory fish. The magnitude of these increases was significantly greater than that observed over the same time period in R. muscosa populations inhabiting control lakes that remained in their natural fishless condition. Following these population increases, R. muscosa dispersed to adjacent suitable (but unoccupied) sites, moving between 200 and 900 m along streams or across dry land. Together, these results suggest that large-scale removal of introduced fish could result in at least partial reversal of the decline of R. muscosa. Continued monitoring of R. muscosa at the fish-removal sites will be necessary to determine whether the positive effects of fish eradication are sustained over the long-term, especially in light of the increasingly important role played by an emerging infectious disease (chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in influencing R. muscosa populations. PMID:17396156

  4. 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

  5. The cause of global amphibian declines: a developmental endocrinologist's perspective

    PubMed Central

    Hayes, T. B.; Falso, P.; Gallipeau, S.; Stice, M.

    2010-01-01

    Greater than 70% of the world's amphibian species are in decline. We propose that there is probably not a single cause for global amphibian declines and present a three-tiered hierarchical approach that addresses interactions among and between ultimate and proximate factors that contribute to amphibian declines. There are two immediate (proximate) causes of amphibian declines: death and decreased recruitment (reproductive failure). Although much attention has focused on death, few studies have addressed factors that contribute to declines as a result of failed recruitment. Further, a great deal of attention has focused on the role of pathogens in inducing diseases that cause death, but we suggest that pathogen success is profoundly affected by four other ultimate factors: atmospheric change, environmental pollutants, habitat modification and invasive species. Environmental pollutants arise as likely important factors in amphibian declines because they have realized potential to affect recruitment. Further, many studies have documented immunosuppressive effects of pesticides, suggesting a role for environmental contaminants in increased pathogen virulence and disease rates. Increased attention to recruitment and ultimate factors that interact with pathogens is important in addressing this global crisis. PMID:20190117

  6. The cause of global amphibian declines: a developmental endocrinologist's perspective.

    PubMed

    Hayes, T B; Falso, P; Gallipeau, S; Stice, M

    2010-03-15

    Greater than 70% of the world's amphibian species are in decline. We propose that there is probably not a single cause for global amphibian declines and present a three-tiered hierarchical approach that addresses interactions among and between ultimate and proximate factors that contribute to amphibian declines. There are two immediate (proximate) causes of amphibian declines: death and decreased recruitment (reproductive failure). Although much attention has focused on death, few studies have addressed factors that contribute to declines as a result of failed recruitment. Further, a great deal of attention has focused on the role of pathogens in inducing diseases that cause death, but we suggest that pathogen success is profoundly affected by four other ultimate factors: atmospheric change, environmental pollutants, habitat modification and invasive species. Environmental pollutants arise as likely important factors in amphibian declines because they have realized potential to affect recruitment. Further, many studies have documented immunosuppressive effects of pesticides, suggesting a role for environmental contaminants in increased pathogen virulence and disease rates. Increased attention to recruitment and ultimate factors that interact with pathogens is important in addressing this global crisis. PMID:20190117

  7. AMPHIBIAN DECLINES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE IN THE EASTERN "MOJAVE DESERT"

    EPA Science Inventory

    A number of amphibian species historically inhabited sparsely distributed wetlands in the Mojave Desert, USA, habitats that have been dramatically altered or eliminated as a result of human activities. The population status and distribution of amphibians were investigated in a 20...

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Measuring the Meltdown: Drivers of Global Amphibian Extinction and Decline

    PubMed Central

    Sodhi, Navjot S.; Bickford, David; Diesmos, Arvin C.; Lee, Tien Ming; Koh, Lian Pin; Brook, Barry W.; Sekercioglu, Cagan H.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.

    2008-01-01

    Habitat loss, climate change, over-exploitation, disease and other factors have been hypothesised in the global decline of amphibian biodiversity. However, the relative importance of and synergies among different drivers are still poorly understood. We present the largest global analysis of roughly 45% of known amphibians (2,583 species) to quantify the influences of life history, climate, human density and habitat loss on declines and extinction risk. Multi-model Bayesian inference reveals that large amphibian species with small geographic range and pronounced seasonality in temperature and precipitation are most likely to be Red-Listed by IUCN. Elevated habitat loss and human densities are also correlated with high threat risk. Range size, habitat loss and more extreme seasonality in precipitation contributed to decline risk in the 2,454 species that declined between 1980 and 2004, compared to species that were stable (n = 1,545) or had increased (n = 28). These empirical results show that amphibian species with restricted ranges should be urgently targeted for conservation. PMID:18286193

  12. Pathogenesis of chytridiomycosis, a cause of catastrophic amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Voyles, Jamie; Young, Sam; Berger, Lee; Campbell, Craig; Voyles, Wyatt F; Dinudom, Anuwat; Cook, David; Webb, Rebecca; Alford, Ross A; Skerratt, Lee F; Speare, Rick

    2009-10-23

    The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the skin disease chytridiomycosis, is one of the few highly virulent fungi in vertebrates and has been implicated in worldwide amphibian declines. However, the mechanism by which Bd causes death has not been determined. We show that Bd infection is associated with pathophysiological changes that lead to mortality in green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea). In diseased individuals, electrolyte transport across the epidermis was inhibited by >50%, plasma sodium and potassium concentrations were respectively reduced by approximately 20% and approximately 50%, and asystolic cardiac arrest resulted in death. Because the skin is critical in maintaining amphibian homeostasis, disruption to cutaneous function may be the mechanism by which Bd produces morbidity and mortality across a wide range of phylogenetically distant amphibian taxa. PMID:19900897

  13. 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)

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Terrestrial pesticide exposure of amphibians: An underestimated cause of global decline?

    PubMed Central

    Brühl, Carsten A.; Schmidt, Thomas; Pieper, Silvia; Alscher, Annika

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians, a class of animals in global decline, are present in agricultural landscapes characterized by agrochemical inputs. Effects of pesticides on terrestrial life stages of amphibians such as juvenile and adult frogs, toads and newts are little understood and a specific risk assessment for pesticide exposure, mandatory for other vertebrate groups, is currently not conducted. We studied the effects of seven pesticide products on juvenile European common frogs (Rana temporaria) in an agricultural overspray scenario. Mortality ranged from 100% after one hour to 40% after seven days at the recommended label rate of currently registered products. The demonstrated toxicity is alarming and a large-scale negative effect of terrestrial pesticide exposure on amphibian populations seems likely. Terrestrial pesticide exposure might be underestimated as a driver of their decline calling for more attention in conservation efforts and the risk assessment procedures in place do not protect this vanishing animal group. PMID:23350038

  17. Do pathogens become more virulent as they spread? Evidence from the amphibian declines in Central America

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ben L.; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-01-01

    The virulence of a pathogen can vary strongly through time. While cyclical variation in virulence is regularly observed, directional shifts in virulence are less commonly observed and are typically associated with decreasing virulence of biological control agents through coevolution. It is increasingly appreciated, however, that spatial effects can lead to evolutionary trajectories that differ from standard expectations. One such possibility is that, as a pathogen spreads through a naive host population, its virulence increases on the invasion front. In Central America, there is compelling evidence for the recent spread of pathogenic Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and for its strong impact on amphibian populations. Here, we re-examine data on Bd prevalence and amphibian population decline across 13 sites from southern Mexico through Central America, and show that, in the initial phases of the Bd invasion, amphibian population decline lagged approximately 9 years behind the arrival of the pathogen, but that this lag diminished markedly over time. In total, our analysis suggests an increase in Bd virulence as it spread southwards, a pattern consistent with rapid evolution of increased virulence on Bd's invading front. The impact of Bd on amphibians might therefore be driven by rapid evolution in addition to more proximate environmental drivers. PMID:23843393

  18. Parallels in amphibian and bat declines from pathogenic fungi.

    PubMed

    Eskew, Evan A; Todd, Brian D

    2013-03-01

    Pathogenic fungi have substantial effects on global biodiversity, and 2 emerging pathogenic species-the chytridiomycete Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes chytridiomycosis in amphibians, and the ascomycete Geomyces destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats-are implicated in the widespread decline of their vertebrate hosts. We synthesized current knowledge for chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome regarding disease emergence, environmental reservoirs, life history characteristics of the host, and host-pathogen interactions. We found striking similarities between these aspects of chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome, and the research that we review and propose should help guide management of future emerging fungal diseases. PMID:23622255

  19. 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

  20. Rapid increases and time-lagged declines in amphibian occupancy after wildfire.

    PubMed

    Hossack, Blake R; Lowe, Winsor H; Corn, Paul Stephen

    2013-02-01

    Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought and wildfire. Aquatic and moisture-sensitive species, such as amphibians, may be particularly vulnerable to these modified disturbance regimes because large wildfires often occur during extended droughts and thus may compound environmental threats. However, understanding of the effects of wildfires on amphibians in forests with long fire-return intervals is limited. Numerous stand-replacing wildfires have occurred since 1988 in Glacier National Park (Montana, U.S.A.), where we have conducted long-term monitoring of amphibians. We measured responses of 3 amphibian species to fires of different sizes, severity, and age in a small geographic area with uniform management. We used data from wetlands associated with 6 wildfires that burned between 1988 and 2003 to evaluate whether burn extent and severity and interactions between wildfire and wetland isolation affected the distribution of breeding populations. We measured responses with models that accounted for imperfect detection to estimate occupancy during prefire (0-4 years) and different postfire recovery periods. For the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), occupancy was not affected for 6 years after wildfire. But 7-21 years after wildfire, occupancy for both species decreased ≥ 25% in areas where >50% of the forest within 500 m of wetlands burned. In contrast, occupancy of the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) tripled in the 3 years after low-elevation forests burned. This increase in occupancy was followed by a gradual decline. Our results show that accounting for magnitude of change and time lags is critical to understanding population dynamics of amphibians after large disturbances. Our results also inform understanding of the potential threat of increases in wildfire frequency or severity to amphibians in the region. PMID:22978248

  1. Quantitative evidence for the effects of multiple drivers on continental-scale amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Grant, Evan H Campbell; Miller, David A W; Schmidt, Benedikt R; Adams, Michael J; Amburgey, Staci M; Chambert, Thierry; Cruickshank, Sam S; Fisher, Robert N; Green, David M; Hossack, Blake R; Johnson, Pieter T J; Joseph, Maxwell B; Rittenhouse, Tracy A G; Ryan, Maureen E; Waddle, J Hardin; Walls, Susan C; Bailey, Larissa L; Fellers, Gary M; Gorman, Thomas A; Ray, Andrew M; Pilliod, David S; Price, Steven J; Saenz, Daniel; Sadinski, Walt; Muths, Erin

    2016-01-01

    Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a "smoking gun" was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers. While field observations and experiments have identified factors leading to increased local extinction risk, evidence for effects of these drivers is lacking at large spatial scales. Here, we use observations of 389 time-series of 83 species and complexes from 61 study areas across North America to test the effects of 4 of the major hypothesized drivers of declines. While we find that local amphibian populations are being lost from metapopulations at an average rate of 3.79% per year, these declines are not related to any particular threat at the continental scale; likewise the effect of each stressor is variable at regional scales. This result - that exposure to threats varies spatially, and populations vary in their response - provides little generality in the development of conservation strategies. Greater emphasis on local solutions to this globally shared phenomenon is needed. PMID:27212145

  2. Quantitative evidence for the effects of multiple drivers on continental-scale amphibian declines

    PubMed Central

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Miller, David A. W.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Adams, Michael J.; Amburgey, Staci M.; Chambert, Thierry; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fisher, Robert N.; Green, David M.; Hossack, Blake R.; Johnson, Pieter T. J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; Rittenhouse, Tracy A. G.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Walls, Susan C.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Fellers, Gary M.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Ray, Andrew M.; Pilliod, David S.; Price, Steven J.; Saenz, Daniel; Sadinski, Walt; Muths, Erin

    2016-01-01

    Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a “smoking gun” was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers. While field observations and experiments have identified factors leading to increased local extinction risk, evidence for effects of these drivers is lacking at large spatial scales. Here, we use observations of 389 time-series of 83 species and complexes from 61 study areas across North America to test the effects of 4 of the major hypothesized drivers of declines. While we find that local amphibian populations are being lost from metapopulations at an average rate of 3.79% per year, these declines are not related to any particular threat at the continental scale; likewise the effect of each stressor is variable at regional scales. This result - that exposure to threats varies spatially, and populations vary in their response - provides little generality in the development of conservation strategies. Greater emphasis on local solutions to this globally shared phenomenon is needed. PMID:27212145

  3. Quantitative evidence for the effects of multiple drivers on continental-scale amphibian declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Miller, David A. W.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Adams, Michael J.; Amburgey, Staci M.; Chambert, Thierry A; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fisher, Robert N.; Green, David M.; Hossack, Blake R.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; Rittenhouse, Tracy A. G.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Walls, Susan C.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Fellers, Gary M.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Ray, Andrew M.; Pilliod, David S.; Price, Steven J.; Saenz, Daniel; Sadinski, Walt; Muths, Erin L.

    2016-01-01

    Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a “smoking gun” was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers. While field observations and experiments have identified factors leading to increased local extinction risk, evidence for effects of these drivers is lacking at large spatial scales. Here, we use observations of 389 time-series of 83 species and complexes from 61 study areas across North America to test the effects of 4 of the major hypothesized drivers of declines. While we find that local amphibian populations are being lost from metapopulations at an average rate of 3.79% per year, these declines are not related to any particular threat at the continental scale; likewise the effect of each stressor is variable at regional scales. This result - that exposure to threats varies spatially, and populations vary in their response - provides little generality in the development of conservation strategies. Greater emphasis on local solutions to this globally shared phenomenon is needed.

  4. Cool temperatures reduce antifungal activity of symbiotic bacteria of threatened amphibians--implications for disease management and patterns of decline.

    PubMed

    Daskin, Joshua H; Bell, Sara C; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A

    2014-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a widespread disease of amphibians responsible for population declines and extinctions. Some bacteria from amphibians' skins produce antimicrobial substances active against Bd. Supplementing populations of these cutaneous antifungal bacteria might help manage chytridiomycosis in wild amphibians. However, the activity of protective bacteria may depend upon environmental conditions. Biocontrol of Bd in nature thus requires knowledge of how environmental conditions affect their anti-Bd activity. For example, Bd-driven amphibian declines have often occurred at temperatures below Bd's optimum range. It is possible these declines occurred due to reduced anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts at cool temperatures. Better understanding of the effects of temperature on chytridiomycosis development could also improve risk evaluation for amphibian populations yet to encounter Bd. We characterized, at a range of temperatures approximating natural seasonal variation, the anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts from the skins of three species of rainforest tree frogs (Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola, and Litoria serrata). All three species declined during chytridiomycosis outbreaks in the late 1980s and early 1990s and have subsequently recovered to differing extents. We collected anti-Bd bacterial symbionts from frogs and cultured the bacteria at constant temperatures from 8 °C to 33 °C. Using a spectrophotometric assay, we monitored Bd growth in cell-free supernatants (CFSs) from each temperature treatment. CFSs from 11 of 24 bacteria showed reduced anti-Bd activity in vitro when they were produced at cool temperatures similar to those encountered by the host species during population declines. Reduced anti-Bd activity of metabolites produced at low temperatures may, therefore, partially explain the association between Bd-driven declines and cool temperatures. We show that to avoid

  5. Impact of forestry practices at a landscape scale on the dynamics of amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Harper, Elizabeth B; Patrick, David A; Gibbs, James P

    2015-12-01

    Forest loss is a primary cause of worldwide amphibian decline. Timber harvesting in the United States has caused dramatic changes in quality and extent of forest ecosystems, and intensive forest management still occurs. Although numerous studies have documented substantial reductions in amphibian densities related to timber harvest, subsequent extinctions are rare. To better understand the population dynamics that have allowed so many amphibian species to persist in the face of widespread forest disturbance, we developed spatially explicit metapopulation models for four forest-dependent amphibian species (Lithobates sylvaticus, Ambystoma opacum, A. talpoideum, and A. maculatum) that incorporated demographic and habitat selection data derived from experiments conducted as part of the Land Use Effects on Amphibian Populations Project (LEAP). We projected local and landscape-scale population persistence under 108 different forestry practice scenarios, varying treatment (partial cut, clear-cut with coarse woody debris [CWD] removed, and clearcut with CWD retained), cut patch size (1, 10, or 50 ha), total area cut (10, 20, or 30%), and initial amphibian population size (5, 50, or 500 adult females per local breeding population). Under these scenarios, landscape-scale extinction was highly unlikely, occurring in < 1% of model runs and for only 2 of the 4 species, because landscape-scale populations were able to persist via dispersal even despite frequent local extinctions. Yet for all species, population sizes were reduced to -50% in all clear-cut scenarios, regardless of the size of harvested patches. These findings suggest that debate over timber harvesting on pool-breeding amphibian populations in the United States should focus not on questions of landscape-scale extinction but on the ecological consequences of dramatic reductions in amphibian biomass, including changes in trophic interactions, nutrient cycling, and energy transfer. Additionally, we conclude that

  6. A strategy for monitoring and managing declines in an amphibian community.

    PubMed

    Grant, Evan H Campbell; Zipkin, Elise F; Nichols, James D; Campbell, J Patrick

    2013-12-01

    Although many taxa have declined globally, conservation actions are inherently local. Ecosystems degrade even in protected areas, and maintaining natural systems in a desired condition may require active management. Implementing management decisions under uncertainty requires a logical and transparent process to identify objectives, develop management actions, formulate system models to link actions with objectives, monitor to reduce uncertainty and identify system state (i.e., resource condition), and determine an optimal management strategy. We applied one such structured decision-making approach that incorporates these critical elements to inform management of amphibian populations in a protected area managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Climate change is expected to affect amphibian occupancy of wetlands and to increase uncertainty in management decision making. We used the tools of structured decision making to identify short-term management solutions that incorporate our current understanding of the effect of climate change on amphibians, emphasizing how management can be undertaken even with incomplete information. Estrategia para Monitorear y Manejar Disminuciones en una Comunidad de Anfibios. PMID:24001175

  7. The genetics of amphibian declines: Population substructure and molecular differentiation in the Yosemite Toad, Bufo canorus (Anura, Bufonidae) based on single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP) and mitochondrial DNA sequence data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bradley, Shaffer H.; Fellers, G.M.; Magee, A.; Randal, Voss S.

    2000-01-01

    We present a comprehensive survey of genetic variation across the range of the narrowly distributed endemic Yosemite toad Bufo canorus, a declining amphibian restricted to the Sierra Nevada of California. Based on 322 bp of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence data, we found limited support for the monophyly of B. canorus and its closely related congener B. exsul to the exclusion of the widespread western toad B. boreas. However, B. exsul was always phylogenetically nested within B. canorus, suggesting that the latter may not be monophyletic. SSCP (single-strand conformation polymorphism) analysis of 372 individual B. canorus from 28 localities in Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks revealed no shared haplotypes among these two regions and lead us to interpret these two parks as distinct management units for B. canorus. Within Yosemite, we found significant genetic substructure both at the level of major drainages and among breeding ponds. Kings Canyon samples show a different pattern, with substantial variation among breeding sites, but no substructure among drainages. Across the range of B. canorus as well as among Yosemite ponds, we found an isolation-by-distance pattern suggestive of a stepping stone model of migration. However, in Kings Canyon we found no hint of such a pattern, suggesting that movement patterns of toads may be quite different in these nearby parklands. Our data imply that management for B. canorus should focus at the individual pond level, and effective management may necessitate reintroductions if local extirpations occur. A brief review of other pond-breeding anurans suggests that highly structured populations are often the case, and thus that our results for B. canorus may be general for other species of frogs and toads.

  8. Cool Temperatures Reduce Antifungal Activity of Symbiotic Bacteria of Threatened Amphibians – Implications for Disease Management and Patterns of Decline

    PubMed Central

    Daskin, Joshua H.; Bell, Sara C.; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A.

    2014-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a widespread disease of amphibians responsible for population declines and extinctions. Some bacteria from amphibians’ skins produce antimicrobial substances active against Bd. Supplementing populations of these cutaneous antifungal bacteria might help manage chytridiomycosis in wild amphibians. However, the activity of protective bacteria may depend upon environmental conditions. Biocontrol of Bd in nature thus requires knowledge of how environmental conditions affect their anti-Bd activity. For example, Bd-driven amphibian declines have often occurred at temperatures below Bd’s optimum range. It is possible these declines occurred due to reduced anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts at cool temperatures. Better understanding of the effects of temperature on chytridiomycosis development could also improve risk evaluation for amphibian populations yet to encounter Bd. We characterized, at a range of temperatures approximating natural seasonal variation, the anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts from the skins of three species of rainforest tree frogs (Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola, and Litoria serrata). All three species declined during chytridiomycosis outbreaks in the late 1980s and early 1990s and have subsequently recovered to differing extents. We collected anti-Bd bacterial symbionts from frogs and cultured the bacteria at constant temperatures from 8°C to 33°C. Using a spectrophotometric assay, we monitored Bd growth in cell-free supernatants (CFSs) from each temperature treatment. CFSs from 11 of 24 bacteria showed reduced anti-Bd activity in vitro when they were produced at cool temperatures similar to those encountered by the host species during population declines. Reduced anti-Bd activity of metabolites produced at low temperatures may, therefore, partially explain the association between Bd-driven declines and cool temperatures. We show that to avoid

  9. Pesticides and Population Declines of California Alpine Frogs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Airborne pesticides from the Central Valley of California have been implicated as a cause for population declines of several amphibian species, with the strongest evidence for the mountain yellow-legged frog complex (Rana muscosa and R. sierrae) in the Sierra Nevada. We measured ...

  10. Effects of road mortality and mitigation measures on amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Beebee, Trevor J C

    2013-08-01

    Road mortality is a widely recognized but rarely quantified threat to the viability of amphibian populations. The global extent of the problem is substantial and factors affecting the number of animals killed on highways include life-history traits and landscape features. Secondary effects include genetic isolation due to roads acting as barriers to migration. Long-term effects of roads on population dynamics are often severe and mitigation methods include volunteer rescues and under-road tunnels. Despite the development of methods that reduce road kill in specific locations, especially under-road tunnels and culverts, there is scant evidence that such measures will protect populations over the long term. There also seems little likelihood that funding will be forthcoming to ameliorate the problem at the scale necessary to prevent further population declines. PMID:23647090

  11. Pesticide Mixtures, Endocrine Disruption, and Amphibian Declines: Are We Underestimating the Impact?

    PubMed Central

    Hayes, Tyrone B.; Case, Paola; Chui, Sarah; Chung, Duc; Haeffele, Cathryn; Haston, Kelly; Lee, Melissa; Mai, Vien Phoung; Marjuoa, Youssra; Parker, John; Tsui, Mable

    2006-01-01

    Amphibian populations are declining globally at an alarming rate. Pesticides are among a number of proposed causes for these declines. Although a sizable database examining effects of pesticides on amphibians exists, the vast majority of these studies focus on toxicological effects (lethality, external malformations, etc.) at relatively high doses (parts per million). Very few studies focus on effects such as endocrine disruption at low concentrations. Further, most studies examine exposures to single chemicals only. The present study examined nine pesticides (four herbicides, two fungicides, and three insecticides) used on cornfields in the midwestern United States. Effects of each pesticide alone (0.1 ppb) or in combination were examined. In addition, we also examined atrazine and S-metolachlor combined (0.1 or 10 ppb each) and the commercial formulation Bicep II Magnum, which contains both of these herbicides. These two pesticides were examined in combination because they are persistent throughout the year in the wild. We examined larval growth and development, sex differentiation, and immune function in leopard frogs (Rana pipiens). In a follow-up study, we also examined the effects of the nine-compound mixture on plasma corticosterone levels in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). Although some of the pesticides individually inhibited larval growth and development, the pesticide mixtures had much greater effects. Larval growth and development were retarded, but most significantly, pesticide mixtures negated or reversed the typically positive correlation between time to metamorphosis and size at metamorphosis observed in controls: exposed larvae that took longer to metamorphose were smaller than their counterparts that metamorphosed earlier. The nine-pesticide mixture also induced damage to the thymus, resulting in immunosuppression and contraction of flavobacterial meningitis. The study in X. laevis revealed that these adverse effects may be due to an

  12. Correlates of virulence in a frog-killing fungal pathogen: evidence from a California amphibian decline.

    PubMed

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah; Pope, Karen; Worth, S Joy; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Poorten, Thomas; Refsnider, Jeanine; Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Reinert, Laura K; Wells, Heather L; Rejmanek, Dan; Lawler, Sharon; Foley, Janet

    2015-07-01

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused declines and extinctions in amphibians worldwide, and there is increasing evidence that some strains of this pathogen are more virulent than others. While a number of putative virulence factors have been identified, few studies link these factors to specific epizootic events. We documented a dramatic decline in juvenile frogs in a Bd-infected population of Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae) in the mountains of northern California and used a laboratory experiment to show that Bd isolated in the midst of this decline induced higher mortality than Bd isolated from a more stable population of the same species of frog. This highly virulent Bd isolate was more toxic to immune cells and attained higher density in liquid culture than comparable isolates. Genomic analyses revealed that this isolate is nested within the global panzootic lineage and exhibited unusual genomic patterns, including increased copy numbers of many chromosomal segments. This study integrates data from multiple sources to suggest specific phenotypic and genomic characteristics of the pathogen that may be linked to disease-related declines. PMID:25514536

  13. Correlates of virulence in a frog-killing fungal pathogen: evidence from a California amphibian decline

    PubMed Central

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah; Pope, Karen; Joy Worth, S; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Poorten, Thomas; Refsnider, Jeanine; Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Reinert, Laura K; Wells, Heather L; Rejmanek, Dan; Lawler, Sharon; Foley, Janet

    2015-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused declines and extinctions in amphibians worldwide, and there is increasing evidence that some strains of this pathogen are more virulent than others. While a number of putative virulence factors have been identified, few studies link these factors to specific epizootic events. We documented a dramatic decline in juvenile frogs in a Bd-infected population of Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae) in the mountains of northern California and used a laboratory experiment to show that Bd isolated in the midst of this decline induced higher mortality than Bd isolated from a more stable population of the same species of frog. This highly virulent Bd isolate was more toxic to immune cells and attained higher density in liquid culture than comparable isolates. Genomic analyses revealed that this isolate is nested within the global panzootic lineage and exhibited unusual genomic patterns, including increased copy numbers of many chromosomal segments. This study integrates data from multiple sources to suggest specific phenotypic and genomic characteristics of the pathogen that may be linked to disease-related declines. PMID:25514536

  14. 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

  15. Possible environmental factors underlying amphibian decline in eastern Puerto Rico: Analysis of U.S. government data archives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stallard, R.F.

    2001-01-01

    The past three decades have seen major declines in populations of several species of amphibians at high elevations in eastern Puerto Rico, a region unique in the humid tropics because of the degree of environmental monitoring that has taken place through the efforts of U.S. government agencies. I examined changes in environmental conditions by examining time-series data sets that extend back at least into the 1980s, a period when frog populations were declining. The data include forest cover; annual mean, minimum, and maximum daily temperature; annual rainfall; rain and stream chemistry; and atmospheric-dust transport. I examined satellite imagery and air-chemistry samples from a single National Aeronautics and Space Administration aircraft flight across the Caribbean showing patches of pollutants, described as thin sheets or lenses, in the lower troposphere. The main source of these pollutants appeared to be fires from land clearing and deforestation, primarily in Africa. Some pollutant concentrations were high and, in the case of ozone, approached health limits set for urban air. Urban pollution impinging on Puerto Rico, dust generation from Africa (potential soil pathogens), and tropical forest burning (gaseous pollutants) have all increased during the last three decades, overlapping the timing of amphibian declines in eastern Puerto Rico. None of the data sets pointed directly to changes so extreme that they might be considered a direct lethal cause of amphibian declines in Puerto Rico. More experimental research is required to link any of these environmental factors to this problem.

  16. Ranavirus outbreaks in amphibian populations of northern Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Russell, Danelle M.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Sprague, Laura; Waits, Lisette P.; Green, D. Earl; Schuler, Krysten L.; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2011-01-01

    Ranavirus outbreaks, caused by pathogens in the genus Ranavirus (Family Iridoviridae), were the largest single cause of reported amphibian mass mortality events in the United States from 1996–2001 (Green et al. 2002). Mortality events associated with ranaviruses have been documented on five continents and throughout the latitudes and elevations where amphibians occur (Gray et al. 2009). However, the threat of ranaviruses to amphibian and reptile populations in specific regions is still largely unknown (Chinchar 2002; Gray et al. 2009).

  17. Challenges in evaluating the impact of the trade in amphibians and reptiles on wild populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schlaepfer, Martin A.; Hoover, Craig; Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr.

    2005-01-01

    Amphibians and reptiles are taken from the wild and sold commercially as food, pets, and traditional medicines. The overcollecting of some species highlights the need to assess the trade and ensure that it is not contributing to declines in wild populations. Unlike most countries, the United States tracks the imports and exports of all amphibians and reptiles. Records from 1998 to 2002 reveal a US trade of several million wild-caught amphibians and reptiles each year, although many shipments are not recorded at the species level. The magnitude and content of the global commercial trade carries even greater unknowns. The absence of accurate trade and biological information for most species makes it difficult to establish whether current take levels are sustainable. The void of information also implies that population declines due to overcollecting could be going undetected. Policy changes to acquire baseline biological information and ensure a sustainable trade are urgently needed.

  18. Linking global warming to amphibian declines through its effects on female body condition and survivorship.

    PubMed

    Reading, C J

    2007-02-01

    There is general consensus that climate change has contributed to the observed decline, and extinction, of many amphibian species throughout the world. However, the mechanisms of its effects remain unclear. A laboratory study in 1980-1981 in which temperate zone amphibians that were prevented from hibernating had decreased growth rates, matured at a smaller size and had increased mortality compared with those that hibernated suggested one possible mechanism. I used data from a field study of common toads (Bufo bufo) in the UK, between 1983 and 2005, to determine whether this also occurs in the field. The results demonstrated two pathways by which global warming may cause amphibian declines. First, there was a clear relationship between a decline in the body condition of female common toads and the occurrence of warmer than average years since 1983. This was paralleled by a decline in their annual survival rates with the relationship between these two declines being highly correlated. Second, there was a significant relationship between the occurrence of mild winters and a reduction in female body size, resulting in fewer eggs being laid annually. Climate warming can, therefore, act on wild temperate zone amphibians by deleteriously affecting their physiology, during and after hibernation, causing increased female mortality rates and decreased fecundity in survivors. PMID:17024381

  19. 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

  20. A statistical assessment of population trends for data deficient Mexican amphibians.

    PubMed

    Quintero, Esther; Thessen, Anne E; Arias-Caballero, Paulina; Ayala-Orozco, Bárbara

    2014-01-01

    Background. Mexico has the world's fifth largest population of amphibians and the second country with the highest quantity of threatened amphibian species. About 10% of Mexican amphibians lack enough data to be assigned to a risk category by the IUCN, so in this paper we want to test a statistical tool that, in the absence of specific demographic data, can assess a species' risk of extinction, population trend, and to better understand which variables increase their vulnerability. Recent studies have demonstrated that the risk of species decline depends on extrinsic and intrinsic traits, thus including both of them for assessing extinction might render more accurate assessment of threats. Methods. We harvested data from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and the published literature for Mexican amphibians, and used these data to assess the population trend of some of the Mexican species that have been assigned to the Data Deficient category of the IUCN using Random Forests, a Machine Learning method that gives a prediction of complex processes and identifies the most important variables that account for the predictions. Results. Our results show that most of the data deficient Mexican amphibians that we used have decreasing population trends. We found that Random Forests is a solid way to identify species with decreasing population trends when no demographic data is available. Moreover, we point to the most important variables that make species more vulnerable for extinction. This exercise is a very valuable first step in assigning conservation priorities for poorly known species. PMID:25548736

  1. A statistical assessment of population trends for data deficient Mexican amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Thessen, Anne E.; Arias-Caballero, Paulina; Ayala-Orozco, Bárbara

    2014-01-01

    Background. Mexico has the world’s fifth largest population of amphibians and the second country with the highest quantity of threatened amphibian species. About 10% of Mexican amphibians lack enough data to be assigned to a risk category by the IUCN, so in this paper we want to test a statistical tool that, in the absence of specific demographic data, can assess a species’ risk of extinction, population trend, and to better understand which variables increase their vulnerability. Recent studies have demonstrated that the risk of species decline depends on extrinsic and intrinsic traits, thus including both of them for assessing extinction might render more accurate assessment of threats. Methods. We harvested data from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and the published literature for Mexican amphibians, and used these data to assess the population trend of some of the Mexican species that have been assigned to the Data Deficient category of the IUCN using Random Forests, a Machine Learning method that gives a prediction of complex processes and identifies the most important variables that account for the predictions. Results. Our results show that most of the data deficient Mexican amphibians that we used have decreasing population trends. We found that Random Forests is a solid way to identify species with decreasing population trends when no demographic data is available. Moreover, we point to the most important variables that make species more vulnerable for extinction. This exercise is a very valuable first step in assigning conservation priorities for poorly known species. PMID:25548736

  2. The potential influence of environmental pollution on amphibian development and decline

    SciTech Connect

    Jung, R.E.

    1996-12-31

    Globally, amphibians are reportedly declining. Environmental pollution has been hypothesized to be associated with declines. Because of their aquatic development and permeable eggs, skin and gills, amphibians, like fishes, may be particularly susceptible to poor water quality or waterborne pollutants. This dissertation addresses effects of global pollutants such as pesticides, acid rain and associated metal toxicity, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the development, behavior, and physiology of amphibian early life stages. This report contains only chapter six and conclusions. Chapter 6 reports on a field experiment in which green frogs from two clutches were exposed from egg to 107 days of age to water and sediments in enclosures along a PCB and metal contamination gradient in the Fox River and wetlands near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Green frogs showed lower hatching success and survival at sites with higher contaminant levels compared to cleaner wetland sites along Green Bay. Hatching success in the green frog was most significantly negatively correlated with sediment PCB levels. It can be concluded that environmental pollution and toxicants in aquatic environments can cause problems for amphibian early development. Sometimes the effects are subtle, and sometimes they are dramatic. In general, amphibian early life stages seem particularly sensitive to environmentally-realistic levels of low pH and metals, but appear more tolerant of TCDD and PCBs.

  3. Assessing changes in amphibian population dynamics following experimental manipulations of introduced fish.

    PubMed

    Pope, Karen L

    2008-12-01

    Sport-fish introductions are now recognized as an important cause of amphibian decline, but few researchers have quantified the demographic responses of amphibians to current options in fisheries management designed to minimize effects on sensitive amphibians. Demographic analyses with mark-recapture data allow researchers to assess the relative importance of survival, local recruitment, and migration to changes in population densities. I conducted a 4-year, replicated whole-lake experiment in the Klamath Mountains of northern California (U.S.A.) to quantify changes in population density, survival, population growth rate, and recruitment of the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) in response to manipulations of non-native fish populations. I compared responses of the frogs in lakes where fish were removed, in lakes in their naturally fish-free state, and in lakes where fish remained that were either stocked annually or no longer being stocked. Within 3 years of fish removals from 3 lakes, frog densities increased by a factor of 13.6. The survival of young adult frogs increased from 59% to 94%, and realized population growth and recruitment rates at the fish-removal lakes were more than twice as high as the rates for fish-free reference lakes and lakes that contained fish. Population growth in the fish-removal lakes was likely due to better on-site recruitment of frogs to later life stages rather than increased immigration. The effects on R. cascadae of suspending stocking were ambiguous and suggested no direct benefit to amphibians. With amphibians declining worldwide, these results show that active restoration can slow or reverse the decline of species affected by fish stocking within a short time frame. PMID:18680499

  4. Scientific meeting raises awareness of amphibian decline in Asia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vredenburg, Vance; Wang, Yuezhao; Fellers, Gary M.

    2000-01-01

    Blood samples from 433 Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) during fall and spring migrations, 1976-80, indicated that most of their pesticide burden, primarily DDE, was accumulated on wintering grounds in Latin America. DDE in spring migrants returning from Latin America for the first time declined significantly from 1979 to 1980. Only about 10% of breeding-age females contained organochlorine residues likely to adversely affect reproduction. The organochlorine pesticide threat in Latin America may be diminishing.

  5. 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)

  6. Riding the wave: reconciling the roles of disease and climate change in amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Lips, Karen R; Diffendorfer, Jay; Mendelson, Joseph R; Sears, Michael W

    2008-03-25

    We review the evidence for the role of climate change in triggering disease outbreaks of chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease of amphibians. Both climatic anomalies and disease-related extirpations are recent phenomena, and effects of both are especially noticeable at high elevations in tropical areas, making it difficult to determine whether they are operating separately or synergistically. We compiled reports of amphibian declines from Lower Central America and Andean South America to create maps and statistical models to test our hypothesis of spatiotemporal spread of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and to update the elevational patterns of decline in frogs belonging to the genus Atelopus. We evaluated claims of climate change influencing the spread of Bd by including error into estimates of the relationship between air temperature and last year observed. Available data support the hypothesis of multiple introductions of this invasive pathogen into South America and subsequent spread along the primary Andean cordilleras. Additional analyses found no evidence to support the hypothesis that climate change has been driving outbreaks of amphibian chytridiomycosis, as has been posited in the climate-linked epidemic hypothesis. Future studies should increase retrospective surveys of museum specimens from throughout the Andes and should study the landscape genetics of Bd to map fine-scale patterns of geographic spread to identify transmission routes and processes. PMID:18366257

  7. Evaluating Ultraviolet Radiation Exposures Determined from TOMS Satellite Data at Sites of Amphibian Declines in Central and South America

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Middleton, Elizabeth M.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Many amphibian species have experienced substantial population declines, or have disappeared altogether, during the last several decades at a number of amphibian census sites in Central and South America. This study addresses the use of satellite-derived trends in solar ultraviolet-B (UV-B; 280-320 nm) radiation exposures at these sites over the last two decades, and is intended to demonstrate a role for satellite observations in determining whether UV-B radiation is a contributing factor in amphibian declines. UV-B radiation levels at the Earth's surface were derived from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) satellite data, typically acquired daily since 1979. These data were used to calculate the daily erythemal (sunburning) UV-B, or UV-B(sub ery), exposures at the latitude, longitude, and elevation of each of 20 census sites. The annually averaged UV-B(sub ery) dose, as well as the maximum values, have been increasing in both Central and South America, with higher levels received at the Central American sites. The annually averaged UV-B(sub ery) exposures increased significantly from 1979-1998 at all 11 Central American sites examined (r(exp 2) = 0.60 - 0.79; P<=0.015), with smaller but significant increases at five of the nine South American sites (r(exp 2) = 0.24-0.42; P<=0.05). The contribution of the highest UV-B(sub ery) exposure levels (>= 6750 J/sq m*d) to the annual UV-B(sub ery) total has increased from approx. 5% to approx. 15% in Central America over the 19 year period, but actual daily exposures for each species are unknown. Synergy among UV-B radiation and other factors, especially those associated with alterations of water chemistry (e.g., acidification) in aqueous habitats is discussed. These findings justify further research concerning whether UV-B(sub ery) radiation plays a role in amphibian population declines and extinctions.

  8. FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECTING AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS IN THE US

    EPA Science Inventory

    Factors known or suspected to be adversely affecting native amphibian populations in the US were identified using information from species accounts written in a standardized format by multiple authors in a forthcoming book. Specific adverse factors were identified for 53 (58%) of...

  9. Temporal and Spatial Patterns of Airborne Contaminants Relative to Amphibian Population in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California

    EPA Science Inventory

    Airborne agricultural pesticides are being transported many tens of kilometers to remote locations in mountain areas, and they have been implicated as a cause for recent, dramatic population declines of several amphibian species in such areas. The strongest case is for the mount...

  10. 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

    . Standardized population monitoring of key amphibian and reptile species should be established with urgency to enable early detection of potential impacts of disease emergence in this global biodiversity hotspot. PMID:26083349

  11. 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

  12. Seasonal and ontogenetic variation of skin microbial communities and relationships to natural disease dynamics in declining amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Longo, Ana V.; Savage, Anna E.; Hewson, Ian; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2015-01-01

    Recently, microbiologists have focused on characterizing the probiotic role of skin bacteria for amphibians threatened by the fungal disease chytridiomycosis. However, the specific characteristics of microbial diversity required to maintain health or trigger disease are still not well understood in natural populations. We hypothesized that seasonal and developmental transitions affecting susceptibility to chytridiomycosis could also alter the stability of microbial assemblages. To test our hypothesis, we examined patterns of skin bacterial diversity in two species of declining amphibians (Lithobates yavapaiensis and Eleutherodactylus coqui) affected by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We focused on two important transitions that affect Bd susceptibility: ontogenetic (from juvenile to adult) shifts in E. coqui and seasonal (from summer to winter) shifts in L. yavapaiensis. We used a combination of community-fingerprinting analyses and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to quantify changes in bacterial diversity and assemblage composition between seasons and developmental stages, and to investigate the relationship between bacterial diversity and pathogen load. We found that winter-sampled frogs and juveniles, two states associated with increased Bd susceptibility, exhibited higher diversity compared with summer-sampled frogs and adult individuals. Our findings also revealed that hosts harbouring higher bacterial diversity carried lower Bd infections, providing support for the protective role of bacterial communities. Ongoing work to understand skin microbiome resilience after pathogen disturbance has the potential to identify key taxa involved in disease resistance. PMID:26587253

  13. Seasonal and ontogenetic variation of skin microbial communities and relationships to natural disease dynamics in declining amphibians.

    PubMed

    Longo, Ana V; Savage, Anna E; Hewson, Ian; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-07-01

    Recently, microbiologists have focused on characterizing the probiotic role of skin bacteria for amphibians threatened by the fungal disease chytridiomycosis. However, the specific characteristics of microbial diversity required to maintain health or trigger disease are still not well understood in natural populations. We hypothesized that seasonal and developmental transitions affecting susceptibility to chytridiomycosis could also alter the stability of microbial assemblages. To test our hypothesis, we examined patterns of skin bacterial diversity in two species of declining amphibians (Lithobates yavapaiensis and Eleutherodactylus coqui) affected by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We focused on two important transitions that affect Bd susceptibility: ontogenetic (from juvenile to adult) shifts in E. coqui and seasonal (from summer to winter) shifts in L. yavapaiensis. We used a combination of community-fingerprinting analyses and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to quantify changes in bacterial diversity and assemblage composition between seasons and developmental stages, and to investigate the relationship between bacterial diversity and pathogen load. We found that winter-sampled frogs and juveniles, two states associated with increased Bd susceptibility, exhibited higher diversity compared with summer-sampled frogs and adult individuals. Our findings also revealed that hosts harbouring higher bacterial diversity carried lower Bd infections, providing support for the protective role of bacterial communities. Ongoing work to understand skin microbiome resilience after pathogen disturbance has the potential to identify key taxa involved in disease resistance. PMID:26587253

  14. Pesticide distributions and population declines of California alpine frogs, Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Atmospherically deposited pesticides from the intensively cultivated Central Valley of California have been implicated as a cause for population declines of several amphibian species, with the strongest evidence for the frogs, Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae at high elevation in the Sierra Nevada moun...

  15. Pesticide Distributions and Population Declines of California Alpine Frogs, Rana Muscosa and Rana Sierrae

    EPA Science Inventory

    Atmospherically deposited pesticides from the intensively cultivated Central Valley of California have been implicated as a cause for population declines of several amphibian species, with the strongest evidence for the frogs Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae at high elevation in th...

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Allocation trade-off under climate warming in experimental amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xu; Jin, Changnan; Camargo, Arley

    2015-01-01

    Climate change could either directly or indirectly cause population declines via altered temperature, rainfall regimes, food availability or phenological responses. However few studies have focused on allocation trade-offs between growth and reproduction under marginal resources, such as food scarce that may be caused by climate warming. Such critical changes may have an unpredicted impact on amphibian life-history parameters and even population dynamics. Here, we report an allocation strategy of adult anuran individuals involving a reproductive stage under experimental warming. Using outdoor mesocosm experiments we simulated a warming scenario likely to occur at the end of this century. We examined the effects of temperature (ambient vs. pre-/post-hibernation warming) and food availability (normal vs. low) on reproduction and growth parameters of pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculatus). We found that temperature was the major factor influencing reproductive time of female pond frogs, which showed a significant advancing under post-hibernation warming treatment. While feeding rate was the major factor influencing reproductive status of females, clutch size, and variation of body size for females, showed significant positive correlations between feeding rate and reproductive status, clutch size, or variation of body size. Our results suggested that reproduction and body size of amphibians might be modulated by climate warming or food availability variation. We believe this study provides some new evidence on allocation strategies suggesting that amphibians could adjust their reproductive output to cope with climate warming. PMID:26500832

  19. Allocation trade-off under climate warming in experimental amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Gao, Xu; Jin, Changnan; Camargo, Arley; Li, Yiming

    2015-01-01

    Climate change could either directly or indirectly cause population declines via altered temperature, rainfall regimes, food availability or phenological responses. However few studies have focused on allocation trade-offs between growth and reproduction under marginal resources, such as food scarce that may be caused by climate warming. Such critical changes may have an unpredicted impact on amphibian life-history parameters and even population dynamics. Here, we report an allocation strategy of adult anuran individuals involving a reproductive stage under experimental warming. Using outdoor mesocosm experiments we simulated a warming scenario likely to occur at the end of this century. We examined the effects of temperature (ambient vs. pre-/post-hibernation warming) and food availability (normal vs. low) on reproduction and growth parameters of pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculatus). We found that temperature was the major factor influencing reproductive time of female pond frogs, which showed a significant advancing under post-hibernation warming treatment. While feeding rate was the major factor influencing reproductive status of females, clutch size, and variation of body size for females, showed significant positive correlations between feeding rate and reproductive status, clutch size, or variation of body size. Our results suggested that reproduction and body size of amphibians might be modulated by climate warming or food availability variation. We believe this study provides some new evidence on allocation strategies suggesting that amphibians could adjust their reproductive output to cope with climate warming. PMID:26500832

  20. Effect of biogeographic history on population vulnerability in European amphibians.

    PubMed

    Dufresnes, Christophe; Perrin, Nicolas

    2015-08-01

    The genetic diversity of populations, which contributes greatly to their adaptive potential, is negatively affected by anthropogenic habitat fragmentation and destruction. However, continental-scale losses of genetic diversity also resulted from the population expansions that followed the end of the last glaciation, an element that is rarely considered in a conservation context. We addressed this issue in a meta-analysis in which we compared the spatial patterns of vulnerability of 18 widespread European amphibians in light of phylogeographic histories (glacial refugia and postglacial routes) and anthropogenic disturbances. Conservation statuses significantly worsened with distances from refugia, particularly in the context of industrial agriculture; human population density also had a negative effect. These findings suggest that features associated with the loss of genetic diversity in post-glacial amphibian populations (such as enhanced fixation load or depressed adaptive potential) may increase their susceptibility to current threats (e.g., habitat fragmentation and pesticide use). We propose that the phylogeographic status of populations (i.e., refugial vs. post-glacial) should be considered in conservation assessments for regional and national red lists. PMID:25833793

  1. Genetic variation in insecticide tolerance in a population of southern leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala): Implications for amphibian conservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.; Semlitsch, R.D.

    2001-01-01

    Currently, conservation efforts are devoted to determining the extent and the causes of the decline of many amphibian species worldwide. Human impacts frequently degrade amphibian habitat and have been implicated in many declines. Because genetic variance is critical in determining the persistence of a species in a changing environment, we examined the amount of genetic variability present in a single population for tolerance to an environmental stressor. We examined the amount of genetic variability among full- and half-sib families in a single population of southern leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala) with respect to their tolerance to lethal concentrations of the agricultural chemical, carbaryl. Analysis of time-to-death data indicated significant differences among full-sib families and suggests a large amount of variability present in the responses to this environmental stressor. Significant differences in responses among half-sib families indicated that there is additive genetic variance. These data suggest that this population may have the ability to adapt to environmental stressors. It is possible that declines of amphibian populations in the western United States may be attributed to low genetic variability resulting from limited migration among populations and small population sizes.

  2. HISTORY OF AMPHIBIAN DECLINE AND THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE RESEARCH WITH UV LIGHT AND OTHER STRESSORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    This talk is an overview of the history of amphibian decline and the lab research and field monitoring results generated by MED and other agencies. Included are the general field observations leading up to our research initiation, UV-light exposures to the Northern Leopard Frog...

  3. Larval Environment Alters Amphibian Immune Defenses Differentially across Life Stages and Populations

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Recent global declines, extirpations and extinctions of wildlife caused by newly emergent diseases highlight the need to improve our knowledge of common environmental factors that affect the strength of immune defense traits. To achieve this goal, we examined the influence of acidification and shading of the larval environment on amphibian skin-associated innate immune defense traits, pre and post-metamorphosis, across two populations of American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana), a species known for its wide-ranging environmental tolerance and introduced global distribution. We assessed treatment effects on 1) skin-associated microbial communities and 2) post-metamorphic antimicrobial peptide (AMP) production and 3) AMP bioactivity against the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). While habitat acidification did not affect survival, time to metamorphosis or juvenile mass, we found that a change in average pH from 7 to 6 caused a significant shift in the larval skin microbial community, an effect which disappeared after metamorphosis. Additionally, we found shifts in skin-associated microbial communities across life stages suggesting they are affected by the physiological or ecological changes associated with amphibian metamorphosis. Moreover, we found that post-metamorphic AMP production and bioactivity were significantly affected by the interactions between pH and shade treatments and interactive effects differed across populations. In contrast, there were no significant interactions between treatments on post-metamorphic microbial community structure suggesting that variation in AMPs did not affect microbial community structure within our study. Our findings indicate that commonly encountered variation in the larval environment (i.e. pond pH and degree of shading) can have both immediate and long-term effects on the amphibian innate immune defense traits. Our work suggests that the susceptibility of amphibians to emerging diseases could be related to

  4. Suburbanization, estrogen contamination, and sex ratio in wild amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Max R; Giller, Geoffrey S J; Barber, Larry B; Fitzgerald, Kevin C; Skelly, David K

    2015-09-22

    Research on endocrine disruption in frog populations, such as shifts in sex ratios and feminization of males, has predominantly focused on agricultural pesticides. Recent evidence suggests that suburban landscapes harbor amphibian populations exhibiting similar levels of endocrine disruption; however the endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) sources are unknown. Here, we show that sex ratios of metamorphosing frogs become increasingly female-dominated along a suburbanization gradient. We further show that suburban ponds are frequently contaminated by the classical estrogen estrone and a variety of EDCs produced by plants (phytoestrogens), and that the diversity of organic EDCs is correlated with the extent of developed land use and cultivated lawn and gardens around a pond. Our work also raises the possibility that trace-element contamination associated with human land use around suburban ponds may be contributing to the estrogenic load within suburban freshwaters and constitutes another source of estrogenic exposure for wildlife. These data suggest novel, unexplored pathways of EDC contamination in human-altered environments. In particular, we propose that vegetation changes associated with suburban neighborhoods (e.g., from forests to lawns and ornamental plants) increase the distribution of phytoestrogens in surface waters. The result of frog sex ratios varying as a function of human land use implicates a role for environmental modulation of sexual differentiation in amphibians, which are assumed to only have genetic sex determination. Overall, we show that endocrine disruption is widespread in suburban frog populations and that the causes are likely diverse. PMID:26372955

  5. Suburbanization, estrogen contamination, and sex ratio in wild amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Lambert, Max R.; Giller, Geoffrey S. J.; Barber, Larry B.; Fitzgerald, Kevin C.; Skelly, David K.

    2015-01-01

    Research on endocrine disruption in frog populations, such as shifts in sex ratios and feminization of males, has predominantly focused on agricultural pesticides. Recent evidence suggests that suburban landscapes harbor amphibian populations exhibiting similar levels of endocrine disruption; however the endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) sources are unknown. Here, we show that sex ratios of metamorphosing frogs become increasingly female-dominated along a suburbanization gradient. We further show that suburban ponds are frequently contaminated by the classical estrogen estrone and a variety of EDCs produced by plants (phytoestrogens), and that the diversity of organic EDCs is correlated with the extent of developed land use and cultivated lawn and gardens around a pond. Our work also raises the possibility that trace-element contamination associated with human land use around suburban ponds may be contributing to the estrogenic load within suburban freshwaters and constitutes another source of estrogenic exposure for wildlife. These data suggest novel, unexplored pathways of EDC contamination in human-altered environments. In particular, we propose that vegetation changes associated with suburban neighborhoods (e.g., from forests to lawns and ornamental plants) increase the distribution of phytoestrogens in surface waters. The result of frog sex ratios varying as a function of human land use implicates a role for environmental modulation of sexual differentiation in amphibians, which are assumed to only have genetic sex determination. Overall, we show that endocrine disruption is widespread in suburban frog populations and that the causes are likely diverse. PMID:26372955

  6. 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

  7. Differences in sensitivity to the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis among amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Bradley, Paul W; Gervasi, Stephanie S; Hua, Jessica; Cothran, Rickey D; Relyea, Rick A; Olson, Deanna H; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2015-10-01

    Contributing to the worldwide biodiversity crisis are emerging infectious diseases, which can lead to extirpations and extinctions of hosts. For example, the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is associated with worldwide amphibian population declines and extinctions. Sensitivity to Bd varies with species, season, and life stage. However, there is little information on whether sensitivity to Bd differs among populations, which is essential for understanding Bd-infection dynamics and for formulating conservation strategies. We experimentally investigated intraspecific differences in host sensitivity to Bd across 10 populations of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) raised from eggs to metamorphosis. We exposed the post-metamorphic wood frogs to Bd and monitored survival for 30 days under controlled laboratory conditions. Populations differed in overall survival and mortality rate. Infection load also differed among populations but was not correlated with population differences in risk of mortality. Such population-level variation in sensitivity to Bd may result in reservoir populations that may be a source for the transmission of Bd to other sensitive populations or species. Alternatively, remnant populations that are less sensitive to Bd could serve as sources for recolonization after epidemic events. PMID:26219571

  8. Hot Spots of Mercury Bioaccumulation in Amphibian Populations From the Conterminous United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bank, M. S.

    2008-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination in the United States (U.S.) is well-documented and continues to be a public- health issue of great concern. Fish consumption advisories have been issued throughout much of the U.S. due to elevated levels of methylmercury (MeHg). Methylmercury contamination in the developing fetus and in young children is a major public health issue for certain sectors of the global human population. Moreover, identifying MeHg hot spots and the effects of MeHg pollution on environmental health and biodiversity are also considered a high priority for land managers, risk assessors, and conservation scientists. Despite their overall biomass and importance to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, Hg and MeHg bioaccumulation dynamics and toxicity in amphibians are not well studied, especially when compared to other vertebrate taxa such as birds, mammals, and fish species. Population declines in amphibians are well documented and likely caused by synergistic and interacting, multiple stressors such as climate change, exposure to toxic pollutants, fungal pathogens, and habitat loss and ecosystem degradation. Protecting quality of terrestrial ecosystems in the U.S. has enormous ramifications for economic and public health of the nation's residents and is fundamental to maintaining the biotic integrity of surface waters, riparian zones, and environmental health of forested landscapes nationwide. Determining Hg concentration levels for terrestrial and surface water ecosystems also has important implications for protecting the nation's fauna. Here I present an overview of the National Amphibian Mercury Program and evaluate variation in MeHg hotspots, Hg bioaccumulation and distribution in freshwater and terrestrial habitats across a broad gradient of physical, climatic, biotic, and ecosystem settings to identify the environmental conditions and ecosystem types that are most sensitive to Hg pollution. The role of geography, disturbance mechanisms, and abiotic and biotic

  9. Drought, deluge and declines: the impact of precipitation extremes on amphibians in a changing climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, Susan C.; Barichivich, William J.; Brown, Mary E.

    2013-01-01

    The Class Amphibia is one of the most severely impacted taxa in an on-going global biodiversity crisis. Because amphibian reproduction is tightly associated with the presence of water, climatic changes that affect water availability pose a particularly menacing threat to both aquatic and terrestrial-breeding amphibians. We explore the impacts that one facet of climate change—that of extreme variation in precipitation—may have on amphibians. This variation is manifested principally as increases in the incidence and severity of both drought and major storm events. We stress the need to consider not only total precipitation amounts but also the pattern and timing of rainfall events. Such rainfall “pulses” are likely to become increasingly more influential on amphibians, especially in relation to seasonal reproduction. Changes in reproductive phenology can strongly influence the outcome of competitive and predatory interactions, thus potentially altering community dynamics in assemblages of co-existing species. We present a conceptual model to illustrate possible landscape and metapopulation consequences of alternative climate change scenarios for pond-breeding amphibians, using the Mole Salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum, as an example. Although amphibians have evolved a variety of life history strategies that enable them to cope with environmental uncertainty, it is unclear whether adaptations can keep pace with the escalating rate of climate change. Climate change, especially in combination with other stressors, is a daunting challenge for the persistence of amphibians and, thus, the conservation of global biodiversity.

  10. Drought, deluge and declines: the impact of precipitation extremes on amphibians in a changing climate.

    PubMed

    Walls, Susan C; Barichivich, William J; Brown, Mary E

    2013-01-01

    The Class Amphibia is one of the most severely impacted taxa in an on-going global biodiversity crisis. Because amphibian reproduction is tightly associated with the presence of water, climatic changes that affect water availability pose a particularly menacing threat to both aquatic and terrestrial-breeding amphibians. We explore the impacts that one facet of climate change-that of extreme variation in precipitation-may have on amphibians. This variation is manifested principally as increases in the incidence and severity of both drought and major storm events. We stress the need to consider not only total precipitation amounts but also the pattern and timing of rainfall events. Such rainfall "pulses" are likely to become increasingly more influential on amphibians, especially in relation to seasonal reproduction. Changes in reproductive phenology can strongly influence the outcome of competitive and predatory interactions, thus potentially altering community dynamics in assemblages of co-existing species. We present a conceptual model to illustrate possible landscape and metapopulation consequences of alternative climate change scenarios for pond-breeding amphibians, using the Mole Salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum, as an example. Although amphibians have evolved a variety of life history strategies that enable them to cope with environmental uncertainty, it is unclear whether adaptations can keep pace with the escalating rate of climate change. Climate change, especially in combination with other stressors, is a daunting challenge for the persistence of amphibians and, thus, the conservation of global biodiversity. PMID:24832668

  11. Drought, Deluge and Declines: The Impact of Precipitation Extremes on Amphibians in a Changing Climate

    PubMed Central

    Walls, Susan C.; Barichivich, William J.; Brown, Mary E.

    2013-01-01

    The Class Amphibia is one of the most severely impacted taxa in an on-going global biodiversity crisis. Because amphibian reproduction is tightly associated with the presence of water, climatic changes that affect water availability pose a particularly menacing threat to both aquatic and terrestrial-breeding amphibians. We explore the impacts that one facet of climate change—that of extreme variation in precipitation—may have on amphibians. This variation is manifested principally as increases in the incidence and severity of both drought and major storm events. We stress the need to consider not only total precipitation amounts but also the pattern and timing of rainfall events. Such rainfall “pulses” are likely to become increasingly more influential on amphibians, especially in relation to seasonal reproduction. Changes in reproductive phenology can strongly influence the outcome of competitive and predatory interactions, thus potentially altering community dynamics in assemblages of co-existing species. We present a conceptual model to illustrate possible landscape and metapopulation consequences of alternative climate change scenarios for pond-breeding amphibians, using the Mole Salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum, as an example. Although amphibians have evolved a variety of life history strategies that enable them to cope with environmental uncertainty, it is unclear whether adaptations can keep pace with the escalating rate of climate change. Climate change, especially in combination with other stressors, is a daunting challenge for the persistence of amphibians and, thus, the conservation of global biodiversity. PMID:24832668

  12. Aquatic amphibians in the Sierra Nevada: Current status and potential effects of acidic deposition on populations. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Bradford, D.F.; Gordon, M.S.

    1992-05-01

    Toxicity testing indicated that amphibians are at little risk from low pH in water acidified to a pH of 5.0 and aluminum concentrations from 39 to 80 micrograms/l. However, sublethal effects (reduced growth rate and earlier hatching) were observed for pH as high as 5.25 and the aluminum concentrations tested. The authors tested the hypothesis that acidification of habitats in the field has resulted in elimination of populationss from waters most vulnerable to acidification, i.e., low in pH or ANC, or from waters low in ionic strength a condition that increases the sensitivity of amphibians to low pH. The authors surveyed potential breeding sites for two declining and one non-declining species at high elevation within 30 randomly selected survey areas, and compared chemical parameters between sites containing a species and sites lacking the species. No significant differences were found that were consistent with the hypothesis, and water chemistry did not differ among sites inhabited by the three species. These findings imply that acidic deposition is unlikely to have been a cause of recent amphibian population declines in the Sierra Nevada.

  13. Regional decline of an iconic amphibian associated with elevation, land-use change, and invasive species.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Pieter T J; McKenzie, Valerie J; Peterson, Anna C; Kerby, Jacob L; Brown, Jennifer; Blaustein, Andrew R; Jackson, Tina

    2011-06-01

    Ecological theory predicts that species with restricted geographic ranges will have the highest probability of extinction, but species with extensive distributions and high population densities can also exhibit widespread population losses. In the western United States populations of northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens)-historically one of the most widespread frogs in North America-have declined dramatically in abundance and geographic distribution. To assess the status of leopard frogs in Colorado and evaluate causes of decline, we coupled statewide surveys of 196 historically occupied sites with intensive sampling of 274 wetlands stratified by land use. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the contributions of factors at multiple spatial extents in explaining the contemporary distribution of leopard frogs. Our results indicate leopard frogs have declined in Colorado, but this decline was regionally variable. The lowest proportion of occupied wetlands occurred in eastern Colorado (2-28%), coincident with urban development and colonization by non-native bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus). Variables at several spatial extents explained observed leopard frog distributional patterns. In low-elevation wetlands introduced fishes, bullfrogs, and urbanization or suburbanization associated negatively with leopard frog occurrence, whereas wetland area was positively associated with occurrence. Leopard frogs were more abundant and widespread west of the Continental Divide, where urban development and bullfrog abundance were low. Although the pathogenic chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) was not selected in our best-supported models, the nearly complete extirpation of leopard frogs from montane wetlands could reflect the individual or interactive effects of Bd and climate patterns. Our results highlight the importance of considering multiple, competing hypotheses to explain species declines, particularly when implicated factors operate at

  14. Migratory diversity predicts population declines in birds.

    PubMed

    Gilroy, James J; Gill, Jennifer A; Butchart, Stuart H M; Jones, Victoria R; Franco, Aldina M A

    2016-03-01

    Declines in migratory species are a pressing concern worldwide, but the mechanisms underpinning these declines are not fully understood. We hypothesised that species with greater within-population variability in migratory movements and destinations, here termed 'migratory diversity', might be more resilient to environmental change. To test this, we related map-based metrics of migratory diversity to recent population trends for 340 European breeding birds. Species that occupy larger non-breeding ranges relative to breeding, a characteristic we term 'migratory dispersion', were less likely to be declining than those with more restricted non-breeding ranges. Species with partial migration strategies (i.e. overlapping breeding and non-breeding ranges) were also less likely to be declining than full migrants or full residents, an effect that was independent of migration distance. Recent rates of advancement in Europe-wide spring arrival date were greater for partial migrants than full migrants, suggesting that migratory diversity may also help facilitate species responses to climate change. PMID:26807694

  15. Airborne Pesticides as an Unlikely Cause for Population Declines of Alpine Frogs in the Sierra Nevada, California

    EPA Science Inventory

    Airborne pesticides from the Central Valley of California have been implicated as a cause for population declines of several amphibian species, with the strongest evidence for the mountain yellow-legged frog complex (Rana muscosa and R. sierrae) in the Sierra Nevada. We measured...

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. DISTRIBUTIONAL CHANGES AND POPULATION STATUS FOR AMPHIBIANS IN THE EASTERN MOJAVE DESERT

    EPA Science Inventory

    A number of amphibian species historically inhabited sparsely distributed wetlands in the Mojave Desert of western North America, habitats that have been dramatically altered or eliminated as a result of human activities. The population status and distributional changes for amphi...

  19. Population Recovery following Decline in an Endangered Stream-Breeding Frog (Mixophyes fleayi) from Subtropical Australia

    PubMed Central

    Newell, David Alan; Goldingay, Ross Lindsay; Brooks, Lyndon Owen

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians have undergone dramatic declines and extinctions worldwide. Prominent among these have been the stream-breeding frogs in the rainforests of eastern Australia. The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been postulated as the primary cause of these declines. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture study over a 7-year period on the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) at two independent streams (30 km apart) in order to assess the stability of these populations. This species had undergone a severe decline across its narrow geographic range. Mark-recapture modelling showed that the number of individuals increased 3–10 fold along stream transects over this period. Frog detection probabilities were frequently above 50% but declined as the populations increased. Adult survival was important to overall population persistence in light of low recruitment events, suggesting that longevity may be a key factor in this recovery. One male and female were present in the capture record for >6 years. This study provides an unambiguous example of population recovery in the presence of Bd. PMID:23516509

  20. DNA barcoding applied to ex situ tropical amphibian conservation programme reveals cryptic diversity in captive populations.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Andrew J; Cruz, Catalina; Griffith, Edgardo; Ross, Heidi; Ibáñez, Roberto; Lips, Karen R; Driskell, Amy C; Bermingham, Eldredge; Crump, Paul

    2013-11-01

    Amphibians constitute a diverse yet still incompletely characterized clade of vertebrates, in which new species are still being discovered and described at a high rate. Amphibians are also increasingly endangered, due in part to disease-driven threats of extinctions. As an emergency response, conservationists have begun ex situ assurance colonies for priority species. The abundance of cryptic amphibian diversity, however, may cause problems for ex situ conservation. In this study we used a DNA barcoding approach to survey mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in captive populations of 10 species of Neotropical amphibians maintained in an ex situ assurance programme at El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC) in the Republic of Panama. We combined these mtDNA sequences with genetic data from presumably conspecific wild populations sampled from across Panama, and applied genetic distance-based and character-based analyses to identify cryptic lineages. We found that three of ten species harboured substantial cryptic genetic diversity within EVACC, and an additional three species harboured cryptic diversity among wild populations, but not in captivity. Ex situ conservation efforts focused on amphibians are therefore vulnerable to an incomplete taxonomy leading to misidentification among cryptic species. DNA barcoding may therefore provide a simple, standardized protocol to identify cryptic diversity readily applicable to any amphibian community. PMID:23280343

  1. Atrazine Contamination in Water and the Impact on Amphibian Populations: A Bioassay That Measures Water Quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayes, T. B.

    2001-12-01

    In recent laboratory studies, we showed that atrazine, a common herbicide, can inhibit metamorphosis, produce hermaphrodites, and inhibit male development in amphibians. In part, these effects are due to a decrease in androgen levels. These effects occur at ecologically relevant low doses (0.1 ppb), and the effective levels are below the current drinking level standard and below contaminant levels found even in rainfall in some areas. Thus, the impact of this widespread compound on free-ranging amphibians is a concern. We undertook a large-scale study to examine atrazine levels in a variety of habitats (temporary pools, rivers, lakes and ponds, and field runoff) across the US where atrazine is used and areas that report no atrazine use. Also, we collected amphibians at each site to examine them for developmental abnormalities. These ongoing studies will help determine the extent of atrazine contamination and its potential impact on amphibian populations. The concern for atrazine's impact is increased, because the mechanism through which the compound produces this effect (inhibition of androgen production) is commonly observed in fish, reptiles and mammals in addition to amphibians, although amphibians appear to sensitive at much lower doses. Thus, effects on amphibians may indicate a much broader impact.

  2. OPTICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL WATERS PROTECT AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS FROM UV-B IN THE US PACIFIC NORTHWEST

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increased exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has been proposed as a major environmental stressor leading to global amphibian declines. Prior experimental evidence from the US Pacific Northwest (PNW) indicating the acute embryonic sensitivity of at least 4 amphibian specie...

  3. Long-term observation of amphibian populations inhabiting urban and forested areas in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

    PubMed

    Vershinin, Vladimir L; Vershinina, Svetlana D; Berzin, Dmitry L; Zmeeva, Darya V; Kinev, Alexander V

    2015-01-01

    This article presents data derived from a 36 year-long uninterrupted observational study of amphibian populations living in the city and vicinity of Yekaterinburg, Russia. This area is inhabited by six amphibian species. Based on a degree of anthropogenic transformation, the urban territory is divided into five highly mosaic zones characterized by vegetation, temperature, and a distinctive water pollution profile. Population data is presented year-by-year for the number of animals, sex ratio, and species-specific fecundity including the number and quality of spawns for the following amphibian species: Salamandrella keyserligii, Rana arvalis, R. temporaria, Lissotriton vulgaris, and Pelophylax ridibundus. These data provide an excellent opportunity to assess an urban environment from an animal population-wide perspective, as well as revealing the forces driving animal adaptation to the anthropogenic transformation of habitats. PMID:25984350

  4. Long-term observation of amphibian populations inhabiting urban and forested areas in Yekaterinburg, Russia

    PubMed Central

    Vershinin, Vladimir L.; Vershinina, Svetlana D.; Berzin, Dmitry L.; Zmeeva, Darya V.; Kinev, Alexander V.

    2015-01-01

    This article presents data derived from a 36 year-long uninterrupted observational study of amphibian populations living in the city and vicinity of Yekaterinburg, Russia. This area is inhabited by six amphibian species. Based on a degree of anthropogenic transformation, the urban territory is divided into five highly mosaic zones characterized by vegetation, temperature, and a distinctive water pollution profile. Population data is presented year-by-year for the number of animals, sex ratio, and species-specific fecundity including the number and quality of spawns for the following amphibian species: Salamandrella keyserligii, Rana arvalis, R. temporaria, Lissotriton vulgaris, and Pelophylax ridibundus. These data provide an excellent opportunity to assess an urban environment from an animal population-wide perspective, as well as revealing the forces driving animal adaptation to the anthropogenic transformation of habitats. PMID:25984350

  5. ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF ALTERNATIVE LANDSCAPE DESIGNS ON AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DYNAMICS

    EPA Science Inventory

    An individual-based, spatially explicit population model was used to predict the onsequences of future land-use alternatives for populations of four amphibian species in two agricultural watersheds in central Iowa. The model included both breeding and upland habitat and incorp...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woodhams, Douglas C.; Bosch, Jaime; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Cashins, Scott; Davis, Leyla R.; Lauer, Antje; Muths, Erin L.; Puschendorf, Robert; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Sheafor, Brandon; Voyles, Jamie

    2011-01-01

    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.

  7. Water-quality and amphibian population data for Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, 2001-2004

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, K.C.; Jung, R.E.

    2004-01-01

    Data on the chemical composition of water and on amphibian populations were collected at least annually from vernal pool and stream sites in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, from 2001 through 2004. The data were collected as part of long-term monitoring projects of the Northeast Region of the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) of the U.S. Geological Survey. Water samples were analyzed for temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved-oxygen concentration, acid-neutralizing capacity, and concentrations of total Kjeldahl nitrogen and total phosphorus; in 2004, samples also were analyzed for nitrite plus nitrate concentrations and total nitrogen concentrations. Field and laboratory analytical results of water samples and quality-assurance information are presented. Amphibian population data include the presence of amphibian species and the maximum number of egg masses of wood frogs and spotted salamanders at vernal pools, and counts of amphibians made during stream transect and stream quadrat surveys.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Perspectives from the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute: Amphibians and wilderness

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen

    2001-01-01

    The decline of amphibian species has emerged as a major global conservation issue in the last decade. Last year, the Department of the Interior (DOI) initiated a major national initiative to detect trends in amphibian populations and research the causes of declines. The program, conducted principally by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), emphasizes lands managed by DOI, but collaboration with the Forest Service is encouraged to increase the scope of inference about population trends. Although amphibians are not usually the first group of animals that comes to mind when one thinks of wilderness, conservation of amphibian populations is clearly a wilderness issue.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Trematode infection causes malformations and population effects in a declining New Zealand fish.

    PubMed

    Kelly, David W; Thomas, Harriet; Thieltges, David W; Poulin, Robert; Tompkins, Daniel M

    2010-03-01

    1. Animal malformations engender wide public and scientific concern because of associated environmental health risks. This is highlighted by increased incidence of limb malformations in amphibians associated with trematode infections and disturbance. Malformations may signal new emerging disease threats, but whether the phenomenon is broadly applicable across taxa, or has population-scale impacts, is unknown. 2. Malformations are widely reported in fish and, until now, have been attributed mainly to contaminants. We tested whether the trematode Telogaster opisthorchis caused severe malformations, leading to population effects, in Galaxias anomalus, a threatened New Zealand freshwater fish. 3. Experimental infection of larval fish caused increasing spinal malformation and mortality with infection intensity that closely matched field patterns. Field malformation frequency peaked in January (65%), before declining sharply in February (25%) and remaining low thereafter. 4. The peak occurred during a 'critical window' of larval development, with the decline coincident with a population crash, indicating that malformation was causing mortality in the field. 5. The occurrence of such critical developmental windows may explain why this mechanism of population impact has been overlooked. With global environmental stressors predicted to enhance trematode infections, our results show that parasite-induced malformation, and its population-scale impacts, could be more widespread than previously considered. PMID:19886894

  14. Amphibians and disease: Implications for conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.

    2007-01-01

    The decline of amphibian populations is a world-wide phenomenon that has received increasing attention since about 1990. In 2004, the World Conservation Union’s global amphibian assessment concluded that 48% of the world’s 5,743 described amphibian species were in decline, with 32% considered threatened (Stuart et al. 2004). Amphibian declines are a significant issue in the western United States, where all native species of frogs in the genus Rana and many toads in the genus Bufo are at risk, particularly those that inhabit mountainous areas (Corn 2003a,b; Bradford 2005).

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. DEMOGRAPHY AND SPATIAL POPULATION STRUCTURE IN CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER

    EPA Science Inventory

    Although the causes of many amphibian declines remain mysterious, there is general agreement that human habitat alteration represents the greatest threat to amphibian populations. In January 2000 the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing Santa Barbara County California Ti...

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Hydrologic Variability Governs Population Dynamics of a Vulnerable Amphibian in an Arid Environment

    PubMed Central

    Zylstra, Erin R.; Steidl, Robert J.; Swann, Don E.; Ratzlaff, Kristina

    2015-01-01

    Dynamics of many amphibian populations are governed by the distribution and availability of water. Therefore, understanding the hydrological mechanisms that explain spatial and temporal variation in occupancy and abundance will improve our ability to conserve and recover populations of vulnerable amphibians. We used 16 years of survey data from intermittent mountain streams in the Sonoran Desert to evaluate how availability of surface water affected survival and adult recruitment of a threatened amphibian, the lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis). Across the entire study period, monthly survival of adults ranged from 0.72 to 0.99 during summer and 0.59 to 0.94 during winter and increased with availability of surface water (Z = 7.66; P < 0.01). Recruitment of frogs into the adult age class occurred primarily during winter and ranged from 1.9 to 3.8 individuals/season/pool; like survival, recruitment increased with availability of surface water (Z = 3.67; P < 0.01). Although abundance of frogs varied across seasons and years, we found no evidence of a systematic trend during the 16-year study period. Given the strong influence of surface water on population dynamics of leopard frogs, conservation of many riparian obligates in this and similar arid regions likely depends critically on minimizing threats to structures and ecosystem processes that maintain surface waters. Understanding the influence of surface-water availability on riparian organisms is particularly important because climate change is likely to decrease precipitation and increase ambient temperatures in desert riparian systems, both of which have the potential to alter fundamentally the hydrology of these systems. PMID:26030825

  1. Hydrologic variability governs population dynamics of a vulnerable amphibian in an arid environment.

    PubMed

    Zylstra, Erin R; Steidl, Robert J; Swann, Don E; Ratzlaff, Kristina

    2015-01-01

    Dynamics of many amphibian populations are governed by the distribution and availability of water. Therefore, understanding the hydrological mechanisms that explain spatial and temporal variation in occupancy and abundance will improve our ability to conserve and recover populations of vulnerable amphibians. We used 16 years of survey data from intermittent mountain streams in the Sonoran Desert to evaluate how availability of surface water affected survival and adult recruitment of a threatened amphibian, the lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis). Across the entire study period, monthly survival of adults ranged from 0.72 to 0.99 during summer and 0.59 to 0.94 during winter and increased with availability of surface water (Z = 7.66; P < 0.01). Recruitment of frogs into the adult age class occurred primarily during winter and ranged from 1.9 to 3.8 individuals/season/pool; like survival, recruitment increased with availability of surface water (Z = 3.67; P < 0.01). Although abundance of frogs varied across seasons and years, we found no evidence of a systematic trend during the 16-year study period. Given the strong influence of surface water on population dynamics of leopard frogs, conservation of many riparian obligates in this and similar arid regions likely depends critically on minimizing threats to structures and ecosystem processes that maintain surface waters. Understanding the influence of surface-water availability on riparian organisms is particularly important because climate change is likely to decrease precipitation and increase ambient temperatures in desert riparian systems, both of which have the potential to alter fundamentally the hydrology of these systems. PMID:26030825

  2. Infection dynamics in frog populations with different histories of decline caused by a deadly disease.

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Pathogens can drive host population dynamics. Chytridiomycosis is a fungal disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). This pathogen has caused declines and extinctions in some host species whereas other host species coexist with Bd without suffering declines. In the early 1990s, Bd extirpated populations of the endangered common mistfrog, Litoria rheocola, at high-elevation sites, while populations of the species persisted at low-elevation sites. Today, populations have reappeared at many high-elevation sites where they presently co-exist with the fungus. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture (CMR) study of six populations of L. rheocola over 1 year, at high and low elevations. We used multistate CMR models to determine which factors (Bd infection status, site type, and season) influenced rates of frog survival, recapture, infection, and recovery from infection. We observed Bd-induced mortality of individual frogs, but did not find any significant effect of Bd infection on the survival rate of L. rheocola at the population level. Survival and recapture rates depended on site type and season. Infection rate was highest in winter when temperatures were favourable for pathogen growth, and differed among site types. The recovery rate was high (75.7-85.8%) across seasons, and did not differ among site types. The coexistence of L. rheocola with Bd suggests that (1) frog populations are becoming resistant to the fungus, (2) Bd may have evolved lower virulence, or (3) current environmental conditions may be inhibiting outbreaks of the fatal disease. PMID:26293680

  3. Trends in amphibian occupancy in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.; Miller, David A.W.; Muths, Erin; Corn, Paul Stephen; Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Bailey, Larissa L.; Fellers, Gary M.; Fisher, Robert N.; Sadinski, Walter J.; Waddle, Hardin; Walls, Susan C.

    2013-01-01

    Though a third of amphibian species worldwide are thought to be imperiled, existing assessments simply categorize extinction risk, providing little information on the rate of population losses. We conducted the first analysis of the rate of change in the probability that amphibians occupy ponds and other comparable habitat features across the United States. We found that overall occupancy by amphibians declined 3.7% annually from 2002 to 2011. Species that are Red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declined an average of 11.6% annually. All subsets of data examined had a declining trend including species in the IUCN Least Concern category. This analysis suggests that amphibian declines may be more widespread and severe than previously realized.

  4. Trends in amphibian occupancy in the United States.

    PubMed

    Adams, Michael J; Miller, David A W; Muths, Erin; Corn, Paul Stephen; Grant, Evan H Campbell; Bailey, Larissa L; Fellers, Gary M; Fisher, Robert N; Sadinski, Walter J; Waddle, Hardin; Walls, Susan C

    2013-01-01

    Though a third of amphibian species worldwide are thought to be imperiled, existing assessments simply categorize extinction risk, providing little information on the rate of population losses. We conducted the first analysis of the rate of change in the probability that amphibians occupy ponds and other comparable habitat features across the United States. We found that overall occupancy by amphibians declined 3.7% annually from 2002 to 2011. Species that are Red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declined an average of 11.6% annually. All subsets of data examined had a declining trend including species in the IUCN Least Concern category. This analysis suggests that amphibian declines may be more widespread and severe than previously realized. PMID:23717602

  5. [Three projections of population decline for Quebec: characteristics and implications for the working population].

    PubMed

    Gauthier, H

    1986-10-01

    "After a brief review of various projections of population decline for Quebec, the author analyses some previous examples of depopulation, and emphasizes that public opinion will have to change much if immigration is to be used as a tool for avoiding population decline. He then investigates four implications of the projected decline: the size of the working population, its age and sex structure, the labor force participation ratio, and the economic dependency ratio." (SUMMARY IN ENG AND SPA) PMID:12268306

  6. 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

  7. Dropping dead: causes and consequences of vulture population declines worldwide.

    PubMed

    Ogada, Darcy L; Keesing, Felicia; Virani, Munir Z

    2012-02-01

    Vultures are nature's most successful scavengers, and they provide an array of ecological, economic, and cultural services. As the only known obligate scavengers, vultures are uniquely adapted to a scavenging lifestyle. Vultures' unique adaptations include soaring flight, keen eyesight, and extremely low pH levels in their stomachs. Presently, 14 of 23 (61%) vulture species worldwide are threatened with extinction, and the most rapid declines have occurred in the vulture-rich regions of Asia and Africa. The reasons for the population declines are varied, but poisoning or human persecution, or both, feature in the list of nearly every declining species. Deliberate poisoning of carnivores is likely the most widespread cause of vulture poisoning. In Asia, Gyps vultures have declined by >95% due to poisoning by the veterinary drug diclofenac, which was banned by regional governments in 2006. Human persecution of vultures has occurred for centuries, and shooting and deliberate poisoning are the most widely practiced activities. Ecological consequences of vulture declines include changes in community composition of scavengers at carcasses and an increased potential for disease transmission between mammalian scavengers at carcasses. There have been cultural and economic costs of vulture declines as well, particularly in Asia. In the wake of catastrophic vulture declines in Asia, regional governments, the international scientific and donor communities, and the media have given the crisis substantial attention. Even though the Asian vulture crisis focused attention on the plight of vultures worldwide, the situation for African vultures has received relatively little attention especially given the similar levels of population decline. While the Asian crisis has been largely linked to poisoning by diclofenac, vulture population declines in Africa have numerous causes, which have made conserving existing populations more difficult. And in Africa there has been little

  8. Global rates of habitat loss and implications for amphibian conservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gallant, A.L.; Klaver, R.W.; Casper, G.S.; Lannoo, M.J.

    2007-01-01

    A large number of factors are known to affect amphibian population viability, but most authors agree that the principal causes of amphibian declines are habitat loss, alteration, and fragmentation. We provide a global assessment of land use dynamics in the context of amphibian distributions. We accomplished this by compiling global maps of amphibian species richness and recent rates of change in land cover, land use, and human population growth. The amphibian map was developed using a combination of published literature and digital databases. We used an ecoregion framework to help interpret species distributions across environmental, rather than political, boundaries. We mapped rates of land cover and use change with statistics from the World Resources Institute, refined with a global digital dataset on land cover derived from satellite data. Temporal maps of human population were developed from the World Resources Institute database and other published sources. Our resultant map of amphibian species richness illustrates that amphibians are distributed in an uneven pattern around the globe, preferring terrestrial and freshwater habitats in ecoregions that are warm and moist. Spatiotemporal patterns of human population show that, prior to the 20th century, population growth and spread was slower, most extensive in the temperate ecoregions, and largely exclusive of major regions of high amphibian richness. Since the beginning of the 20th century, human population growth has been exponential and has occurred largely in the subtropical and tropical ecoregions favored by amphibians. Population growth has been accompanied by broad-scale changes in land cover and land use, typically in support of agriculture. We merged information on land cover, land use, and human population growth to generate a composite map showing the rates at which humans have been changing the world. When compared with the map of amphibian species richness, we found that many of the regions of the

  9. Human Population Decline in North America during the Younger Dryas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, D. G.; Goodyear, A. C.; Stafford, T. W., Jr.; Kennett, J.; West, A.

    2009-12-01

    There is ongoing debate about a possible human population decline or contraction at the onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) at 12.9 ka. We used two methods to test whether the YD affected human population levels: (1) frequency analyses of Paleoindian projectile points, and (2) summed probability analyses of radiocarbon (14C) dates. The results suggest that a significant decline or reorganization of human populations occurred at 12.9 ka, continued through the initial centuries of the YD chronozone, then rebounded by the end of the YD. FREQUENCY ANALYSES: This method employed projectile point data from the Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA, http://pidba.utk.edu). We tallied diagnostic projectile points and obtained larger totals for Clovis points than for immediately post-Clovis points, which share an instrument-assisted fluting technique, typically using pressure or indirect percussion. Gainey, Vail, Debert, Redstone, and Cumberland point-styles utilized this method and are comparable to the Folsom style. For the SE U.S., the ratio of Clovis points (n=1993) to post-Clovis points (n=947) reveals a point decline of 52%. For the Great Plains, a comparison of Clovis and fluted points (n=4020) to Folsom points (n=2527) shows a point decline of 37%, which may translate into a population contraction of similar magnitude. In addition, eight major Clovis lithic quarry sites in the SE U.S. exhibit little to no evidence for immediate post-Clovis occupations, implying a major population decline. SUMMED PROBABILITIES: This method involved calibrating relevant 14C dates and combining the probabilities, after which major peaks and troughs in the trends are assumed to reflect changes in human demographics. Using 14C dates from Buchanan et al. (2008), we analyzed multiple regions, including the Southeast and Great Plains. Contrary to Buchanan et al., we found an abrupt, statistically significant decline at 12.9 ka, followed 200 to 900 years later by a rebound in the number of

  10. Coin hoards speak of population declines in Ancient Rome.

    PubMed

    Turchin, Peter; Scheidel, Walter

    2009-10-13

    In times of violence, people tend to hide their valuables, which are later recovered unless the owners had been killed or driven away. Thus, the temporal distribution of unrecovered coin hoards is an excellent proxy for the intensity of internal warfare. We use this relationship to resolve a long-standing controversy in Roman history. Depending on who was counted in the early Imperial censuses (adult males or the entire citizenry including women and minors), the Roman citizen population of Italy either declined, or more than doubled, during the first century BCE. This period was characterized by a series of civil wars, and historical evidence indicates that high levels of sociopolitical instability are associated with demographic contractions. We fitted a simple model quantifying the effect of instability (proxied by hoard frequency) on population dynamics to the data before 100 BCE. The model predicts declining population after 100 BCE. This suggests that the vigorous growth scenario is highly implausible. PMID:19805043

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Abnormalities in amphibian populations inhabiting agroecosystems in Northeastern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Agostini, M G; Kacoliris, F; Demetrio, P; Natale, G S; Bonetto, C; Ronco, A E

    2013-05-27

    The occurrence of abnormalities in amphibians has been reported in many populations, and its increase could be related to environmental pollution and habitat degradation. We evaluated the type and prevalence of abnormalities in 5 amphibian populations from agroecosystems with different degrees of agricultural disturbance (cultivated and reference areas). We detected 9 types of abnormalities, of which the most frequent were those occurring in limbs. The observed prevalence of abnormality in assessed populations from cultivated and reference areas was as follows: Rhinella fernandezae (37.1 and 10.2%, respectively), Leptodactylus latrans adults (28.1 and 9.2%) and juveniles (32.9 and 15.3%), and Hypsiboas pulchellus (11.6 and 2.8%). Scinax granulatus populations did not show abnormalities. Pseudis minuta, which was only detected in the reference area, exhibited a prevalence of 13.3%. For R. fernandezae, L. latrans, and H. pulchellus, generalized linear mixed models showed that prevalence of abnormalities was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in cultivated than in reference areas. L. latrans juveniles were more vulnerable to abnormalities than adults (p < 0.05). The presence of abnormalities in some species inhabiting different agroecosystems suggests that environmental stress factors might be responsible for their occurrence. While we detected pesticides (endosulfan, cypermethrin, and chlorpyrifos) and lower dissolved oxygen levels in ponds of the cultivated area, no data are currently available on how other factors, such as injuries from predators and parasite infections, vary by land use. Further research will be necessary to evaluate possible causes of abnormalities detected in the present study mainly in the context of factor interactions. PMID:23709469

  15. A field guide to amphibian larvae and eggs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Parmelee, J.R.; Knutson, M.G.; Lyon, J.E.

    2002-01-01

    Apparent worldwide declines in amphibian populations (Pechmann and Wake 1997) have stimulated interest in amphibians as bioindicators of the health of ecosystems. Because we have little information on the population status of many species, there is interest by public and private land management agencies in monitoring amphibian populations. Amphibian egg and larval surveys are established methods of surveying pond-breeding amphibians. Adults may be widely dispersed across the landscape, but eggs and larvae are confined to the breeding site during a specific season of the year. Also, observations of late-stage larvae or metamorphs are evidence of successful reproduction, which is an important indicator of the viability of the population. The goal of this guide is to help students, natural resources personnel, and biologists identify eggs and larval stages of amphibians in the field without the aid of a microscope.

  16. 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

  17. Coordinated Studies of Ultraviolet Radiation and Amphibians in Lentic Wetland Habitats

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been suggested as a potential cause of population declines and increases in malformations in amphibians. This study indicates that the present distributions of amphibians in four western U.S. National Parks are not related to UVR exposure, and sugg...

  18. Pesticides in amphibian habitats of central and northern California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Amphibians in California are facing serious population declines. Contaminants, especially pesticides, have been linked to these declines. This study reports on a survey of central and northern California wetlands sampled along four transects associated with Lassen National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemit...

  19. Heterozygosity-fitness correlations in a declining seabird population.

    PubMed

    Velando, Alberto; Barros, Álvaro; Moran, Paloma

    2015-03-01

    Loss of genetic diversity is thought to lead to increased risk of extinction in endangered populations due to decreasing fitness of homozygous individuals. Here, we evaluated the presence of inbreeding depression in a long-lived seabird, the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), after a severe decline in population size by nearly 70%. During three reproductive seasons, 85 breeders were captured and genotyped at seven microsatellite loci. Nest sites were monitored during the breeding season to estimate reproductive success as the number of chicks surviving to full-size-grown per nest. Captured birds were tagged with a ring with an individual code, and resighting data were collected during 7-year period. We found a strong effect of multilocus heterozygosity on female reproductive performance, and a significant, although weaker, effect on breeder survival. However, our matrix population model suggests that this relatively small effect of genetic diversity on breeder survival may have a profound effect on fitness. This highlights the importance of integrating life history consequences in HFC studies. Importantly, heterozygosity was correlated across loci, suggesting that genomewide effects, rather than single loci, are responsible for the observed HFCs. Overall, the HFCs are a worrying symptom of genetic erosion in this declining population. Many long-lived species are prone to extinction, and future studies should evaluate the magnitude of fitness impact of genetic deterioration on key population parameters, such as survival of breeders. PMID:25626726

  20. Influence of Nonhost Plants on Population Decline of Rotylenchulus reniformis

    PubMed Central

    Caswell, E. P.; DeFrank, J.; Apt, W. J.; Tang, C. S.

    1991-01-01

    The influence of Chloris gayana, Crotalaria juncea, Digitaria decumbens, Tagetes patula, and a chitin-based soil amendment on Hawaiian populations of Rotylenchulus reniformis was examined. Chloris gayana was a nonhost for R. reniformis. The nematode did not penetrate the roots, and in greenhouse and field experiments, C. gayana reduced reniform nematode numbers at least as well as fallow. Tagetes patula was a poor host for reniform nematode and reduced reniform nematode numbers in soil better than did fallow. Crotalaria juncea was a poor host for R. reniformis, and only a small fraction of the nematode population penetrated the roots. Crotalaria juncea and D. decumbens reduced reniform nematode populations at least as well as fallow. A chitin-based soil amendment, applied at 2.24 t/ha to fallow soil, did not affect the population decline of reniform nematode. PMID:19283098

  1. Declining scaup populations: issues, hypotheses, and research needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Austin, J.E.; Afton, A.D.; Anderson, M.G.; Clark, R.G.; Custer, Christine M.; Lawrence, J.S.; Pollard, J.B.; Ringelman, J.K.

    2000-01-01

    The population estimate for greater (Aythya marila) and lesser (Aythya affinis) scaup (combined) has declined dramatically since the early 1980s to record lows in 1998. The 1998 estimate of 3.47 million scaup is far below the goal of 6.3 million set in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), causing concern among biologists and hunters. We summarize issuesof concern, hypotheses for factors contributing to the population decline, and research and management needs recommended by participants of the Scaup Workshop, held in September 1999. We believe that contaminants, lower female survival, and reduced recruitment due to changes in food resources or breedingground habitats are primary factors contributing to the decline. These factors are not mutually exclusive but likely interact across seasons. Workshop participants identified seven action items. We need to further delineate where declines in breeding populations have occurred, with a primary focus on the western Canadian boreal forest, where declines appear to be most pronounced. Productivity in various areas and habitats throughout the breeding range needs to be assessed by conducting retrospective analyses of existing data and by intensive field studies at broad and local scales. Annual and seasonal survival rates need to be determined in order to assess the role of harvest or natural mortality. Effects of contaminants on reproduction, female body condition, and behavior must be investigated. Use, distribution, and role of food resources relative to body condition and reproduction need to be examined to better understand seasonal dynamics of nutrient reserves and the role in reproductive success. Affiliations among breeding, migration, and wintering areas must be assessed in order to understand differential exposure to harvest or contaminants, and differential reproductive success and recruitment. Biologists and agencies need to gather and improve information needed to manage greater and lesser

  2. Climate change and pollution speed declines in zebrafish populations

    PubMed Central

    Owen, Stewart F.; Peters, James; Zhang, Yong; Soffker, Marta; Paull, Gregory C.; Hosken, David J.; Wahab, M. Abdul; Tyler, Charles R.

    2015-01-01

    Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are potent environmental contaminants, and their effects on wildlife populations could be exacerbated by climate change, especially in species with environmental sex determination. Endangered species may be particularly at risk because inbreeding depression and stochastic fluctuations in male and female numbers are often observed in the small populations that typify these taxa. Here, we assessed the interactive effects of water temperature and EDC exposure on sexual development and population viability of inbred and outbred zebrafish (Danio rerio). Water temperatures adopted were 28 °C (current ambient mean spawning temperature) and 33 °C (projected for the year 2100). The EDC selected was clotrimazole (at 2 μg/L and 10 μg/L), a widely used antifungal chemical that inhibits a key steroidogenic enzyme [cytochrome P450(CYP19) aromatase] required for estrogen synthesis in vertebrates. Elevated water temperature and clotrimazole exposure independently induced male-skewed sex ratios, and the effects of clotrimazole were greater at the higher temperature. Male sex ratio skews also occurred for the lower clotrimazole exposure concentration at the higher water temperature in inbred fish but not in outbred fish. Population viability analysis showed that population growth rates declined sharply in response to male skews and declines for inbred populations occurred at lower male skews than for outbred populations. These results indicate that elevated temperature associated with climate change can amplify the effects of EDCs and these effects are likely to be most acute in small, inbred populations exhibiting environmental sex determination and/or differentiation. PMID:25733876

  3. Population size influences amphibian detection probability: implications for biodiversity monitoring programs.

    PubMed

    Tanadini, Lorenzo G; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2011-01-01

    Monitoring is an integral part of species conservation. Monitoring programs must take imperfect detection of species into account in order to be reliable. Theory suggests that detection probability may be determined by population size but this relationship has not yet been assessed empirically. Population size is particularly important because it may induce heterogeneity in detection probability and thereby cause bias in estimates of biodiversity. We used a site occupancy model to analyse data from a volunteer-based amphibian monitoring program to assess how well different variables explain variation in detection probability. An index to population size best explained detection probabilities for four out of six species (to avoid circular reasoning, we used the count of individuals at a previous site visit as an index to current population size). The relationship between the population index and detection probability was positive. Commonly used weather variables best explained detection probabilities for two out of six species. Estimates of site occupancy probabilities differed depending on whether the population index was or was not used to model detection probability. The relationship between the population index and detectability has implications for the design of monitoring and species conservation. Most importantly, because many small populations are likely to be overlooked, monitoring programs should be designed in such a way that small populations are not overlooked. The results also imply that methods cannot be standardized in such a way that detection probabilities are constant. As we have shown here, one can easily account for variation in population size in the analysis of data from long-term monitoring programs by using counts of individuals from surveys at the same site in previous years. Accounting for variation in population size is important because it can affect the results of long-term monitoring programs and ultimately the conservation of

  4. The hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis in teleosts and amphibians: Endocrine disruption and its consequences to natural populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, J.A.; Patino, R.

    2011-01-01

    Teleosts and pond-breeding amphibians may be exposed to a wide variety of anthropogenic, waterborne contaminants that affect the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Because thyroid hormone is required for their normal development and reproduction, the potential impact of HPT-disrupting contaminants on natural teleost and amphibian populations raises special concern. There is laboratory evidence indicating that persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, pharmaceutical and personal care products, agricultural chemicals, and aerospace products may alter HPT activity, development, and reproduction in teleosts and amphibians. However, at present there is no evidence to clearly link contaminant-induced HPT alterations to impairments in teleost or amphibian population health in the field. Also, with the exception of perchlorate for which laboratory studies have shown a direct link between HPT disruption and adverse impacts on development and reproductive physiology, little is known about if or how other HPT-disrupting contaminants affect organismal performance. Future field studies should focus on establishing temporal associations between the presence of HPT-disrupting chemicals, the occurrence of HPT alterations, and adverse effects on development and reproduction in natural populations; as well as determining how complex mixtures of HPT contaminants affect organismal and population health. ?? 2010 Elsevier Inc.

  5. The hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis in teleosts and amphibians: Endocrine disruption and its consequences to natural populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, J.A.; Patino, Reynaldo

    2011-01-01

    Teleosts and pond-breeding amphibians may be exposed to a wide variety of anthropogenic, waterborne contaminants that affect the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Because thyroid hormone is required for their normal development and reproduction, the potential impact of HPT-disrupting contaminants on natural teleost and amphibian populations raises special concern. There is laboratory evidence indicating that persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, pharmaceutical and personal care products, agricultural chemicals, and aerospace products may alter HPT activity, development, and reproduction in teleosts and amphibians. However, at present there is no evidence to clearly link contaminant-induced HPT alterations to impairments in teleost or amphibian population health in the field. Also, with the exception of perchlorate for which laboratory studies have shown a direct link between HPT disruption and adverse impacts on development and reproductive physiology, little is known about if or how other HPT-disrupting contaminants affect organismal performance. Future field studies should focus on establishing temporal associations between the presence of HPT-disrupting chemicals, the occurrence of HPT alterations, and adverse effects on development and reproduction in natural populations; as well as determining how complex mixtures of HPT contaminants affect organismal and population health.

  6. Towards renewed fears of population and family decline?

    PubMed

    Gauthier, A H

    1993-01-01

    The emphasis of the analysis of population and family policy in industrialized countries (Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand) is on ascertaining the extent to which governments have been responsive to recent demographic changes, the point of view expressed, and the differences in response between the present and in the 1930s. Family and population are treated as separate entities regardless of their policy links; the general attitudes inherent in commission reports is the focus rather than government interventions such as family benefits or concrete policy measures. Regional and local government initiatives are considered only in the case of Quebec. Nongovernmental organizations have played a larger role in the present. Over the past 30 years, governments in most counties have responded to demographic changes, but the way issues were treated was divergent. During the 1930s, population decline was seen in the context of a military argument and concern have been population aging. There has been greater acceptance of nontraditional family forms. County differences showed France as the only country with an explicit pronatalist position and intervention by governmental and nongovernmental groups. Germany has been unable to directly attend to pronatalism, because of the Nazi population policy experiments; attention has been directed to public child care, albeit underdeveloped, and other obstacles to female employment. In contrast, Nordic countries have been very supportive of working mothers and fathers, and sex equality. There have been extensive maternity and parental leave support systems in place for some time, and extensive child care networks. In Britain and the US, fears of overpopulation have dominated the agenda, along with nonstate interference with family life and acceptance of market forces as a dominant influence. The focus was on poverty, single parents, and welfare dependency. Southern European countries have shown great concern

  7. The Population Decline and Extinction of Darwin’s Frogs

    PubMed Central

    Soto-Azat, Claudio; Valenzuela-Sánchez, Andrés; Collen, Ben; Rowcliffe, J. Marcus; Veloso, Alberto; Cunningham, Andrew A.

    2013-01-01

    Darwin’s frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii and R. rufum) are two species of mouth-brooding frogs from Chile and Argentina. Here, we present evidence on the extent of declines, current distribution and conservation status of Rhinoderma spp.; including information on abundance, habitat and threats to extant Darwin’s frog populations. All known archived Rhinoderma specimens were examined in museums in North America, Europe and South America. Extensive surveys were carried out throughout the historical ranges of R. rufum and R. darwinii from 2008 to 2012. Literature review and location data of 2,244 archived specimens were used to develop historical distribution maps for Rhinoderma spp. Based on records of sightings, optimal linear estimation was used to estimate whether R. rufum can be considered extinct. No extant R. rufum was found and our modelling inferred that this species became extinct in 1982 (95% CI, 1980–2000). Rhinoderma darwinii was found in 36 sites. All populations were within native forest and abundance was highest in Chiloé Island, when compared with Coast, Andes and South populations. Estimated population size and density (five populations) averaged 33.2 frogs/population (range, 10.2–56.3) and 14.9 frogs/100 m2 (range, 5.3–74.1), respectively. Our results provide further evidence that R. rufum is extinct and indicate that R. darwinii has declined to a much greater degree than previously recognised. Although this species can still be found across a large part of its historical range, remaining populations are small and severely fragmented. Conservation efforts for R. darwinii should be stepped up and the species re-classified as Endangered. PMID:23776705

  8. Declining scaup populations: A retrospective analysis of long-term population and harvest survey data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Afton, A.D.; Anderson, M.G.

    2001-01-01

    We examined long-term databases concerning population status of scaup (lesser [Aythya affinis] and greater scaup [A. marila] combined) and harvest statistics of lesser scaup to identify factors potentially limiting population growth. Specifically, we explored evidence for and against the general hypotheses that scaup populations have declined in association with declining recruitment and/or female survival. We examined geographic heterogeneity in scaup demographic patterns that could yield evidence about potential limiting factors. Several biases exist in survey methodology used to estimate scaup populations and harvest statistics; however, none of these biases likely accounted for our major findings that (1) the continental scaup breeding population has declined over the last 20 years, with widespread and consistent declines within surveyed areas of the Canadian western boreal forest where most lesser scaup breed; (2) sex ratios of lesser scaup in the U.S. harvest have increased (more males now relative to females); and (3) age ratios of lesser scaup in the U.S. harvest have declined (fewer immatures now relative to adults), especially in the midcontinent region. We interpreted these major findings as evidence that (1) recruitment of lesser scaup has declined over the last 20 years, particularly in the Canadian western boreal forest; and (2) survival of female lesser scaup has declined relative to that of males. We found little evidence that harvest was associated with the scaup population decline. Our findings underscore the need for both improvements and changes to population survey procedures and new research to discriminate among various hypotheses explaining the recent scaup population decline.

  9. Conceptual Design for the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battaglin, W. A.; Langtimm, C. A.; Adams, M. J.; Gallant, A. L.; James, D. L.

    2001-12-01

    In 2000, the President of the United States (US) and Congress directed Department of Interior (DOI) agencies to develop a program for monitoring trends in amphibian populations on DOI lands and to conduct research into causes of declines. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was given lead responsibility for planning and implementing the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management. The program objectives are to (1) establish a network for monitoring the status and distribution of amphibian species on DOI lands; (2) identify and monitor environmental conditions known to affect amphibian populations; (3) conduct research on causes of amphibian population change and malformations; and (4) provide information to resource managers, policy makers, and the public in support of amphibian conservation. The ARMI program will integrate research efforts of USGS, other Federal, and non-federal herpetologists, hydrologists, and geographers across the Nation. ARMI will conduct a small number (~20) of intensive research efforts (for example, studies linking amphibian population changes to hydrologic conditions) and a larger number (~50) of more generalized inventory and monitoring studies encompassing broader areas such as NPS units. ARMI will coordinate with and try to augment other amphibian inventory studies such as the National Amphibian Atlas and the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. ARMI will develop and test protocols for the standardized collection of amphibian data and provide a centrally managed database designed to simplify data entry, retrieval, and analysis. ARMI pilot projects are underway at locations across the US.

  10. Identifying monitoring gaps for amphibian populations in a North American biodiversity hotspot, the southeastern USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, Susan

    2014-01-01

    I review the primary literature to ascertain the status of amphibian monitoring efforts in the southeastern USA, a “hotspot” for biodiversity in North America. This effort revealed taxonomic, geographic and ecological disparities in studies of amphibian populations in this region. Of the species of anurans and caudates known to occur in the Southeast, 73.8 and 33.3 %, respectively, have been monitored continuously for at least 4 years. Anurans are generally shorter-lived than are caudates and, thus, have been studied for the equivalent of at least one population turnover more than have caudates. The percentage of species (of those occurring in a given state) monitored continuously for at least 4 years was lowest for Alabama and Mississippi and highest for Florida for both taxa. The vast majority of studies (69.6 %) were conducted on species that inhabit natural freshwater wetlands, in contrast to other aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Species considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature comprised only 7.7 % of 65 species that have been studied consistently. The majority of comparative studies of contemporary versus historical occurrences were potentially biased by the use of “presence-only” historical data and resurveys of short duration. Other issues, such as inadequate temporal and spatial scale and neglect of different sources of error, were common. Awareness of these data gaps and sampling and statistical issues may help facilitate informed decisions in setting future monitoring priorities, particularly with respect to species, habitats and locations that have been largely overlooked in past and ongoing studies.

  11. Amphibian monitoring in the Atchafalaya Basin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Waddle, Hardin

    2011-01-01

    Amphibians are a diverse group of animals that includes frogs, toads, and salamanders. They are adapted to living in a variety of habitats, but most require water for at least one life stage. Amphibians have recently become a worldwide conservation concern because of declines and extinctions even in remote protected areas previously thought to be safe from the pressures of habitat loss and degradation. Amphibians are an important part of ecosystem dynamics because they can be quite abundant and serve both as a predator of smaller organisms and as prey to a suite of vertebrate predators. Their permeable skin and aquatic life history also make them useful as indicators of ecosystem health. Since 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey has been studying the frog and toad species inhabiting the Atchafalaya Basin to monitor for population declines and to better understand how the species are potentially affected by disease, environmental contaminants, and climate change.

  12. Amphibians of the northern Great Plains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.; Euliss, Ned H.; Lannoo, Michael J.; Mushet, David M.

    1998-01-01

    No cry of alarm has been sounded over the fate of amphibian populations in the northern grasslands of North America, yet huge percentages of prairie wetland habitat have been lost, and the destruction continues. Scarcely 30% of the original mixedgrass prairie remains in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota (See Table 1 in this chapter). If amphibian populations haven’t declined, why haven’t they? Or, have we simply failed to notice? Amphibians in the northern grasslands evolved in a boom-or-bust environment: species that were unable to survive droughts lasting for years died out long before humans were around to count them. Species we find today are expert at seizing the rare, wet moment to rebuild their populations in preparation for the next dry season. When numbers can change so rapidly, who can say if a species is rare or common? A lot depends on when you look.

  13. Islamic Republic of Iran population growth rate declines.

    PubMed

    1996-01-01

    In April 1996, at the 52nd Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the delegate from the Islamic Republic of Iran announced that social indicators indicate acceptable improvement. The average population growth rate fell from 3.9% (1981-1991) to less than 2% (1995). High birth rates and an influx of refugees during 1981-1991 accounted for the high population growth rate. The marked decline in the birth rate, brought about mainly by effective family planning and health programs, has contributed greatly to the reduced population growth rate. The government has focused on rural areas. 86% of rural households now have access to piped water. More than 60% have electricity. The overall literacy rate in Iran has reached 79%. The entire population has access to free or subsidized primary health care services. The Second Development Plan of Iran centers on the significance of the role that mothers have in shaping society and individuals by their child raising abilities, particularly in the early years. The Iranian delegate endorsed the secretariat's plan for helping members and associate members to reach their development goals and objectives. PMID:12291139

  14. Compensatory effects of recruitment and survival when amphibian populations are perturbed by disease

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, E.; Scherer, R. D.; Pilliod, D.S.

    2011-01-01

    The need to increase our understanding of factors that regulate animal population dynamics has been catalysed by recent, observed declines in wildlife populations worldwide. Reliable estimates of demographic parameters are critical for addressing basic and applied ecological questions and understanding the response of parameters to perturbations (e.g. disease, habitat loss, climate change). However, to fully assess the impact of perturbation on population dynamics, all parameters contributing to the response of the target population must be estimated. We applied the reverse-time model of Pradel in Program mark to 6years of capture-recapture data from two populations of Anaxyrus boreas (boreal toad) populations, one with disease and one without. We then assessed a priori hypotheses about differences in survival and recruitment relative to local environmental conditions and the presence of disease. We further explored the relative contribution of survival probability and recruitment rate to population growth and investigated how shifts in these parameters can alter population dynamics when a population is perturbed. High recruitment rates (0??41) are probably compensating for low survival probability (range 0??51-0??54) in the population challenged by an emerging pathogen, resulting in a relatively slow rate of decline. In contrast, the population with no evidence of disease had high survival probability (range 0??75-0??78) but lower recruitment rates (0??25). Synthesis and applications.We suggest that the relationship between survival and recruitment may be compensatory, providing evidence that populations challenged with disease are not necessarily doomed to extinction. A better understanding of these interactions may help to explain, and be used to predict, population regulation and persistence for wildlife threatened with disease. Further, reliable estimates of population parameters such as recruitment and survival can guide the formulation and implementation of

  15. [The decline in population growth, income distribution, and economic recession].

    PubMed

    Banguero, H

    1983-05-01

    This work uses Keynesian principles and an analysis of the Colombian population in the 1970s to argue that the Colombian policy of slowing population growth, which was adopted with the aim of improving the general welfare of the population, has had shortterm negative effects on effective demand and thus on the level of employment and welfare. These negative effects were caused by the inflexibility of income distribution, which prevented expansion of the internal market, complicated by the stagnant condition of the external sector and the budget deficit. The results of the Colombian case study demonstrate how the deceleration of population growth beginning in the 1960s had a significant impact on the levels of consumption and savings and on the patterns of consumption, leading to low levels of investment and little dynamism. Although the current Colombian economic recession is aggravated by contextual factors such as the world economic recession, the high cost of capital, the industrial recession, and declining food production among others, at the core of the crisis are longer term structural determinants such as the decline in the rate of population growth and the highly unequal distribution of income and wealth, which have contributed to a shrinking of the internal market for some types of goods. Given the unlikelihood of renewed rapid population growth, the Keynesian model suggests that the only alternative for increasing aggregate demand is state intervention through public spending and investment and reorientation of the financial system to achieve a dynamic redistribution of income. Based on these findings and on proposals of other analysts, a stragegy for revitalization is proposed which would imply a gradual income redistribution to allow increased consumption of mass produced goods by the low income groups. Direct consumption subsidies would be avoided because of their inflationary and import-expanding tendencies; rather, incentives and support would be

  16. Contrasting patterns of environmental fluctuation contribute to divergent life histories among amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Cayuela, Hugo; Arsovski, Dragan; Thirion, Jean-Marie; Bonnaire, Eric; Pichenot, Julian; Boitaud, Sylvain; Brison, Anne-Lisa; Miaud, Claude; Joly, Pierre; Besnard, Aurelien

    2016-04-01

    Because it modulates the fitness returns of possible options of energy expenditure at each ontogenetic stage, environmental stochasticity is usually considered a selective force in driving or constraining possible life histories. Divergent regimes of environmental fluctuation experienced by populations are expected to generate differences in the resource allocation schedule between survival and reproductive effort and outputs. To our knowledge, no study has previously examined how different regimes of stochastic variation in environmental conditions could result in changes in both the temporal variation and mean of demographic parameters, which could then lead to intraspecific variation along the slow-fast continuum of life history tactics. To investigate these issues, we used capture-recapture data collected on five populations of a long-lived amphibian (Bombina variegata) experiencing two distinct levels of stochastic environmental variation: (1) constant availability of breeding sites in space and time (predictable environment), and (2) variable spatio-temporal availability of breeding sites (unpredictable environment). We found that female breeding propensity varied more from year to year in unpredictable than in predictable environments. Although females in unpredictable environments produced on average more viable offspring per year, offspring production was more variable between years. Survival at each ontogenetic stage was slightly lower and varied significantly more from year to year in unpredictable environments. Taken together, these results confirm that increased environmental stochasticity can modify the resource allocation schedule between survival and reproductive effort and outputs and may lead to intraspecific variation along the slow-fast continuum of life history tactics. PMID:27220214

  17. Marginal Bayesian nonparametric model for time to disease arrival of threatened amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Haiming; Hanson, Timothy; Knapp, Roland

    2015-12-01

    The global emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused the extinction of hundreds of amphibian species worldwide. It has become increasingly important to be able to precisely predict time to Bd arrival in a population. The data analyzed herein present a unique challenge in terms of modeling because there is a strong spatial component to Bd arrival time and the traditional proportional hazards assumption is grossly violated. To address these concerns, we develop a novel marginal Bayesian nonparametric survival model for spatially correlated right-censored data. This class of models assumes that the logarithm of survival times marginally follow a mixture of normal densities with a linear-dependent Dirichlet process prior as the random mixing measure, and their joint distribution is induced by a Gaussian copula model with a spatial correlation structure. To invert high-dimensional spatial correlation matrices, we adopt a full-scale approximation that can capture both large- and small-scale spatial dependence. An efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm with delayed rejection is proposed for posterior computation, and an R package spBayesSurv is provided to fit the model. This approach is first evaluated through simulations, then applied to threatened frog populations in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. PMID:26148536

  18. 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

  19. SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN THE AMOUNT AND SOURCE OF DISSOLVED ORGANIC CARBON: IMPLICATIONS FOR UV EXPOSURE IN AMPHIBIAN HABITS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been suggested as a potential cause of population declines and increases in malformations in amphibians. This study indicates that the present distributions of amphibians in four western U.S. National Parks are not related to UVR exposure and sugge...

  20. Modeling effects of conservation grassland losses on amphibian habitat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mushet, David M.; Neau, Jordan L.; Euliss, Ned H.

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians provide many ecosystem services valued by society. However, populations have declined globally with most declines linked to habitat change. Wetlands and surrounding terrestrial grasslands form habitat for amphibians in the North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Wetland drainage and grassland conversion have destroyed or degraded much amphibian habitat in the PPR. However, conservation grasslands can provide alternate habitat. In the United States, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest program maintaining grasslands on agricultural lands. We used an ecosystem services model (InVEST) parameterized for the PPR to quantify amphibian habitat over a six-year period (2007–2012). We then quantified changes in availability of amphibian habitat under various land-cover scenarios representing incremental losses (10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) of CRP grasslands from 2012 levels. The area of optimal amphibian habitat in the four PPR ecoregions modeled (i.e., Northern Glaciated Plains, Northwestern Glaciated Plains, Lake Agassiz Plain, Des Moines Lobe) declined by approximately 22%, from 3.8 million ha in 2007 to 2.9 million ha in 2012. These losses were driven by the conversion of CRP grasslands to croplands, primarily for corn and soybean production. Our modeling identified an additional 0.8 million ha (26%) of optimal amphibian habitat that would be lost if remaining CRP lands are returned to crop production. An economic climate favoring commodity production over conservation has resulted in substantial losses of amphibian habitat across the PPR that will likely continue into the future. Other regions of the world face similar challenges to maintaining amphibian habitats.

  1. Pesticide tolerance in amphibians: induced tolerance in susceptible populations, constitutive tolerance in tolerant populations

    PubMed Central

    Hua, Jessica; Morehouse, Nathan I; Relyea, Rick

    2013-01-01

    The role of plasticity in shaping adaptations is important to understanding the expression of traits within individuals and the evolution of populations. With increasing human impacts on the environment, one challenge is to consider how plasticity shapes responses to anthropogenic stressors such as contaminants. To our knowledge, only one study (using mosquitoes) has considered the possibility of induced insecticide tolerance. Using populations of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) located close to and far from agricultural fields, we discovered that exposing some populations of embryos and hatchlings to sublethal concentrations of the insecticide carbaryl induced higher tolerance to a subsequent lethal concentration later in life. Interestingly, the inducible populations were located >800 m from agricultural areas and were the most susceptible to the insecticide. In contrast, the noninducible populations were located close to agricultural areas and were the least susceptible. We also found that sublethal concentrations of carbaryl induced higher tadpole AChE concentrations in several cases. This is the first study to demonstrate inducible tolerance in a vertebrate species and the pattern of inducible and constitutive tolerance among populations suggests the process of genetic assimilation. PMID:24187585

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Co-habiting amphibian species harbor unique skin bacterial communities in wild populations

    PubMed Central

    McKenzie, Valerie J; Bowers, Robert M; Fierer, Noah; Knight, Rob; Lauber, Christian L

    2012-01-01

    Although all plant and animal species harbor microbial symbionts, we know surprisingly little about the specificity of microbial communities to their hosts. Few studies have compared the microbiomes of different species of animals, and fewer still have examined animals in the wild. We sampled four pond habitats in Colorado, USA, where multiple amphibian species were present. In total, 32 amphibian individuals were sampled from three different species including northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens), western chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) and tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). We compared the diversity and composition of the bacterial communities on the skin of the collected individuals via barcoded pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Dominant bacterial phyla included Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. In total, we found members of 18 bacterial phyla, comparable to the taxonomic diversity typically found on human skin. Levels of bacterial diversity varied strongly across species: L. pipiens had the highest diversity; A. tigrinum the lowest. Host species was a highly significant predictor of bacterial community similarity, and co-habitation within the same pond was not significant, highlighting that the skin-associated bacterial communities do not simply reflect those bacterial communities found in their surrounding environments. Innate species differences thus appear to regulate the structure of skin bacterial communities on amphibians. In light of recent discoveries that some bacteria on amphibian skin have antifungal activity, our finding suggests that host-specific bacteria may have a role in the species-specific resistance to fungal pathogens. PMID:21955991

  5. Experimental evolution alters the rate and temporal pattern of population growth in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a lethal fungal pathogen of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Voyles, Jamie; Johnson, Leah R; Briggs, Cheryl J; Cashins, Scott D; Alford, Ross A; Berger, Lee; Skerratt, Lee F; Speare, Rick; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2014-09-01

    Virulence of infectious pathogens can be unstable and evolve rapidly depending on the evolutionary dynamics of the organism. Experimental evolution can be used to characterize pathogen evolution, often with the underlying objective of understanding evolution of virulence. We used experimental evolution techniques (serial transfer experiments) to investigate differential growth and virulence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungal pathogen that causes amphibian chytridiomycosis. We tested two lineages of Bd that were derived from a single cryo-archived isolate; one lineage (P10) was passaged 10 times, whereas the second lineage (P50) was passaged 50 times. We quantified time to zoospore release, maximum zoospore densities, and timing of zoospore activity and then modeled population growth rates. We also conducted exposure experiments with a susceptible amphibian species, the common green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) to test the differential pathogenicity. We found that the P50 lineage had shorter time to zoospore production (T min ), faster rate of sporangia death (d s ), and an overall greater intrinsic population growth rate (λ). These patterns of population growth in vitro corresponded with higher prevalence and intensities of infection in exposed Litoria caerulea, although the differences were not significant. Our results corroborate studies that suggest that Bd may be able to evolve relatively rapidly. Our findings also challenge the general assumption that pathogens will always attenuate in culture because shifts in Bd virulence may depend on laboratory culturing practices. These findings have practical implications for the laboratory maintenance of Bd isolates and underscore the importance of understanding the evolution of virulence in amphibian chytridiomycosis. PMID:25478154

  6. Experimental evolution alters the rate and temporal pattern of population growth in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a lethal fungal pathogen of amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Voyles, Jamie; Johnson, Leah R; Briggs, Cheryl J; Cashins, Scott D; Alford, Ross A; Berger, Lee; Skerratt, Lee F; Speare, Rick; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2014-01-01

    Virulence of infectious pathogens can be unstable and evolve rapidly depending on the evolutionary dynamics of the organism. Experimental evolution can be used to characterize pathogen evolution, often with the underlying objective of understanding evolution of virulence. We used experimental evolution techniques (serial transfer experiments) to investigate differential growth and virulence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungal pathogen that causes amphibian chytridiomycosis. We tested two lineages of Bd that were derived from a single cryo-archived isolate; one lineage (P10) was passaged 10 times, whereas the second lineage (P50) was passaged 50 times. We quantified time to zoospore release, maximum zoospore densities, and timing of zoospore activity and then modeled population growth rates. We also conducted exposure experiments with a susceptible amphibian species, the common green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) to test the differential pathogenicity. We found that the P50 lineage had shorter time to zoospore production (Tmin), faster rate of sporangia death (ds), and an overall greater intrinsic population growth rate (λ). These patterns of population growth in vitro corresponded with higher prevalence and intensities of infection in exposed Litoria caerulea, although the differences were not significant. Our results corroborate studies that suggest that Bd may be able to evolve relatively rapidly. Our findings also challenge the general assumption that pathogens will always attenuate in culture because shifts in Bd virulence may depend on laboratory culturing practices. These findings have practical implications for the laboratory maintenance of Bd isolates and underscore the importance of understanding the evolution of virulence in amphibian chytridiomycosis. PMID:25478154

  7. Optical characteristics of natural waters protect amphibians from UV-B in the U.S. Pacific Northwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Palen, Wendy J.; Schindler, David E.; Adams, Michael J.; Pearl, Christopher A.; Bury, R. Bruce; Diamond, S.A.

    2002-01-01

    Increased exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has been proposed as a major environmental stressor leading to global amphibian declines. Prior experimental evidence from the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) indicating the acute embryonic sensitivity of at least four amphibian species to UV-B has been central to the literature about amphibian decline. However, these results have not been expanded to address population-scale effects and natural landscape variation in UV-B transparency of water at amphibian breeding sites: both necessary links to assess the importance of UV-B for amphibian declines. We quantified the UV-B transparency of 136 potential amphibian breeding sites to establish the pattern of UV-B exposure across two montane regions in the PNW. Our data suggest that 85% of sites are naturally protected by dissolved organic matter in pond water, and that only a fraction of breeding sites are expected to experience UV-B intensities exceeding levels associated with elevated egg mortality. Thus, the spectral characteristics of natural waters likely mediate the physiological effects of UV-B on amphibian eggs in all but the clearest waters. These data imply that UV-B is unlikely to cause broad amphibian declines across the landscape of the American Northwest.

  8. 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

  9. Fine-scale population structure in a desert amphibian: landscape genetics of the black toad (Bufo exsul).

    PubMed

    Wang, Ian J

    2009-09-01

    Environmental variables can strongly influence a variety of intra- and inter-population processes, including demography, population structure and gene flow. When environmental conditions are particularly harsh for a certain species, investigating these effects is important to understanding how populations persist under difficult conditions. Furthermore, species inhabiting challenging environments present excellent opportunities to examine the effects of complex landscapes on population processes because these effects will often be more pronounced. In this study, I use 16 microsatellite loci to examine population structure, gene flow and demographic history in the black toad, Bufo exsul, which has one of the most restricted natural ranges of any amphibian. Bufo exsul inhabits four springs in the Deep Springs Valley high desert basin and has never been observed more than several meters from any source of water. My results reveal limited gene flow and moderately high levels of population structure (F(ST) = 0.051-0.063) between all but the two closest springs. I found that the geographic distance across the arid scrub habitat between springs is significantly correlated with genetic structure when distance accounts for topography and barriers to dispersal. I also found very low effective population sizes (N(e) = 7-30) and substantial evidence for historical population bottlenecks in all four populations. Together, these results suggest that the desert landscape and B. exsul's high habitat specificity contribute significantly to population structure and demography in this species and emphasize the importance of considering behavioural and landscape data in conservation genetic studies of natural systems. PMID:19708887

  10. Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): a successful start to a national program in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, E.; Jung, R.E.; Bailey, L.L.; Adams, M.J.; Corn, P.S.; Dodd, C.K., Jr.; Fellers, G.M.; Sandinski, W.J.; Schwalbe, C.R.; Walls, S.C.; Fisher, R.N.; Gallant, A.L.; Battaglin, W.A.; Green, D.E.

    2005-01-01

    Most research to assess amphibian declines has focused on local-scale projects on one or a few species. The Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) is a national program in the United States mandated by congressional directive and implemented by the U.S. Department of the Interior (specifically the U.S. Geological Survey, USGS). Program goals are to monitor changes in populations of amphibians across U.S. Department of the Interior lands and to address research questions related to amphibian declines using a hierarchical framework of base-, mid- and apex-level monitoring sites. ARMI is currently monitoring 83 amphibian species (29% of species in the U.S.) at mid- and apex-level areas. We chart the progress of this 5-year-old program and provide an example of mid-level monitoring from 1 of the 7 ARMI regions.

  11. Diagnosing Mechanisms of Decline and Planning for Recovery of an Endangered Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) Population

    PubMed Central

    Quenette, Pierre-Yves; Camarra, Jean-Jacques

    2009-01-01

    Background The usual paradigm for translocations is that they should not take place in declining populations until the causes(s) of the decline has been reversed. This approach sounds intuitive, but may not apply in cases where population decline is caused by behavioral or demographic mechanisms that could only be reversed by translocation itself. Methodology/Principal Findings We analyzed a decade of field data for Pyrenean brown bears (Ursus arctos) from two small populations: the growing Central population - created from a previous translocation and the endemic Western population - believed to be declining because of excessive human-caused mortality. We found that adult survival rates for both populations were as high as those observed for most other protected brown bear populations. However, the Western population had much lower reproductive success than the Central population. Adult breeding sex ratio was male-biased in the Western population and female-biased in the Central population. Our results exclude high anthropogenic mortality as a cause for population decline in the West but support low reproductive success, which could result from sexually selected infanticide induced by a male-biased adult sex ratio or inbreeding depression. Using a stochastic demographic model to compute how many bears should be released to ensure viability, we show that the Western population could recover provided adequate numbers of new females are translocated. Conclusions/Significance We suggest that a translocation could take place, even if the decline has not yet been reversed, if the translocation itself removes the biological mechanisms behind the decline. In our case, the ultimate cause of low reproductive success remained unknown (infanticide or inbreeding), but our proposed translocation strategies should eliminate the proximate cause (low reproductive success) of the decline and ensure population recovery and viability. PMID:19862319

  12. Sun Belt Rising: Regional Population Change and the Decline in Black Residential Segregation, 1970–2009

    PubMed Central

    Iceland, John; Sharp, Gregory; Timberlake, Jeffrey M.

    2012-01-01

    The goal of this study is to examine the extent to which population shifts over the post–Great Migration period and divergent trends in segregation across regions contributed to the overall decline in black segregation in the United States in recent decades. Using data from the 1970 to 2000 decennial censuses and the 2005–2009 American Community Survey (ACS), our analysis indicates that black dissimilarity and isolation declined by more in the South and West than in the Northeast and Midwest. Nevertheless, regional population shifts account for only a modest amount (8% to 12%) of the decline in black-white segregation over the period and an even smaller proportion of the decline in black-nonblack segregation, in part because the largest declines in segregation occurred in the West while the region with the largest relative increase in the black population was the South. Using more refined census divisions rather than census regions provided some additional explanatory power (shifts across divisions explained 15%–16% of the decline in black-white segregation): divisions with larger gains in their share of the black population tended to have larger declines in black segregation. Overall, although the effect of the regional redistribution of the black population on declines in segregation was significant, of even greater importance were other causes of substantial declines in segregation in a wide array of metropolitan areas across the country, and especially in the West, over the past 40 years. PMID:22965374

  13. Pesticide Uptake Across the Amphibian Dermis Through Soil and Overspray Exposures

    EPA Science Inventory

    For terrestrial amphibians, accumulation ofpesticides through dermal contact is a primary route ofexposure in agricultural landscapes and may be contributingto widespread amphibian declines. To show pesticidetransfer across the amphibian dermis at permitted labelapplication rates...

  14. Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    United Nations, New York, NY. Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs.

    The United Nations (UN) Population Division monitors fertility, mortality, and migration trends for all countries as a basis for producing the official UN population estimates and projections. Among recent demographic trends, two are prominent: (1) population decline and (2) population aging. Focusing on these two critical trends, a study…

  15. Population decline is linked to migration route in the Common Cuckoo

    PubMed Central

    Hewson, Chris M.; Thorup, Kasper; Pearce-Higgins, James W.; Atkinson, Philip W.

    2016-01-01

    Migratory species are in rapid decline globally. Although most mortality in long-distance migrant birds is thought to occur during migration, evidence of conditions on migration affecting breeding population sizes has been completely lacking. We addressed this by tracking 42 male Common Cuckoos from the rapidly declining UK population during 56 autumn migrations in 2011–14. Uniquely, the birds use two distinct routes to reach the same wintering grounds, allowing assessment of survival during migration independently of origin and destination. Mortality up to completion of the Sahara crossing (the major ecological barrier encountered in both routes) is higher for birds using the shorter route. The proportion of birds using this route strongly correlates with population decline across nine local breeding populations. Knowledge of variability in migratory behaviour and performance linked to robust population change data may therefore be necessary to understand population declines of migratory species and efficiently target conservation resources. PMID:27433888

  16. Population decline is linked to migration route in the Common Cuckoo.

    PubMed

    Hewson, Chris M; Thorup, Kasper; Pearce-Higgins, James W; Atkinson, Philip W

    2016-01-01

    Migratory species are in rapid decline globally. Although most mortality in long-distance migrant birds is thought to occur during migration, evidence of conditions on migration affecting breeding population sizes has been completely lacking. We addressed this by tracking 42 male Common Cuckoos from the rapidly declining UK population during 56 autumn migrations in 2011-14. Uniquely, the birds use two distinct routes to reach the same wintering grounds, allowing assessment of survival during migration independently of origin and destination. Mortality up to completion of the Sahara crossing (the major ecological barrier encountered in both routes) is higher for birds using the shorter route. The proportion of birds using this route strongly correlates with population decline across nine local breeding populations. Knowledge of variability in migratory behaviour and performance linked to robust population change data may therefore be necessary to understand population declines of migratory species and efficiently target conservation resources. PMID:27433888

  17. Temperature-induced shifts in hibernation behavior in experimental amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xu; Jin, Changnan; Llusia, Diego; Li, Yiming

    2015-01-01

    Phenological shifts are primary responses of species to recent climate change. Such changes might lead to temporal mismatches in food webs and exacerbate species vulnerability. Yet insights into this phenomenon through experimental approaches are still scarce, especially in amphibians, which are particularly sensitive to changing thermal environments. Here, under controlled warming conditions, we report a critical, but poorly studied, life-cycle stage (i.e., hibernation) in frogs inhabiting subtropical latitudes. Using outdoor mesocosm experiments, we examined the effects of temperature (ambient vs. + ~2.2/2.4 °C of pre-/post-hibernation warming) and food availability (normal vs. 1/3 food) on the date of entrance into/emergence from hibernation in Pelophylax nigromaculatus. We found temperature was the major factor determining the hibernation period, which showed a significant shortening under experimental warming (6–8 days), with delays in autumn and advances in spring. Moreover, the timing of hibernation was not affected by food availability, whereas sex and, particularly, age were key factors in the species’ phenological responses. Specifically, male individuals emerged from hibernation earlier, while older individuals also entered and emerged from hibernation earlier. We believe that this study provides some of the first experimental evidence for the effect of climate warming on the timing of amphibian hibernation. PMID:26100247

  18. Temperature-induced shifts in hibernation behavior in experimental amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Gao, Xu; Jin, Changnan; Llusia, Diego; Li, Yiming

    2015-01-01

    Phenological shifts are primary responses of species to recent climate change. Such changes might lead to temporal mismatches in food webs and exacerbate species vulnerability. Yet insights into this phenomenon through experimental approaches are still scarce, especially in amphibians, which are particularly sensitive to changing thermal environments. Here, under controlled warming conditions, we report a critical, but poorly studied, life-cycle stage (i.e., hibernation) in frogs inhabiting subtropical latitudes. Using outdoor mesocosm experiments, we examined the effects of temperature (ambient vs. + ~2.2/2.4 °C of pre-/post-hibernation warming) and food availability (normal vs. 1/3 food) on the date of entrance into/emergence from hibernation in Pelophylax nigromaculatus. We found temperature was the major factor determining the hibernation period, which showed a significant shortening under experimental warming (6-8 days), with delays in autumn and advances in spring. Moreover, the timing of hibernation was not affected by food availability, whereas sex and, particularly, age were key factors in the species' phenological responses. Specifically, male individuals emerged from hibernation earlier, while older individuals also entered and emerged from hibernation earlier. We believe that this study provides some of the first experimental evidence for the effect of climate warming on the timing of amphibian hibernation. PMID:26100247

  19. Microsatellite variation in the yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella: population structure of a declining farmland bird.

    PubMed

    Lee, P L; Bradbury, R B; Wilson, J D; Flanagan, N S; Richardson, L; Perkins, A J; Krebs, J R

    2001-07-01

    In recent years, there has been much concern in the UK about population declines of widespread species in agricultural habitats. Conservation-orientated research on declining birds has focused on vital rates of survival and productivity. However, the environmental factors which may influence movements between populations of widespread species is poorly understood. Population genetic structure is an indirect description of dispersal between groups of individuals. To attempt to develop an understanding of genetic structuring in a widespread, but declining, farmland bird, we therefore investigated the yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, population in England and Wales using microsatellite data. Our first aim was to investigate whether there was genetic substructuring in the population. A second aim was to investigate if there was a relationship between genetic distances and various environmental variables. Finally, we analysed the microsatellite data for evidence of loss of genetic variation due to population decline. Our data showed a slight but significant structure within the yellowhammer population. This therefore cannot be considered a panmictic population. Our example from South Cumbria implies that high-altitude barriers may have a slight influence on population structure. However, on the whole, genetic distances between sample sites were not significantly correlated with geographical distances, degrees of population connectivity, high altitudes, or differences in precipitation between sites. Finally, we detected departures from mutation-drift equilibrium (excess heterozygosity), which is indicative of a loss of genetic variation through recent decline. PMID:11472532

  20. 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

  1. Population declines of tuna and relatives depend on their speed of life.

    PubMed

    Juan-Jordá, M J; Mosqueira, I; Freire, J; Dulvy, N K

    2015-07-22

    Larger-bodied species in a wide range of taxonomic groups including mammals, fishes and birds tend to decline more steeply and are at greater risk of extinction. Yet, the diversity in life histories is governed not only by body size, but also by time-related traits. A key question is whether this size-dependency of vulnerability also holds, not just locally, but globally across a wider range of environments. We test the relative importance of size- and time-related life-history traits and fishing mortality in determining population declines and current exploitation status in tunas and their relatives. We use high-quality datasets of half a century of population trajectories combined with population-level fishing mortalities and life-history traits. Time-related traits (e.g. growth rate), rather than size-related traits (e.g. maximum size), better explain the extent and rate of declines and current exploitation status across tuna assemblages, after controlling for fishing mortality. Consequently, there is strong geographical patterning in population declines, such that populations with slower life histories (found at higher cooler latitudes) have declined most and more steeply and have a higher probability of being overfished than populations with faster life histories (found at tropical latitudes). Hence, the strong, temperature-driven, latitudinal gradients in life-history traits may underlie the global patterning of population declines, fisheries collapses and local extinctions. PMID:26156763

  2. Population declines of tuna and relatives depend on their speed of life

    PubMed Central

    Juan-Jordá, M. J.; Mosqueira, I.; Freire, J.; Dulvy, N. K.

    2015-01-01

    Larger-bodied species in a wide range of taxonomic groups including mammals, fishes and birds tend to decline more steeply and are at greater risk of extinction. Yet, the diversity in life histories is governed not only by body size, but also by time-related traits. A key question is whether this size-dependency of vulnerability also holds, not just locally, but globally across a wider range of environments. We test the relative importance of size- and time-related life-history traits and fishing mortality in determining population declines and current exploitation status in tunas and their relatives. We use high-quality datasets of half a century of population trajectories combined with population-level fishing mortalities and life-history traits. Time-related traits (e.g. growth rate), rather than size-related traits (e.g. maximum size), better explain the extent and rate of declines and current exploitation status across tuna assemblages, after controlling for fishing mortality. Consequently, there is strong geographical patterning in population declines, such that populations with slower life histories (found at higher cooler latitudes) have declined most and more steeply and have a higher probability of being overfished than populations with faster life histories (found at tropical latitudes). Hence, the strong, temperature-driven, latitudinal gradients in life-history traits may underlie the global patterning of population declines, fisheries collapses and local extinctions. PMID:26156763

  3. Causes of mortality in California sea otters during periods of population growth and decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Estes, J.A.; Hatfield, B.B.; Ralls, K.; Ames, J.

    2003-01-01

    Elevated mortality appears to be the main reason for both sluggish growth and periods of decline in the threatened California sea otter population. We assessed causes of mortality from salvage records of 3,105 beach-cast carcasses recovered from 1968 through 1999, contrasting two periods of growth with two periods of decline. Overall, an estimated 40%-60% of the deaths were not recovered and 70% of the recovered carcasses died from unknown causes. Nonetheless, several common patterns were evident in the salvage records during the periods of population decline. These included greater percentages of (1) prime age animals (3-10 yr), (2) carcasses killed by great white shark attacks, (3) carcasses recovered in spring and summer, and (4) carcasses for which the cause of death was unknown. Neither sex composition nor the proportion of carcasses dying of infectious disease varied consistently between periods of population increase and decline. The population decline from 1976 to 1984 was likely due to incidental mortality in a set-net fishery, and the decline from 1995 to 1999 may be related to a developing live-fish fishery. Long-term trends unrelated to periods of growth and decline included a decrease in per capita pup production and mass/length ratios of adult carcasses over the 31-yr study. The generally high proportion of deaths from infectious disease suggests that this factor has contributed to the chronically sluggish growth rate of the California sea otter population.

  4. Changes in land use as a possible factor in Mourning Dove population decline in Central Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ostrand, W.D.; Meyers, P.M.; Bissonette, J.A.; Conover, M.R.

    1998-01-01

    Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) population indices for the western United States have declined significantly since 1966. Based on data collected in 1951-1952, in Fillmore, Utah, we examined whether there had been a local decline in the dove population index since the original data were collected. We then determined whether habitat had been altered, identified which foraging habitats doves preferred, and assessed whether changes in land use could be responsible, in part, for a decline in the local population index. We found that dove population indices declined 72% and 82% from 1952-1992 and 1952-1993, respectively. The most dramatic change in habitat was an 82% decline in land devoted to dry land winter wheat production and a decline in livestock feed pens. Doves foraged primarily in harvested wheat fields, feed pens, and weedy patches. We hypothesize that a decrease in wheat availability during the spring and the consolidation of the livestock industry have contributed to a population decline of Mourning Doves in central Utah.

  5. Indicators of the statuses of amphibian populations and their potential for exposure to atrazine in four midwestern U.S. conservation areas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sadinski, Walter; Roth, Mark; Hayes, Tyrone; Jones, Perry; Gallant, Alisa

    2014-01-01

    Extensive corn production in the midwestern United States has physically eliminated or fragmented vast areas of historical amphibian habitat. Midwestern corn farmers also apply large quantities of fertilizers and herbicides, which can cause direct and indirect effects on amphibians. Limited field research regarding the statuses of midwestern amphibian populations near areas of corn production has left resource managers, conservation planners, and other stakeholders needing more information to improve conservation strategies and management plans. We repeatedly sampled amphibians in wetlands in four conservation areas along a gradient of proximity to corn production in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from 2002 to 2005 and estimated site occupancy. We measured frequencies of gross physical deformities in recent metamorphs and triazine concentrations in the water at breeding sites. We also measured trematode infection rates in kidneys of recently metamorphosed Lithobates pipiens collected from nine wetlands in 2003 and 2004. We detected all possible amphibian species in each study area. The amount of nearby row crops was limited in importance as a covariate for estimating site occupancy. We observed deformities in <5% of metamorphs sampled and proportions were not associated with triazine concentrations. Trematode infections were high in metamorphs from all sites we sampled, but not associated with site triazine concentrations, except perhaps for a subset of sites sampled in both years. We detected triazines more often and in higher concentrations in breeding wetlands closer to corn production. Triazine concentrations increased in floodplain wetlands as water levels rose after rainfall and were similar among lotic and lentic sites. Overall, our results suggest amphibian populations were not faring differently among these four conservation areas, regardless of their proximity to corn production, and that the ecological dynamics of atrazine exposure were complex.

  6. Indicators of the Statuses of Amphibian Populations and Their Potential for Exposure to Atrazine in Four Midwestern U.S. Conservation Areas

    PubMed Central

    Sadinski, Walt; Roth, Mark; Hayes, Tyrone; Jones, Perry; Gallant, Alisa

    2014-01-01

    Extensive corn production in the midwestern United States has physically eliminated or fragmented vast areas of historical amphibian habitat. Midwestern corn farmers also apply large quantities of fertilizers and herbicides, which can cause direct and indirect effects on amphibians. Limited field research regarding the statuses of midwestern amphibian populations near areas of corn production has left resource managers, conservation planners, and other stakeholders needing more information to improve conservation strategies and management plans. We repeatedly sampled amphibians in wetlands in four conservation areas along a gradient of proximity to corn production in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from 2002 to 2005 and estimated site occupancy. We measured frequencies of gross physical deformities in recent metamorphs and triazine concentrations in the water at breeding sites. We also measured trematode infection rates in kidneys of recently metamorphosed Lithobates pipiens collected from nine wetlands in 2003 and 2004. We detected all possible amphibian species in each study area. The amount of nearby row crops was limited in importance as a covariate for estimating site occupancy. We observed deformities in <5% of metamorphs sampled and proportions were not associated with triazine concentrations. Trematode infections were high in metamorphs from all sites we sampled, but not associated with site triazine concentrations, except perhaps for a subset of sites sampled in both years. We detected triazines more often and in higher concentrations in breeding wetlands closer to corn production. Triazine concentrations increased in floodplain wetlands as water levels rose after rainfall and were similar among lotic and lentic sites. Overall, our results suggest amphibian populations were not faring differently among these four conservation areas, regardless of their proximity to corn production, and that the ecological dynamics of atrazine exposure were complex

  7. 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

  8. Effect of road deicing salt on the susceptibility of amphibian embryos to infection by water molds.

    PubMed

    Karraker, Nancy E; Ruthig, Gregory R

    2009-01-01

    Some causative agents of amphibian declines act synergistically to impact individual amphibians and their populations. In particular, pathogenic water molds (aquatic oomycetes) interact with environmental stressors and increase mortality in amphibian embryos. We documented colonization of eggs of three amphibian species, the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), the green frog (Rana clamitans), and the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), by water molds in the field and examined the interactive effects of road deicing salt and water molds, two known sources of mortality for amphibian embryos, on two species, R. clamitans and A. maculatum in the laboratory. We found that exposure to water molds did not affect embryonic survivorship in either A. maculatum or R. clamitans, regardless of the concentration of road salt to which their eggs were exposed. Road salt decreased survivorship of A. maculatum, but not R. clamitans, and frequency of malformations increased significantly in both species at the highest salinity concentration. The lack of an effect of water molds on survival of embryos and no interaction between road salt and water molds indicates that observations of colonization of these eggs by water molds in the field probably represent a secondary invasion of unfertilized eggs or of embryos that had died of other causes. Given increasing salinization of freshwater habitats on several continents and the global distribution of water molds, our results suggest that some amphibian species may not be susceptible to the combined effects of these factors, permitting amphibian decline researchers to devote their attention to other potential causes. PMID:18976747

  9. Rapid declines of large mammal populations after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    PubMed

    Bragina, Eugenia V; Ives, A R; Pidgeon, A M; Kuemmerle, T; Baskin, L M; Gubar, Y P; Piquer-Rodríguez, M; Keuler, N S; Petrosyan, V G; Radeloff, V C

    2015-06-01

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that socioeconomic shocks strongly affect wildlife populations, but quantitative evidence is sparse. The collapse of socialism in Russia in 1991 caused a major socioeconomic shock, including a sharp increase in poverty. We analyzed population trends of 8 large mammals in Russia from 1981 to 2010 (i.e., before and after the collapse). We hypothesized that the collapse would first cause population declines, primarily due to overexploitation, and then population increases due to adaptation of wildlife to new environments following the collapse. The long-term Database of the Russian Federal Agency of Game Mammal Monitoring, consisting of up to 50,000 transects that are monitored annually, provided an exceptional data set for investigating these population trends. Three species showed strong declines in population growth rates in the decade following the collapse, while grey wolf (Canis lupus) increased by more than 150%. After 2000 some trends reversed. For example, roe deer (Capreolus spp.) abundance in 2010 was the highest of any period in our study. Likely reasons for the population declines in the 1990s include poaching and the erosion of wildlife protection enforcement. The rapid increase of the grey wolf populations is likely due to the cessation of governmental population control. In general, the widespread declines in wildlife populations after the collapse of the Soviet Union highlight the magnitude of the effects that socioeconomic shocks can have on wildlife populations and the possible need for special conservation efforts during such times. PMID:25581070

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Beyond the disease: Is Toxoplasma gondii infection causing population declines in the eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus)?

    PubMed

    Fancourt, Bronwyn A; Nicol, Stewart C; Hawkins, Clare E; Jones, Menna E; Johnson, Chris N

    2014-08-01

    Disease is often considered a key threat to species of conservation significance. For some, it has resulted in localised extinctions and declines in range and abundance. However, for some species, the assertion that a disease poses a significant threat of extinction is based solely on correlative or anecdotal evidence, often inferred from individual clinical case reports. While a species' susceptibility to a disease may be demonstrated in a number of individuals, investigations rarely extend to measuring the impact of disease at the population level and its contribution, if any, to population declines. The eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized Australian marsupial carnivore that is undergoing severe and rapid decline in Tasmania, its last refuge. Reasons for the decline are currently not understood. Feral cats (Felis catus) may be undergoing competitive release following the ongoing decline of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), with cats suppressing eastern quolls through increased predation, competition, exclusion or exposure to diseases such as toxoplasmosis. To investigate the effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection, eastern quoll populations at four sites were regularly screened for the seroprevalence of T. gondii-specific IgG antibodies. Seroprevalence was approximately five times higher at sites with declining quoll populations, and there was a negative association between seroprevalence and quoll abundance. However, T. gondii infection did not reduce quoll survival or reproduction. Despite a high susceptibility to T. gondii infection, eastern quoll populations do not appear to be limited by the parasite or its resultant disease. Significantly higher seroprevalence is a signal of greater exposure to feral cats at sites where eastern quolls are declining, suggesting that increased predation, competition or exclusion by feral cats may be precipitating population declines. PMID:25161908

  14. Beyond the disease: Is Toxoplasma gondii infection causing population declines in the eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus)?

    PubMed Central

    Fancourt, Bronwyn A.; Nicol, Stewart C.; Hawkins, Clare E.; Jones, Menna E.; Johnson, Chris N.

    2014-01-01

    Disease is often considered a key threat to species of conservation significance. For some, it has resulted in localised extinctions and declines in range and abundance. However, for some species, the assertion that a disease poses a significant threat of extinction is based solely on correlative or anecdotal evidence, often inferred from individual clinical case reports. While a species’ susceptibility to a disease may be demonstrated in a number of individuals, investigations rarely extend to measuring the impact of disease at the population level and its contribution, if any, to population declines. The eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized Australian marsupial carnivore that is undergoing severe and rapid decline in Tasmania, its last refuge. Reasons for the decline are currently not understood. Feral cats (Felis catus) may be undergoing competitive release following the ongoing decline of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), with cats suppressing eastern quolls through increased predation, competition, exclusion or exposure to diseases such as toxoplasmosis. To investigate the effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection, eastern quoll populations at four sites were regularly screened for the seroprevalence of T. gondii-specific IgG antibodies. Seroprevalence was approximately five times higher at sites with declining quoll populations, and there was a negative association between seroprevalence and quoll abundance. However, T. gondii infection did not reduce quoll survival or reproduction. Despite a high susceptibility to T. gondii infection, eastern quoll populations do not appear to be limited by the parasite or its resultant disease. Significantly higher seroprevalence is a signal of greater exposure to feral cats at sites where eastern quolls are declining, suggesting that increased predation, competition or exclusion by feral cats may be precipitating population declines. PMID:25161908

  15. Amphibian research and monitoring initiative: Concepts and implementation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.; Adams, M.J.; Battaglin, W.A.; Gallant, A.L.; James, D.L.; Knutson, M.; Langtimm, C.A.; Sauer, J.R.

    2005-01-01

    This report provides the basis for discussion and subsequent articulation of a national plan for the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). The authors were members of a task force formed from within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that included scientists with expertise in biology, cartography, hydrology, and statistics. The assignment of the task force was to extend work begun by the National Amphibian Leadership Group. This group, composed of senior USGS scientists, managers, and external authorities, met in Gainesville, Florida, in February 20001. The product of this meeting was a document outlining the framework for a national program to monitor amphibian populations and to conduct research into the causes of declines.

  16. Crab trapping causes population decline and demographic changes in diamondback terrapins over two decades

    SciTech Connect

    Dorcas, M.E., J.D. Willson and J.W. Gibbons

    2007-01-01

    Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are thought to be declining throughout their range. Although many factors have been proposed to contribute to terrapin declines, including increased predation of nests and adults, habitat loss and degradation, road mortality, commercial harvest for food, and mortality as bycatch in crab traps, few studies have provided evidence linking these agents to population declines. Because male and small female terrapins are most susceptible to mortality in crab traps, population declines should coincide with shifts in the age and size distributions of the population and a shift to a more female-biased sex ratio. We used twenty-one years of mark-recapture data (>2800 captures of 1399 individuals) from a declining diamondback terrapin population in South Carolina to test the prediction that the decline is the result of mortality in crab traps. Since the 1980s, the modal size of both male and female terrapins has increased substantially and the proportion that are females is higher than in earlier samples. Additionally, the population now contains more old and fewer young individuals than before. The changes in demography and sex ratio we observed suggest that this terrapin population has declined as a result of selective mortality of smaller individuals in crab traps. The use of bycatch-reduction devices on crab traps may help prevent terrapins from entering the traps, but current models are too large to prevent mortality of males and many females in this population. Future research should focus on design and testing of effective bycatch-reduction devices for specific regions and other methods to prevent terrapin mortality in crab traps.

  17. Declines in migrant shorebird populations from a winter-quarter perspective.

    PubMed

    Simmons, Robert E; Kolberg, Holger; Braby, Rod; Erni, Birgit

    2015-06-01

    Many long-distance migrating shorebird (i.e., sandpipers, plovers, flamingos, oystercatchers) populations are declining. Although regular shorebird monitoring programs exist worldwide, most estimates of shorebird population trends and sizes are poor or nonexistent. We built a state-space model to estimate shorebird population trends. Compared with more commonly used methods of trend estimation, state-space models are more mechanistic, allow for the separation of observation and state process, and can easily accommodate multivariate time series and nonlinear trends. We fitted the model to count data collected from 1990 to 2013 on 18 common shorebirds at the 2 largest coastal wetlands in southern Africa, Sandwich Harbour (a relatively pristine bay) and Walvis Bay (an international harbor), Namibia. Four of the 12 long-distance migrant species declined since 1990: Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and Red Knot (Calidris canutus). Populations of resident species and short-distance migrants increased or were stable. Similar patterns at a key South African wetland suggest that shorebird populations migrating to southern Africa are declining in line with the global decline, but local conditions in southern Africa's largest wetlands are not contributing to these declines. State-space models provide estimates of population levels and trends and could be used widely to improve the current state of water bird estimates. PMID:25858334

  18. 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

  19. Parasite (Ribeiroia ondatrae) infection linked to amphibian malformations in the western United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, P.T.J.; Lunde, K.B.; Thurman, E.M.; Ritchie, E.G.; Wray, S.N.; Sutherland, D.R.; Kapfer, J.M.; Frest, T.J.; Bowerman, J.; Blaustein, A.R.

    2002-01-01

    Ribeiroia on amphibians, demonstrate that Ribeiroia infection is an important and widespread cause of amphibian limb malformations in the western United States. The relevance of trematode infection to declines of amphibian populations and the influence of habitat modification on the pathology and life cycle of Ribeiroia are emphasized as areas requiring further research.

  20. Contrasting effects of temperature and precipitation change on amphibian phenology, abundance and performance.

    PubMed

    Ficetola, Gentile Francesco; Maiorano, Luigi

    2016-07-01

    Climate change is determining a generalized phenological advancement, and amphibians are among the taxa showing the strongest phenological responsiveness to warming temperatures. Amphibians are strongly influenced by climate change, but we do not have a clear picture of how climate influences important parameters of amphibian populations, such as abundance, survival, breeding success and morphology. Furthermore, the relative impact of temperature and precipitation change remains underappreciated. We used Bayesian meta-analysis and meta-regression to quantify the impact of temperature and precipitation change on amphibian phenology, abundance, individual features and performance. We obtained effect sizes from studies performed in five continents. Temperature increase was the major driver of phenological advancement, while the impact of precipitation on phenology was weak. Conversely, population dynamics was mostly determined by precipitation: negative trends were associated with drying regimes. The impact of precipitation on abundance was particularly strong in tropical areas, while the importance of temperature was feeble. Both temperature and precipitation influenced parameters representing breeding performance, morphology, developmental rate and survival, but the response was highly heterogeneous among species. For instance, warming temperature increased body size in some species, and decreased size in others. Similarly, rainy periods increased survival of some species and reduced the survival of others. Our study showed contrasting impacts of temperature and precipitation changes on amphibian populations. Both climatic parameters strongly influenced amphibian performance, but temperature was the major determinant of the phenological changes, while precipitation had the major role on population dynamics, with alarming declines associated with drying trends. PMID:27008454

  1. Mountain gorilla genomes reveal the impact of long-term population decline and inbreeding.

    PubMed

    Xue, Yali; Prado-Martinez, Javier; Sudmant, Peter H; Narasimhan, Vagheesh; Ayub, Qasim; Szpak, Michal; Frandsen, Peter; Chen, Yuan; Yngvadottir, Bryndis; Cooper, David N; de Manuel, Marc; Hernandez-Rodriguez, Jessica; Lobon, Irene; Siegismund, Hans R; Pagani, Luca; Quail, Michael A; Hvilsom, Christina; Mudakikwa, Antoine; Eichler, Evan E; Cranfield, Michael R; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Scally, Aylwyn

    2015-04-10

    Mountain gorillas are an endangered great ape subspecies and a prominent focus for conservation, yet we know little about their genomic diversity and evolutionary past. We sequenced whole genomes from multiple wild individuals and compared the genomes of all four Gorilla subspecies. We found that the two eastern subspecies have experienced a prolonged population decline over the past 100,000 years, resulting in very low genetic diversity and an increased overall burden of deleterious variation. A further recent decline in the mountain gorilla population has led to extensive inbreeding, such that individuals are typically homozygous at 34% of their sequence, leading to the purging of severely deleterious recessive mutations from the population. We discuss the causes of their decline and the consequences for their future survival. PMID:25859046

  2. Mountain gorilla genomes reveal the impact of long-term population decline and inbreeding

    PubMed Central

    Ayub, Qasim; Szpak, Michal; Frandsen, Peter; Chen, Yuan; Yngvadottir, Bryndis; Cooper, David N.; de Manuel, Marc; Hernandez-Rodriguez, Jessica; Lobon, Irene; Siegismund, Hans R.; Pagani, Luca; Quail, Michael A.; Hvilsom, Christina; Mudakikwa, Antoine; Eichler, Evan E.; Cranfield, Michael R.; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Scally, Aylwyn

    2015-01-01

    Mountain gorillas are an endangered great ape subspecies and a prominent focus for conservation, yet we know little about their genomic diversity and evolutionary past. We sequenced whole genomes from multiple wild individuals and compared the genomes of all four Gorilla subspecies. We found that the two eastern subspecies have experienced a prolonged population decline over the past 100,000 years, resulting in very low genetic diversity and an increased overall burden of deleterious variation. A further recent decline in the mountain gorilla population has led to extensive inbreeding, such that individuals are typically homozygous at 34% of their sequence, leading to the purging of severely deleterious recessive mutations from the population. We discuss the causes of their decline and the consequences for their future survival. PMID:25859046

  3. Pup Mortality in a Rapidly Declining Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) Population

    PubMed Central

    Hanson, Nora; Thompson, Dave; Duck, Callan; Moss, Simon; Lonergan, Mike

    2013-01-01

    The harbour seal population in Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, has reduced by 65% between 2001 and 2010. The cause(s) of this decline are unknown but must affect the demographic parameters of the population. Here, satellite telemetry data were used to test the hypothesis that increased pup mortality could be a primary driver of the decline in Orkney. Pup mortality and tag failure parameters were estimated from the duration of operation of satellite tags deployed on harbour seal pups from the Orkney population (n = 24) and from another population on the west coast of Scotland (n = 24) where abundance was stable. Survival probabilities from both populations were best represented by a common gamma distribution and were not different from one another, suggesting that increased pup mortality is unlikely to be the primary agent in the Orkney population decline. The estimated probability of surviving to 6 months was 0.390 (95% CI 0.297 – 0.648) and tag failure was represented by a Gaussian distribution, with estimated mean 270 (95% CI = 198 – 288) and s.d. 21 (95% CI = 1 – 66) days. These results suggest that adult survival is the most likely proximate cause of the decline. They also demonstrate a novel technique for attaining age-specific mortality rates from telemetry data. PMID:24312239

  4. Population declines in North American birds that migrate to the neotropics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Robbins, C.S.; Sauer, J.R.; Greenberg, R.S.; Droege, S.

    1989-01-01

    Using data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, we determined that most neotropical migrant bird species that breed in forests of the eastern United States and Canada have recently (1978-1987) declined in abundance after a period of stable or increasing populations. Most permanent residents and temperate-zone migrants did not show a general pattern of decrease during this period. Field data from Mexico were used to classify a subset of the neotropical migrants as using forest or scrub habitats during winter. Population declines during 1978-1987 were significantly greater among the forest-wintering species, while populations of scrub-wintering species increased. The same subset of neotropical migrants also showed overall declines in forest-breeding species, but no significant differences existed between species breeding in forest and scrub habitats. Neotropical migrant species that primarily use forested habitats in either wintering or breeding areas are declining, but a statistically significant association between habitat and population declines was detected only in the tropics.

  5. DISTRIBUTION PATTERNS OF LENTIC-BREEDING AMPHIBIANS IN RELATION OF ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION EXPOSURE IN WESTERN NORTH AMERICA

    EPA Science Inventory

    An increase in ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation has been posited to be a potential factor in the decline of some amphibian population...Much more work is still needed to determine whether UV-B, either alone or in concert with other factors, is causing widespread population losses in ...

  6. Genetic attributes of midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) populations do not correlate with degree of species decline

    PubMed Central

    Tobler, Ursina; Garner, Trenton W J; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2013-01-01

    Genetic diversity is crucial for long-term population persistence. Population loss and subsequent reduction in migration rate among the most important processes that are expected to lead to a reduction in genetic diversity and an increase in genetic differentiation. While the theory behind this is well-developed, empirical evidence from wild populations is inconsistent. Using microsatellite markers, we compared the genetic structure of populations of an amphibian species, the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), in four Swiss regions where the species has suffered variable levels of subpopulation extirpation. We also quantified the effects of several geographic factors on genetic structure and used a model selection approach to ascertain which of the variables were important for explaining genetic variation. Although subpopulation pairwise FST-values were highly significant even over small geographic scales, neither any of the geographic variables nor loss of subpopulations were important factors for predicting spatial genetic structure. The absence of a signature of subpopulation loss on genetic differentiation may suggest that midwife toad subpopulations function as relatively independent units. PMID:24101974

  7. 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

  8. Mining-caused changes to habitat structure affect amphibian and reptile population ecology more than metal pollution.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, Kiyoshi; Lesbarrères, David; Watson, Glen; Litzgus, Jacqueline

    2015-12-01

    Emissions from smelting not only contaminate water and soil with metals, but also induce extensive forest dieback and changes in resource availability and microclimate. The relative effects of such co-occurring stressors are often unknown, but this information is imperative in developing targeted restoration strategies. We assessed the role and relative effects of structural alterations of terrestrial habitat and metal pollution caused by century-long smelting operations on amphibian and reptile communities by collecting environmental and time- and area-standardized multivariate abundance data along three spatially replicated impact gradients. Overall, species richness, diversity, and abundance declined progressively with increasing levels of metals (As, Cu, and Ni) and soil temperature (T(s)) and decreasing canopy cover, amount of coarse woody debris (CWD), and relative humidity (RH). The composite habitat variable (which included canopy cover, CWD, T(s), and RH) was more strongly associated with most response metrics than the composite metal variable (As, Cu, and Ni), and canopy cover alone explained 19-74% of the variance. Moreover, species that use terrestrial habitat for specific behaviors (e.g., hibernation, dispersal), especially forest-dependent species, were more severely affected than largely aquatic species. These results suggest that structural alterations of terrestrial habitat and concomitant changes in the resource availability and microclimate have stronger effects than metal pollution per se. Furthermore, much of the variation in response metrics was explained by the joint action of several environmental variables, implying synergistic effects (e.g., exacerbation of metal toxicity by elevated temperatures in sites with reduced canopy cover). We thus argue that the restoration of terrestrial habitat conditions is a key to successful recovery of herpetofauna communities in smelting-altered landscapes. PMID:26910952

  9. Annual Report: 2014: Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weir, Linda A.; Nanjappa, P.; Apodaca, J. J.; Williams, J.

    2015-01-01

    Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) was established in 1999 to address the widespread declines, extinctions, and range reductions of amphibians and reptiles, with a focus on conservation of taxa and habitats in North America. Amphibians and reptiles are affected by a broad range of human activities, both as incidental effects of habitat alteration and direct effects from overexploitation; these animals are also burdened by humans attitudes – that amphibians and reptiles are either dangerous or of little environmental or economic value. However, PARC members understand these taxa are important parts of our natural and cultural heritage and they serve important roles in ecosystems throughout the world. With many amphibians and reptiles classified as threatened with extinction, conservation to ensure healthy populations of these animals has never been more important. As you will see herein, PARC’s 15th anniversary has been marked with major accomplishments and an ever-increasing momentum. With your help, PARC can continue to build on its successes and protect these vital species.

  10. The contribution of phenotypic plasticity to the evolution of insecticide tolerance in amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Hua, Jessica; Jones, Devin K; Mattes, Brian M; Cothran, Rickey D; Relyea, Rick A; Hoverman, Jason T

    2015-01-01

    Understanding population responses to rapid environmental changes caused by anthropogenic activities, such as pesticides, is a research frontier. Genetic assimilation (GA), a process initiated by phenotypic plasticity, is one mechanism potentially influencing evolutionary responses to novel environments. While theoretical and laboratory research suggests that GA has the potential to influence evolutionary trajectories, few studies have assessed its role in the evolution of wild populations experiencing novel environments. Using the insecticide, carbaryl, and 15 wood frog populations distributed across an agricultural gradient, we tested whether GA contributed to the evolution of pesticide tolerance. First, we investigated the evidence for evolved tolerance to carbaryl and discovered that population-level patterns of tolerance were consistent with evolutionary responses to pesticides; wood frog populations living closer to agriculture were more tolerant than populations living far from agriculture. Next, we tested the potential role of GA in the evolution of pesticide tolerance by assessing whether patterns of tolerance were consistent with theoretical predictions. We found that populations close to agriculture displayed constitutive tolerance to carbaryl whereas populations far from agriculture had low naïve tolerance but high magnitudes of induced tolerance. These results suggest GA could play a role in evolutionary responses to novel environments in nature. PMID:26136824

  11. Lion (Panthera leo) populations are declining rapidly across Africa, except in intensively managed areas.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Hans; Chapron, Guillaume; Nowell, Kristin; Henschel, Philipp; Funston, Paul; Hunter, Luke T B; Macdonald, David W; Packer, Craig

    2015-12-01

    We compiled all credible repeated lion surveys and present time series data for 47 lion (Panthera leo) populations. We used a Bayesian state space model to estimate growth rate-λ for each population and summed these into three regional sets to provide conservation-relevant estimates of trends since 1990. We found a striking geographical pattern: African lion populations are declining everywhere, except in four southern countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe). Population models indicate a 67% chance that lions in West and Central Africa decline by one-half, while estimating a 37% chance that lions in East Africa also decline by one-half over two decades. We recommend separate regional assessments of the lion in the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species: already recognized as critically endangered in West Africa, our analysis supports listing as regionally endangered in Central and East Africa and least concern in southern Africa. Almost all lion populations that historically exceeded ∼ 500 individuals are declining, but lion conservation is successful in southern Africa, in part because of the proliferation of reintroduced lions in small, fenced, intensively managed, and funded reserves. If management budgets for wild lands cannot keep pace with mounting levels of threat, the species may rely increasingly on these southern African areas and may no longer be a flagship species of the once vast natural ecosystems across the rest of the continent. PMID:26504235

  12. Lion (Panthera leo) populations are declining rapidly across Africa, except in intensively managed areas

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Hans; Chapron, Guillaume; Nowell, Kristin; Henschel, Philipp; Funston, Paul; Macdonald, David W.; Packer, Craig

    2015-01-01

    We compiled all credible repeated lion surveys and present time series data for 47 lion (Panthera leo) populations. We used a Bayesian state space model to estimate growth rate-λ for each population and summed these into three regional sets to provide conservation-relevant estimates of trends since 1990. We found a striking geographical pattern: African lion populations are declining everywhere, except in four southern countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe). Population models indicate a 67% chance that lions in West and Central Africa decline by one-half, while estimating a 37% chance that lions in East Africa also decline by one-half over two decades. We recommend separate regional assessments of the lion in the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species: already recognized as critically endangered in West Africa, our analysis supports listing as regionally endangered in Central and East Africa and least concern in southern Africa. Almost all lion populations that historically exceeded ∼500 individuals are declining, but lion conservation is successful in southern Africa, in part because of the proliferation of reintroduced lions in small, fenced, intensively managed, and funded reserves. If management budgets for wild lands cannot keep pace with mounting levels of threat, the species may rely increasingly on these southern African areas and may no longer be a flagship species of the once vast natural ecosystems across the rest of the continent. PMID:26504235

  13. Assessing effects of pesticides on amphibians and reptiles: status and needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hall, R.J.; Henry, P.F.P.

    1992-01-01

    Growing concern about the decline of certain amphibian populations and for conservation of amphibians and reptiles has led to renewed awareness of problems from pesticides. Testing amphibians and reptiles as a requirement for chemical registration has been proposed but is difficult because of the phylogenetic diversity of these groups. Information from the literature and research may determine whether amphibians and reptiles are adequately protected by current tests for mammals, birds, and fish. Existing information indicates that amphibians are unpredictably more resistant to certain cholinesterase inhibitors, and more sensitive to two chemicals used in fishery applications than could have been predicted. A single study on one species of lizard suggests that reptiles may be close in sensitivity to mammals and birds. Research on effects of pesticides on amphibians and reptiles should compare responses to currently tested groups and should seek to delineate those taxa and chemicals for which cross-group prediction is not possible. New tests for amphibians and reptiles should rely to the greatest extent possible on existing data bases, and should be designed for maximum economy and minimum harm to test animals. A strategy for developing the needed information is proposed. Good field testing and surveillance of chemicals in use may compensate for failures of predictive evaluations and may ultimately lead to improved tests.

  14. 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

  15. Living on the edge: disease, population decline and conservation efforts of the Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia)"

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Florida torreya, Torreya taxifolia, has experienced a dramatic and precipitous population decline in its native habitat in ravines along the Apalachicola River over the past century. Recent studies have demonstrated that a novel fungal pathogen,Fusarium torreyae, is causing a severe canker and dieba...

  16. Decline in an Atlantic Puffin Population: Evaluation of Magnitude and Mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Miles, Will T S; Mavor, Roddy; Riddiford, Nick J; Harvey, Paul V; Riddington, Roger; Shaw, Deryk N; Parnaby, David; Reid, Jane M

    2015-01-01

    Determining which demographic and ecological parameters contribute to variation in population growth rate is crucial to understanding the dynamics of declining populations. This study aimed to evaluate the magnitude and mechanisms of an apparent major decline in an Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica population. This was achieved using a 27-year dataset to estimate changes in population size and in two key demographic rates: adult survival and breeding success. Estimated demographic variation was then related to two ecological factors hypothesised to be key drivers of demographic change, namely the abundance of the main predator at the study site, the Great Skua Stercorarius skua, and Atlantic Puffin chick food supply, over the same 27-year period. Using a population model, we assessed whether estimated variation in adult survival and reproductive success was sufficient to explain the population change observed. Estimates of Atlantic Puffin population size decreased considerably during the study period, approximately halving, whereas Great Skua population estimates increased, approximately trebling. Estimated adult Atlantic Puffin survival remained high across all years and did not vary with Great Skua abundance; however, Atlantic Puffin breeding success and quantities of fish prey brought ashore by adults both decreased substantially through the period. A population model combining best possible demographic parameter estimates predicted rapid population growth, at odds with the long-term decrease observed. To simulate the observed decrease, population models had to incorporate low immature survival, high immature emigration, or increasingly high adult non-breeding rates. We concluded that reduced recruitment of immatures into the breeding population was the most likely cause of population decrease. This study showed that increase in the size of a predator population does not always impact on the survival of adult prey and that reduced recruitment can be a crucial

  17. Decline in an Atlantic Puffin Population: Evaluation of Magnitude and Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Miles, Will T. S.; Mavor, Roddy; Riddiford, Nick J.; Harvey, Paul V.; Riddington, Roger; Shaw, Deryk N.; Parnaby, David; Reid, Jane M.

    2015-01-01

    Determining which demographic and ecological parameters contribute to variation in population growth rate is crucial to understanding the dynamics of declining populations. This study aimed to evaluate the magnitude and mechanisms of an apparent major decline in an Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica population. This was achieved using a 27-year dataset to estimate changes in population size and in two key demographic rates: adult survival and breeding success. Estimated demographic variation was then related to two ecological factors hypothesised to be key drivers of demographic change, namely the abundance of the main predator at the study site, the Great Skua Stercorarius skua, and Atlantic Puffin chick food supply, over the same 27-year period. Using a population model, we assessed whether estimated variation in adult survival and reproductive success was sufficient to explain the population change observed. Estimates of Atlantic Puffin population size decreased considerably during the study period, approximately halving, whereas Great Skua population estimates increased, approximately trebling. Estimated adult Atlantic Puffin survival remained high across all years and did not vary with Great Skua abundance; however, Atlantic Puffin breeding success and quantities of fish prey brought ashore by adults both decreased substantially through the period. A population model combining best possible demographic parameter estimates predicted rapid population growth, at odds with the long-term decrease observed. To simulate the observed decrease, population models had to incorporate low immature survival, high immature emigration, or increasingly high adult non-breeding rates. We concluded that reduced recruitment of immatures into the breeding population was the most likely cause of population decrease. This study showed that increase in the size of a predator population does not always impact on the survival of adult prey and that reduced recruitment can be a crucial

  18. POPULATION STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF A DECIMATED AMPHIBIAN, THE RELICT LEOPARD FROG (RANA ONCA)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The relict leopard frog (Rana onca) was once thought to be extinct, but has recently been shown to comprise a valid taxon with extant populations. We delineate the minimum historical range of the species, and report results of surveys at 12 historical and 54 other localities to d...

  19. An evaluation of weather and disease as causes of decline in two populations of boreal toads

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scherer, R. D.; Muths, E.; Noon, B.R.; Corn, P.S.

    2005-01-01

    Two populations of boreal toads (Bufo boreas) experienced drastic declines in abundance in the late 1990s. Evidence supported the hypothesis of disease (the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) as the cause of these declines, but other hypotheses had not been evaluated. We used an 11-year capture-recapture data set to evaluate weather and disease as causes of these declines. We developed sets of mathematical models that reflected hypothesized relationships between several weather variables and annual survival rates of adult males in these populations. In addition, models that reflected the possibility that the declines were caused by an introduced fungus were developed. All models were fit to the data and were evaluated using a model selection criterion (QAICc). Our analysis provided strong support for the hypothesis of an introduced fungus and little support for the hypothesis that weather conditions caused the declines. Our results also suggest a strong, negative 'marking effect' on survival rates of boreal toads. Model-averaged estimates of survival rate are presented.

  20. Survey trends of North American shorebirds: Population declines or shifting distributions?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, J.; Brown, S.; Harrington, B.; Morrison, R.I. Guy

    2007-01-01

    We analyzed data from two surveys of fall migrating shorebirds in central and eastern North America to estimate annual trends in means per survey and to determine whether trends indicate a change in population size or might have been caused by other factors. The analysis showed a broad decline in means per survey in Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States (North Atlantic region). For example, 9 of 9 significant trends in this region were <1 (P=0.004), and the mean, annual rate of change among 30 species was 0.9783, a decline of -2.17% per year (P<0.001). Trends in the midwestern United States (Midwest region) showed no clear pattern. The mean among 29 species was 1.0090 (P=0.35). Only 4 of the trends were significant. Several hypotheses were evaluated to identify causes of the declining means per survey in the North Atlantic region. The most likely hypothesis appears to be a decline in the breeding populations that supply migrants to the North Atlantic region, but a change in movements, for example passing through the region more quickly in recent years, cannot be excluded as an explanation. Further surveys of arctic breeding areas coupled with analysis of long-term survey data from western North America would be helpful in determining whether the declines found in this analysis are also occurring in other areas. ?? Journal of Avian Biology.

  1. Genetic Consequence of Restricted Habitat and Population Decline in Endangered Isoetes sinensis (Isoetaceae)

    PubMed Central

    KANG, MING; YE, QIGANG; HUANG, HONGWEN

    2005-01-01

    • Background and Aims Isoetes sinensis (Isoeteaceae) is a critically endangered aquatic quillwort in eastern China. Rapid decline of extant population size and local population extinction have occurred in recent years and have raised great concerns among conservationists. • Methods Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were used to investigate the genetic variation and population structure of seven extant populations of the species. • Key Results Eight primer combinations produced a total of 343 unambiguous bands of which 210 (61·2 %) were polymorphic. Isoetes sinensis exhibited a high level of intra-population genetic diversity (HE = 0·118; hs = 0·147; I = 0·192; P = 35·2 %). The genetic variation within each of the populations was not positively correlated with their size, suggesting recent population decline, which is well in accordance with field data of demographic surveys. Moreover, a high degree of genetic differentiation (FST = 0·535; GST = 0·608; θB = 0·607) was detected among populations and no correlation was found between geographical and genetic distance, suggesting that populations were in disequilibrium of migration-drift. Genetic drift played a more important role than gene flow in the current population genetic structure of I. sinensis because migration of I. sinensis is predominantly water-mediated and habitat range was highly influenced by environment changes. • Conclusions Genetic information obtained in the present study provides useful baseline data for formulating conservation strategies. Conservation management, including both reinforcement for in situ populations and ex situ conservation programmes should be carefully designed to avoid the potential risk of outbreeding depression by admixture of individuals from different regions. However, translocation within the same regional population should be considered as a measure of genetic enhancement to rehabilitate local populations. An ex situ conservation

  2. Heterogeneity in ALSFRS-R decline and survival: a population-based study in Italy.

    PubMed

    Mandrioli, Jessica; Biguzzi, Sara; Guidi, Carlo; Sette, Elisabetta; Terlizzi, Emilio; Ravasio, Alessandro; Casmiro, Mario; Salvi, Fabrizio; Liguori, Rocco; Rizzi, Romana; Pietrini, Vladimiro; Borghi, Annamaria; Rinaldi, Rita; Fini, Nicola; Chierici, Elisabetta; Santangelo, Mario; Granieri, Enrico; Mussuto, Vittoria; De Pasqua, Silvia; Georgoulopoulou, Eleni; Fasano, Antonio; Ferro, Salvatore; D'Alessandro, Roberto

    2015-12-01

    Very few studies examined trend over time of the revised Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R) and factors influencing it; previous studies, then, included only patients attending tertiary ALS Centres. We studied ALSFRS-R decline, factors influencing this trend and survival in a population-based setting. From 2009 onwards, a prospective registry records all incident ALS cases among residents in Emilia Romagna (population: 4.4 million). For each patient, demographic and clinical details (including ALSFRS-R) are collected by caring physicians at each follow-up. Analysis was performed on 402 incident cases (1279 ALSFRS-R assessments). The average decline of the ALSFRS-R was 0.60 points/month during the first year after diagnosis and 0.34 points/month in the second year. ALSFRS-R decline was heterogeneous among subgroups. Repeated measures mixed model showed that ALSFRS-R score decline was influenced by age at onset (p < 0.01), phenotype (p = 0.01), body mass index (BMI) (p < 0.01), progression rate at diagnosis (ΔFS) (p < 0.01), El Escorial Criteria-Revised (p < 0.01), and FVC% at diagnosis (p < 0.01). Among these factors, at multivariate analysis, only age, site of onset and ΔFS independently influenced survival. In this first population-based study on ALSFRS-R trend, we confirm that ALSFRS-R decline is not homogeneous among ALS patients and during the disease. Factors influencing ALSFRS-R decline may not match with those affecting survival. These disease modifiers should be taken into consideration for trials design and in clinical practice during discussions with patients on prognosis. PMID:26205535

  3. Using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to assess the toxicity and teratogenicity of aquatic amphibian habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.; Little, E.E.

    2003-01-01

    Environmental contamination has been suspected of being partially responsible for recent declines in amphibian populations. It is often not feasible to identify all of the compounds in an environment, nor the concentrations in which they are present. SPMDs are passive sampling devices that uptake lipophilic compounds from the environment in a manner similar to aquatic organisms. The extracts from the SPMDs, therefore, contain a composite sample of the compounds that are present in the environment. In this paper, we outline the methods from studies in which we have used extracts from SPMDs in toxicity tests on amphibian larvae. Using SPMD extracts makes it possible to establish potential links between amphibian deformities and declines and environmental contamination by lipophilic compounds.

  4. Toward immunogenetic studies of amphibian chytridiomycosis: Linking innate and acquired immunity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Richmond, J.Q.; Savage, Anna E.; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Rosenblum, E.B.

    2009-01-01

    Recent declines in amphibian diversity and abundance have contributed significantly to the global loss of biodiversity. The fungal disease chytridiomycosis is widely considered to be a primary cause of these declines, yet the critical question of why amphibian species differ in susceptibility remains unanswered. Considerable evidence links environmental conditions and interspecific variability of the innate immune system to differential infection responses, but other sources of individual, population, or species-typical variation may also be important. In this article we review the preliminary evidence supporting a role for acquired immune defenses against chytridiomycosis, and advocate for targeted investigation of genes controlling acquired responses, as well as those that functionally bridge the innate and acquired immune systems. Immunogenetic data promise to answer key questions about chytridiomycosis susceptibility and host-pathogen coevolution, and will draw much needed attention to the importance of considering evolutionary processes in amphibian conservation management and practice. ?? 2009 by American Institute of Biological Sciences.

  5. Local divergence of thermal reaction norms among amphibian populations is affected by pond temperature variation.

    PubMed

    Richter-Boix, Alex; Katzenberger, Marco; Duarte, Helder; Quintela, María; Tejedo, Miguel; Laurila, Anssi

    2015-08-01

    Although temperature variation is known to cause large-scale adaptive divergence, its potential role as a selective factor over microgeographic scales is less well-understood. Here, we investigated how variation in breeding pond temperature affects divergence in multiple physiological (thermal performance curve and critical thermal maximum [CTmax]) and life-history (thermal developmental reaction norms) traits in a network of Rana arvalis populations. The results supported adaptive responses to face two main constraints limiting the evolution of thermal adaptation. First, we found support for the faster-slower model, indicating an adaptive response to compensate for the thermodynamic constraint of low temperatures in colder environments. Second, we found evidence for the generalist-specialist trade-off with populations from colder and less thermally variable environments exhibiting a specialist phenotype performing at higher rates but over a narrower range of temperatures. By contrast, the local optimal temperature for locomotor performance and CTmax did not match either mean or maximum pond temperatures. These results highlight the complexity of the adaptive multiple-trait thermal responses in natural populations, and the role of local thermal variation as a selective force driving diversity in life-history and physiological traits in the presence of gene flow. PMID:26118477

  6. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline.

    PubMed

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Mcdonald, Trent L; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan S; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George M; Atwood, Todd; Amstrup, Steven C

    2015-04-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark-recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25-50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606-1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies. PMID:26214910

  7. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; McDonald, Trent L.; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E.; Richardson, Evan S.; Regehr, Eric V.; Douglas, David C.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark–recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25–50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606–1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies.

  8. Declining populations of the fingernail clam Musculium transversum in the upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, D.M.; Naimo, T.J.; Weiner, J.G.; Anderson, R.V.; Sandheinrich, M.B.; Sparks, R.E.

    1995-01-01

    We examined recent temporal trends in the abundance of fingernail clams Musculium transversum (formerly Sphaerium transversum) in the upper Mississippi River. Historical data on densities of fingernail clams were obtained from regional scientists and published literature. We also sampled benthos in six navigation pools in summer 1991, finding very few fingernail clams. The combined data set, including historical data and sampling results, extended from 1973 to 1992 and was sufficient to statistically evaluate trends in densities of fingernail clams in eight pools. Populations of fingernail clams declined significantly in five of the eight pools examined (Pools 2, 5, 7, 9, and 19), which spanned a 700-km reach of river from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Keokuk, Iowa. Densities in Pool 19, which had the longest historical record on fingernail clam abundance, averaged 30 000 m super(-2) in 1985 and progressively declined to zero in 1990. Combined data from all eight pools showed a significant decline in abundance of fingernail clams. An evaluation of potential causal factors led us to hypothesize that the population declines in Pools 2 to 9 were linked to point-source pollution rather than to dredging activity or commercial navigation traffic. In Pool 19, the declines of fingernail clams may have resulted from low-flow conditions during drought periods, but the causal mechanisms by which low flow influences fingernail clam abundance are unclear. The decrease in fingernail clam populations may adversely affect certain fish and wildlife, such as migrating lesser scaup Aythya affinis, which feed heavily on the small mollusk. Moreover, the decreases in populations of this pollution-sensitive mollusk may signal a large-scale deterioration in the health of this riverine ecosystem.

  9. Demographic stochasticity in small remnant populations of the declining distylous plant Primula veris

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kery, M.; Matthies, D.; Schmid, B.

    2003-01-01

    We studied ecological consequences of distyly for the declining perennial plant Primula veris in the Swiss Jura. Distyly favours cross-fertilization and avoids inbreeding, but may lead to pollen limitation and reduced reproduction if morph frequencies deviate from 50 %. Disassortative mating is promoted by the reciprocal position of stigmas and anthers in the two morphs (pin and thrum) and by intramorph incompatibility and should result in equal frequencies of morphs at equilibrium. However, deviations could arise because of demographic stochasticity, the lower intra-morph incompatibility of the pin morph, and niche differentiation between morphs. Demographic stochasticity should result in symmetric deviations from an even morph frequency among populations and in increased deviations with decreasing population size. If crosses between pins occurred, these would only generate pins, and this could result in a pin-bias of morph frequencies in general and in small populations in particular. If the morphs have different niches, morph frequencies should be related to environmental factors, morphs might be spatially segregated, and morphological differences between morphs would be expected. We tested these hypotheses in the declining distylous P. veris. We studied morph frequencies in relation to environmental conditions and population size, spatial segregation in field populations, morphological differences between morphs, and growth responses to nutrient addition. Morph frequencies in 76 populations with 1 - 80000 flowering plants fluctuated symmetrically about 50 %. Deviations from 50 % were much larger in small populations, and sixof the smallest populations had lost one morph altogether. In contrast, morph frequencies were neither related to population size nor to 17 measures of environmental conditions. We found no spatial segregation or morphological differences in the field or in the common garden. The results suggest that demographic stochasticity caused

  10. Amphibian chemical defense: antifungal metabolites of the microsymbiont Janthinobacterium lividum on the salamander Plethodon cinereus.

    PubMed

    Brucker, Robert M; Harris, Reid N; Schwantes, Christian R; Gallaher, Thomas N; Flaherty, Devon C; Lam, Brianna A; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2008-11-01

    Disease has spurred declines in global amphibian populations. In particular, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has decimated amphibian diversity in some areas unaffected by habitat loss. However, there is little evidence to explain how some amphibian species persist despite infection or even clear the pathogen beyond detection. One hypothesis is that certain bacterial symbionts on the skin of amphibians inhibit the growth of the pathogen. An antifungal strain of Janthinobacterium lividum, isolated from the skin of the red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus, produces antifungal metabolites at concentrations lethal to B. dendrobatidis. Antifungal metabolites were identified by using reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography, high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and UV-Vis spectroscopy and tested for efficacy of inhibiting the pathogen. Two metabolites, indole-3-carboxaldehyde and violacein, inhibited the pathogen's growth at relatively low concentrations (68.9 and 1.82 microM, respectively). Analysis of fresh salamander skin confirmed the presence of J. lividum and its metabolites on the skin of host salamanders in concentrations high enough to hinder or kill the pathogen (51 and 207 microM, respectively). These results support the hypothesis that cutaneous, mutualistic bacteria play a role in amphibian resistance to fungal disease. Exploitation of this biological process may provide long-term resistance to B. dendrobatidis for vulnerable amphibians and serve as a model for managing future emerging diseases in wildlife populations. PMID:18949519

  11. Can Myxosporean parasites compromise fish and amphibian reproduction?

    PubMed Central

    Sitjà-Bobadilla, Ariadna

    2009-01-01

    Research into fish and amphibian reproduction has increased exponentially in recent years owing to the expansion of the aquaculture industry, the need to recover fishery populations, the impact of endocrine disruptors on the aquatic environment and the global decline of amphibian populations. This review focuses on a group of parasites, the Myxozoa, that affect fish and amphibian reproduction. Lists of the myxosporeans that specifically infect gonads are provided. Most of these are parasitic of freshwater hosts, and most amphibian cases are reported from testes. Sex specificity and sex reversal are discussed in relation to gonadal parasitism. The immune response of the fish to the infection is described, and the contribution of the immunoprivilege of gonads to host invasion is emphasized. The pathological effect of these parasites can be significant, especially in aquacultured broodstocks, on some occasions, leading to parasitic castration. Although myxosporean parasites are currently not very frequent in gonads, their impact could increase in the future owing to the transactions in the global market. Their easy release into the aquatic environment with spawning could make their spreading even more feasible. In the absence of commercial drugs or vaccines to treat and prevent these infections, there is an urgent need to develop specific, rapid and reliable diagnostic tools to control and manage animal movements. In addition, much effort is still to be made on deciphering the life cycle of these organisms, their invasion strategies and their immune evasion mechanisms. PMID:19474043

  12. Can myxosporean parasites compromise fish and amphibian reproduction?

    PubMed

    Sitjà-Bobadilla, Ariadna

    2009-08-22

    Research into fish and amphibian reproduction has increased exponentially in recent years owing to the expansion of the aquaculture industry, the need to recover fishery populations, the impact of endocrine disruptors on the aquatic environment and the global decline of amphibian populations. This review focuses on a group of parasites, the Myxozoa, that affect fish and amphibian reproduction. Lists of the myxosporeans that specifically infect gonads are provided. Most of these are parasitic of freshwater hosts, and most amphibian cases are reported from testes. Sex specificity and sex reversal are discussed in relation to gonadal parasitism. The immune response of the fish to the infection is described, and the contribution of the immunoprivilege of gonads to host invasion is emphasized. The pathological effect of these parasites can be significant, especially in aquacultured broodstocks, on some occasions, leading to parasitic castration. Although myxosporean parasites are currently not very frequent in gonads, their impact could increase in the future owing to the transactions in the global market. Their easy release into the aquatic environment with spawning could make their spreading even more feasible. In the absence of commercial drugs or vaccines to treat and prevent these infections, there is an urgent need to develop specific, rapid and reliable diagnostic tools to control and manage animal movements. In addition, much effort is still to be made on deciphering the life cycle of these organisms, their invasion strategies and their immune evasion mechanisms. PMID:19474043

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Occupancy patterns of regionally declining grassland sparrow populations in a forested Pennsylvania landscape.

    PubMed

    Hill, Jason M; Diefenbach, Duane R

    2014-06-01

    Organisms can be affected by processes in the surrounding landscape outside the boundary of habitat areas and by local vegetation characteristics. There is substantial interest in understanding how these processes affect populations of grassland birds, which have experienced substantial population declines. Much of our knowledge regarding patterns of occupancy and density stem from prairie systems, whereas relatively little is known regarding how occurrence and abundance of grassland birds vary in reclaimed surface mine grasslands. Using distance sampling and single-season occupancy models, we investigated how the occupancy probability of Grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum) and Henslow's Sparrows (A. henslowii) on 61 surface mine grasslands (1591 ha) in Pennsylvania changed from 2002 through 2011 in response to landscape, grassland, and local vegetation characteristics . A subset (n = 23; 784 ha) of those grasslands were surveyed in 2002, and we estimated changes in sparrow density and vegetation across 10 years. Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrow populations declined 72% and 49%, respectively from 2002 to 2011, whereas overall woody vegetation density increased 2.6 fold. Henslow's Sparrows avoided grasslands with perimeter-area ratios ≥0.141 km/ha and woody shrub densities ≥0.04 shrubs/m(2). Both species occupied grasslands ≤13 ha, but occupancy probability declined with increasing grassland perimeter-area ratio and woody shrub density. Grassland size, proximity to nearest neighboring grassland (x = 0.2 km), and surrounding landscape composition at 0.5, 1.5, and 3.0 km were not parsimonious predictors of occupancy probability for either species. Our results suggest that reclaimed surface mine grasslands, without management intervention, are ephemeral habitats for Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. Given the forecasted decline in surface coal production for Pennsylvania, it is likely that both species will continue to decline in our study region for the

  16. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oaks, J.L.; Gilbert, M.; Virani, M.Z.; Watson, R.T.; Meteyer, C.U.; Rideout, B.A.; Shivaprasad, H.L.; Ahmed, S.; Chaudhry, M.J.I.; Arshad, M.; Mahmood, S.; Ali, A.; Khan, A.A.

    2004-01-01

    The Oriental white-backed vulture (OWBV; Gyps bengalensis) was once one of the most common raptors in the Indian subcontinent. A population decline of >95%, starting in the 1990s, was first noted at Keoladeo National Park, India. Since then, catastrophic declines, also involving Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris, have continued to be reported across the subcontinent. Consequently these vultures are now listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International. In 2000, the Peregrine Fund initiated its Asian Vulture Crisis Project with the Ornithological Society of Pakistan, establishing study sites at 16 OWBV colonies in the Kasur, Khanewal and Muzaffargarha??Layyah Districts of Pakistan to measure mortality at over 2,400 active nest sites5. Between 2000 and 2003, high annual adult and subadult mortality (5a??86%) and resulting population declines (34a??95%) (ref. 5 and M.G., manuscript in preparation) were associated with renal failure and visceral gout. Here, we provide results that directly correlate residues of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac with renal failure. Diclofenac residues and renal disease were reproduced experimentally in OWBVs by direct oral exposure and through feeding vultures diclofenac-treated livestock. We propose that residues of veterinary diclofenac are responsible for the OWBV decline.

  17. Disentangling the cause of a catastrophic population decline in a large marine mammal.

    PubMed

    Baylis, Alastair M M; Orben, Rachael A; Arnould, John P Y; Christiansen, Fredrik; Hays, Graeme C; Staniland, Iain J

    2015-10-01

    Considerable uncertainties often surround the causes of long-term changes in population abundance. One striking example is the precipitous decline of southern sea lions (SSL; Otariaflavescens) at the Falkland Islands, from 80 555 pups in the mid 1930s to just 5506 pups in 1965. Despite an increase in SSL abundance over the past two decades, the population has not recovered, with the number of pups born in 2014 (minimum 4443 pups) less than 6% of the 1930s estimate. The order-of-magnitude decline is primarily attributed to commercial sealing in Argentina. Here, we test this established paradigm and alternative hypotheses by assessing (1) commercial sealing at the Falkland Islands, (2) winter migration of SSL from the Falkland Islands to Argentina, (3) whether the number of SSL in Argentina could have sustained the reported level of exploitation, and (4) environmental change. The most parsimonious hypothesis explaining the SSL population decline was environmental change. Specifically, analysis of 160 years of winter sea surface temperatures revealed marked changes, including a period of warming between 1930 and 1950 that was consistent with the period of SSL decline. Sea surface temperature changes likely influenced the distribution or availability of SSL prey and impacted its population dynamics. We suggest that historical harvesting may not always be the "smoking gun" as is often purported. Rather, our conclusions support the growing evidence for bottom-up forcing on the abundance of species at lower trophic levels (e.g., plankton and fish) and resulting impacts on higher trophic levels across a broad range of ecosystems. PMID:26649403

  18. Changes in landscape composition influence the decline of a threatened woodland caribou population.

    PubMed

    Wittmer, Heiko U; McLellan, Bruce N; Serrouya, Robert; Apps, Clayton D

    2007-05-01

    1. Large-scale habitat loss is frequently identified with loss of biodiversity, but examples of the direct effect of habitat alterations on changes in vital rates remain rare. Quantifying and understanding the relationship between habitat composition and changes in vital rates, however, is essential for the development of effective conservation strategies. 2. It has been suggested that the decline of woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou populations in North America is precipitated by timber harvesting that creates landscapes of early seral forests. Such habitat changes have altered the predator-prey system resulting in asymmetric predation, where predators are maintained by alternative prey (i.e. apparent competition). However, a direct link between habitat condition and caribou population declines has not been documented. 3. We estimated survival probabilities for the threatened arboreal lichen-feeding ecotype of woodland caribou in British Columbia, Canada, at two different spatial scales. At the broader scale, observed variation in adult female survival rates among 10 distinct populations (range = 0.67-0.93) was best explained by variation in the amount of early seral stands within population ranges and population density. At the finer scale, home ranges of caribou killed by predators had lower proportions of old forest and more mid-aged forest as compared with multi-annual home ranges where caribou were alive. 4. These results are consistent with predictions from the apparent competition hypothesis and quantify direct fitness consequences for caribou following habitat alterations. We conclude that apparent competition can cause rapid population declines and even extinction where changes in species composition occur following large scale habitat change. PMID:17439473

  19. Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population.

    PubMed

    Forcada, Jaume; Hoffman, Joseph Ivan

    2014-07-24

    Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. Here, climate change has reduced prey availability and caused a significant decline in seal birth weight. However, the mean age and size of females recruiting into the breeding population are increasing. We show that such females have significantly higher heterozygosity (a measure of within-individual genetic variation) than their non-recruiting siblings and their own mothers. Thus, breeding female heterozygosity has increased by 8.5% per generation over the last two decades. Nonetheless, as heterozygosity is not inherited from mothers to daughters, substantial heterozygote advantage is not transmitted from one generation to the next and the decreasing viability of homozygous individuals causes the population to decline. Our results provide compelling evidence that selection due to climate change is intensifying, with far-reaching consequences for demography as well as phenotypic and genetic variation. PMID:25056064

  20. Association Between the Mediterranean Diet and Cognitive Decline in a Biracial Population

    PubMed Central

    Houston, Denise K.; Simonsick, Eleanor M.; Lee, Jung Sun; Ayonayon, Hilsa N.; Shahar, Danit R.; Rosano, Caterina; Satterfield, Suzanne; Yaffe, Kristine

    2015-01-01

    Background. Results from numerous studies suggest protective effects of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality. Evidence for an association with a decreased risk of cognitive decline is less consistent and studies are limited by a lack of diversity in their populations. Methods. We followed 2,326 older adults (38.2% black, 51.3% female, aged 70–79 at baseline) over 8 years in a prospective cohort study in the United States (Health, Aging and Body Composition study). To measure adherence to a Mediterranean diet, we calculated race-specific tertiles of the MedDiet score (range: 0–55) using baseline food frequency questionnaires. Cognitive decline was assessed using repeated Modified Mini Mental State Examination scores over the study. We used linear mixed models to assess the association between MedDiet score and trajectory of cognitive decline. Results. Among blacks, participants with high MedDiet scores had a significantly lower mean rate of decline on the Modified Mini Mental State Examination score compared with participants with lower MedDiet scores (middle and bottom tertiles). The mean difference in points per year was 0.22 (95% confidence interval: 0.05–0.39; p = .01) after adjustment for age, sex, education, body mass index, current smoking, physical activity, depression, diabetes, total energy intake, and socioeconomic status. No association between MedDiet scores and change in Modified Mini Mental State Examination score was seen among white participants (p = .14). Conclusions. Stronger adherence to the Mediterranean diet may reduce the rate of cognitive decline among black, but not white older adults. Further studies in diverse populations are needed to confirm this association and pinpoint mechanisms that may explain these results. PMID:24994847

  1. Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, David D.; Brecke, Peter; Lee, Harry F.; He, Yuan-Qing; Zhang, Jane

    2007-01-01

    Although scientists have warned of possible social perils resulting from climate change, the impacts of long-term climate change on social unrest and population collapse have not been quantitatively investigated. In this study, high-resolution paleo-climatic data have been used to explore at a macroscale the effects of climate change on the outbreak of war and population decline in the preindustrial era. We show that long-term fluctuations of war frequency and population changes followed the cycles of temperature change. Further analyses show that cooling impeded agricultural production, which brought about a series of serious social problems, including price inflation, then successively war outbreak, famine, and population decline successively. The findings suggest that worldwide and synchronistic war–peace, population, and price cycles in recent centuries have been driven mainly by long-term climate change. The findings also imply that social mechanisms that might mitigate the impact of climate change were not significantly effective during the study period. Climate change may thus have played a more important role and imposed a wider ranging effect on human civilization than has so far been suggested. Findings of this research may lend an additional dimension to the classic concepts of Malthusianism and Darwinism. PMID:18048343

  2. Declines of greater and lesser scaup populations: issues, hypotheses, and research needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Austin, J.E.; Afton, A.D.; Anderson, M.G.; Clark, R.G.; Custer, Christine M.; Lawrence, J.; Pollard, J.B.; Ringelman, J.K.

    2000-01-01

    The population estimate for greater (Aythya marila) and lesser (Aythya affinis) scaup (combined) has declined dramatically since the early 1980s to record lows in 1998. The 1998 estimate of 3.47 million scaup is far below the goal of 6.3 million set in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), causing concern among biologists and hunters. We summarize issues of concern, hypotheses for factors contributing to the population decline, and research and management needs recommended by participants of the Scaup Workshop, held in September 1999. We believe that contaminants, lower female survival, and reduced recruitment due to changes in food resources or breeding-ground habitats are primary factors contributing to the decline. These factors are not mutually exclusive but likely interact across seasons. Workshop participants identified seven action items. We need to further delineate where declines in breeding populations have occurred, with a primary focus on the western Canadian boreal forest, where declines appear to be most pronounced. Productivity in various areas and habitats throughout the breeding range needs to be assessed by conducting retrospective analyses of existing data and by intensive field studies at broad and local scales. Annual and seasonal survival rates need to be determined in order to assess the role of harvest or natural mortality. Effects of contaminants on reproduction, female body condition, and behavior must be investigated. Use, distribution, and role of food resources relative to body condition and reproduction need to be examined to better understand seasonal dynamics of nutrient reserves and the role in reproductive success. Affiliations among breeding, migration, and wintering areas must be assessed in order to understand differential exposure to harvest or contaminants, and differential reproductive success and recruitment. Biologists and agencies need to gather and improve information needed to manage greater and lesser

  3. Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective

    PubMed Central

    Estes, J.A.; Doak, D.F.; Springer, A.M.; Williams, T.M.

    2009-01-01

    Populations of sea otters, seals and sea lions have collapsed across much of southwest Alaska over the past several decades. The sea otter decline set off a trophic cascade in which the coastal marine ecosystem underwent a phase shift from kelp forests to deforested sea urchin barrens. This interaction in turn affected the distribution, abundance and productivity of numerous other species. Ecological consequences of the pinniped declines are largely unknown. Increased predation by transient (marine mammal-eating) killer whales probably caused the sea otter declines and may have caused the pinniped declines as well. Springer et al. proposed that killer whales, which purportedly fed extensively on great whales, expanded their diets to include a higher percentage of sea otters and pinnipeds following a sharp reduction in great whale numbers from post World War II industrial whaling. Critics of this hypothesis claim that great whales are not now and probably never were an important nutritional resource for killer whales. We used demographic/energetic analyses to evaluate whether or not a predator–prey system involving killer whales and the smaller marine mammals would be sustainable without some nutritional contribution from the great whales. Our results indicate that while such a system is possible, it could only exist under a narrow range of extreme conditions and is therefore highly unlikely. PMID:19451116

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Quantifying behavioral changes in territorial animals caused by sudden population declines.

    PubMed

    Potts, Jonathan R; Harris, Stephen; Giuggioli, Luca

    2013-09-01

    Although territorial animals are able to maintain exclusive use of certain regions of space, movement data from neighboring individuals often suggest overlapping home ranges. To explain and unify these two aspects of animal space use, we use recently developed mechanistic models of collective animal movement. We apply our approach to a natural experiment on an urban red fox (Vulpes vulpes) population that underwent a rapid decline in population density due to a sarcoptic mange epizooty. By extracting details of movement and interaction strategies from location data, we show how foxes alter their behavior, taking advantage of sudden population-level changes by acquiring areas vacated due to neighbor mortality, while ensuring territory boundaries remain contiguous. The rate of territory border movement increased eightfold as the population declined and the foxes' response time to neighboring scent reduced by a third. By demonstrating how observed, fluctuating territorial patterns emerge from movements and interactions of individual animals, our results give the first data-validated, mechanistic explanation of the elastic disc hypothesis, proposed nearly 80 years ago. PMID:23933730

  7. A plant toxin mediated mechanism for the lag in snowshoe hare population recovery following cyclic declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Bryant, John P.; Liu, Rongsong; Gourley, Stephen A.; Krebs, Charles J; Reichardt, Paul B

    2015-01-01

    A necessary condition for a snowshoe hare population to cycle is reduced reproduction after the population declines. But the cause of a cyclic snowshoe hare population's reduced reproduction during the low phase of the cycle, when predator density collapses, is not completely understood. We propose that moderate-severe browsing by snowshoe hares upon preferred winter-foods could increase the toxicity of some of the hare's best winter-foods during the following hare low, with the result being a decline in hare nutrition that could reduce hare reproduction. We used a combination of modeling and experiments to explore this hypothesis. Using the shrub birch Betula glandulosa as the plant of interest, the model predicted that browsing by hares during a hare cycle peak, by increasing the toxicity B. glandulosa twigs during the following hare low, could cause a hare population to cycle. The model's assumptions were verified with assays of dammarane triterpenes in segments of B. glandulosa twigs and captive hare feeding experiments conducted in Alaska during February and March 1986. The model's predictions were tested with estimates of hare density and measurements of B. glandulosa twig growth made at Kluane, Yukon from 1988–2008. The empirical tests supported the model's predictions. Thus, we have concluded that a browsing-caused increase in twig toxicity that occurs during the hare cycle's low phase could reduce hare reproduction during the low phase of the hare cycle.

  8. Linking genetic and environmental factors in amphibian disease risk

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anna E; Becker, Carlos G; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-01-01

    A central question in evolutionary biology is how interactions between organisms and the environment shape genetic differentiation. The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused variable population declines in the lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); thus, disease has potentially shaped, or been shaped by, host genetic diversity. Environmental factors can also influence both amphibian immunity and Bd virulence, confounding our ability to assess the genetic effects on disease dynamics. Here, we used genetics, pathogen dynamics, and environmental data to characterize L. yavapaiensis populations, estimate migration, and determine relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors in predicting Bd dynamics. We found that the two uninfected populations belonged to a single genetic deme, whereas each infected population was genetically unique. We detected an outlier locus that deviated from neutral expectations and was significantly correlated with mortality within populations. Across populations, only environmental variables predicted infection intensity, whereas environment and genetics predicted infection prevalence, and genetic diversity alone predicted mortality. At one locality with geothermally elevated water temperatures, migration estimates revealed source–sink dynamics that have likely prevented local adaptation. We conclude that integrating genetic and environmental variation among populations provides a better understanding of Bd spatial epidemiology, generating more effective conservation management strategies for mitigating amphibian declines. PMID:26136822

  9. Linking genetic and environmental factors in amphibian disease risk.

    PubMed

    Savage, Anna E; Becker, Carlos G; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-07-01

    A central question in evolutionary biology is how interactions between organisms and the environment shape genetic differentiation. The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused variable population declines in the lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); thus, disease has potentially shaped, or been shaped by, host genetic diversity. Environmental factors can also influence both amphibian immunity and Bd virulence, confounding our ability to assess the genetic effects on disease dynamics. Here, we used genetics, pathogen dynamics, and environmental data to characterize L. yavapaiensis populations, estimate migration, and determine relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors in predicting Bd dynamics. We found that the two uninfected populations belonged to a single genetic deme, whereas each infected population was genetically unique. We detected an outlier locus that deviated from neutral expectations and was significantly correlated with mortality within populations. Across populations, only environmental variables predicted infection intensity, whereas environment and genetics predicted infection prevalence, and genetic diversity alone predicted mortality. At one locality with geothermally elevated water temperatures, migration estimates revealed source-sink dynamics that have likely prevented local adaptation. We conclude that integrating genetic and environmental variation among populations provides a better understanding of Bd spatial epidemiology, generating more effective conservation management strategies for mitigating amphibian declines. PMID:26136822

  10. Descriptive risk assessment of the effects of acidic deposition on Rocky Mountain amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen; Vertucci, Frank A.

    1992-01-01

    We evaluated the risk of habitat acidification to the six species of amphibians that occur in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. Our evaluation included extrinsic environmental factors (habitat sensitivity and amount of acidic atmospheric deposition) and species-specific intrinsic factors (sensitivity to acid conditions, habitat preferences, and timing of breeding). Only one of 57 surveyed localities had both acid neutralizing capacity μeq/L and sulfate deposition >10 kg/ha/yr, extrinsic conditions with a possible risk of acidification. Amphibian breeding habitats in the Rocky Mountains do not appear to be sufficiently acidic to kill amphibian embryos. Some species breed in high-elevation vernal pools during snowmelt, and an acidic pulse during snowmelt may pose a risk to embryos of these species. However, the acidic pulse, if present, probably occurs before open water appears and before breeding begins. Although inherent variability of amphibian population size may make detection of declines from anthropogenic effects difficult, acidic deposition is unlikely to have caused the observed declines of Bufo boreas and Rana pipiens in Colorado and Wyoming. Amphibians in the Rocky Mountains are not likely to be at risk with acidification inputs at present levels.

  11. Acute toxicity tests and meta-analysis identify gaps in tropical ecotoxicology for amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ghose, Sonia L; Donnelly, Maureen A; Kerby, Jacob; Whitfield, Steven M

    2014-09-01

    Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, particularly in tropical regions where amphibian diversity is highest. Pollutants, including agricultural pesticides, have been identified as a potential contributor to decline, yet toxicological studies of tropical amphibians are very rare. The present study assesses toxic effects on amphibians of 10 commonly used commercial pesticides in tropical agriculture using 2 approaches. First, the authors conducted 8-d toxicity assays with formulations of each pesticide using individually reared red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) tadpoles. Second, they conducted a review of available data for the lethal concentration to kill 50% of test animals from the US Environmental Protection Agency's ECOTOX database to allow comparison with their findings. Lethal concentration estimates from the assays ranged over several orders of magnitude. The nematicides terbufos and ethoprophos and the fungicide chlorothalonil were very highly toxic, with evident effects within an order of magnitude of environmental concentrations. Acute toxicity assays and meta-analysis show that nematicides and fungicides are generally more toxic than herbicides yet receive far less research attention than less toxic herbicides. Given that the tropics have a high diversity of amphibians, the findings emphasize the need for research into the effects of commonly used pesticides in tropical countries and should help guide future ecotoxicological research in tropical regions. PMID:24934557

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Physiological condition of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of the population cycle.

    PubMed

    Nieminen, Petteri; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Finnilä, Mikko A J; Voutilainen, Liina; Itämies, Juhani; Kärjä, Vesa; Saarela, Seppo; Halonen, Toivo; Aho, Jari; Mustonen, Anne-Mari

    2015-09-01

    The dynamics of animal populations are greatly influenced by interactions with their natural enemies and food resources. However, quantifying the relative effects of these factors on demographic rates remains a perpetual challenge for animal population ecology. Food scarcity is assumed to limit the growth and to initiate the decline of cyclic herbivore populations, but this has not been verified with physiological health indices. We hypothesized that individuals in declining populations would exhibit signs of malnutrition-induced deterioration of physiological condition. We evaluated the association of body condition with population cycle phase in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of a population cycle. The bank voles had lower body masses, condition indices and absolute masses of particular organs during the decline. Simultaneously, they had lower femoral masses, mineral contents and densities. Hemoglobin and hematocrit values and several parameters known to respond to food deprivation were unaffected by the population phase. There were no signs of lymphopenia, eosinophilia, granulocytosis or monocytosis. Erythrocyte counts were higher and plasma total protein levels and tissue proportions of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids lower in the population decline. Ectoparasite load was lower and adrenal gland masses or catecholamine concentrations did not suggest higher stress levels. Food availability seems to limit the size of voles during the decline but they can adapt to the prevailing conditions without clear deleterious health effects. This highlights the importance of quantifying individual health state when evaluating the effects of complex trophic interactions on the dynamics of wild animal populations. PMID:26006298

  15. Population Declines of Mountain Coqui (Eleutherodactylus portoricensis) in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Brittany S.; Ríos-Franceschi, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    The Mountain Coqui (Eleutherodactylus portoricensis) is a frog endemic to montane rainforests in the Cordillera Central and Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List and as vulnerable by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico, this species has undergone considerable decline in the Luquillo Mountains. To evaluate the population status of E. portoricensis across its entire range, we conducted ~87 hours of surveys at 18 historical localities and 25 additional localities that we considered suitable for this species. We generated occupancy models to estimate the probability of occurrence at surveyed sites and to identify geographic and climatic factors affecting site occupancy. We also constructed a suitability map to visualize population status in relation to the presence of land cover at elevations where the species has been documented, and determined the dates when populations were last detected at historical localities. Eleutherodactylus portoricensis was detected at 14 of 43 localities, including 10 of 18 historical localities, but it was not detected at any localities west of Aibonito (western Cordillera Central). Occupancy models estimated the probability of occurrence for localities in the western Cordillera Central as zero. Site occupancy was positively associated with montane cloud forest, and negatively associated with the western Cordillera Central, maximum temperature, and precipitation seasonality. The suitability map suggests that declines have occurred despite the presence of suitable habitat. We suggest upgrading the extinction risk of E. portoricensis and potentially developing a captive breeding program for this species. PMID:25685250

  16. Susceptibility to acidification of groundwater-dependent wetlands affected by water level declines, and potential risk to an early-breeding amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Serrano, L; Díaz-Paniagua, C; Gómez-Rodríguez, C; Florencio, M; Marchand, M-A; Roelofs, J G M; Lucassen, E C H E T

    2016-11-15

    Eggs of the Western spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) reached a 100% mortality in all 29 clutches deposited at a pH below 5.0 in a temporary pond of the Doñana National Park (SW Spain) throughout the wet season of 2006-2007. A similar trend was detected in a neighbouring pond. The proximity of these two ponds to a groundwater pumping area (<1.5km), prompted us to elucidate the possible links between the reduction in pond hydroperiod over past decades (1989-2008) and the decrease of groundwater pH-buffering capacity. The average hydroperiod had decreased by 4months since 1998-99 in the pond where the extensive egg mortality had occurred. The total alkalinity, and the Mg(2+)concentration had also significantly declined in the shallow water-table since 1998-99, from an average of 8.56 to 0.32meql(-1), and of 3.57 to 1.15meql(-1), respectively. This decline of the shallow groundwater buffering capacity could turn this pond more susceptible to the inorganic acidity associated with pyrite oxidation as the sediment S content was often above 0.03%. The initial ratio of S/Ca+Mg in the summer dry sediment was a good predictor of pore-water pH on re-wetting after desiccation (r(2)=0.802, p<0.01). Therefore, this ratio can give some anticipation to mitigate the impact of acidity on toad hatching before these temporary ponds are reflooded on the next wet season. Our results suggest that the long-term damage to pond water levels can trigger a potential risk of soil acidification in the presence of iron-sulphide minerals. PMID:27476729

  17. Extensive population decline in the Tasmanian devil predates European settlement and devil facial tumour disease.

    PubMed

    Brüniche-Olsen, Anna; Jones, Menna E; Austin, Jeremy J; Burridge, Christopher P; Holland, Barbara R

    2014-11-01

    The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was widespread in Australia during the Late Pleistocene but is now endemic to the island of Tasmania. Low genetic diversity combined with the spread of devil facial tumour disease have raised concerns for the species' long-term survival. Here, we investigate the origin of low genetic diversity by inferring the species' demographic history using temporal sampling with summary statistics, full-likelihood and approximate Bayesian computation methods. Our results show extensive population declines across Tasmania correlating with environmental changes around the last glacial maximum and following unstable climate related to increased 'El Niño-Southern Oscillation' activity. PMID:25376800

  18. Employment problems under declining population growth rates and structural change: the case of Yugoslavia.

    PubMed

    Macura, M

    1974-01-01

    The case of Yugoslavia since World War 2 generally confirms the find ings of Coale and Hoover some 15 years ago that a declining population gives a developing society a chance to grow at a more rapid rate because less of the gross national product is devoted to merely maintaining the status quo. However, until recently insufficient attention was paid to the long-term effects of rapid population growth plus underdevelopment, namely, surplus labor and unemployment. Yugoslavia is currently suffereing the aftereffects of a history of labor surplus caused by high birthrates, especially in the southern Moslem regions. The birthrate was as high as 35/1000 until 1927, took a downward turn during the depression, falling to 26/1000 in 1939, became even more depressed during World War 2, then reached 26-30/1000 in the postwar years. After 1957 a steady decline set in. The rate was around 18/1000 in the early 1970s. Because of the underdeveloped, highly agrarian economy, Yugoslavia has traditionally been a source of abundant labor and emigration. Statistical data has been either nonexistent or unreliable, but there have been self-evident differences in the size of individual cohorts which have had definite bearing on the working-age population. Following World War 2 the country changed from a predominantly peasant, subsistence economy to an industrial socialist society. There has been a steady decline in the participation rate in the work force, from an estimated 46.5% in 1948 to 43.3% in 1971, primarily due to increased education, declining child labor, and greater retirement among older workers. However, the growth of the working-age group was faster than that of the total population because of the high postwar birthrates. Th ere was significant increase in employment from 1,517,000 in 1948 to 4,034,000 in 1971. At the same time the agricultural labor force decrea sed from 70% of total employment to 48%. Despite the industrial growth, in 1971 there were over 290

  19. Extensive population decline in the Tasmanian devil predates European settlement and devil facial tumour disease

    PubMed Central

    Brüniche-Olsen, Anna; Jones, Menna E.; Austin, Jeremy J.; Burridge, Christopher P.; Holland, Barbara R.

    2014-01-01

    The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was widespread in Australia during the Late Pleistocene but is now endemic to the island of Tasmania. Low genetic diversity combined with the spread of devil facial tumour disease have raised concerns for the species’ long-term survival. Here, we investigate the origin of low genetic diversity by inferring the species' demographic history using temporal sampling with summary statistics, full-likelihood and approximate Bayesian computation methods. Our results show extensive population declines across Tasmania correlating with environmental changes around the last glacial maximum and following unstable climate related to increased ‘El Niño–Southern Oscillation’ activity. PMID:25376800

  20. Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, David R; Kauffman, Matthew J; Schumaker, Brant A; Lindzey, Frederick G; Cook, Walter E; Kreeger, Terry J; Grogan, Ronald G; Cornish, Todd E

    2016-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Despite a 100% fatality rate, areas of high prevalence, and increasingly expanding geographic endemic areas, little is known about the population-level effects of CWD in deer. To investigate these effects, we tested the null hypothesis that high prevalence CWD did not negatively impact white-tailed deer population sustainability. The specific objectives of the study were to monitor CWD-positive and CWD-negative white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD area longitudinally via radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars. For the two populations, we determined the following: a) demographic and disease indices, b) annual survival, and c) finite rate of population growth (λ). The CWD prevalence was higher in females (42%) than males (28.8%) and hunter harvest and clinical CWD were the most frequent causes of mortality, with CWD-positive deer over-represented in harvest and total mortalities. Survival was significantly lower for CWD-positive deer and separately by sex; CWD-positive deer were 4.5 times more likely to die annually than CWD-negative deer while bucks were 1.7 times more likely to die than does. Population λ was 0.896 (0.859-0.980), which indicated a 10.4% annual decline. We show that a chronic disease that becomes endemic in wildlife populations has the potential to be population-limiting and the strong population-level effects of CWD suggest affected populations are not sustainable at high disease prevalence under current harvest levels. PMID:27575545

  1. Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer

    PubMed Central

    Kauffman, Matthew J.; Schumaker, Brant A.; Lindzey, Frederick G.; Cook, Walter E.; Kreeger, Terry J.; Grogan, Ronald G.; Cornish, Todd E.

    2016-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Despite a 100% fatality rate, areas of high prevalence, and increasingly expanding geographic endemic areas, little is known about the population-level effects of CWD in deer. To investigate these effects, we tested the null hypothesis that high prevalence CWD did not negatively impact white-tailed deer population sustainability. The specific objectives of the study were to monitor CWD-positive and CWD-negative white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD area longitudinally via radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars. For the two populations, we determined the following: a) demographic and disease indices, b) annual survival, and c) finite rate of population growth (λ). The CWD prevalence was higher in females (42%) than males (28.8%) and hunter harvest and clinical CWD were the most frequent causes of mortality, with CWD-positive deer over-represented in harvest and total mortalities. Survival was significantly lower for CWD-positive deer and separately by sex; CWD-positive deer were 4.5 times more likely to die annually than CWD-negative deer while bucks were 1.7 times more likely to die than does. Population λ was 0.896 (0.859–0.980), which indicated a 10.4% annual decline. We show that a chronic disease that becomes endemic in wildlife populations has the potential to be population-limiting and the strong population-level effects of CWD suggest affected populations are not sustainable at high disease prevalence under current harvest levels. PMID:27575545

  2. Dynamics and genetics of a disease-driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation.

    PubMed

    Hudson, M A; Young, R P; D'Urban Jackson, J; Orozco-terWengel, P; Martin, L; James, A; Sulton, M; Garcia, G; Griffiths, R A; Thomas, R; Magin, C; Bruford, M W; Cunningham, A A

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis has caused precipitous declines in hundreds of species worldwide. By tracking mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) populations before, during and after the emergence of chytridiomycosis, we quantified the real-time species level impacts of this disease. We report a range-wide species decline amongst the fastest ever recorded, with a loss of over 85% of the population in fewer than 18 months on Dominica and near extinction on Montserrat. Genetic diversity declined in the wild, but emergency measures to establish a captive assurance population captured a representative sample of genetic diversity from Montserrat. If the Convention on Biological Diversity's targets are to be met, it is important to evaluate the reasons why they appear consistently unattainable. The emergence of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken was predictable, but the decline could not be prevented. There is an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis. PMID:27485994

  3. Dynamics and genetics of a disease-driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation

    PubMed Central

    Hudson, M. A.; Young, R. P.; D’Urban Jackson, J.; Orozco-terWengel, P.; Martin, L.; James, A.; Sulton, M.; Garcia, G.; Griffiths, R. A.; Thomas, R.; Magin, C.; Bruford, M. W.; Cunningham, A. A.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis has caused precipitous declines in hundreds of species worldwide. By tracking mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) populations before, during and after the emergence of chytridiomycosis, we quantified the real-time species level impacts of this disease. We report a range-wide species decline amongst the fastest ever recorded, with a loss of over 85% of the population in fewer than 18 months on Dominica and near extinction on Montserrat. Genetic diversity declined in the wild, but emergency measures to establish a captive assurance population captured a representative sample of genetic diversity from Montserrat. If the Convention on Biological Diversity’s targets are to be met, it is important to evaluate the reasons why they appear consistently unattainable. The emergence of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken was predictable, but the decline could not be prevented. There is an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis. PMID:27485994

  4. Cognitive decline in short and long sleepers: A prospective population-based study (NEDICES)

    PubMed Central

    Benito-León, Julián; Louis, Elan D.; Bermejo-Pareja, Félix

    2013-01-01

    Background It is not clear whether cognitive decline progresses more quickly in long sleepers than in short sleepers or than in participants with usual sleep duration. We assessed cognitive decline as a function of self-reported sleep duration in a prospective population-based cohort (NEDICES). Methods Participants were evaluated at baseline and 3 years later. Baseline demographic variables were recorded and participants indicated their daily sleep usual duration as the sum of nighttime sleep and daytime napping. The average daily total usual sleep duration was grouped into three categories: ≤5 hours (short sleepers), 6 to 8 hours (reference category), and ≥9 hours (long sleepers). At baseline and at follow-up, a 37-item version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (37-MMSE) was administered. Results The final sample, 2,715 participants (72.9±6.1 years), comprised 298 (11%) short sleepers, 1,086 (40%) long sleepers, and 1,331 (49%) in the reference group (6 to 8 hours). During the three year follow-up period, the 37-MMSE declined by 0.5±4.0 points in short sleepers, 0.6±4.3 points in long sleepers, and 0.2±3.8 points in the reference group (p=0.08). The difference between short sleepers and the reference group was not significant (p=0.142); however, the difference between long sleepers and the reference group was significant (p=0.040). In analyses adjusted for baseline age and other potential confounders, this difference remained robust. Conclusions In this study, cognitive test scores among long sleepers declined more rapidly than observed in a reference group. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results. PMID:24094933

  5. Agriculture modifies the seasonal decline of breeding success in a tropical wild bird population

    PubMed Central

    Cartwright, Samantha J; Nicoll, Malcolm A C; Jones, Carl G; Tatayah, Vikash; Norris, Ken

    2014-01-01

    Habitat conversion for agriculture is a major driver of biodiversity loss, but our understanding of the demographic processes involved remains poor. We typically investigate the impacts of agriculture in isolation even though populations are likely to experience multiple, concurrent changes in the environment (e.g. land and climate change). Drivers of environmental change may interact to affect demography, but the mechanisms have yet to be explored fully in wild populations. Here, we investigate the mechanisms linking agricultural land use with breeding success using long-term data for the formerly Critically Endangered Mauritius kestrel Falco punctatus, a tropical forest specialist that also occupies agricultural habitats. We specifically focused on the relationship between breeding success, agriculture and the timing of breeding because the latter is sensitive to changes in climatic conditions (spring rainfall) and enables us to explore the interactive effects of different (land and climate) drivers of environmental change. Breeding success, measured as egg survival to fledging, declines seasonally in this population, but we found that the rate of this decline became increasingly rapid as the area of agriculture around a nest site increased. If the relationship between breeding success and agriculture was used in isolation to estimate the demographic impact of agriculture, it would significantly under-estimate breeding success in dry (early) springs and over-estimate breeding success in wet (late) springs. Analysis of prey delivered to nests suggests that the relationship between breeding success and agriculture might be due, in part, to spatial variation in the availability of native, arboreal geckos. Synthesis and applications. Agriculture modifies the seasonal decline in breeding success in this population. As springs are becoming wetter in our study area and since the kestrels breed later in wetter springs, the impact of agriculture on breeding success will

  6. Tarangire revisited: Consequences of declining connectivity in a tropical ungulate population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morrison, Thomas A.; Link, William; Newmark, William D.; Foley, Charles A.H.; Bolger, Douglas T.

    2016-01-01

    The hyper-abundance of migratory wildlife in many ecosystems depends on maintaining access to seasonally available resources. In Eastern and Southern Africa, land-use change and a loss of connectivity have coincided with widespread declines in the abundance and geographic range of ungulate populations. Using photographic capture-mark-recapture, we examine the historical pattern of loss of connectivity and its impact on population trends in a partially migratory wildebeest population in northern Tanzania. To estimate abundance, we use a novel modeling approach that overcomes bias associated with photo misidentifications. Our data indicate (1) diminished connectivity within and between seasonal areas as a result of human activities, (2) a reduction in the overall population size compared to historical numbers, with high variability over time, (3) the continued use of highly constrained movement corridors between the three main seasonal ranges, (4) higher recruitment in the non-migratory subpopulation (Lake Manyara National Park) than in other areas of the ecosystem, and (5) an increase in the relative abundance of resident to migrant wildebeest. Recent conservation efforts to protect seasonal habitat and to enforce anti-poaching policies outside protected areas have likely helped stabilize the population, at least temporarily, but we caution that several key vulnerabilities remain.

  7. Assay dependence of Brucella antibody prevalence in a declining Alaskan harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) population

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Brucella is a group of bacteria that causes brucellosis, which can affect population health and reproductive success in many marine mammals. We investigated the serological prevalence of antibodies against Brucella bacteria in a declining harbor seal population in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Results Prevalence ranged from 16 to 74 percent for those tests detecting antibodies, indicating that harbor seals in Glacier Bay have been exposed to Brucella bacteria. However, the actual level of serological prevalence could not be determined because results were strongly assay-dependent. Conclusions This study reinforces the need to carefully consider assay choice when comparing different studies on the prevalence of anti–Brucella antibodies in pinnipeds and further highlights the need for species- or taxon-specific assay validation for both pathogen and host species. PMID:23324565

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Modeling routes of chronic wasting disease transmission: Environmental prion persistence promotes deer population decline and extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Almberg, Emily S.; Cross, Paul C.; Johnson, Christopher J.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Richards, Bryan J.

    2011-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose transmitted through direct, animal-to-animal contact, and indirectly, via environmental contamination. Considerable attention has been paid to modeling direct transmission, but despite the fact that CWD prions can remain infectious in the environment for years, relatively little information exists about the potential effects of indirect transmission on CWD dynamics. In the present study, we use simulation models to demonstrate how indirect transmission and the duration of environmental prion persistence may affect epidemics of CWD and populations of North American deer. Existing data from Colorado, Wyoming, and Wisconsin's CWD epidemics were used to define plausible short-term outcomes and associated parameter spaces. Resulting long-term outcomes range from relatively low disease prevalence and limited host-population decline to host-population collapse and extinction. Our models suggest that disease prevalence and the severity of population decline is driven by the duration that prions remain infectious in the environment. Despite relatively low epidemic growth rates, the basic reproductive number, R0, may be much larger than expected under the direct-transmission paradigm because the infectious period can vastly exceed the host's life span. High prion persistence is expected to lead to an increasing environmental pool of prions during the early phases (i.e. approximately during the first 50 years) of the epidemic. As a consequence, over this period of time, disease dynamics will become more heavily influenced by indirect transmission, which may explain some of the observed regional differences in age and sex-specific disease patterns. This suggests management interventions, such as culling or vaccination, will become increasingly less effective as CWD epidemics progress.

  11. Vitamin D as a marker of cognitive decline in elderly Indian population

    PubMed Central

    Vedak, Tejal Kanhaiya; Ganwir, Vaishali; Shah, Arun B.; Pinto, Charles; Lele, Vikram R.; Subramanyam, Alka; Shah, Hina; Deo, Sudha Shrikant

    2015-01-01

    Objectives: Very few studies in India have addressed the role of vitamin D in cognitive function. The present study was conducted to assess the serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and its association with markers of cognitive impairment and homocysteine levels in the elderly Indian population. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of patients with dementia (Group A, n = 32), mild cognitive impairment (MCI; Group B, n = 24), and elderly age-matched controls (Group C, n = 30). Measurement of serum levels of 25(OH)D and total homocysteine were done. Results: Significant decreased concentration of 25(OH)D and increased concentration of homocysteine was observed. Association of serum levels of vitamin D with markers of cognitive decline as well as serum homocysteine levels was observed in patients with dementia and MCI when compared to controls. Conclusion: Correlation of vitamin D with markers of cognitive decline and homocysteine opens a new door for early diagnosis of cognitive impairment. PMID:26425010

  12. Linking Lesser Scaup Population Decline To The Environment:Issues Of Time, Space And Scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kahara, S. N.

    2005-05-01

    Continental breeding populations of Lesser scaup(Aythya affinis)have been declining since the 1980's. The most comprehensive explanation for this is the Spring Condition Hypothesis (SCH),which predicts that female lesser scaup are arriving on breeding/nesting areas in poorer condition than they did historically, possibly due to lack of sufficient forage along spring migration routes. Diet analyses of lesser scaup have shown aquatic macroinvertebrates to be their primary food, inferring that prey availability is a key factor influencing body condition and reproductive success, however, factors affecting macro invertebrate abundance in the prairie pothole region (PPR)and their relationship to lesser scaup are not well known. Although lesser scaup surveys span several years, lack of long-term macroinvertebrate data raises critical questions about linking their population decline to changes in macroinvertebrate abundance. The aim of this study is to test the viability of the SCH by collating literature from previous and current research, combining field data, microcosms and remote sensing to investigate both the causes as well as the mechanisms behind of the problem and to use this as the basis for predicting long term trends and possible remediation.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Monitoring Strategy for Eight Amphibian Species in French Guiana, South America

    PubMed Central

    Dewynter, Maël; Pineau, Kévin; Gaucher, Philippe; Chave, Jérôme

    2013-01-01

    Although dramatic amphibian declines have been documented worldwide, only few of such events have been quantitatively documented for the tropical forests of South America. This is due partly to the fact that tropical amphibians are patchily distributed and difficult to detect. We tested three methods often used to monitor population trends in amphibian species in a remote lowland tropical forest of French Guiana. These methods are capture-mark-recapture (CMR), estimation of the number of calling males with repeated counts data and distance sampling, and rates of occupancy inferred by presence/absence data. We monitored eight diurnal, terrestrial amphibian species including five Dendrobatidae and three Bufonidae. We found that CMR, the most precise way of estimating population size, can be used only with two species in high density patches where the recapture rate is high enough. Only for one of the species (Dendrobates tinctorius), a low coefficient of variation (CV = 0.19) can be achieved with 15 to 20 capture events. For dendrobatid species with day-calling males, audio surveys yield a better probability of detection with only 8 audio surveys needed; quantitative estimates can be achieved by computing the number of calling males inferred from audio counts or distance sampling analysis. We therefore suggest that an efficient monitoring protocol for Neotropical amphibian species should include a combination of sighting and audio techniques, and we discuss the need of implementing a large-scale monitoring in order to provide a baseline for comparison with future changes. PMID:23840717

  16. Amphibian responses to wildfire in the western united states: Emerging patterns from short-term studies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hossack, B.R.; Pilliod, D.S.

    2011-01-01

    The increased frequency and severity of large wildfires in the western United States is an important ecological and management issue with direct relevance to amphibian conservation. Although the knowledge of fire effects on amphibians in the region is still limited relative to most other vertebrate species, we reviewed the current literature to determine if there are evident patterns that might be informative for conservation or management strategies. Of the seven studies that compared pre- and post-wildfire data on a variety of metrics, ranging from amphibian occupancy to body condition, two reported positive responses and five detected negative responses by at least one species. Another seven studies used a retrospective approach to compare effects of wildfire on populations: two studies reported positive effects, three reported negative effects from wildfire, and two reported no effects. All four studies that included plethodontid salamanders reported negative effects on populations or individuals; these effects were greater in forests where fire had been suppressed and in areas that burned with high severity. Species that breed in streams are also vulnerable to post-wildfire changes in habitat, especially in the Southwest. Wildfire is also important for maintaining suitable habitat for diverse amphibian communities, although those results may not be evident immediately after an area burns. We expect that wildfire will extirpate few healthy amphibian populations, but it is still unclear how populations will respond to wildfire in the context of land management (including pre- and post-fire timber harvest) and fragmentation. Wildfire may also increase the risk of decline or extirpation for small, isolated, or stressed (e.g., from drought or disease) populations. Improved understanding of how these effects vary according to changes in fire frequency and severity are critical to form more effective conservation strategies for amphibians in the western United States.

  17. Coincident mass extirpation of neotropical amphibians with the emergence of the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Tina L.; Rovito, Sean M.; Wake, David B.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2011-01-01

    Amphibians highlight the global biodiversity crisis because ∼40% of all amphibian species are currently in decline. Species have disappeared even in protected habitats (e.g., the enigmatic extinction of the golden toad, Bufo periglenes, from Costa Rica). The emergence of a fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated in a number of declines that have occurred in the last decade, but few studies have been able to test retroactively whether Bd emergence was linked to earlier declines and extinctions. We describe a noninvasive PCR sampling technique that detects Bd in formalin-preserved museum specimens. We detected Bd by PCR in 83–90% (n = 38) of samples that were identified as positive by histology. We examined specimens collected before, during, and after major amphibian decline events at established study sites in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. A pattern of Bd emergence coincident with decline at these localities is revealed—the absence of Bd over multiple years at all localities followed by the concurrent emergence of Bd in various species at each locality during a period of population decline. The geographical and chronological emergence of Bd at these localities also indicates a southbound spread from southern Mexico in the early 1970s to western Guatemala in the 1980s/1990s and to Monteverde, Costa Rica by 1987. We find evidence of a historical “Bd epidemic wave” that began in Mexico and subsequently spread to Central America. We describe a technique that can be used to screen museum specimens from other amphibian decline sites around the world. PMID:21543713

  18. 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

  19. Do hormone-modulating chemicals impact on reproduction and development of wild amphibians?

    PubMed

    Orton, Frances; Tyler, Charles R

    2015-11-01

    Globally, amphibians are undergoing a precipitous decline. At the last estimate in 2004, 32% of the approximately 6000 species were threatened with extinction and 43% were experiencing significant declines. These declines have been linked with a wide range of environmental pressures from habitat loss to climate change, disease and pollution. This review evaluates the evidence that endocrine-disrupting contaminants (EDCs) - pollutants that affect hormone systems - are impacting on wild amphibians and contributing to population declines. The review is limited to anurans (frogs and toads) as data for effects of EDCs on wild urodeles (salamanders, newts) or caecilians (limbless amphibians) are extremely limited. Evidence from laboratory studies has shown that a wide range of chemicals have the ability to alter hormone systems and affect reproductive development and function in anurans, but for the most part only at concentrations exceeding those normally found in natural environments. Exceptions can be found for exposures to the herbicide atrazine and polychlorinated biphenyls in leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) and perchlorate in African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). These contaminants induce feminising effects on the male gonads (including 'intersex' - oocytes within testes) at concentrations measured in some aquatic environments. The most extensive data for effects of an EDC in wild amphibian populations are for feminising effects of atrazine on male gonad development in regions across the USA. Even where strong evidence has been provided for feminising effects of EDCs, however, the possible impact of these effects on fertility and breeding outcome has not been established, making inference for effects on populations difficult. Laboratory studies have shown that various chemicals, including perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls and bromodiphenylethers, also act as endocrine disrupters through interfering with thyroid-dependent processes that are fundamental for

  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. Can Individual and Social Patterns of Resource Use Buffer Animal Populations against Resource Decline?

    PubMed Central

    Banks, Sam C.; Lindenmayer, David B.; Wood, Jeff T.; McBurney, Lachlan; Blair, David; Blyton, Michaela D. J.

    2013-01-01

    Species in many ecosystems are facing declines of key resources. If we are to understand and predict the effects of resource loss on natural populations, we need to understand whether and how the way animals use resources changes under resource decline. We investigated how the abundance of arboreal marsupials varies in response to a critical resource, hollow-bearing trees. Principally, we asked what mechanisms mediate the relationship between resources and abundance? Do animals use a greater or smaller proportion of the remaining resource, and is there a change in cooperative resource use (den sharing), as the availability of hollow trees declines? Analyses of data from 160 sites surveyed from 1997 to 2007 showed that hollow tree availability was positively associated with abundance of the mountain brushtail possum, the agile antechinus and the greater glider. The abundance of Leadbeater’s possum was primarily influenced by forest age. Notably, the relationship between abundance and hollow tree availability was significantly less than 1∶1 for all species. This was due primarily to a significant increase by all species in the proportional use of hollow-bearing trees where the abundance of this resource was low. The resource-sharing response was weaker and inconsistent among species. Two species, the mountain brushtail possum and the agile antechinus, showed significant but contrasting relationships between the number of animals per occupied tree and hollow tree abundance. The discrepancies between the species can be explained partly by differences in several aspects of the species’ biology, including body size, types of hollows used and social behaviour as it relates to hollow use. Our results show that individual and social aspects of resource use are not always static in response to resource availability and support the need to account for dynamic resource use patterns in predictive models of animal distribution and abundance. PMID:23320100

  2. Can individual and social patterns of resource use buffer animal populations against resource decline?

    PubMed

    Banks, Sam C; Lindenmayer, David B; Wood, Jeff T; McBurney, Lachlan; Blair, David; Blyton, Michaela D J

    2013-01-01

    Species in many ecosystems are facing declines of key resources. If we are to understand and predict the effects of resource loss on natural populations, we need to understand whether and how the way animals use resources changes under resource decline. We investigated how the abundance of arboreal marsupials varies in response to a critical resource, hollow-bearing trees. Principally, we asked what mechanisms mediate the relationship between resources and abundance? Do animals use a greater or smaller proportion of the remaining resource, and is there a change in cooperative resource use (den sharing), as the availability of hollow trees declines? Analyses of data from 160 sites surveyed from 1997 to 2007 showed that hollow tree availability was positively associated with abundance of the mountain brushtail possum, the agile antechinus and the greater glider. The abundance of Leadbeater's possum was primarily influenced by forest age. Notably, the relationship between abundance and hollow tree availability was significantly less than 1:1 for all species. This was due primarily to a significant increase by all species in the proportional use of hollow-bearing trees where the abundance of this resource was low. The resource-sharing response was weaker and inconsistent among species. Two species, the mountain brushtail possum and the agile antechinus, showed significant but contrasting relationships between the number of animals per occupied tree and hollow tree abundance. The discrepancies between the species can be explained partly by differences in several aspects of the species' biology, including body size, types of hollows used and social behaviour as it relates to hollow use. Our results show that individual and social aspects of resource use are not always static in response to resource availability and support the need to account for dynamic resource use patterns in predictive models of animal distribution and abundance. PMID:23320100

  3. Microbial infections in a declining wild turkey population in Texas (USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, T.E.; Yuill, Thomas M.

    1987-01-01

    A survey was conducted at 5 locations in Texas for avian pathogens that might adversely affect wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) productivity and survival. At 1 site, the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Refuge (WWR), turkeys have declined precipitously in recent years. During the winters of 1983-85, 442 wild turkeys were caught with cannon and drop nets, 161 of these on WWR. Blood samples were drawn for serologic evaluation, and cloacal and tracheal swabs were collected for isolation attempts. Salmonella spp. bacteria, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and avian influenza virus (AIV) were not detected in any samples tested. Serologic tests for antibodies to NDV and AIV also were negative. Many mycoplasma isolates were recovered from turkeys from every location. Characterization of these isolates indicated that several species were present. None were species typically associated with mycoplasmosis in domestic turkeys, such as Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), M. meleagridis (MM), or M. synoviae (MS), although antibodies to these pathogens were detected in turkeys at every location sampled. There was no evidence to link any of these disease causing agents to the decline observed in the population of wild turkeys on the WWR.

  4. Using Latent Selection Difference to Model Persistence in a Declining Population

    PubMed Central

    Erickson, Mara E.; Found-Jackson, Christine; Boyce, Mark S.

    2014-01-01

    Population persistence is a direct measure of the viability of a population. Monitoring the distribution of declining populations or subpopulations over time can yield estimates of persistence, which we show can be modeled as a latent selection difference (LSD) contrasting attributes of sites where populations have persisted versus those that have not. Predicted persistence can be modeled with predictor covariates to identify factors correlated with species persistence. We demonstrate how to model persistence based on changes in occupancy that can include adjustments for detection probability. Using a known historical distribution of the western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), we adapted methods originally developed for occupancy modeling to evaluate how environmental covariates including emergent vegetation and human developments have affected western grebe persistence in Alberta. The relative probability of persistence was correlated with the extent of shoreline bulrush (Scirpus lacustris), which is important vegetation for nesting cover. We also documented that western grebe populations were less likely to persist on lakes in the boreal forest, primarily located on the northern boundary of the species' range. Factors influencing occupancy were different than those determining persistence by western grebes; persistence and occupancy were not correlated. Persistence was more likely on lakes with recreational development, reflecting reliance by grebes on the larger, fish-bearing waterbodies that also are attractive for lakeshore development. Unfortunately, the correlation with recreational development on Alberta's lakes puts grebes at risk for loss of brood-rearing habitats—primary threats to altricial birds—if steps are not taken to prevent disturbance to bulrush stands. Identifying factors related to the persistence of a species—especially one in decline—is a fundamental step in conservation management. PMID:24866172

  5. Are orchid bees at risk? First comparative survey suggests declining populations of forest-dependent species.

    PubMed

    Nemésio, A

    2013-05-01

    The two largest Atlantic Forest remnants in the state of Espírito Santo, eastern Brazil, namely 'Reserva Biológica de Sooretama' (REBIO Sooretama) and 'Reserva Natural Vale' (RNV), were surveyed for their orchid-bee faunas. Seventeen scent baits were used to attract orchid-bee males. Three-thousand, two hundred and twenty-five males belonging to 24 species were actively collected with insect nets during 100 hours in March, April and December, 2009. In comparison with a previous study in the same area twelve years before, it is evident that the abundance of all forest-dependent orchid bees analysed declined around 50%, and it was statistically significant (P = 0.022) for Euglossa marianae Nemésio, 2011, the most sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances of all Atlantic Forest orchid bees. On the other hand, the abundance of populations of species tolerant to open or disturbed areas rose. Possible explanations are discussed. PMID:23917564

  6. COST ESTIMATION FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS FOCUSING ON POPULATION DECLINING IN SANITATION COVE RAGE AREA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidoura, Shigezane; Takahashi, Masahiro

    In Japan, sanitation coverage is exceeded 70% and sanitary conditions have improved. However in the future, these facilities need to be rebuilt. For that, much money will be needed. On the other hand, prolonged population decrease is predicted in Japan, so it is feared that unsound management caused by the declining of sewerage charge. In this study, costs required for the future were calculated by targeting Asahikawa, Hokkaido Prefecture which is already served by sewerage treatment system. As a result, it was found that maintaining of current sewage treatment system would be cheaper than introduction of novel individual treatment system in Asahikawa. In addition, it was turned out that cost reduction is possible in the case of rebuilding sewage pipe efficiently than maintaining the status quo.

  7. 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

  8. Some economic consequences of an ageing and declining population in Denmark.

    PubMed

    Leeson, G W

    1983-01-01

    Figures for 1981 indicate that Denmark has a fertility level of 1.45 which has been below replacement level since 1968. In that same time period, natural increase has decreased from over 27,000 in 1968 to only 1354 in 1980 and a negative natural increase in 1981 with deaths outnumbering births by 3001. Even during the depression in the 1930's, net population increase was between 6-9/1000 with a fertility level which hovered around replacement level. At that time, the number of females in the childbearing ages was enough to provide population growth, whereas the number is much less today. Population increase is only 0.3/1000. The national population projections for Denmark for 1981-2010 assume an increase in the fertility level from 1.45-1.70 by 1991 after which it remains constant. The number of 20-39 year olds increased steadily until 1945 after which there was a decline as the cohorts from periods with low fertility levels entered this age group, but this was again followed by a steady increase to the present day. The number of females aged 0-39 years is expected to decrease in all age groups to the year 2000. Those aged 40-59 increased in numbers from 1920 to the mid 1960s, since then they have decreased in number, but an increase is forcast for the remainder of the century. The number of elderly females also increased steadily from 1930-80, from about 200,000 to over 550,000; this is expected to continue until 1990 when a short-term decline will set in. Regarding the economic and social consequences of these trends, it is shown that the present decline in fertility has its origins in a period of low unemployment and its negative growth while there was still relatively low unemployment and economic growth. In 1973 the unemployed rate was 0.9% of the work force and this rose to 9.2% in 1981. The Danish population has aged from one with 1/4 million people aged 60 and over at the turn of the century to about 1 million of that age today. Also, the aged themselves

  9. 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

  10. [The decline in the population growth rate--a priority issue in international politics].

    PubMed

    Rhein, E

    1994-08-25

    The Third International UN Conference on Population and Development took place in Cairo in early September 1994 with the participation of 200 governments and 1000 nongovernmental organizations to discuss ways of stabilizing world population at the possible lowest level and how industrialized countries could contribute to this effort. As a consequence of the advances in reproductive medicine the use of contraceptives skyrocketed: in 1994 more than half of men and women were using contraception compared to only 5% in 1950. However, the demographic momentum would still increase world population for another 100 years, even if fertility would drop to 2.2 children per couple (compared to 4 children in 1990). Nevertheless, the present generation could be instrumental in deciding whether the world's population will remain around 8 billion or reach 12 billion between 2050 and 2150. Poor countries can no longer afford an annual growth rate of 2-4% while also trying to improve living standards; this would require an economic growth rate of 6-8%. For the control of population growth both a sustainable environmental policy in the North, with rapid transition to renewable energy and recycling, and a more effective population policy in the South are needed. Family planning (FP) is the precondition of stabilization. The global FP outlays are envisioned to double from the 1994 figure of $5 billion to over $10 billion in the year 2000, with donor contributions to increase from 20% to 40% of the total. The US contribution is to double from $500 million by 2000, while the European Commission decided to boost expenditures for FP from DM 30 million in 1994 to DM 600 million by 2000. Japan is also expending $3 billion during this period. Recent promising developments have emerged: national pronatalist policies have diminished sharply and the pronatalist influence of religions has also declined. Political commitment at the highest level is central to a successful population policy as

  11. Assessing the global zoo response to the amphibian crisis through 20-year trends in captive collections.

    PubMed

    Dawson, Jeff; Patel, Freisha; Griffiths, Richard A; Young, Richard P

    2016-02-01

    Global amphibian declines are one of the biggest challenges currently facing the conservation community, and captive breeding is one way to address this crisis. Using information from the International Species Information System zoo network, we examined trends in global zoo amphibian holdings across species, zoo region, and species geographical region of origin from 1994 to 2014. These trends were compared before and after the 2004 Global Amphibian Assessment to assess whether any changes occurred and whether zoo amphibian conservation effort had increased. The numbers of globally threatened species (GTS) and their proportional representation in global zoo holdings increased and this rate of increase was significantly greater after 2004. North American, European, and Oceanian GTS were best represented in zoos globally, and proportions of Oceanian GTS held increased the most since 2004. South American and Asian GTS had the lowest proportional representation in zoos. At a regional zoo level, European zoos held the lowest proportions of GTS, and this proportion did not increase after 2004. Since 1994, the number of species held in viable populations has increased, and these species are distributed among more institutions. However, as of 2014, zoos held 6.2% of globally threatened amphibians, a much smaller figure than for other vertebrate groups and one that falls considerably short of the number of species for which ex situ management may be desirable. Although the increased effort zoos have put into amphibian conservation over the past 20 years is encouraging, more focus is needed on ex situ conservation priority species. This includes building expertise and capacity in countries that hold them and tracking existing conservation efforts if the evidence-based approach to amphibian conservation planning at a global level is to be further developed. PMID:26219401

  12. Population Dynamics of the Critically Endangered Golden Lancehead Pitviper, Bothrops insularis: Stability or Decline?

    PubMed Central

    Guimarães, Murilo; Munguía-Steyer, Roberto; Doherty, Paul F.; Martins, Marcio; Sawaya, Ricardo J.

    2014-01-01

    Little is known about vital rates of snakes generally because of the difficulty in collecting data. Here we used a robust design mark-recapture model to estimate survival, behavioral effects on capture probability, temporary emigration, abundance and test the hypothesis of population decline in the golden lancehead pitviper, Bothrops insularis, an endemic and critically endangered species from southeastern Brazil. We collected data at irregular intervals over ten occasions from 2002 to 2010. Survival was slightly higher in the wet season than in the dry season. Temporal emigration was high, indicating the importance of accounting for this parameter both in the sampling design and modeling. No behavioral effects were detected on capture probability. We detected an average annual population decrease ( = 0.93, CI = 0.47–1.38) during the study period, but estimates included high uncertainty, and caution in interpretation is needed. We discuss the potential effects of the illegal removal of individuals and the implications of the vital rates obtained for the future persistence and conservation of this endemic, endangered species. PMID:24755842

  13. Fertility rates and future population trends: will Europe's birth rate recover or continue to decline?

    PubMed

    Lutz, Wolfgang

    2006-02-01

    Europe has long completed its demographic transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates. But the demographic transition paradigm that has been very useful for explaining global demographic trends during the 20th century and that still has strong predictive power when it comes to projecting future trends in countries that still have high fertility, has nothing to say about the future of fertility in Europe. The currently popular notion of a 'second demographic transition' is a useful way to describe a bundle of behavioural and normative changes that recently happened in Europe, but it has no predictive power. The social sciences have not yet come up with a useful theory to predict the future fertility level of post-demographic transition societies. We even do not know whether the trend will be up or down. Given the lack of a predictive theory, this paper will try to do two things: (i) Summarize different substantive arguments that would either suggest the assumption of a recovery of fertility rates in Europe or alternatively, imply further declines. (ii) Convert this discussion of the uncertainty of future fertility trends into probabilistic population projections for Europe, thus highlighting the implications of alternative fertility levels over the coming years. We will also discuss trade-offs between fertility and immigration, and the phenomenon that Europe now has entered a period of negative momentum of population growth. PMID:16466521

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Unravelling the annual cycle in a migratory animal: breeding-season habitat loss drives population declines of monarch butterflies.

    PubMed

    Flockhart, D T Tyler; Pichancourt, Jean-Baptiste; Norris, D Ryan; Martin, Tara G

    2015-01-01

    Threats to migratory animals can occur at multiple periods of the annual cycle that are separated by thousands of kilometres and span international borders. Populations of the iconic monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) of eastern North America have declined over the last 21 years. Three hypotheses have been posed to explain the decline: habitat loss on the overwintering grounds in Mexico, habitat loss on the breeding grounds in the United States and Canada, and extreme weather events. Our objectives were to assess population viability, determine which life stage, season and geographical region are contributing the most to population dynamics and test the three hypotheses that explain the observed population decline. We developed a spatially structured, stochastic and density-dependent periodic projection matrix model that integrates patterns of migratory connectivity and demographic vital rates across the annual cycle. We used perturbation analysis to determine the sensitivity of population abundance to changes in vital rate among life stages, seasons and geographical regions. Next, we compared the singular effects of each threat to the full model where all factors operate concurrently. Finally, we generated predictions to assess the risk of host plant loss as a result of genetically modified crops on current and future monarch butterfly population size and extinction probability. Our year-round population model predicted population declines of 14% and a quasi-extinction probability (<1000 individuals) >5% within a century. Monarch abundance was more than four times more sensitive to perturbations of vital rates on the breeding grounds than on the wintering grounds. Simulations that considered only forest loss or climate change in Mexico predicted higher population sizes compared to milkweed declines on the breeding grounds. Our model predictions also suggest that mitigating the negative effects of genetically modified crops results in higher population size and

  20. Association of amphibians with attenuation of ultraviolet-b radiation in montane ponds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, M.J.; Schindler, D.E.; Bury, B.R.

    2001-01-01

    Ambient ultraviolet-b (UV-B) radiation (280-320 nm) has increased at north-temperate latitudes in the last two decades. UV-B can be detrimental to amphibians, and amphibians have shown declines in some areas during this same period. We documented the distribution of amphibians and salmonids in 42 remote, subalpine and alpine ponds in Olympic National Park, Washington, United States. We inferred relative exposure of amphibian habitats to UV-B by estimating the transmission of 305- and 320-nm radiation in pond water. We found breeding Ambystoma gracile, A. macrodactylum and Rana cascadae at 33%, 31%, and 45% of the study sites, respectively. Most R. cascadae bred in fishless shallow ponds with relatively low transmission of UV-B. The relationship with UV-B exposure remained marginally significant even after the presence of fish was included in the model. At 50 cm water depth, there was a 55% reduction in incident 305-nm radiation at sites where breeding populations of R. cascadae were detected compared to other sites. We did not detect associations between UV-B transmission and A. gracile or A. macrodactylum. Our field surveys do not provide evidence for decline of R. cascadae in Olympic National Park as has been documented in Northern California, but are consistent with the hypothesis that the spatial distribution of R. cascadae breeding sites is influenced by exposure to UV-B. Substrate or pond depth could also be related to the distribution of R. cascadae in Olympic National Park.

  1. Low levels of chemical anthropogenic pollution may threaten amphibians by impairing predator recognition.

    PubMed

    Polo-Cavia, Nuria; Burraco, Pablo; Gomez-Mestre, Ivan

    2016-03-01

    Recent studies suggest that direct mortality and physiological effects caused by pollutants are major contributing factors to global amphibian decline. However, even sublethal concentrations of pollutants could be harmful if they combined with other factors to cause high mortality in amphibians. Here we show that sublethal concentrations of pollutants can disrupt the ability of amphibian larvae to recognize predators, hence increasing their risk of predation. This effect is indeed much more important since very low amounts of pollutants are ubiquitous, and environmental efforts are mostly directed towards preventing lethal spills. We analyzed the effects of two common contaminants (humic acid and ammonium nitrate) on the ability of tadpoles of the western spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) to recognize chemical cues from a common predator, nymphs of the dragonfly Anax imperator. We compared the swimming activity of tadpoles in the presence and absence of water-borne chemical cues from dragonflies at different concentrations of humic acid and ammonium nitrate. Tadpoles reduced swimming activity in response to predator cues in the absence of pollutants, whereas they remained unresponsive to these cues when either humic acid or ammonium nitrate was added to the water, even at low concentrations. Moreover, changes in tadpole activity associated with the pollutants themselves were non-significant, indicating no toxic effect. Alteration of the natural chemical environment of aquatic systems by pollutants may be an important contributing cause for declines in amphibian populations, even at sublethal concentrations. PMID:26765086

  2. Association of Lifetime Intellectual Enrichment with Cognitive Decline in the Older Population

    PubMed Central

    Vemuri, Prashanthi; Lesnick, Timothy G.; Przybelski, Scott A.; Machulda, Mary; Knopman, David S.; Mielke, Michelle M.; Roberts, Rosebud O.; Geda, Yonas E.; Rocca, Walter A.; Petersen, Ronald C.; Jack, Clifford R.

    2014-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Intellectual lifestyle enrichment throughout life is increasingly viewed as a protective strategy against commonly observed cognitive decline in the elderly. OBJECTIVE To investigate the association of lifetime intellectual enrichment with baseline cognitive performance and rate of cognitive decline in a non-demented elderly population and to estimate difference (in years) associated with lifetime intellectual enrichment to the onset of cognitive impairment. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS Prospective analysis of subjects enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA), a longitudinal population-based study of cognitive aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota. We studied 1995 non-demented (1718 cognitively normal, 277 MCI) participants in MCSA who completed intellectual lifestyle measures at baseline and underwent at least one follow-up visit. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES We studied the effect of lifetime intellectual enrichment by separating the variables into two non-overlapping principal components: education/occupation-score and mid/late-life cognitive activity measure based on self-report questionnaires. A global cognitive Z-score served as our summary cognition measure. We used linear mixed-effects models to investigate the associations of demographic and intellectual enrichment measures with global cognitive Z-score trajectories. RESULTS Baseline cognitive performance was lower in older subjects and in those with lower education/occupation, lower mid/late-life cognitive activity, apolipoprotein E4 (APOE) genotype, and in men. The interaction between the two intellectual enrichment measures was significant such that the beneficial effect of mid/late-life cognitive activity on baseline cognitive performance was reduced with increasing education/occupation. Only baseline age, mid/late-life cognitive activity, and APOE4 genotype were significantly associated with longitudinal change in cognitive performance from baseline. For APOE4 carriers with high

  3. Local and global influences on population declines of coastal waders: Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima numbers in the Moray Firth, Scotland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Summers, Ron W.; Foster, Simon; Swann, Bob; Etheridge, Brian

    2012-05-01

    Declines in numbers by several wader species in Britain have been linked to climate change, but the mechanism for the declines has rarely been explored. Britain lies at the northern end of the East Atlantic Flyway, and supports 1.3 million out of the Flyway's 8.5 million coastal waders (Charadrii) in winter and the Purple Sandpiper is one of the species whose numbers have declined. Here, we examine the dynamics of the decline as observed in the Moray Firth, northeast Scotland, investigating whether the decline was due to poorer apparent survival (return rate) or poorer recruitment of young birds. The maximum number in the Moray Firth declined from 860 in 1987/88 to 236 in 2006/07, with some increase during winters 2007/08 and 2008/09. At the three main high-tide roosts (Balintore, Lossiemouth and Buckie) the maximum combined number declined from 574 to 90. Changes in survival and recruitment (percentage of first-year birds) were examined at these roosts from captured samples, which were ringed and recaptured. There were no significant changes between winters in survival rates, nor were there differences between the survival rates of age groups (first-year and adult) or bill size groups, which represented birds of different sex and breeding origin. Annual survival estimates for the three roosts ranged from 72 to 77%. The percentage of first-year birds varied among roosts and years; the lowest values were during the late 1980s/early 1990s and early 2000s. A free-running population model incorporating varying percentages of first-year birds and constant mortality for each roost provided a plausible explanation for the decline. Although modelled numbers followed the observed pattern, a discrepancy in one year was carried forward in subsequent years, so that the fit with the observed numbers was parallel rather than similar. However, it seems that the decline in numbers was largely due to poorer recruitment. We discuss whether breeding success had declined, whether the

  4. Pathogens, nutritional deficiency, and climate influences on a declining moose population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Murray, D.L.; Cox, E.W.; Ballard, W.B.; Whitlaw, H.A.; Lenarz, M.S.; Custer, T.W.; Barnett, T.; Fuller, T.K.

    2006-01-01

    Several potential proximate causes may be implicated in a recent (post-1984) decline in moose (Alces alces andersoni) numbers at their southern range periphery in northwest Minnesota, USA. These causes include deleterious effects of infectious pathogens, some of which are associated with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), negative effects of climate change, increased food competition with deer or moose, legal or illegal hunting, and increased predation by gray wolves (Canis lupus) and black bears (Ursus americanus). Long-standing factors that may have contributed to the moose decline include those typically associated with marginal habitat such as nutritional deficiencies. We examined survival and productivity among radiocollared (n = 152) adult female and juvenile moose in northwest Minnesota during 1995–2000, and assessed cause of death and pathology through carcass necropsy of radiocollared and non-radiocollared animals.Aerial moose surveys suggested that hunting was an unlikely source of the numerical decline because the level of harvest was relatively low (i.e., approx. 15% / 2 yr) and the population usually grew in years following a hunt. The majority of moose mortalities (up to 87% of radiocollared moose [n = 76] and up to 65% of non-radiocollared moose [n = 84]) were proximally related to pathology associated with parasites and infectious disease. Liver fluke (Fascioloides magna) infections apparently constituted the greatest single source of mortality and caused significant pathology in the liver, thoracic and peritoneal cavities, pericardial sac, and lungs. Mortality due to meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) was less prevalent and was manifested through characteristic neurological disease. Several mortalities apparently were associated with unidentified infectious disease, probably acting in close association with malnutrition. Bone-marrow fat was lower for moose dying of natural causes than those dying of anthropogenic factors or

  5. A review of possible causes of nutrient enrichment and decline of endangered sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bortleson, Gilbert C.; Fretwell, Marvin O.

    1993-01-01

    Ten possible causes for this excessive enrichment in nutrients are described. Three of these hypotheses are suggested for immediate testing because of large-scale changes in nutrient loading that may have occurred as a result of man’s activities. These three hypotheses relate nutrient enrichment to (1) conversion of marshland to agricultural land, (2) agricultural drainage from the basin, and (3) reservoir regulation. Eleven possible hypothetical causes for the decline in sucker populations also are described. The decline in sucker population may be related to excessive nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) of the lake.

  6. 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

  7. Novel survey method finds dramatic decline of wild cotton-top tamarin population

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anne; Thomas, Len; Leighty, Katherine A.; Soto, Luis H.; Medina, Felix S.

    2010-01-01

    The cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) is a critically endangered primate, endemic to the tropical forests of Colombia. Population monitoring is essential to evaluate the success of conservation efforts, yet standard survey methods are ineffective because animals flee silently before they are seen. We developed a novel technique that combines the use of playbacks of territorial vocalizations with traditional transect surveys. We used remote sensing to identify potential habitat within the species' historic range, and visited the 27% that we could survey safely. Of this, only 99 km2 was extant forest, containing an estimated 2,045 animals (95% confidence interval 1,587–2,634). Assuming comparable densities in non-surveyed areas, approximately 7,394 wild cotton-top tamarins remain in Colombia. With 20–30,000 animals exported to the United States in the late 1960s, this must represent a precipitous decline. Habitat destruction and capture for the illegal pet trade are ongoing. Urgent conservation measures are required to prevent extinction in the wild. PMID:20975684

  8. Projected risk of population declines for native fish species in the Upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crimmins, S.M.; Boma, P.; Thogmartin, W.E.

    2015-01-01

    Conservationists are in need of objective metrics for prioritizing the management of habitats. For individual species, the threat of extinction is often used to prioritize what species are in need of conservation action. Using long-term monitoring data, we applied a Bayesian diffusion approximation to estimate quasi-extinction risk for 54 native fish species within six commercial navigation reaches along a 1350-km gradient of the upper Mississippi River system. We found a strong negative linear relationship between quasi-extinction risk and distance upstream. For some species, quasi-extinction estimates ranged from nearly zero in some reaches to one in others, suggesting substantial variability in threats facing individual river reaches. We found no evidence that species traits affected quasi-extinction risk across the entire system. Our results indicate that fishes within the upper Mississippi River system face localized threats that vary across river impact gradients. This suggests that conservation actions should be focused on local habitat scales but should also consider the additive effects on downstream conditions. We also emphasize the need for identification of proximate mechanisms behind observed and predicted population declines, as conservation actions will require mitigation of such mechanisms. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  9. Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) captive propagation to promote recovery of declining populations.

    PubMed

    Smyser, Timothy J; Swihart, Robert K

    2014-01-01

    The Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) is endemic to the eastern United States with local distributions restricted to rocky habitats within deciduous forests. Over the last 40 years, woodrats have declined precipitously due to an array of human-mediated pressures. There is growing interest in the captive propagation of woodrats as a tool to promote in situ conservation, but their solitary social structure, territorial behavior, and low fecundity present challenges for the attainment of levels of ex situ reproduction sufficient to support reintroduction programs. In 2009 we established a captive breeding program with 12 wild-caught individuals (4.8) collected from Indiana and Pennsylvania. Restricting breeding to wild-caught individuals, over 26 months we produced 19 litters comprised of 43 pups (26.17), of which 40 (24.16) survived to weaning. In sum, wild-caught individuals readily habituated to the captive environment and the low fecundity of woodrats was offset by high survival rates for both adults and juveniles. Therefore, when managed appropriately, captive Allegheny woodrat populations should be capable of supporting the release of surplus individuals to augment in situ conservation measures. PMID:24391017

  10. Evidence that disease-induced population decline changes genetic structure and alters dispersal patterns in the Tasmanian devil.

    PubMed

    Lachish, S; Miller, K J; Storfer, A; Goldizen, A W; Jones, M E

    2011-01-01

    Infectious disease has been shown to be a major cause of population declines in wild animals. However, there remains little empirical evidence on the genetic consequences of disease-mediated population declines, or how such perturbations might affect demographic processes such as dispersal. Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has resulted in the rapid decline of the Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii, and threatens to cause extinction. Using 10 microsatellite DNA markers, we compared genetic diversity and structure before and after DFTD outbreaks in three Tasmanian devil populations to assess the genetic consequences of disease-induced population decline. We also used both genetic and demographic data to investigate dispersal patterns in Tasmanian devils along the east coast of Tasmania. We observed a significant increase in inbreeding (F(IS) pre/post-disease -0.030/0.012, P<0.05; relatedness pre/post-disease 0.011/0.038, P=0.06) in devil populations after just 2-3 generations of disease arrival, but no detectable change in genetic diversity. Furthermore, although there was no subdivision apparent among pre-disease populations (θ=0.005, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.003 to 0.017), we found significant genetic differentiation among populations post-disease (θ=0.020, 0.010-0.027), apparently driven by a combination of selection and altered dispersal patterns of females in disease-affected populations. We also show that dispersal is male-biased in devils and that dispersal distances follow a typical leptokurtic distribution. Our results show that disease can result in genetic and demographic changes in host populations over few generations and short time scales. Ongoing management of Tasmanian devils must now attempt to maintain genetic variability in this species through actions designed to reverse the detrimental effects of inbreeding and subdivision in disease-affected populations. PMID:20216571

  11. Culturable bacterial populations associated with ectomycorrhizae of Norway spruce stands with different degrees of decline in the Czech Republic.

    PubMed

    Avidano, Lorena; Rinaldi, Maurizio; Gindro, Roberto; Cudlín, Pavel; Martinotti, Maria Giovanna; Fracchia, Letizia

    2010-01-01

    The aim of this study was to determine which species of culturable bacteria are associated with ectomycorrhizae (ECM) of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) in the Sudety Mountains, exposed for years to atmospheric pollutants, acid rain, and climatic stress, and to identify particular species that have adapted to those conditions. Biolog identification was performed on bacterial species from ECM of adult spruce trees and seedlings of stands with low, intermediate, and high forest decline. Bacterial diversity in ECM associated with adult spruce trees, seedlings, and seedlings grown on monoliths was calculated; although the expected values appeared to vary widely, no significant differences among sites were observed. Dendrograms based on the identified bacterial species showed that stands with low forest decline clustered separately from the others. Principal component analysis of the normalized data for ECM-associated species showed a clear separation between stands with high forest decline and stands with low forest decline for seedlings and a less evident separation for adult spruce trees. In conclusion, shifts in ECM-associated culturable bacterial populations seem to be associated with forest decline in Norway spruce stands. Some bacterial species were preferentially associated with mycorrhizal roots depending on the degree of forest decline; this was more evident in seedlings where the species Burkholderia cepacia and Pseudomonas fluorescens were associated with, respectively, ECM of the most damaged stands and those with low forest decline. PMID:20130694

  12. Benzodiazepine use and risk of incident dementia or cognitive decline: prospective population based study

    PubMed Central

    Dublin, Sascha; Yu, Onchee; Walker, Rod; Anderson, Melissa; Hubbard, Rebecca A; Crane, Paul K; Larson, Eric B

    2016-01-01

    Objective To determine whether higher cumulative use of benzodiazepines is associated with a higher risk of dementia or more rapid cognitive decline. Design Prospective population based cohort. Setting Integrated healthcare delivery system, Seattle, Washington. Participants 3434 participants aged ≥65 without dementia at study entry. There were two rounds of recruitment (1994-96 and 2000-03) followed by continuous enrollment beginning in 2004. Main outcomes measures The cognitive abilities screening instrument (CASI) was administered every two years to screen for dementia and was used to examine cognitive trajectory. Incident dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were determined with standard diagnostic criteria. Benzodiazepine exposure was defined from computerized pharmacy data and consisted of the total standardized daily doses (TSDDs) dispensed over a 10 year period (a rolling window that moved forward in time during follow-up). The most recent year was excluded because of possible use for prodromal symptoms. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine time varying use of benzodiazepine and dementia risk. Analyses of cognitive trajectory used linear regression models with generalized estimating equations. Results Over a mean follow-up of 7.3 years, 797 participants (23.2%) developed dementia, of whom 637 developed Alzheimer’s disease. For dementia, the adjusted hazard ratios associated with cumulative benzodiazepine use compared with non-use were 1.25 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.51) for 1-30 TSDDs; 1.31 (1.00 to 1.71) for 31-120 TSDDs; and 1.07 (0.82 to 1.39) for ≥121 TSDDs. Results were similar for Alzheimer’s disease. Higher benzodiazepine use was not associated with more rapid cognitive decline. Conclusion The risk of dementia is slightly higher in people with minimal exposure to benzodiazepines but not with the highest level of exposure. These results do not support a causal association between benzodiazepine use and

  13. Genetic Diversity of Plasmodium falciparum Populations in Malaria Declining Areas of Sabah, East Malaysia

    PubMed Central

    Mohd Abd Razak, Mohd Ridzuan; Sastu, Umi Rubiah; Norahmad, Nor Azrina; Abdul-Karim, Abass; Muhammad, Amirrudin; Muniandy, Prem Kumar; Jelip, Jenarun; Rundi, Christina; Imwong, Mallika; Mudin, Rose Nani; Abdullah, Noor Rain

    2016-01-01

    .532). The genetic data from the present study highlighted the limited diversity and contrasting genetic pattern of P. falciparum populations in the malaria declining areas of Sabah. PMID:27023787

  14. Contaminants in eggs of western snowy plovers and California least terns: Is there a link to population decline?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hothem, R.L.; Powell, A.N.

    2000-01-01

    Patterns of reproductive failure in declining populations of several European and North American raptorial species were duplicated experimentally with captive American sparrow hawks Falco sparverius that were given a diet containing two commonly used organochlorine insecticides. Major effects on reproduction were increased egg disappearance, increased egg destruction by parent birds, and reduced eggshell thickness.

  15. Loss of sagebrush ecosystems and declining bird populations in the Intermountain West: Priority research issues and information needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    U.S. Geological Survey

    2002-01-01

    Sagebrush lands in the Intermountain West are declining rapidly in quality and extent. Consequently, populations of many bird species dependent on these ecosystems also are declining. The greater sage-grouse has been petitioned for listing as a threatened and endangered species, and other species of sagebrush-obligate birds have special conservation status in most states. We identified the primary issues and information needs during a multi-agency workshop, conducted in response to concerns by management agencies related to declining bird population trends in sagebrush habitats. Priority needs were to (1) obtain a better understanding of bird response to habitat and landscape features, (2) develop monitoring designs to sample habitats and bird populations, (3) determine the effects of land use on sagebrush habitats and dependent bird species, and (4) identify linkages between breeding and wintering ranges. This agenda will identify causes and mechanisms of population declines in birds dependent on sagebrush ecosystems and will lead to better management of the ecosystems upon which they depend.

  16. Falling Back: The Declining Socioeconomic Status of the Mexican Immigrant Population in the U.S., 1980-1990.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L.

    This report presents data showing that the socioeconomic status of Mexican immigrants in the United States fell sharply behind that of the total native-born population during the 1980s and also declined relative to that of Mexican Americans. Data from the 1980 and 1990 censuses demonstrate that during the 1980s, the earnings and per capita income…

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Declines in moose population density at Isle Royle National Park, MI, USA and accompanied changes in landscape patterns

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    De Jager, N. R.; Pastor, J.

    2009-01-01

    Ungulate herbivores create patterns of forage availability, plant species composition, and soil fertility as they range across large landscapes and consume large quantities of plant material. Over time, herbivore populations fluctuate, producing great potential for spatio-temporal landscape dynamics. In this study, we extend the spatial and temporal extent of a long-term investigation of the relationship of landscape patterns to moose foraging behavior at Isle Royale National Park, MI. We examined how patterns of browse availability and consumption, plant basal area, and soil fertility changed during a recent decline in the moose population. We used geostatistics to examine changes in the nature of spatial patterns in two valleys over 18 years and across short-range and long-range distance scales. Landscape patterns of available and consumed browse changed from either repeated patches or randomly distributed patches in 1988-1992 to random point distributions by 2007 after a recent record high peak followed by a rapid decline in the moose population. Patterns of available and consumed browse became decoupled during the moose population low, which is in contrast to coupled patterns during the earlier high moose population. Distributions of plant basal area and soil nitrogen availability also switched from repeated patches to randomly distributed patches in one valley and to random point distributions in the other valley. Rapid declines in moose population density may release vegetation and soil fertility from browsing pressure and in turn create random landscape patterns. ?? Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

  2. Dual-pathogen etiology of avian trichomonosis in a declining band-tailed pigeon population.

    PubMed

    Girard, Yvette A; Rogers, Krysta H; Woods, Leslie W; Chouicha, Nadira; Miller, Woutrina A; Johnson, Christine K

    2014-06-01

    The Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata monilis) is a migratory game bird of North America that is at risk for population decline. Epidemics of avian trichomonosis caused by upper digestive tract infection with Trichomonas spp. protozoa in these and other doves and pigeons of the United States are sporadic, but can involve tens of thousands of birds in a single event. Herein, we analyze the role of trichomonosis in band-tailed pigeon mortality and relate spatial, temporal and demographic patterns of parasite transmission to the genetic background of the infecting organism. Infections were most common in adult birds and prevalence was high in band-tailed pigeons sampled at mortality events (96%) and rehabilitation centers (36%) compared to those that were hunter-killed (11%) or live-caught (4%). During non-epidemic periods, animals were primarily infected with T. gallinae Fe-hydrogenase subtype A2, and were less often infected with either T. gallinae subtype A1 (the British finch epidemic strain), T. stableri n. sp. (a T. vaginalis-like species), or Tritrichomonas blagburni n. sp.-like organisms. Birds sampled during multiple epidemics in California were only infected with T. gallinae subtype A2 and T. stableri. The non-clonal etiology of avian trichomonosis outbreaks in band-tailed pigeons and the risk of spill-over to raptor and passerine species highlights the need for additional studies that clarify the host range and evolutionary relationships between strains of Trichomonas spp. in regions of trichomonosis endemicity. PMID:24632451

  3. Helping Your Local Amphibians (HYLA): An Internet-based Amphibian Course for Educators.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murphy, Tony P.

    2001-01-01

    Introduces an online zoology course that was offered primarily to upper elementary and middle school teachers in which teachers were expected to take action to help the local amphibian population. (Author/YDS)

  4. Has contemporary climate change played a role in population declines of the lizard Ctenophorus decresii from semi-arid Australia?

    PubMed

    Walker, Samantha; Stuart-Fox, Devi; Kearney, Michael R

    2015-12-01

    Whilst contemporary climatic changes are small in magnitude compared to those predicted for the coming decades, they have already been linked to species range shifts and local extinctions. Elucidating the drivers behind species' responses to contemporary climate change will better inform management strategies for vulnerable and pest species alike. A recent proposal to explain worldwide local extinctions in lizards is that increasing maximum temperatures have constrained lizard activity time in the breeding season beyond extinction thresholds. Here we document a significant population decline and potential local extinction at the warm (northern) range margin of the tawny dragon, Ctenophorus decresii, a rock-dwelling lizard from the Flinders Ranges in semi-arid Australia. We developed and tested a biophysical model of tawny dragon thermoregulatory behaviour and drove the model with daily weather data for the period 1990-2009 across the Flinders Ranges. Our results indicate that potential annual activity time has likely increased over this period throughout the historic range, with within-season declines only in the summer months at the northern range limit. However, populations that have declined since 2000 have also likely experienced higher active body temperatures and more stringent retreat-site requirements (deeper crevices) than have regions where the species remains common, during a period of declining rainfall. Our laboratory estimates of thermal preference in this species were insensitive to altered nutritional and hydric state. Thus it is possible that recent population declines are linked to desiccation stress driven by higher body temperatures and declining rainfall. Our study illustrates that simple indices of the impact of climate warming on animals, such as activity restriction, may in fact reflect a variety of potential mechanisms whose ultimate outcome will be contingent on other factors such as water and shelter availability. PMID:26615728

  5. The Effects of Amphibian Extirpations on Foodweb Structure and Function in Panamanian Highland Streams.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunte-Brown, M. E.; Kilham, S. S.; Whiles, M. R.; Lips, K.; Pringle, C.; Colon, C.; Brenes, R.; Connelly, S.

    2005-05-01

    Amphibian populations are declining globally in uplands. Stream-dwelling tadpoles are potentially important herbivores, and their loss is expected to cause significant changes in structure and function of lotic ecosystems. This study is part of a collaborative effort to measure changes in trophic structure associated with amphibian extirpations. We used stable isotopes to elucidate trends in Panamanian highland streams at two locations, El Cope and Fortuna, which are differentially affected by the declines. Generally, the nitrogen source in the Fortuna stream, where amphibians have already declined, is primarily atmospheric, whereas it is more recycled in El Cope where tadpoles are still abundant. FBOM is an important food resource in El Cope, and because of the recycled N from tadpole feces, the delta N15 values of the periphyton are higher in the pools than in the riffles in El Cope. Generally, the delta N15 signal of similar trophic groups is lower at Fortuna than at El Cope. The delta N15 signals also tend to fall with increased rainfall. Leaf packs are apparently under-utilized in these systems. Results allow for an assessment of trophic structure in highland neotropical streams and suggest that stream-breeding anuran extirpations may alter nutrient cycling and energy flow.

  6. Reproduction, Embryonic Development, and Maternal Transfer of Contaminants in the Amphibian Gastrophryne carolinensis

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, William Alexander; DuRant, Sarah Elizabeth; Staub, Brandon Patrick; Rowe, Christopher Lee; Jackson, Brian Phillip

    2006-01-01

    Although many amphibian populations around the world are declining at alarming rates, the cause of most declines remains unknown. Environmental contamination is one of several factors implicated in declines and may have particularly important effects on sensitive developmental stages. Despite the severe effects of maternal transfer of contaminants on early development in other vertebrate lineages, no studies have examined the effects of maternal transfer of contaminants on reproduction or development in amphibians. We examined maternal transfer of contaminants in eastern narrow-mouth toads (Gastrophryne carolinensis) collected from a reference site and near a coal-burning power plant. Adult toads inhabiting the industrial area transferred significant quantities of selenium and strontium to their eggs, but Se concentrations were most notable (up to 100 μg/g dry mass). Compared with the reference site, hatching success was reduced by 11% in clutches from the contaminated site. In surviving larvae, the frequency of developmental abnormalities and abnormal swimming was 55–58% higher in the contaminated site relative to the reference site. Craniofacial abnormalities were nearly an order of magnitude more prevalent in hatchlings from the contaminated site. When all developmental criteria were considered collectively, offspring from the contaminated site experienced 19% lower viability. Although there was no statistical relationship between the concentration of Se or Sr transferred to eggs and any measure of offspring viability, our study demonstrates that maternal transfer may be an important route of contaminant exposure in amphibians that has been overlooked. PMID:16675417

  7. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, J. I.; Kowalski, G. J.; Klimova, A.; Staniland, I. J.; Baylis, A. M. M.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations. PMID:27493782

  8. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, J I; Kowalski, G J; Klimova, A; Eberhart-Phillips, L J; Staniland, I J; Baylis, A M M

    2016-07-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations. PMID:27493782

  9. Biology of amphibians and reptiles in old-growth forests in the Pacific northwest. Forest Service general technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Blaustein, A.R.; Beatty, J.J.; Olson, D.H.; Storm, R.M.

    1995-03-01

    The amphibian and reptile fauna of older forest ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest includes several endemic species, species with unique behavioral and ecological characteristics, and species whose populations have been in decline in recent years. The authors review the biology of these species and include information on their distinguishing characteristics, behavior, and ecology. Herpetofaunal associations with forest characteristic and the impact of habitat loss are addressed.

  10. From tails to toes: developing nonlethal tissue indicators of mercury exposure in five amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Pfleeger, Adam Z; Eagles-Smith, Collin A; Kowalski, Brandon M; Herring, Garth; Willacker, James J; Jackson, Allyson K; Pierce, John R

    2016-04-01

    Exposure to environmental contaminants has been implicated as a factor in global amphibian decline. Mercury (Hg) is a particularly widespread contaminant that biomagnifies in amphibians and can cause a suite of deleterious effects. However, monitoring contaminant exposure in amphibian tissues may conflict with conservation goals if lethal take is required. Thus, there is a need to develop non-lethal tissue sampling techniques to quantify contaminant exposure in amphibians. Some minimally invasive sampling techniques, such as toe-clipping, are common in population-genetic research, but it is unclear if these methods can adequately characterize contaminant exposure. We examined the relationships between mercury (Hg) concentrations in non-lethally sampled tissues and paired whole-bodies in five amphibian species. Specifically, we examined the utility of three different tail-clip sections from four salamander species and toe-clips from one anuran species. Both tail and toe-clips accurately predicted whole-body THg concentrations, but the relationships differed among species and the specific tail-clip section or toe that was used. Tail-clips comprised of the distal 0-2 cm segment performed the best across all salamander species, explaining between 82 and 92% of the variation in paired whole-body THg concentrations. Toe-clips were less effective predictors of frog THg concentrations, but THg concentrations in outer rear toes accounted for up to 79% of the variability in frog whole-body THg concentrations. These findings suggest non-lethal sampling of tails and toes has potential applications for monitoring contaminant exposure and risk in amphibians, but care must be taken to ensure consistent collection and interpretation of samples. PMID:26826095

  11. From tails to toes: developing nonlethal tissue indicators of mercury exposure in five amphibian species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pfleeger, Adam Z.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Kowalski, Brandon M.; Herring, Garth; Willacker, James J.; Jackson, Allyson K.; Pierce, John

    2016-01-01

    Exposure to environmental contaminants has been implicated as a factor in global amphibian decline. Mercury (Hg) is a particularly widespread contaminant that biomagnifies in amphibians and can cause a suite of deleterious effects. However, monitoring contaminant exposure in amphibian tissues may conflict with conservation goals if lethal take is required. Thus, there is a need to develop non-lethal tissue sampling techniques to quantify contaminant exposure in amphibians. Some minimally invasive sampling techniques, such as toe-clipping, are common in population-genetic research, but it is unclear if these methods can adequately characterize contaminant exposure. We examined the relationships between mercury (Hg) concentrations in non-lethally sampled tissues and paired whole-bodies in five amphibian species. Specifically, we examined the utility of three different tail-clip sections from four salamander species and toe-clips from one anuran species. Both tail and toe-clips accurately predicted whole-body THg concentrations, but the relationships differed among species and the specific tail-clip section or toe that was used. Tail-clips comprised of the distal 0–2 cm segment performed the best across all salamander species, explaining between 82 and 92 % of the variation in paired whole-body THg concentrations. Toe-clips were less effective predictors of frog THg concentrations, but THg concentrations in outer rear toes accounted for up to 79 % of the variability in frog whole-body THg concentrations. These findings suggest non-lethal sampling of tails and toes has potential applications for monitoring contaminant exposure and risk in amphibians, but care must be taken to ensure consistent collection and interpretation of samples.

  12. Improved Analysis of Long-Term Monitoring Data Demonstrates Marked Regional Declines of Bat Populations in the Eastern United States.

    PubMed

    Ingersoll, Thomas E; Sewall, Brent J; Amelon, Sybill K

    2013-01-01

    Bats are diverse and ecologically important, but are also subject to a suite of severe threats. Evidence for localized bat mortality from these threats is well-documented in some cases, but long-term changes in regional populations of bats remain poorly understood. Bat hibernation surveys provide an opportunity to improve understanding, but analysis is complicated by bats' cryptic nature, non-conformity of count data to assumptions of traditional statistical methods, and observation heterogeneities such as variation in survey timing. We used generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) to account for these complicating factors and to evaluate long-term, regional population trajectories of bats. We focused on four hibernating bat species - little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), Indiana myotis (M. sodalis), and northern myotis (M. septentrionalis) - in a four-state region of the eastern United States during 1999-2011. Our results, from counts of nearly 1.2 million bats, suggest that cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71% (with 95% confidence interval of ±11%) in M. lucifugus, 34% (±38%) in P. subflavus, 30% (±26%) in M. sodalis, and 31% (±18%) in M. septentrionalis. The M. lucifugus population fluctuated until 2004 before persistently declining, and the populations of the other three species declined persistently throughout the study period. Population trajectories suggest declines likely resulted from the combined effect of multiple threats, and indicate a need for enhanced conservation efforts. They provide strong support for a change in the IUCN Red List conservation status in M. lucifugus from Least Concern to Endangered within the study area, and are suggestive of a need to change the conservation status of the other species. Our modeling approach provided estimates of uncertainty, accommodated non-linearities, and controlled for observation heterogeneities, and thus has wide

  13. Improved Analysis of Long-Term Monitoring Data Demonstrates Marked Regional Declines of Bat Populations in the Eastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Amelon, Sybill K.

    2013-01-01

    Bats are diverse and ecologically important, but are also subject to a suite of severe threats. Evidence for localized bat mortality from these threats is well-documented in some cases, but long-term changes in regional populations of bats remain poorly understood. Bat hibernation surveys provide an opportunity to improve understanding, but analysis is complicated by bats' cryptic nature, non-conformity of count data to assumptions of traditional statistical methods, and observation heterogeneities such as variation in survey timing. We used generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) to account for these complicating factors and to evaluate long-term, regional population trajectories of bats. We focused on four hibernating bat species – little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), Indiana myotis (M. sodalis), and northern myotis (M. septentrionalis) – in a four-state region of the eastern United States during 1999–2011. Our results, from counts of nearly 1.2 million bats, suggest that cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71% (with 95% confidence interval of ±11%) in M. lucifugus, 34% (±38%) in P. subflavus, 30% (±26%) in M. sodalis, and 31% (±18%) in M. septentrionalis. The M. lucifugus population fluctuated until 2004 before persistently declining, and the populations of the other three species declined persistently throughout the study period. Population trajectories suggest declines likely resulted from the combined effect of multiple threats, and indicate a need for enhanced conservation efforts. They provide strong support for a change in the IUCN Red List conservation status in M. lucifugus from Least Concern to Endangered within the study area, and are suggestive of a need to change the conservation status of the other species. Our modeling approach provided estimates of uncertainty, accommodated non-linearities, and controlled for observation heterogeneities, and thus

  14. Ancient DNA reveals genetic stability despite demographic decline: 3,000 years of population history in the endemic Hawaiian petrel.

    PubMed

    Welch, Andreanna J; Wiley, Anne E; James, Helen F; Ostrom, Peggy H; Stafford, Thomas W; Fleischer, Robert C

    2012-12-01

    In the Hawaiian Islands, human colonization, which began approximately 1,200 to 800 years ago, marks the beginning of a period in which nearly 75% of the endemic avifauna became extinct and the population size and range of many additional species declined. It remains unclear why some species persisted whereas others did not. The endemic Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) has escaped extinction, but colonies on two islands have been extirpated and populations on remaining islands have contracted. We obtained mitochondrial DNA sequences from 100 subfossil bones, 28 museum specimens, and 289 modern samples to investigate patterns of gene flow and temporal changes in the genetic diversity of this endangered species over the last 3,000 years, as Polynesians and then Europeans colonized the Hawaiian Islands. Genetic differentiation was found to be high between both modern and ancient petrel populations. However, gene flow was substantial between the extirpated colonies on Oahu and Molokai and modern birds from the island of Lanai. No significant reductions in genetic diversity occurred over this period, despite fears in the mid-1900s that this species may have been extinct. Simulations show that even a decline to a stable effective population size of 100 individuals would result in the loss of only 5% of the expected heterozygosity. Simulations also show that high levels of genetic diversity may be retained due to the long generation time of this species. Such decoupling between population size and genetic diversity in long-lived species can have important conservation implications. It appears that a pattern of dispersal from declining colonies, in addition to long generation time, may have allowed the Hawaiian petrel to escape a severe genetic bottleneck, and the associated extinction vortex, and persist despite a large population decline after human colonization. PMID:22844071

  15. Chimpanzee-red colobus encounter rates show a red colobus population decline associated with predation by chimpanzees at Ngogo.

    PubMed

    Watts, David P; Amsler, Sylvia J

    2013-09-01

    Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) hunt various primates, but concentrate on red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus spp.) wherever the two species are sympatric. The extraordinarily large Ngogo chimpanzee community in Kibale National Park, Uganda, preys heavily on the local population of red colobus (P. tephrosceles). Census data showed a steep decline in this population in the center of the chimpanzees' home range between 1975 and 2007 [Lwanga et al., 2011; Teelen, 2007b]. Given no obvious change in food availability, predation by chimpanzees was the most likely cause [ibid.; Teelen, 2008]. However, census data from other parts of the home range raised the possibility that the decline was restricted to this central area [Teelen, 2007a] We present data from 1998 to 2012 on the rate of encounters between chimpanzees and red colobus that provide a chimpanzee-centered estimate of red colobus density, thus of predation opportunities, throughout the home range. These corroborate census data by showing a long-term decline in encounters near the center. They also show that encounters become relatively more common at increasing distances from the center, but encounter rates have decreased even in peripheral areas and, by implication, the red colobus population has declined throughout the study area. These data corroborate Teelen's [2008] conclusion that chimpanzee predation on red colobus during the 1990s and early 2000s was unsustainable. Hunting rates and prey offtake rates have also declined markedly; whether this will allow the red colobus population to recover is unknown. In contrast, rates at which chimpanzees encountered redtail monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius) and grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) did not decrease. Neither did they increase, however, contrary to long-term census data from the center of the study area [Lwanga et al., 2011]. PMID:23775942

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Declining Fertility and the Use of Cesarean Delivery: Evidence from a Population-Based Study in Taiwan

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Ke-Zong M; Norton, Edward C; Lee, Shoou-Yih D

    2010-01-01

    Objective To test the hypothesis that declining fertility would affect the number of cesarean sections (c-sections) on maternal demand, but not medically indicated c-sections. Data Sources The 1996–2004 National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan for all singleton deliveries. Study Design Retrospective population-based, longitudinal study. Estimation was performed using multinomial probit models. Principal Findings Results revealed that declining fertility had a significant positive effect on the probability of having a c-section on maternal request but not medically indicated c-section. Conclusions Our findings offer a precautionary note to countries experiencing a fertility decline. Policies to contain the rise of c-sections should understand the role of women's preferences, especially regarding cesarean deliveries on maternal request. PMID:20545781

  19. Populations of migratory bird species that did not show a phenological response to climate change are declining.

    PubMed

    Møller, Anders Pape; Rubolini, Diego; Lehikoinen, Esa

    2008-10-21

    Recent rapid climatic changes are associated with dramatic changes in phenology of plants and animals, with optimal timing of reproduction advancing considerably in the northern hemisphere. However, some species may not have advanced their timing of breeding sufficiently to continue reproducing optimally relative to the occurrence of peak food availability, thus becoming mismatched compared with their food sources. The degree of mismatch may differ among species, and species with greater mismatch may be characterized by declining populations. Here we relate changes in spring migration timing by 100 European bird species since 1960, considered as an index of the phenological response of bird species to recent climate change, to their population trends. Species that declined in the period 1990-2000 did not advance their spring migration, whereas those with stable or increasing populations advanced their migration considerably. On the other hand, population trends during 1970-1990 were predicted by breeding habitat type, northernmost breeding latitude, and winter range (with species of agricultural habitat, breeding at northern latitudes, and wintering in Africa showing an unfavorable conservation status), but not by change in migration timing. The association between population trend in 1990-2000 and change in migration phenology was not confounded by any of the previously identified predictors of population trends in birds, or by similarity in phenotype among taxa due to common descent. Our findings imply that ecological factors affecting population trends can change over time and suggest that ongoing climatic changes will increasingly threaten vulnerable migratory bird species, augmenting their extinction risk. PMID:18849475

  20. Linking temporal changes in the demographic structure and individual growth to the decline in the population of a tropical fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sirot, Charlotte; Darnaude, Audrey M.; Guilhaumon, François; Ramos-Miranda, Julia; Flores-Hernandez, Domingo; Panfili, Jacques

    2015-11-01

    The exceptional biodiversity and productivity of tropical coastal lagoons can only be preserved by identifying the causes for the decline in the populations living in these vulnerable ecosystems. The Terminos lagoon in Mexico provided an opportunity for studying this issue as some of its fish populations, in particular the Silver Perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), have declined significantly since the 1980s. Fish sampling campaigns carried out over the whole lagoon area in 1979-81 and again in 2006-2011 revealed the mechanisms which may have been responsible for this decline. Based on biometrical data for 295 juveniles and adults from the two periods and on somatic growth derived from 173 otoliths, a study of the temporal changes in the demographic structure and life history traits (individual growth and body condition) made it possible to distinguish the causes of the decline in the B. chrysoura population. Growth models for the lagoon in 1980-1981 and 2006-2011 showed no significant change in the growth parameters of the population over the last 30 years with a logistic model giving an accurate estimate (R2 = 0.66) of the size-at-age for both periods. The decline in the B. chrysoura population could not be explained by an overall decrease in individual size and condition in the lagoon, the average standard length (SL) and Fulton index (FI) having increased slightly since 1980-1981 (4.6 mm and 0.02 for juveniles and 5.42 mm and 0.07 for adults). However, the size structure of the population in the lagoon has changed, with a significant shift in the size distribution of juveniles with a marked reduction in the proportion of juveniles ≤ 60 mm in the captures (90.9% fewer than in 1980-1981). As the otolith growth rate of fish during the first 4 months also decreased significantly between the two sampling periods (-15%), it is suggested that the main reason for the decline in the abundance and biomass of B. chrysoura within this system may be that its habitats are less

  1. Decline in a population of spectacled eiders nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ely, Craig; Dau, Christian; Babcock, Christopher

    1994-01-01

    The number of spectacled eiders nesting on two study areas near the Kashunuk River, on the central Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta, Alaska, declined by over 75% in the last 20 years. Nesting densities have remained low, but have not significantly declined since 1985. There has been no decrease in the reproductive effort of individual females as indicated by average clutch sizes. There has been a significant decline in the proportion of nests located on islands on one of the two study areas. Nesting success declined significantly during the 1970's. Success was not monitored in recent years, but has likely been low, based on the poor nesting success and declining numbers of cackling Canada geese and black brant nesting on the area. Nest predation by arctic foxes severely limited the productivity of cackling Canada geese, and foxes were likely the major predators of eider nests. Persistent high predation rates may lead to local extirpation in highly philopatric species such as eiders.

  2. Improving the design of amphibian surveys using soil data: A case study in two wilderness areas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowen, K.D.; Beever, E.A.; Gafvert, U.B.

    2009-01-01

    Amphibian populations are known, or thought to be, declining worldwide. Although protected natural areas may act as reservoirs of biological integrity and serve as benchmarks for comparison with unprotected areas, they are not immune from population declines and extinctions and should be monitored. Unfortunately, identifying survey sites and performing long-term fieldwork within such (often remote) areas involves a special set of problems. We used the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Database to identify, a priori, potential habitat for aquatic-breeding amphibians on North and South Manitou Islands, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan, and compared the results to those obtained using National Wetland Inventory (NWI) data. The SSURGO approach identified more target sites for surveys than the NWI approach, and it identified more small and ephemeral wetlands. Field surveys used a combination of daytime call surveys, night-time call surveys, and perimeter surveys. We found that sites that would not have been identified with NWI data often contained amphibians and, in one case, contained wetland-breeding species that would not have been found using NWI data. Our technique allows for easy a priori identification of numerous survey sites that might not be identified using other sources of spatial information. We recognize, however, that the most effective site identification and survey techniques will likely use a combination of methods in addition to those described here.

  3. Dramatic Declines of Montane Frogs in a Central African Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Hirschfeld, Mareike; Blackburn, David C.; Doherty-Bone, Thomas M.; Gonwouo, LeGrand Nono; Ghose, Sonia; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are vanishing worldwide. Declines and extinctions of many populations have been attributed to chytridiomycosis, a disease induced by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In Africa, however, changes in amphibian assemblages were typically attributed to habitat change. We conducted a retrospective study utilizing field surveys from 2004–2012 of the anuran faunas on two mountains in western Cameroon, a hotspot of African amphibian diversity. The number of species detected was negatively influenced by year, habitat degradation, and elevation, and we detected a decline of certain species. Because another study in this region revealed an emergence of Bd in 2008, we screened additional recent field-collected samples and also pre-decline preserved museum specimens for the presence of Bd supporting emergence before 2008. When comparing the years before and after Bd detection, we found significantly diminished frog species richness and abundance on both mountains after Bd emergence. Our analyses suggest that this may be the first disease-driven community-level decline in anuran biodiversity in Central Africa. The disappearance of several species known to tolerate habitat degradation, and a trend of stronger declines at higher elevations, are consistent with Bd-induced declines in other regions. Not all species decreased; populations of some species remained constant, and others increased after the emergence of Bd. This variation might be explained by species-specific differences in infection probability. Increased habitat protection and Bd-mitigation strategies are needed for sustaining diverse amphibian communities such as those on Mt. Manengouba, which contains nearly half of Cameroon’s frog diversity. PMID:27149624

  4. Dramatic Declines of Montane Frogs in a Central African Biodiversity Hotspot.

    PubMed

    Hirschfeld, Mareike; Blackburn, David C; Doherty-Bone, Thomas M; Gonwouo, LeGrand Nono; Ghose, Sonia; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are vanishing worldwide. Declines and extinctions of many populations have been attributed to chytridiomycosis, a disease induced by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In Africa, however, changes in amphibian assemblages were typically attributed to habitat change. We conducted a retrospective study utilizing field surveys from 2004-2012 of the anuran faunas on two mountains in western Cameroon, a hotspot of African amphibian diversity. The number of species detected was negatively influenced by year, habitat degradation, and elevation, and we detected a decline of certain species. Because another study in this region revealed an emergence of Bd in 2008, we screened additional recent field-collected samples and also pre-decline preserved museum specimens for the presence of Bd supporting emergence before 2008. When comparing the years before and after Bd detection, we found significantly diminished frog species richness and abundance on both mountains after Bd emergence. Our analyses suggest that this may be the first disease-driven community-level decline in anuran biodiversity in Central Africa. The disappearance of several species known to tolerate habitat degradation, and a trend of stronger declines at higher elevations, are consistent with Bd-induced declines in other regions. Not all species decreased; populations of some species remained constant, and others increased after the emergence of Bd. This variation might be explained by species-specific differences in infection probability. Increased habitat protection and Bd-mitigation strategies are needed for sustaining diverse amphibian communities such as those on Mt. Manengouba, which contains nearly half of Cameroon's frog diversity. PMID:27149624

  5. Patterns of growth and body condition in sea otters from the Aleutian archipelago before and after the recent population decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laidre, K.L.; Estes, J.A.; Tinker, M.T.; Bodkin, J.; Monson, D.; Schneider, K.

    2006-01-01

    3In addition to larger asymptotic values for mass and length, the rate of growth towards asymptotic values was more rapid in the 1990s than in the 1960s/70s: sea otters reached 95% of asymptotic body mass and body length 1–2 years earlier in the 1990s.4Body condition (as measured by the log mass/log length ratio) was significantly greater in males than in females. There was also an increasing trend from the 1960s/70s through 2004 despite much year-to-year variation.5Population age structures differed significantly between the 1960s/70s and the 1990s with the latter distribution skewed toward younger age classes (indicating an altered lxfunction) suggesting almost complete relaxation of age-dependent mortality patterns (i.e. those typical of food-limited populations).6This study spanned a period of time over which the population status of sea otters in the Aleutian archipelago declined precipitously from levels at or near equilibrium densities at some islands in the 1960s/70s to < 5% of estimated carrying capacity by the late 1990s. The results of this study indicate an improved overall health of sea otters over the period of decline and suggest that limited nutritional resources were not the cause of the observed reduced population abundance. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the decline was caused by increased killer whale predation.

  6. On the decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the use of ornithological literature to document long-term population trends

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greenberg, R.; Droege, S.

    1999-01-01

    Unlike most North American blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolensis) have shown steep population declines. Declines of approximately 90% are indicated for three recent decades from the Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Counts, and Quebec Checklist Program. Analyses of abundance classifications in bird distribution books and annotated checklists reveal an overlooked but long-term decline dating back to at least the early part of this century. Rusty Blackbirds were described as very common to abundant in 5656 of the pre-192O published accounts, 19% of the 1921-1950 accounts, and only 7% of the post-1950 accounts. Rusty Blackbirds were described as uncommon in none of the pre-1950 accounts, 18% of the 1951-1980 accounts, and 43% of the post-1980 accounts. A similar pattern was found for analyses based on local checklists. Destruction of wooded wetlands on wintering grounds, acid precipitation, and the conversion of boreal forest wetlands could have contributed to these declines. Systematic analysis of regional guides and checklists provides a valuable tool for examining large-scale and long-term population changes in birds.

  7. 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

  8. Temperature-dependent acute toxicity of methomyl pesticide on larvae of 3 Asian amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Lau, Edward Tak Chuen; Karraker, Nancy Elizabeth; Leung, Kenneth Mei Yee

    2015-10-01

    Relative to other animal taxa, ecotoxicological studies on amphibians are scarce, even though amphibians are experiencing global declines and pollution has been identified as an important threat. Agricultural lands provide important habitats for many amphibians, but often these lands are contaminated with pesticides. The authors determined the acute toxicity, in terms of 96-h median lethal concentrations, of the carbamate pesticide methomyl on larvae of 3 Asian amphibian species, the Asian common toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), the brown tree frog (Polypedates megacephalus), and the marbled pygmy frog (Microhyla pulchra), at 5 different temperatures (15 °C, 20 °C, 25 °C, 30 °C, and 35 °C) to examine the relationships between temperature and toxicity. Significant interspecific variation in methomyl sensitivity and 2 distinct patterns of temperature-dependent toxicity were found. Because high proportions of malformation among the surviving tadpoles were observed, a further test was carried out on the tree frog to determine effect concentrations using malformation as the endpoint. Concentrations as low as 1.4% of the corresponding 96-h median lethal concentrations at 25 °C were sufficient to cause malformation in 50% of the test population. As the toxicity of pesticides may be significantly amplified at higher temperatures, temperature effects should not be overlooked in ecotoxicological studies and derivation of safety limits in environmental risk assessment and management. PMID:25959379

  9. 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

  10. Carotenoids and amphibians: effects on life history and susceptibility to the infectious pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Cothran, Rickey D; Gervasi, Stephanie S; Murray, Cindy; French, Beverly J; Bradley, Paul W; Urbina, Jenny; Blaustein, Andrew R; Relyea, Rick A

    2015-01-01

    Carotenoids are considered beneficial nutrients because they provide increased immune capacity. Although carotenoid research has been conducted in many vertebrates, little research has been done in amphibians, a group that is experiencing global population declines from numerous causes, including disease. We raised two amphibian species through metamorphosis on three carotenoid diets to quantify the effects on life-history traits and post-metamorphic susceptibility to a fungal pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bd). Increased carotenoids had no effect on survival to metamorphosis in gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) but caused lower survival to metamorphosis in wood frogs [Lithobates sylvaticus (Rana sylvatica)]. Increased carotenoids caused both species to experience slower development and growth. When exposed to Bd after metamorphosis, wood frogs experienced high mortality, and the carotenoid diets had no mitigating effects. Gray treefrogs were less susceptible to Bd, which prevented an assessment of whether carotenoids could mitigate the effects of Bd. Moreover, carotenoids had no effect on pathogen load. As one of only a few studies examining the effects of carotenoids on amphibians and the first to examine potential interactions with Bd, our results suggest that carotenoids do not always serve amphibians in the many positive ways that have become the paradigm in other vertebrates. PMID:27293690

  11. Carotenoids and amphibians: effects on life history and susceptibility to the infectious pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Cothran, Rickey D.; Gervasi, Stephanie S.; Murray, Cindy; French, Beverly J.; Bradley, Paul W.; Urbina, Jenny; Blaustein, Andrew R.; Relyea, Rick A.

    2015-01-01

    Carotenoids are considered beneficial nutrients because they provide increased immune capacity. Although carotenoid research has been conducted in many vertebrates, little research has been done in amphibians, a group that is experiencing global population declines from numerous causes, including disease. We raised two amphibian species through metamorphosis on three carotenoid diets to quantify the effects on life-history traits and post-metamorphic susceptibility to a fungal pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bd). Increased carotenoids had no effect on survival to metamorphosis in gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) but caused lower survival to metamorphosis in wood frogs [Lithobates sylvaticus (Rana sylvatica)]. Increased carotenoids caused both species to experience slower development and growth. When exposed to Bd after metamorphosis, wood frogs experienced high mortality, and the carotenoid diets had no mitigating effects. Gray treefrogs were less susceptible to Bd, which prevented an assessment of whether carotenoids could mitigate the effects of Bd. Moreover, carotenoids had no effect on pathogen load. As one of only a few studies examining the effects of carotenoids on amphibians and the first to examine potential interactions with Bd, our results suggest that carotenoids do not always serve amphibians in the many positive ways that have become the paradigm in other vertebrates. PMID:27293690

  12. Management of Whitefly Populations for the Control of Watermelon Vine Decline in Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Field studies were designed to confirm that a new ipomovirus, Squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV), causes watermelon vine decline (WVD) in Florida and is transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Biotype “B”). Two field studies were conducted in 2006 at SWFREC, Immokalee, FL, in the sp...

  13. Factors affecting population dynamics of leaf beetles in a subarctic region: The interplay between climate warming and pollution decline.

    PubMed

    Zvereva, Elena L; Hunter, Mark D; Zverev, Vitali; Kozlov, Mikhail V

    2016-10-01

    Understanding the mechanisms by which abiotic drivers, such as climate and pollution, influence population dynamics of animals is important for our ability to predict the population trajectories of individual species under different global change scenarios. We monitored four leaf beetle species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding on willows (Salix spp.) in 13 sites along a pollution gradient in subarctic forests of north-western Russia from 1993 to 2014. During a subset of years, we also measured the impacts of natural enemies and host plant quality on the performance of one of these species, Chrysomela lapponica. Spring and fall temperatures increased by 2.5-3°C during the 21-year observation period, while emissions of sulfur dioxide and heavy metals from the nickel-copper smelter at Monchegorsk decreased fivefold. However, contrary to predictions of increasing herbivory with climate warming, and in spite of discovered increase in host plant quality with increase in temperatures, none of the beetle species became more abundant during the past 20years. No directional trends were observed in densities of either Phratora vitellinae or Plagiodera versicolora, whereas densities of both C. lapponica and Gonioctena pallida showed a simultaneous rapid 20-fold decline in the early 2000s, remaining at very low levels thereafter. Time series analysis and model selection indicated that these abrupt population declines were associated with decreases in aerial emissions from the smelter. Observed declines in the population densities of C. lapponica can be explained by increases in mortality from natural enemies due to the combined action of climate warming and declining pollution. This pattern suggests that at least in some tri-trophic systems, top-down factors override bottom-up effects and govern the impacts of environmental changes on insect herbivores. PMID:27266523

  14. 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

  15. Partners in amphibian and reptile conservation 2013 annual report

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conrad, Paulette M., (Edited By); Weir, Linda A.; Nanjappa, Priya

    2014-01-01

    Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) was established in 1999 to address the widespread declines, extinctions, and range reductions of amphibians and reptiles, with a focus on conservation of taxa and habitats in North America. Amphibians and reptiles are affected by a broad range of human activities, both as incidental effects of habitat alteration and direct effect from overexploitation; these animals are also challenged by the perception that amphibians and reptiles are either dangerous or of little environmental or economic value. However, PARC members understand these taxa are important parts of our natural an cultural heritage and they serve important roles in ecosystems throughout the world. With many amphibians and reptiles classified as threatened with extinction, conservation of these animals has never been more important.

  16. Rapid population decline in red knots: fitness consequences of decreased refuelling rates and late arrival in Delaware Bay.

    PubMed

    Baker, Allan J; González, Patricia M; Piersma, Theunis; Niles, Lawrence J; do Nascimento, Inês de Lima Serrano; Atkinson, Philip W; Clark, Nigel A; Minton, Clive D T; Peck, Mark K; Aarts, Geert

    2004-04-22

    Most populations of migrant shorebirds around the world are in serious decline, suggesting that vital condition-dependent rates such as fecundity and annual survival are being affected globally. A striking example is the red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) population wintering in Tierra del Fuego, which undertakes marathon 30,000 km hemispheric migrations annually. In spring, migrant birds forage voraciously on horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay in the eastern USA before departing to breed in Arctic polar deserts. From 1997 to 2002 an increasing proportion of knots failed to reach threshold departure masses of 180-200 g, possibly because of later arrival in the Bay and food shortage from concurrent over-harvesting of crabs. Reduced nutrient storage, especially in late-arriving birds, possibly combined with reduced sizes of intestine and liver during refuelling, had severe fitness consequences for adult survival and recruitment of young in 2000-2002. From 1997 to 2002 known survivors in Delaware Bay were heavier at initial capture than birds never seen again, annual survival of adults decreased by 37% between May 2000 and May 2001, and the number of second-year birds in wintering flocks declined by 47%. Population size in Tierra del Fuego declined alarmingly from 51,000 to 27,000 in 2000-2002, seriously threatening the viability of this subspecies. Demographic modelling predicts imminent endangerment and an increased risk of extinction of the subspecies without urgent risk-averse management. PMID:15255108

  17. Decline in perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoate serum concentrations in an Australian population from 2002 to 2011

    PubMed Central

    Toms, L.-M.L.; Thompson, J.; Rotander, A.; Hobson, P.; Calafat, A.M.; Kato, K.; Ye, X.; Broomhall, S.; Harden, F.; Mueller, J.F.

    2016-01-01

    Some perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have become widespread pollutants detected in human and wildlife samples worldwide. The main objective of this study was to assess temporal trends of PFAS concentrations in human blood in Australia over the last decade (2002–2011), taking into consideration age and sex trends. Pooled human sera from 2002/03 (n = 26); 2008/09 (n = 24) and 2010/11 (n = 24) from South East Queensland, Australia were obtained from de-identified surplus pathology samples and compared with samples collected previously from 2006/07 (n = 84). A total of 9775 samples in 158 pools were available for an assessment of PFASs. Stratification criteria included sex and age: <16 years (2002/03 only); 0–4 (2006/07, 2008/09, 2010/11); 5–15 (2006/07, 2008/09, 2010/11); 16–30; 31–45; 46–60; and >60 years (all collection periods). Sera were analyzed using on-line solid-phase extraction coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography–isotope dilution-tandem mass spectrometry. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was detected in the highest concentrations ranging from 5.3–19.2 ng/ml (2008/09) to 4.4–17.4 ng/ml (2010/11). Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) was detected in the next highest concentration ranging from 2.8–7.3 ng/ml (2008/09) to 3.1–6.5 ng/ml (2010/11). All other measured PFASs were detected at concentrations <1 ng/ml with the exception of perfluorohexane sulfonate which ranged from 1.2–5.7 ng/ml (08/09) and 1.4–5.4 ng/ml (10/11). The mean concentrations of both PFOS and PFOA in the 2010/11 period compared to 2002/03 were lower for all adult age groups by 56%. For 5–15 year olds, the decrease was 66% (PFOS) and 63% (PFOA) from 2002/03 to 2010/11. For 0–4 year olds the decrease from 2006/07 (when data were first available for this age group) was 50% (PFOS) and 22% (PFOA). This study provides strong evidence for decreasing serum PFOS and PFOA concentrations in an Australian population from 2002 through 2011. Age trends

  18. Distribution patterns of lentic-breeding amphibians in relation to ultraviolet radiation exposure in western North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.; Hossack, B.R.; Knapp, R.A.; Corn, P.S.; Diamond, S.A.; Trenham, P.C.; Fagre, D.B.

    2005-01-01

    An increase in ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has been posited to be a potential factor in the decline of some amphibian population. This hypothesis has received support from laboratory and field experiments showing that current levels of UV-B can cause embryo mortality in some species, but little research has addressed whether UV-B is influencing the distribution of amphibian populations. We compared patterns of amphibian presence to site-specific estimates of UV-B dose at 683 ponds and lakes in Glacier, Olympic, and Sequoia–Kings Canyon National Parks. All three parks are located in western North America, a region with a concentration of documented amphibian declines. Site-specific daily UV-B dose was estimated using modeled and field-collected data to incorporate the effects of elevation, landscape, and water-column dissolved organic carbon. Of the eight species we examined (Ambystoma gracile, Ambystoma macrodactylum, Bufo boreas, Pseudacris regilla, Rana cascadae, Rana leuteiventris, Rana muscosa, Taricha granulosa), two species (T. granulosa and A. macrodactylum) had quadratic relationships with UV-B that could have resulted from negative UV-B effects. Both species were most likely to occur at moderate UV-B levels. Ambystoma macrodactylum showed this pattern only in Glacier National Park. Occurrence of A. macrodactylum increased as UV-B increased in Olympic National Park despite UV-B levels similar to those recorded in Glacier. We also found marginal support for a negative association with UV-B for P. regilla in one of the two parks where it occurred. We did not find evidence of a negative UV-B effect for any other species. Much more work is still needed to determine whether UV-B, either alone or in concert with other factors, is causing widespread population losses in amphibians.

  19. Dynamics of Chytridiomycosis during the Breeding Season in an Australian Alpine Amphibian

    PubMed Central

    Brannelly, Laura A.; Hunter, David A.; Lenger, Daniel; Scheele, Ben C.; Skerratt, Lee F.; Berger, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Understanding disease dynamics during the breeding season of declining amphibian species will improve our understanding of how remnant populations persist with endemic infection, and will assist the development of management techniques to protect disease-threatened species from extinction. We monitored the endangered Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine treefrog) during the breeding season through capture-mark-recapture (CMR) studies in which we investigated the dynamics of chytridiomycosis in relation to population size in two populations. We found that infection prevalence and intensity increased throughout the breeding season in both populations, but infection prevalence and intensity was higher (3.49 and 2.02 times higher prevalence and intensity, respectively) at the site that had a 90-fold higher population density. This suggests that Bd transmission is density-dependent. Weekly survival probability was related to disease state, with heavily infected animals having the lowest survival. There was low recovery from infection, especially when animals were heavily infected with Bd. Sympatric amphibian species are likely to be reservoir hosts for the disease and can play an important role in the disease ecology of Bd. Although we found 0% prevalence in crayfish (Cherax destructor), we found that a sympatric amphibian (Crinia signifera) maintained 100% infection prevalence at a high intensity throughout the season. Our results demonstrate the importance of including infection intensity into CMR disease analysis in order to fully understand the implications of disease on the amphibian community. We recommend a combined management approach to promote lower population densities and ensure consistent progeny survival. The most effective management strategy to safeguard the persistence of this susceptible species might be to increase habitat area while maintaining a similar sized suitable breeding zone and to increase water flow and area to reduce drought. PMID:26629993

  20. Dynamics of Chytridiomycosis during the Breeding Season in an Australian Alpine Amphibian.

    PubMed

    Brannelly, Laura A; Hunter, David A; Lenger, Daniel; Scheele, Ben C; Skerratt, Lee F; Berger, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Understanding disease dynamics during the breeding season of declining amphibian species will improve our understanding of how remnant populations persist with endemic infection, and will assist the development of management techniques to protect disease-threatened species from extinction. We monitored the endangered Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine treefrog) during the breeding season through capture-mark-recapture (CMR) studies in which we investigated the dynamics of chytridiomycosis in relation to population size in two populations. We found that infection prevalence and intensity increased throughout the breeding season in both populations, but infection prevalence and intensity was higher (3.49 and 2.02 times higher prevalence and intensity, respectively) at the site that had a 90-fold higher population density. This suggests that Bd transmission is density-dependent. Weekly survival probability was related to disease state, with heavily infected animals having the lowest survival. There was low recovery from infection, especially when animals were heavily infected with Bd. Sympatric amphibian species are likely to be reservoir hosts for the disease and can play an important role in the disease ecology of Bd. Although we found 0% prevalence in crayfish (Cherax destructor), we found that a sympatric amphibian (Crinia signifera) maintained 100% infection prevalence at a high intensity throughout the season. Our results demonstrate the importance of including infection intensity into CMR disease analysis in order to fully understand the implications of disease on the amphibian community. We recommend a combined management approach to promote lower population densities and ensure consistent progeny survival. The most effective management strategy to safeguard the persistence of this susceptible species might be to increase habitat area while maintaining a similar sized suitable breeding zone and to increase water flow and area to reduce drought. PMID:26629993

  1. Genetic structure of populations of whale sharks among ocean basins and evidence for their historic rise and recent decline.

    PubMed

    Vignaud, Thomas M; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Leblois, Raphael; Meekan, Mark G; Vázquez-Juárez, Ricardo; Ramírez-Macías, Dení; Pierce, Simon J; Rowat, David; Berumen, Michael L; Beeravolu, Champak; Baksay, Sandra; Planes, Serge

    2014-05-01

    This study presents genetic evidence that whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are comprised of at least two populations that rarely mix and is the first to document a population expansion. Relatively high genetic structure is found when comparing sharks from the Gulf of Mexico with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. If mixing occurs between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, it is not sufficient to counter genetic drift. This suggests whale sharks are not all part of a single global metapopulation. The significant population expansion we found was indicated by both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA. The expansion may have happened during the Holocene, when tropical species could expand their range due to sea-level rise, eliminating dispersal barriers and increasing plankton productivity. However, the historic trend of population increase may have reversed recently. Declines in genetic diversity are found for 6 consecutive years at Ningaloo Reef in Australia. The declines in genetic diversity being seen now in Australia may be due to commercial-scale harvesting of whale sharks and collision with boats in past decades in other countries in the Indo-Pacific. The study findings have implications for models of population connectivity for whale sharks and advocate for continued focus on effective protection of the world's largest fish at multiple spatial scales. PMID:24750370

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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

  6. Anthropogenic and Ecological Drivers of Amphibian Disease (Ranavirosis)

    PubMed Central

    North, Alexandra C.; Hodgson, David J.; Price, Stephen J.; Griffiths, Amber G. F.

    2015-01-01

    Ranaviruses are causing mass amphibian die-offs in North America, Europe and Asia, and have been implicated in the decline of common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in the UK. Despite this, we have very little understanding of the environmental drivers of disease occurrence and prevalence. Using a long term (1992-2000) dataset of public reports of amphibian mortalities, we assess a set of potential predictors of the occurrence and prevalence of Ranavirus-consistent common frog mortality events in Britain. We reveal the influence of biotic and abiotic drivers of this disease, with many of these abiotic characteristics being anthropogenic. Whilst controlling for the geographic distribution of mortality events, disease prevalence increases with increasing frog population density, presence of fish and wild newts, increasing pond depth and the use of garden chemicals. The presence of an alternative host reduces prevalence, potentially indicating a dilution effect. Ranavirosis occurrence is associated with the presence of toads, an urban setting and the use of fish care products, providing insight into the causes of emergence of disease. Links between occurrence, prevalence, pond characteristics and garden management practices provides useful management implications for reducing the impacts of Ranavirus in the wild. PMID:26039741

  7. Anthropogenic and ecological drivers of amphibian disease (ranavirosis).

    PubMed

    North, Alexandra C; Hodgson, David J; Price, Stephen J; Griffiths, Amber G F

    2015-01-01

    Ranaviruses are causing mass amphibian die-offs in North America, Europe and Asia, and have been implicated in the decline of common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in the UK. Despite this, we have very little understanding of the environmental drivers of disease occurrence and prevalence. Using a long term (1992-2000) dataset of public reports of amphibian mortalities, we assess a set of potential predictors of the occurrence and prevalence of Ranavirus-consistent common frog mortality events in Britain. We reveal the influence of biotic and abiotic drivers of this disease, with many of these abiotic characteristics being anthropogenic. Whilst controlling for the geographic distribution of mortality events, disease prevalence increases with increasing frog population density, presence of fish and wild newts, increasing pond depth and the use of garden chemicals. The presence of an alternative host reduces prevalence, potentially indicating a dilution effect. Ranavirosis occurrence is associated with the presence of toads, an urban setting and the use of fish care products, providing insight into the causes of emergence of disease. Links between occurrence, prevalence, pond characteristics and garden management practices provides useful management implications for reducing the impacts of Ranavirus in the wild. PMID:26039741

  8. Ecosystem scale declines in elk recruitment and population growth with wolf colonization: a before-after-control-impact approach.

    PubMed

    Christianson, David; Creel, Scott

    2014-01-01

    The reintroduction of wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone provided the unusual opportunity for a quasi-experimental test of the effects of wolf predation on their primary prey (elk--Cervus elaphus) in a system where top-down, bottom-up, and abiotic forces on prey population dynamics were closely and consistently monitored before and after reintroduction. Here, we examined data from 33 years for 12 elk population segments spread across southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming in a large scale before-after-control-impact analysis of the effects of wolves on elk recruitment and population dynamics. Recruitment, as measured by the midwinter juvenile∶female ratio, was a strong determinant of elk dynamics, and declined by 35% in elk herds colonized by wolves as annual population growth shifted from increasing to decreasing. Negative effects of population density and winter severity on recruitment, long recognized as important for elk dynamics, were detected in uncolonized elk herds and in wolf-colonized elk herds prior to wolf colonization, but not after wolf colonization. Growing season precipitation and harvest had no detectable effect on recruitment in either wolf treatment or colonization period, although harvest rates of juveniles∶females declined by 37% in wolf-colonized herds. Even if it is assumed that mortality due to predation is completely additive, liberal estimates of wolf predation rates on juvenile elk could explain no more than 52% of the total decline in juvenile∶female ratios in wolf-colonized herds, after accounting for the effects of other limiting factors. Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. PMID:25028933

  9. Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach

    PubMed Central

    Christianson, David; Creel, Scott

    2014-01-01

    The reintroduction of wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone provided the unusual opportunity for a quasi-experimental test of the effects of wolf predation on their primary prey (elk – Cervus elaphus) in a system where top-down, bottom-up, and abiotic forces on prey population dynamics were closely and consistently monitored before and after reintroduction. Here, we examined data from 33 years for 12 elk population segments spread across southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming in a large scale before-after-control-impact analysis of the effects of wolves on elk recruitment and population dynamics. Recruitment, as measured by the midwinter juvenile∶female ratio, was a strong determinant of elk dynamics, and declined by 35% in elk herds colonized by wolves as annual population growth shifted from increasing to decreasing. Negative effects of population density and winter severity on recruitment, long recognized as important for elk dynamics, were detected in uncolonized elk herds and in wolf-colonized elk herds prior to wolf colonization, but not after wolf colonization. Growing season precipitation and harvest had no detectable effect on recruitment in either wolf treatment or colonization period, although harvest rates of juveniles∶females declined by 37% in wolf-colonized herds. Even if it is assumed that mortality due to predation is completely additive, liberal estimates of wolf predation rates on juvenile elk could explain no more than 52% of the total decline in juvenile∶female ratios in wolf-colonized herds, after accounting for the effects of other limiting factors. Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. PMID:25028933

  10. Amphibian Oasis: Designing and Building a Schoolyard Pond.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gosselin, Heather; Johnson, Bob

    1996-01-01

    Building a pond in a schoolyard is a rewarding way to help boost local populations of amphibians, to increase the natural value of school grounds, and to serve as a locale for observing the life cycles of plants, invertebrates, and amphibians. This article outlines important considerations in designing and building a pond from siting through…

  11. Evaluating amphibian responses in wetlands impacted by mining activities in the western United States

    SciTech Connect

    Linder, G.; Wyant, J.; Meganck, R.; Williams, B.

    1991-01-01

    An increasing awareness of declining amphibian populations in the United States requires that the authors develop strategies for evaluating anthropogenic impacts on wetlands and the biota dependent upon these habitats. For example, in the western United States, mining activities may impact a wetland and its biota directly through habitat destruction or run-off of sediments and contaminants generated during mining operations. Amphibians which frequent these transition zones between terrestrial and aquatic habitats may be key biological indicators of a wetland's status. Through a demonstration project located in the mining regions of western Montana, the authors are currently using laboratory and field methods for a wetland evaluation required within a Superfund ecological risk assessment.

  12. Summary of the evidence on modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia: A population-based perspective.

    PubMed

    Baumgart, Matthew; Snyder, Heather M; Carrillo, Maria C; Fazio, Sam; Kim, Hye; Johns, Harry

    2015-06-01

    An estimated 47 million people worldwide are living with dementia in 2015, and this number is projected to triple by 2050. In the absence of a disease-modifying treatment or cure, reducing the risk of developing dementia takes on added importance. In 2014, the World Dementia Council (WDC) requested the Alzheimer's Association evaluate and report on the state of the evidence on modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia. This report is a summary of the Association's evaluation, which was presented at the October 2014 WDC meeting. The Association believes there is sufficient evidence to support the link between several modifiable risk factors and a reduced risk for cognitive decline, and sufficient evidence to suggest that some modifiable risk factors may be associated with reduced risk of dementia. Specifically, the Association believes there is sufficiently strong evidence, from a population-based perspective, to conclude that regular physical activity and management of cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension) reduce the risk of cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia. The Association also believes there is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that a healthy diet and lifelong learning/cognitive training may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline. PMID:26045020

  13. Inferring Population Decline and Expansion From Microsatellite Data: A Simulation-Based Evaluation of the Msvar Method

    PubMed Central

    Girod, Christophe; Vitalis, Renaud; Leblois, Raphaël; Fréville, Hélène

    2011-01-01

    Reconstructing the demographic history of populations is a central issue in evolutionary biology. Using likelihood-based methods coupled with Monte Carlo simulations, it is now possible to reconstruct past changes in population size from genetic data. Using simulated data sets under various demographic scenarios, we evaluate the statistical performance of Msvar, a full-likelihood Bayesian method that infers past demographic change from microsatellite data. Our simulation tests show that Msvar is very efficient at detecting population declines and expansions, provided the event is neither too weak nor too recent. We further show that Msvar outperforms two moment-based methods (the M-ratio test and Bottleneck) for detecting population size changes, whatever the time and the severity of the event. The same trend emerges from a compilation of empirical studies. The latest version of Msvar provides estimates of the current and the ancestral population size and the time since the population started changing in size. We show that, in the absence of prior knowledge, Msvar provides little information on the mutation rate, which results in biased estimates and/or wide credibility intervals for each of the demographic parameters. However, scaling the population size parameters with the mutation rate and scaling the time with current population size, as coalescent theory requires, significantly improves the quality of the estimates for contraction but not for expansion scenarios. Finally, our results suggest that Msvar is robust to moderate departures from a strict stepwise mutation model. PMID:21385729

  14. Declining trends in prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection by birth-year in a Japanese population.

    PubMed

    Watanabe, Miki; Ito, Hidemi; Hosono, Satoyo; Oze, Isao; Ashida, Chieko; Tajima, Kazuo; Katoh, Hisato; Matsuo, Keitaro; Tanaka, Hideo

    2015-12-01

    Gastric cancer incidence and mortality have been decreasing in Japan. These decreases are likely due to a decrease in prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection. Our aim was to characterize the trends in prevalence of H. pylori infection focused on birth-year. We carried out a cross-sectional study that included 4285 subjects who were born from 1926 to 1989. We defined H. pylori infection by the serum H. pylori antibody titer. Individuals having H. pylori infection and those with negative H. pylori antibody titer and positive pepsinogen test were defined as high-risk individuals for gastric cancer. We estimated the birth-year percent change (BPC) of the prevalence by Joinpoint regression analysis. The prevalence of H. pylori infection among the subjects born from 1927 to 1949 decreased from 54.0% to 42.0% with a BPC of -1.2%. It was followed by a rapid decline in those born between 1949 (42.0%) and 1961 (24.0%) with a BPC of -4.5%, which was followed by those born between 1961 (24.0%) and 1988 (14.0%) with a BPC of -2.1%. The proportion of high-risk individuals for gastric cancer among the subjects born from 1927 to 1942 decreased from 62.0% to 55.0% with a BPC of -0.8%. A subsequent rapid declining trend was observed in those born between 1942 (55.0%) and 1972 (18.0%) with a BPC of -3.6%, and then it became stable. These remarkable declining trends in the prevalence of H. pylori infection by birth-year would be useful to predict the future trend in gastric cancer incidence in Japan. PMID:26395018

  15. Adherence to a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern and cognitive decline in a community population123

    PubMed Central

    Tangney, Christine C; Kwasny, Mary J; Li, Hong; Wilson, Robert S; Evans, Denis A; Morris, Martha Clare

    2011-01-01

    Background: Many of the foods abundant in the traditional Mediterranean diet, such as vegetables and fish, have been associated with slower cognitive decline. Objective: We investigated whether adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern or to the Healthy Eating Index–2005 (HEI-2005) is associated with cognitive change in older adults. Design: This article is based on analyses of data from an ongoing longitudinal study in adults aged ≥65 y known as the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP). CHAP participants (2280 blacks and 1510 whites) with ≥2 cognitive assessments were evaluated for adherence to 1) the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MedDiet; maximum score: 55) and 2) the HEI-2005 (maximum score: 100). For both scoring systems, higher scores connote greater adherence. Cognitive function was assessed at 3-y intervals on the basis of a composite measure of global cognition. Linear mixed models were used to examine the association of dietary scores to change in cognitive function. Mean follow-up time was 7.6 y. Results: Mean (±SD) scores for participants were 28.2 ± 0.1 for the MedDiet and 61.2 ± 9.6 for the HEI-2005. White participants had higher energy-adjusted MedDiet scores but lower HEI-2005 scores than did black participants. Higher MedDiet scores were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline (β = +0.0014 per 1-point increase, SEE = 0.0004, P = 0.0004) after adjustment for age, sex, race, education, participation in cognitive activities, and energy. No such associations were observed for HEI-2005 scores. Conclusion: The Mediterranean dietary pattern as captured by the MedDiet scoring system may reduce the rate of cognitive decline with older age. PMID:21177796

  16. 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.

  17. De novo lipogenesis is suppressed during fasting but upregulated at population decline in cyclic voles.

    PubMed

    Nieminen, Petteri; Rouvinen-Watt, Kirsti; Harris, Lora; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Mustonen, Anne-Mari

    2016-04-01

    Arvicolines are susceptible to the development of fatty liver during short-term fasting. We examined the potential role of de novo lipogenesis (DNL) (i) in the development of fasting-induced fatty liver and (ii) during a population cycle by measuring the mRNA expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC1) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Laboratory voles (Microtus oeconomus and Microtus arvalis) were fed or fasted for 12 or 18 h and their liver mRNA levels were determined. Both species showed decreased mRNA expression of ACC1 and FAS during fasting. This suggests that DNL does not participate in the development of fatty liver in voles, different from human non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus), the mRNA levels of the genes of interest were higher during the population decline compared to the increase phase. In conclusion, DNL was suppressed during acute fasting but upregulated during a long-term population decline-a period of purported scarcity of high-quality food. PMID:26892709

  18. Decline in abundance and health state of an Atlantic subtropical gorgonian population.

    PubMed

    Erni Cassola, Gabriel; Pacheco, Matheus S C; Barbosa, Moysés C; Hansen, Dennis M; Ferreira, Carlos E L

    2016-03-15

    Losses in coral cover have been widely reported for the Caribbean. In contrast, much less is known about the health state of the Brazilian reef fauna, which was declared as a priority for Atlantic biodiversity conservation due to its high degree of endemism. In the present study, we assessed the general health state of Phyllogorgia dilatata assemblages at the subtropical reefs of Arraial do Cabo (southeastern Brazil), where observations suggest that the abundance of this endemic gorgonian species has declined. We found that about 49% of the sampled colonies were dead, and 73% of the living colonies were affected by tissue loss. Tissue loss initially manifested as multifocal holes in the planar colonial coenenchyme and peripheral tissue retraction leaving denuded skeletal axes. In combination with other recent studies, our results raise the awareness for an increasingly threatened Southwestern Atlantic reef coral fauna. PMID:26822908

  19. Acid-precipitation studies in Colorado and Wyoming: Interim report of surveys of Montane amphibians and water chemistry. Interim report, 1986-1988

    SciTech Connect

    Corn, P.S.; Stolzenburg, W.; Bury, R.B.

    1989-06-01

    Surveys for amphibians were conducted in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado and southern Wyoming from 1986 to 1988. The northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) was present at only 12% of historically known localities, and the boreal toad (Bufo boreas) was present at 17% of known localities. Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) suffered a catastrophic decline in population size in one population monitored since 1961, but regionally, this species was observed in 64% of known localities. Tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) were present at 45% and 69% of known localities respectively. Acid neutralizing capacity, pH, specific conductivity, and cation concentrations in water at amphibian localities were negatively correlated with elevation. Survival of wood frog embryos declined when exposed to aluminum concentrations.

  20. 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

  1. Are wetland regulations cost effective for species protection? A case study of amphibian metapopulations.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Dana Marie; Paton, Peter W C; Swallow, Stephen K

    2010-04-01

    Recent declines in amphibian populations have raised concern among conservation biologists, with habitat loss and degradation due to human activities among the leading causes. The most common policies used to protect the habitat of pond-breeding amphibians are wetland regulations that safeguard the wetland itself. However, many amphibians spend much of their adult lives foraging and over-wintering in upland habitats and exist as metapopulations with dispersal among ponds. With no consideration of lands in the dispersal matrix, wetland policies may be ineffective at protecting amphibians or other wetland species that disperse across the landscape. This paper examined the adequacy and cost effectiveness of alternative conservation policies and their corresponding land use patterns on the long-term persistence of pond-breeding amphibians in exurban landscapes. We used computer simulations to compare outcomes of wetland buffer policies and broader landscape-wide conservation policies across a variety of landscape scenarios, and we conducted sensitivity analyses on the model's species parameters in order to generalize our results to other wetland species. Results showed that, in the majority of human-dominated landscapes, some amount of dispersal matrix protection is necessary for long-term species persistence. However, in landscapes with extremely low-intensity land use (e.g., low-density residential housing) and high pond density, wetland buffer policies may be all that is required. It is not always more cost effective to protect core habitat over the dispersal matrix, a common conservation practice. Conservation costs that result from forgone residential, commercial, or agricultural activities can vary substantially but increase in a nonlinear manner regardless of land use zoning. There appears to be a threshold around an average habitat patch occupancy level of 80%, after which opportunity costs rise dramatically. PMID:20437965

  2. Patterns of amphibian infection prevalence across wetlands on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA.

    PubMed

    Love, Cara N; Winzeler, Megan E; Beasley, Rochelle; Scott, David E; Nunziata, Schyler O; Lance, Stacey L

    2016-08-31

    Amphibian diseases, such as chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranaviral disease caused by ranaviruses, are often linked to global amphibian population declines, yet the ecological dynamics of both pathogens are poorly understood. The goal of our study was to determine the baseline prevalence, pathogen loads, and co-infection rate of Bd and ranavirus across the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, USA, a region with rich amphibian diversity and a history of amphibian-based research. We tested over 1000 individuals, encompassing 21 amphibian species from 11 wetlands for both Bd and ranavirus. The prevalence of Bd across individuals was 9.7%. Using wetland means, the mean (±SE) Bd prevalence was 7.9 ± 2.9%. Among toad species, Anaxyrus terrestris had 95 and 380% greater odds of being infected with Bd than Scaphiopus holbrookii and Gastrophryne carolinensis, respectively. Odds of Bd infection in adult A. terrestris and Lithobates sphenocephalus were 75 to 77% greater in metal-contaminated sites. The prevalence of ranavirus infections across all individuals was 37.4%. Mean wetland ranavirus prevalence was 29.8 ± 8.8% and was higher in post-metamorphic individuals than in aquatic larvae. Ambystoma tigrinum had 83 to 85% higher odds of ranavirus infection than A. opacum and A. talpoideum. We detected a 4.8% co-infection rate, with individuals positive for ranavirus having a 5% higher occurrence of Bd. In adult Anaxyrus terrestris, odds of Bd infection were 13% higher in ranavirus-positive animals and odds of co-infection were 23% higher in contaminated wetlands. Overall, we found the pathogen prevalence varied by wetland, species, and life stage. PMID:27596855

  3. In situ effects of pesticides on amphibians in the Sierra Nevada.

    PubMed

    Sparling, Donald W; Bickham, John; Cowman, Deborah; Fellers, Gary M; Lacher, Thomas; Matson, Cole W; McConnell, Laura

    2015-03-01

    For more than 20 years, conservationists have agreed that amphibian populations around the world are declining. Results obtained through laboratory or mesocosm studies and measurement of contaminant concentrations in areas experiencing declines have supported a role of contaminants in these declines. The current study examines the effects of contaminant exposure to amphibians in situ in areas actually experiencing declines. Early larval Pseudacris regilla were translocated among Lassen Volcanic, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, California, USA and caged in wetlands in 2001 and 2002 until metamorphosis. Twenty contaminants were identified in tadpoles with an average of 1.3-5.9 (maximum = 10) contaminants per animal. Sequoia National Park, which had the greatest variety and concentrations of contaminants in 2001, also had tadpoles that experienced the greatest mortality, slowest developmental rates and lowest cholinesterase activities. Yosemite and Sequoia tadpoles and metamorphs had greater genotoxicity than those in Lassen during 2001, as determined by flow cytometry. In 2001 tadpoles at Yosemite had a significantly higher rate of malformations, characterized as hemimelia (shortened femurs), than those at the other two parks but no significant differences were observed in 2002. Fewer differences in contaminant types and concentrations existed among parks during 2002 compared to 2001. In 2002 Sequoia tadpoles had higher mortality and slower developmental rates but there was no difference among parks in cholinesterase activities. Although concentrations of most contaminants were below known lethal concentrations, simultaneous exposure to multiple chemicals and other stressors may have resulted in lethal and sublethal effects. PMID:25381462

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Modeling predicts that redd trampling by cattle may contribute to population declines of native trout.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Douglas P; Rieman, Bruce E; Young, Michael K; Brammer, James A

    2010-06-01

    Unrestricted livestock grazing can degrade aquatic ecosystems, and its effects on native vertebrate species are generally mediated by changes to physical habitat. Recently, high estimated rates of cattle trampling on artificial redds within federal grazing allotments in southwestern Montana, USA, has raised concern that direct mortality from trampling may contribute to imperilment of native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi). To explore the implications of cattle trampling, we built two mathematical models. First we used a temperature-driven model of egg-to-fry mortality representative of the developmental stages during which embryos would be vulnerable to trampling. Cattle trampling was an additional source of mortality (beyond natural mortality), and we modeled egg-to-fry mortality across a range of trampling rates (25-125% per month) for scenarios assuming low (0.60), moderate (0.81), and high (0.95) natural mortality. We then used a matrix model to determine how trampling affected population growth (lambda), assuming initially stable (lambda = 1.008) or slow-growing populations (lambda = 1.025 and 1.05). Cattle trampling concentrated over a few days when the embryos were most sensitive caused greater egg-to-fry mortality than when the same amount of trampling occurred over one month. Trampling caused a large increase in egg-to-fry mortality when that natural mortality was low, but the overall population-level effect was far less than might have been anticipated from the rate of trampling itself. Nonetheless, small reductions in population growth rate could be biologically significant for populations with little or no demographic resilience, and trampling rates as low as 25% could lead to negative population growth. The rapid reduction in resilience with increased trampling rates (>50%) means that even growing populations are less likely to recover from periodic fluctuations. The overall risk posed by trampling will depend on whether

  7. Increased planned delivery contributes to declining rates of pregnancy hypertension in Australia: a population-based record linkage study

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, Christine L; Algert, Charles S; Morris, Jonathan M; Ford, Jane B

    2015-01-01

    Objective Since the 1990s, pregnancy hypertension rates have declined in some countries, but not all. Increasing rates of early planned delivery (before the due date) have been hypothesised as the reason for the decline. The aim of this study was to explore whether early planned delivery can partly explain the declining pregnancy hypertension rates in Australia. Design Population-based record linkage study utilising linked birth and hospital records. Setting and participants A cohort of 1 076 122 deliveries in New South Wales, Australia, 2001–2012. Outcome measures Pregnancy hypertension (including gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia) was the main outcome; pre-eclampsia was a secondary outcome. Results From 2001 to 2012, pregnancy hypertension rates declined by 22%, from 9.9% to 7.7%, and pre-eclampsia by 27%, from 3.3% to 2.4% (trend p<0.0001). At the same time, planned deliveries increased: prelabour caesarean section by 43% (12.9–18.4%) and labour inductions by 10% (24.8–27.2%). Many maternal risk factors for pregnancy hypertension significantly increased (p<0.01) over the study period including nulliparity, age ≥35 years, diabetes, overweight and obesity, and use of assisted reproductive technologies; some risk factors decreased including multifetal pregnancies, age <20 years, autoimmune diseases and previous pregnancy hypertension. Given these changes in risk factors, the pregnancy hypertension rate was predicted to increase to 10.5%. Examination of annual gestational age distributions showed that pregnancy hypertension rates actually declined from 38 weeks gestation and were steepest from 41 weeks; at least 36% of the decrease could be attributed to planned deliveries. The risk factors for pregnancy hypertension were also risk factors for planned delivery. Conclusions It appears that an unanticipated consequence of increasing early planned deliveries is a decline in the incidence of pregnancy hypertension. Women with risk

  8. Recent Evolution in Rattus norvegicus Is Shaped by Declining Effective Population Size

    PubMed Central

    Deinum, Eva E.; Halligan, Daniel L.; Ness, Rob W.; Zhang, Yao-Hua; Cong, Lin; Zhang, Jian-Xu; Keightley, Peter D.

    2015-01-01

    The brown rat, Rattus norvegicus, is both a notorious pest and a frequently used model in biomedical research. By analyzing genome sequences of 12 wild-caught brown rats from their presumed ancestral range in NE China, along with the sequence of a black rat, Rattus rattus, we investigate the selective and demographic forces shaping variation in the genome. We estimate that the recent effective population size (Ne) of this species = 1.24×105, based on silent site diversity. We compare patterns of diversity in these genomes with patterns in multiple genome sequences of the house mouse (Mus musculus castaneus), which has a much larger Ne. This reveals an important role for variation in the strength of genetic drift in mammalian genome evolution. By a Pairwise Sequentially Markovian Coalescent analysis of demographic history, we infer that there has been a recent population size bottleneck in wild rats, which we date to approximately 20,000 years ago. Consistent with this, wild rat populations have experienced an increased flux of mildly deleterious mutations, which segregate at higher frequencies in protein-coding genes and conserved noncoding elements. This leads to negative estimates of the rate of adaptive evolution (α) in proteins and conserved noncoding elements, a result which we discuss in relation to the strongly positive estimates observed in wild house mice. As a consequence of the population bottleneck, wild rats also show a markedly slower decay of linkage disequilibrium with physical distance than wild house mice. PMID:26037536

  9. CATASTROPHIC DECLINE OF A HIGH-DENSITY POPULATION OF COTTON RATS (SIGMODIN HISPIDUS) IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Along the northern periphery of their range, populations of the hispid cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus, are vulnerable to major reductions in density and occasional local extinctions as a result of severe winter weather. Between our sampling periods on 3 December 2000 and 14 Januar...

  10. Decline of tuberculosis mortality in an urban Mexican-origin population, 1935-1984.

    PubMed

    Bradshaw, B S; Smith, D P

    1997-01-01

    Through a series of life table analyses, this paper describes the natural history of tuberculosis mortality in a Mexican-origin community over five decades (1935-84) during which the disease underwent a transition from a major underlying cause of death to a disease conditioned mentioned more often on death certificates as contributing to death than causing death. The decline in death rates from 1940 to 1950 was especially remarkable. Successive birth cohorts of Mexican Americans, separated by as little as five years of age, experienced distinctly lower risk of death from tuberculosis as they entered young adulthood. There was a rapid convergence in age-specific patterns of tuberculosis death rates in Mexican Americans toward those of non-Hispanic whites, so that by 1960 tuberculosis was primarily a cause of death in old age rather than young adulthood. The impact of changing environment, both through improvements of conditions within neighborhoods and through residential mobility, on birth cohorts at risk of tuberculosis needs to be examined in further research. PMID:9325650

  11. ELASTICITY ANALYSIS OF AMPHIBIAN LIFE HISTORIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    By comparing life history parameters (e.g., age at metamorphosis, age at sexual maturation, egg number, longevity) and phenology of different species, we gain valuable insight into why growth rates differ across populations. Although the demography of most amphibians is lacking, ...

  12. Predicting the effects of copper on local population decline of 2 marine organisms, cobia fish and whiteleg shrimp, based on avoidance response.

    PubMed

    Araújo, Cristiano V M; Cedeño-Macías, Luís A; Vera-Vera, Victoria C; Salvatierra, David; Rodríguez, Elizabeth N V; Zambrano, Ufredo; Kuri, Samir

    2016-02-01

    The present study focuses on avoidance response to predict population decline of the marine fish Rachycentron canadum (cobia) and larvae of the estuarine shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp). Avoidance of approximately 60% was recorded for the cobia fry exposed to 1.0 mg Cu/L, 1.60 mg Cu/L, and 1.80 mg Cu/L. For the shrimp larvae, avoidance was approximately 80% for all Cu concentrations. The population decline of cobia fry was conditioned by avoidance in lower concentrations. However, in higher concentrations mortality begins to play an important role. The displacement toward uncontaminated habitats might determine shrimp population decline. A Cu-contaminated environment can determine the habitat selection of both species and, therefore, their local population decline. PMID:26250074

  13. Signature of a Pre-Human Population Decline in the Critically Endangered Reunion Island Endemic Forest Bird Coracina newtoni

    PubMed Central

    Salmona, Jordi; Salamolard, Marc; Fouillot, Damien; Ghestemme, Thomas; Larose, Jerry; Centon, Jean-François; Sousa, Vitor; Dawson, Deborah A.; Thebaud, Christophe; Chikhi, Lounès

    2012-01-01

    The exceptional biodiversity of Reunion Island is threatened by anthropogenic landscape changes that took place during the 350 years of human colonization. During this period the human population size increased dramatically from 250 to 800,000. The arrival of humans together with the development of agriculture, invasive species such as rats and cats, and deforestation has lead to the extinction of more than half of the original vertebrate species of the island. For the remaining species, significant work is being carried out to identify threats and conservation status, but little genetic work has been carried on some of the most endangered species. In the last decade theoretical studies have shown the ability of neutral genetic markers to infer the demographic history of endangered species and identify and date past population size changes (expansions or bottlenecks). In this study we provide the first genetic data on the critically endangered species the Reunion cuckoo-shrike Coracina newtoni. The Reunion cuckoo-shrike is a rare endemic forest bird surviving in a restricted 12-km2 area of forested uplands and mountains. The total known population consists of less than one hundred individuals out of which 45 were genotyped using seventeen polymorphic microsatellite loci. We found a limited level of genetic variability and weak population structure, probably due to the limited geographic distribution. Using Bayesian methods, we identified a strong decline in population size during the Holocene, most likely caused by an ancient climatic or volcanic event around 5000 years ago. This result was surprising as it appeared in apparent contradiction with the accepted theory of recent population collapse due to deforestation and predator introduction. These results suggest that new methods allowing for more complex demographic models are necessary to reconstruct the demographic history of populations. PMID:22916272

  14. Can Citizen Science Assist in Determining Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Presence in a Declining Population?

    PubMed Central

    Flower, Emily; Jones, Darryl; Bernede, Lilia

    2016-01-01

    Simple Summary Current scientific methods used to determine national population estimates for species like the koala, where individuals are scattered over a vast area, have failed to deliver an accurate and widely accepted result. Current citizen science projects aimed at mapping koala sightings reported by the public all use different methods and store their data in their own databases, each collecting scattered pieces of a much larger puzzle. To bring these pieces together, this study developed guidelines for a national citizen science project highlighting the importance of using one single method for data collection, and in turn assisting in the development of a national koala population database. Abstract The acceptance and application of citizen science has risen over the last 10 years, with this rise likely attributed to an increase in public awareness surrounding anthropogenic impacts affecting urban ecosystems. Citizen science projects have the potential to expand upon data collected by specialist researchers as they are able to gain access to previously unattainable information, consequently increasing the likelihood of an effective management program. The primary objective of this research was to develop guidelines for a successful regional-scale citizen science project following a critical analysis of 12 existing citizen science case studies. Secondly, the effectiveness of these guidelines was measured through the implementation of a citizen science project, Koala Quest, for the purpose of estimating the presence of koalas in a fragmented landscape. Consequently, this research aimed to determine whether citizen-collected data can augment traditional science research methods, by comparing and contrasting the abundance of koala sightings gathered by citizen scientists and professional researchers. Based upon the guidelines developed, Koala Quest methodologies were designed, the study conducted, and the efficacy of the project assessed. To combat the high

  15. Long-term data reveal a population decline of the tropical lizard Anolis apletophallus, and a negative affect of el nino years on population growth rate.

    PubMed

    Stapley, Jessica; Garcia, Milton; Andrews, Robin M

    2015-01-01

    Climate change threatens biodiversity worldwide, however predicting how particular species will respond is difficult because climate varies spatially, complex factors regulate population abundance, and species vary in their susceptibility to climate change. Studies need to incorporate these factors with long-term data in order to link climate change to population abundance. We used 40 years of lizard abundance data and local climate data from Barro Colorado Island to ask how climate, total lizard abundance and cohort-specific abundance have changed over time, and how total and cohort-specific abundance relate to climate variables including those predicted to make the species vulnerable to climate change (i.e. temperatures exceeding preferred body temperature). We documented a decrease in lizard abundance over the last 40 years, and changes in the local climate. Population growth rate was related to the previous years' southern oscillation index; increasing following cooler-wetter, la niña years, decreasing following warmer-drier, el nino years. Within-year recruitment was negatively related to rainfall and minimum temperature. This study simultaneously identified climatic factors driving long-term population fluctuations and climate variables influencing short-term annual recruitment, both of which may be contributing to the population decline and influence the population's future persistence. PMID:25671423

  16. Effects of Population Based Screening for Chlamydia Infections in The Netherlands Limited by Declining Participation Rates

    PubMed Central

    Schmid, Boris V.; Over, Eelco A. B.; van den Broek, Ingrid V. F.; Op de Coul, Eline L. M.; van Bergen, Jan E. A. M.; Fennema, Johan S. A.; Götz, Hannelore M.; Hoebe, Christian J. P. A.; de Wit, G. Ardine; van der Sande, Marianne A. B.; Kretzschmar, Mirjam E. E.

    2013-01-01

    Background A large trial to investigate the effectiveness of population based screening for chlamydia infections was conducted in the Netherlands in 2008–2012. The trial was register based and consisted of four rounds of screening of women and men in the age groups 16–29 years in three regions in the Netherlands. Data were collected on participation rates and positivity rates per round. A modeling study was conducted to project screening effects for various screening strategies into the future. Methods and Findings We used a stochastic network simulation model incorporating partnership formation and dissolution, aging and a sexual life course perspective. Trends in baseline rates of chlamydia testing and treatment were used to describe the epidemiological situation before the start of the screening program. Data on participation rates was used to describe screening uptake in rural and urban areas. Simulations were used to project the effectiveness of screening on chlamydia prevalence for a time period of 10 years. In addition, we tested alternative screening strategies, such as including only women, targeting different age groups, and biennial screening. Screening reduced prevalence by about 1% in the first two screening rounds and leveled off after that. Extrapolating observed participation rates into the future indicated very low participation in the long run. Alternative strategies only marginally changed the effectiveness of screening. Higher participation rates as originally foreseen in the program would have succeeded in reducing chlamydia prevalence to very low levels in the long run. Conclusions Decreasing participation rates over time profoundly impact the effectiveness of population based screening for chlamydia infections. Using data from several consecutive rounds of screening in a simulation model enabled us to assess the future effectiveness of screening on prevalence. If participation rates cannot be kept at a sufficient level, the effectiveness

  17. Can Citizen Science Assist in Determining Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Presence in a Declining Population?

    PubMed

    Flower, Emily; Jones, Darryl; Bernede, Lilia

    2016-01-01

    The acceptance and application of citizen science has risen over the last 10 years, with this rise likely attributed to an increase in public awareness surrounding anthropogenic impacts affecting urban ecosystems. Citizen science projects have the potential to expand upon data collected by specialist researchers as they are able to gain access to previously unattainable information, consequently increasing the likelihood of an effective management program. The primary objective of this research was to develop guidelines for a successful regional-scale citizen science project following a critical analysis of 12 existing citizen science case studies. Secondly, the effectiveness of these guidelines was measured through the implementation of a citizen science project, Koala Quest, for the purpose of estimating the presence of koalas in a fragmented landscape. Consequently, this research aimed to determine whether citizen-collected data can augment traditional science research methods, by comparing and contrasting the abundance of koala sightings gathered by citizen scientists and professional researchers. Based upon the guidelines developed, Koala Quest methodologies were designed, the study conducted, and the efficacy of the project assessed. To combat the high variability of estimated koala populations due to differences in counting techniques, a national monitoring and evaluation program is required, in addition to a standardised method for conducting koala population estimates. Citizen science is a useful method for monitoring animals such as the koala, which are sparsely distributed throughout a vast geographical area, as the large numbers of volunteers recruited by a citizen science project are capable of monitoring a similarly broad spatial range. PMID:27429008

  18. Genetic evidence for long-term population decline in a savannah-dwelling primate: inferences from a hierarchical bayesian model.

    PubMed

    Storz, Jay F; Beaumont, Mark A; Alberts, Susan C

    2002-11-01

    The purpose of this study was to test for evidence that savannah baboons (Papio cynocephalus) underwent a population expansion in concert with a hypothesized expansion of African human and chimpanzee populations during the late Pleistocene. The rationale is that any type of environmental event sufficient to cause simultaneous population expansions in African humans and chimpanzees would also be expected to affect other codistributed mammals. To test for genetic evidence of population expansion or contraction, we performed a coalescent analysis of multilocus microsatellite data using a hierarchical Bayesian model. Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations were used to estimate the posterior probability density of demographic and genealogical parameters. The model was designed to allow interlocus variation in mutational and demographic parameters, which made it possible to detect aberrant patterns of variation at individual loci that could result from heterogeneity in mutational dynamics or from the effects of selection at linked sites. Results of the MCMC simulations were consistent with zero variance in demographic parameters among loci, but there was evidence for a 10- to 20-fold difference in mutation rate between the most slowly and most rapidly evolving loci. Results of the model provided strong evidence that savannah baboons have undergone a long-term historical decline in population size. The mode of the highest posterior density for the joint distribution of current and ancestral population size indicated a roughly eightfold contraction over the past 1,000 to 250,000 years. These results indicate that savannah baboons apparently did not share a common demographic history with other codistributed primate species. PMID:12411607

  19. Future Estimation of Convenience Living Facilities Withdrawal due to Population Decline all Over Japan from 2010 TO 2040 - Focus on Supermarkets, Convenience Stores and Drugstores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishimoto, Yuka; Akiyama, Yuki; Shibasaki, Ryosuke

    2016-06-01

    Population explosion is considered to be one of the most crucial problems in the world. However, in Japan, the opposite problem: population decline has become serious now. Japanese population is estimated to decrease by twenty millions in 2040. This negative situation will cause to increase areas where many residents cannot make a daily living all over Japan because many convenience living facilities such as supermarkets, convenience stores and drugstores will be difficult to maintain their market area population due to future population decline. In our research, we used point data of convenience living facilities developed by address geocoding of digital telephone directory and point data of future population projection developed by distribution of Japanese official population projection data proportionally among the building volume of digital residential map, which can monitor building volumes all over Japan. In conclusion, we estimated that various convenience living facilities in Japan will shrink and close by population decline in near future. In particular, it is cleared that approximately 14.7% of supermarkets will be possible to withdraw all over Japan by 2040. In addition, it is cleared that over 40% of supermarkets in some countryside prefectures will be possible to withdraw by 2040. Thus, we estimated future distributions of convenience living facilities that cannot maintain their market area population due to future population decline. Moreover, we estimated the number of people that they will become inconvenience in buying fresh foods.

  20. Water clarity, maternal behavior, and physiology combine to eliminate UV radiation risk to amphibians in a montane landscape.

    PubMed

    Palen, Wendy J; Schindler, Daniel E

    2010-05-25

    Increasing UV-B radiation (UV-B; 290-320 nm) due to stratospheric ozone depletion has been a leading explanation for the decline in amphibians for nearly 2 decades. Yet, the likelihood that UV-B can influence amphibians at the large spatial scales relevant to population declines has not yet been evaluated. A key limitation has been in relating results from individual sites to the effect of UV-B for populations distributed across heterogeneous landscapes. We measured critical embryonic exposures to UV-B for two species of montane amphibians with contrasting physiological sensitivities, long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Cascades frog (Rana cascadae), at field sites spanning a gradient of UV-B attenuation in water. We then used these experimental results to estimate the proportion of embryos exposed to harmful UV-B across a large number of breeding sites. By combining surveys of the incubation timing, incident UV-B, optical transparency of water, and oviposition depth and light exposure of embryos at each site, we present a comprehensive assessment of the risk posed by UV-B for montane amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. We found that only 1.1% of A. macrodactylum and no R. cascadae embryos across a landscape of breeding sites are exposed to UV-B exceeding lethal levels. These results emphasize that accurately estimating the risk posed by environmental stressors requires placing experimental results in a broader ecological context that accounts for the heterogeneity experienced by populations distributed across natural landscapes. PMID:20479221

  1. Water clarity, maternal behavior, and physiology combine to eliminate UV radiation risk to amphibians in a montane landscape

    PubMed Central

    Palen, Wendy J.; Schindler, Daniel E.

    2010-01-01

    Increasing UV-B radiation (UV-B; 290–320 nm) due to stratospheric ozone depletion has been a leading explanation for the decline in amphibians for nearly 2 decades. Yet, the likelihood that UV-B can influence amphibians at the large spatial scales relevant to population declines has not yet been evaluated. A key limitation has been in relating results from individual sites to the effect of UV-B for populations distributed across heterogeneous landscapes. We measured critical embryonic exposures to UV-B for two species of montane amphibians with contrasting physiological sensitivities, long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Cascades frog (Rana cascadae), at field sites spanning a gradient of UV-B attenuation in water. We then used these experimental results to estimate the proportion of embryos exposed to harmful UV-B across a large number of breeding sites. By combining surveys of the incubation timing, incident UV-B, optical transparency of water, and oviposition depth and light exposure of embryos at each site, we present a comprehensive assessment of the risk posed by UV-B for montane amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. We found that only 1.1% of A. macrodactylum and no R. cascadae embryos across a landscape of breeding sites are exposed to UV-B exceeding lethal levels. These results emphasize that accurately estimating the risk posed by environmental stressors requires placing experimental results in a broader ecological context that accounts for the heterogeneity experienced by populations distributed across natural landscapes. PMID:20479221

  2. Increasing population and declining biological resources in the context of global change and globalization.

    PubMed

    Ramakrishnan, P S

    2001-11-01

    In the context of over-consumption of natural resources in the name of development and rapid industrialization by a small section of the human population that is rapidly growing, the world is currently faced with a variety of environmental uncertainties. 'Global change' covering a whole variety of ecological issues, and 'globalization' in an economic sense, are two major phenomena that are responsible for these uncertainties. There is increasing evidence to suggest that the developing countries more than the developed, particularly the marginalized traditional (those living close to nature and natural resources) societies would be the worst sufferers. In order to cope with this problem in a situation where the traditional societies have to cope with rapidly depleting biodiversity on which they are dependant for their livelihood, there is an urgent need to explore additional pathways for sustainable management of natural resources and societal development. Such pathways should be based on a landscape management strategy, that takes into consideration the rich traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that these societies have. This is critical because TEK is the connecting link between conservation and sustainable development. This paper explores the possibilities in this direction through a balanced approach to development, that links the 'traditional' with the 'modern', in a location-specific way. PMID:11779960

  3. Population Of US Practicing Psychiatrists Declined, 2003-13, Which May Help Explain Poor Access To Mental Health Care.

    PubMed

    Bishop, Tara F; Seirup, Joanna K; Pincus, Harold Alan; Ross, Joseph S

    2016-07-01

    A large proportion of the US population suffers from mental illness. Limited access to psychiatrists may be a contributor to the underuse of mental health services. We studied changes in the supply of psychiatrists from 2003 to 2013, compared to changes in the supply of primary care physicians and neurologists. During this period the number of practicing psychiatrists declined from 37,968 to 37,889, which represented a 10.2 percent reduction in the median number of psychiatrists per 100,000 residents in hospital referral regions. In contrast, the numbers of primary care physicians and neurologists grew during the study period. These findings may help explain why patients report poor access to mental health care. Future research should explore the impact of the declining psychiatrist supply on patients and investigate new models of care that seek to integrate mental health and primary care or use team-based care that combines the services of psychiatrists and nonphysician providers for individuals with severe mental illnesses. PMID:27385244

  4. Effects of illegal harvest of eggs on the population decline of leatherback turtles in Las Baulas Marine National Park, Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Tomillo, Pilar Santidrián; Saba, Vincent S; Piedra, Rotney; Paladino, Frank V; Spotila, James R

    2008-10-01

    Within 19 years the nesting population of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) at Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas declined from 1500 turtles nesting per year to about 100. We analyzed the effects of fishery bycatch and illegal harvesting (poaching) of eggs on this population. We modeled the population response to different levels of egg harvest (90, 75, 50, and 25%) and the effect of eradicating poaching at different times during the population decline. We compared effects of 90% poaching with those of 20% adult mortality because both of these processes were present in the population at Las Baulas. There was a stepwise decline in number of nesting turtles at all levels of egg harvest. Extirpation times for different levels of poaching ranged from 45 to 282 years. The nesting population declined more slowly and survived longer with 20% adult mortality (146 years) than it did with 90% poaching (45 years). Time that elapsed until poaching stopped determined the average population size at which the population stabilized, ranging from 90 to 420 nesting turtles. Our model predicted that saving clutches lost naturally would restore the population when adult mortality rates were low and would contribute more to population recovery when there were short remigration intervals between nesting seasons and a large proportion of natural loss of clutches. Because the model indicated that poaching was the most important cause of the leatherback decline at Las Baulas, protecting nests on the beach and protecting the beach from development are critical for survival of this population. Nevertheless, the model predicted that current high mortality rates of adults will prevent population recovery. Therefore, protection of the beach habitat and nests must be continued and fishery bycatch must be reduced to save this population. PMID:18637915

  5. Long-Term Data Reveal a Population Decline of the Tropical Lizard Anolis apletophallus, and a Negative Affect of El Nino Years on Population Growth Rate

    PubMed Central

    Stapley, Jessica; Garcia, Milton; Andrews, Robin M.

    2015-01-01

    Climate change threatens biodiversity worldwide, however predicting how particular species will respond is difficult because climate varies spatially, complex factors regulate population abundance, and species vary in their susceptibility to climate change. Studies need to incorporate these factors with long-term data in order to link climate change to population abundance. We used 40 years of lizard abundance data and local climate data from Barro Colorado Island to ask how climate, total lizard abundance and cohort-specific abundance have changed over time, and how total and cohort-specific abundance relate to climate variables including those predicted to make the species vulnerable to climate change (i.e. temperatures exceeding preferred body temperature). We documented a decrease in lizard abundance over the last 40 years, and changes in the local climate. Population growth rate was related to the previous years’ southern oscillation index; increasing following cooler-wetter, la niña years, decreasing following warmer-drier, el nino years. Within-year recruitment was negatively related to rainfall and minimum temperature. This study simultaneously identified climatic factors driving long-term population fluctuations and climate variables influencing short-term annual recruitment, both of which may be contributing to the population decline and influence the population’s future persistence. PMID:25671423

  6. 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

  7. Brief Report: Anal Cancer in the HIV-Positive Population: Slowly Declining Incidence After a Decade of cART.

    PubMed

    Richel, Olivier; Van Der Zee, Ramon P; Smit, Colette; De Vries, Henry J C; Prins, Jan M

    2015-08-15

    We surveyed trends in incidence (1995-2012) and risk factors for anal cancer in the Dutch HIV-positive population. After an initial increase with a peak incidence in 2005-2006 of 114 [95% confidence interval (CI): 74 to 169] in all HIV+ patients and 168 (95% CI: 103 to 259) in HIV+ men who have sex with men (MSM), a decline to 72 (95% CI: 43 to 113) and 100 (95% CI: 56 to 164), respectively, was seen in 2011-2012. Low nadir CD4, alcohol use, and smoking were significantly associated with anal cancer in MSM. In conclusion, anal cancer remains a serious problem in predominantly HIV+ MSM. However, it seems that incidence rates are leveling off. PMID:26167621

  8. Range-wide distribution of genetic diversity in the North American tree Juglans cinerea: a product of range shifts, not ecological marginality or recent population decline.

    PubMed

    Hoban, Sean M; Borkowski, Daniel S; Brosi, Sunshine L; McCleary, Tim S; Thompson, Laura M; McLachlan, Jason S; Pereira, Marie A; Schlarbaum, Scott E; Romero-Severson, Jeanne

    2010-11-01

    The spatial distribution of genetic diversity is a product of recent and historical ecological processes, as well as anthropogenic activities. A current challenge in population and conservation genetics is to disentangle the relative effects of these processes, as a first step in predicting population response to future environmental change. In this investigation, we compare the influence of contemporary population decline, contemporary ecological marginality and postglacial range shifts. Using classical model comparison procedures and Bayesian methods, we have identified postglacial range shift as the clear determinant of genetic diversity, differentiation and bottlenecks in 29 populations of butternut, Juglans cinerea L., a North American outcrossing forest tree. Although butternut has experienced dramatic 20th century decline because of an introduced fungal pathogen, our analysis indicates that recent population decline has had less genetic impact than postglacial recolonization history. Location within the range edge vs. the range core also failed to account for the observed patterns of diversity and differentiation. Our results suggest that the genetic impact of large-scale recent population losses in forest trees should be considered in the light of Pleistocene-era large-scale range shifts that may have had long-term genetic consequences. The data also suggest that the population dynamics and life history of wind-pollinated forest trees may provide a buffer against steep population declines of short duration, a result having important implications for habitat management efforts, ex situ conservation sampling and population viability analysis. PMID:21040046

  9. Reproduction, embryonic development, and maternal transfer of contaminants in the amphibian Gastrophryne carolinensis

    SciTech Connect

    Hopkins, W.A.; DuRant, S.E.; Staub, B.P.; Rowe, C.L.; Jackson, B.P.

    2006-05-15

    Although many amphibian populations around the world are declining at alarming rates, the cause of most declines remains unknown. Environmental contamination is one of several factors implicated in declines and may have particularly important effects on sensitive developmental stages. We examined maternal transfer of contaminants in eastern narrow-mouth toads (Gastrophryne carolinensis) collected from a reference site and near a coal-burning power plant. Adult toads inhabiting the industrial area transferred significant quantities of selenium and strontium to their eggs, but Se concentrations were most notable (up to 100 {mu} g/g dry mass). Compared with the reference site, hatching success was reduced by 11% in clutches from the contaminated site. In surviving larvae, the frequency of developmental abnormalities and abnormal swimming was 55-58% higher in the contaminated site relative to the reference site. Craniofacial abnormalities were nearly an order of magnitude more prevalent in hatchlings from the contaminated site. When all developmental criteria were considered collectively, offspring from the contaminated site experienced 19% lower viability. Although there was no statistical relationship between the concentration of Se or Sr transferred to eggs and any measure of offspring viability, our study demonstrates that maternal transfer may be an important route of contaminant exposure in amphibians that has been overlooked.

  10. Disruption of Rhino Demography by Poachers May Lead to Population Declines in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Sam M; Greaver, Cathy; Knight, Grant A; Knight, Mike H; Smit, Izak P J; Pienaar, Danie

    2015-01-01

    The onslaught on the World's rhinoceroses continues despite numerous initiatives aimed at curbing it. When losses due to poaching exceed birth rates, declining rhino populations result. We used previously published estimates and growth rates for black rhinos (2008) and white rhinos (2010) together with known poaching trends at the time to predict population sizes and poaching rates in Kruger National Park, South Africa for 2013. Kruger is a stronghold for the south-eastern black rhino and southern white rhino. Counting rhinos on 878 blocks 3x3 km in size using helicopters, estimating availability bias and collating observer and detectability biases allowed estimates using the Jolly's estimator. The exponential escalation in number of rhinos poached per day appears to have slowed. The black rhino estimate of 414 individuals (95% confidence interval: 343-487) was lower than the predicted 835 individuals (95% CI: 754-956). The white rhino estimate of 8,968 individuals (95% CI: 8,394-9,564) overlapped with the predicted 9,417 individuals (95% CI: 7,698-11,183). Density- and rainfall-dependent responses in birth- and death rates of white rhinos provide opportunities to offset anticipated poaching effects through removals of rhinos from high density areas to increase birth and survival rates. Biological management of rhinos, however, need complimentary management of the poaching threat as present poaching trends predict detectable declines in white rhino abundances by 2018. Strategic responses such as anti-poaching that protect supply from illegal harvesting, reducing demand, and increasing supply commonly require crime network disruption as a first step complimented by providing options for alternative economies in areas abutting protected areas. PMID:26121681

  11. Disruption of Rhino Demography by Poachers May Lead to Population Declines in Kruger National Park, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Ferreira, Sam M.; Greaver, Cathy; Knight, Grant A.; Knight, Mike H.; Smit, Izak P. J.; Pienaar, Danie

    2015-01-01

    The onslaught on the World’s rhinoceroses continues despite numerous initiatives aimed at curbing it. When losses due to poaching exceed birth rates, declining rhino populations result. We used previously published estimates and growth rates for black rhinos (2008) and white rhinos (2010) together with known poaching trends at the time to predict population sizes and poaching rates in Kruger National Park, South Africa for 2013. Kruger is a stronghold for the south-eastern black rhino and southern white rhino. Counting rhinos on 878 blocks 3x3 km in size using helicopters, estimating availability bias and collating observer and detectability biases allowed estimates using the Jolly’s estimator. The exponential escalation in number of rhinos poached per day appears to have slowed. The black rhino estimate of 414 individuals (95% confidence interval: 343-487) was lower than the predicted 835 individuals (95% CI: 754-956). The white rhino estimate of 8,968 individuals (95% CI: 8,394-9,564) overlapped with the predicted 9,417 individuals (95% CI: 7,698-11,183). Density- and rainfall-dependent responses in birth- and death rates of white rhinos provide opportunities to offset anticipated poaching effects through removals of rhinos from high density areas to increase birth and survival rates. Biological management of rhinos, however, need complimentary management of the poaching threat as present poaching trends predict detectable declines in white rhino abundances by 2018. Strategic responses such as anti-poaching that protect supply from illegal harvesting, reducing demand, and increasing supply commonly require crime network disruption as a first step complimented by providing options for alternative economies in areas abutting protected areas. PMID:26121681

  12. 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

  13. Declining HIV Prevalence in Parallel With Safer Sex Behaviors in Burkina Faso: Evidence From Surveillance and Population-Based Surveys

    PubMed Central

    Kirakoya-Samadoulougou, Fati; Nagot, Nicolas; Samadoulougou, Sekou; Sokey, Mamadou; Guiré, Abdoulaye; Sombié, Issiaka; Meda, Nicolas

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Objective: To investigate trends in HIV prevalence and changes in reported sexual behaviors between 1998 and 2014 in Burkina Faso. Methods: We obtained data on HIV prevalence from antenatal care (ANC) surveillance sites (N = 9) that were consistently included in surveillance between 1998 and 2014. We also analyzed data on HIV prevalence and reported sex behaviors from 3 population-based surveys from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), conducted in 1998–99, 2003, and 2010. Sex behavior indicators comprised never-married youth who have never had sex; sex with more than 1 partner; sex with a nonmarital, non-cohabiting partner; condom use at last sex with a nonmarital, non-cohabiting partner; and sex before age 15. We calculated survey-specific HIV prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and used the chi-square test or chi-square test for trend to compare HIV prevalence across survey years and to analyze trends in reported sex behaviors. Results: HIV prevalence among pregnant women ages 15–49 decreased by 72% in urban areas, from 7.1% in 1998 to 2.0% in 2014, and by 75% in rural areas, from 2.0% in 2003 to 0.5% in 2014. HIV declined most in younger age groups, which is a good reflection of recent incidence, with declines of 55% among 15–19-year-olds, 72% among 20–24-year-olds, 40% among 25–29-year-olds, and 7% among those ≥30 years old (considering urban and rural data combined). Data reported in the DHS corroborated these declines in HIV prevalence: between 2003 and 2010, HIV prevalence dropped significantly—by 89% among girls ages 15–19, from 0.9% (95% CI, 0.2 to 1.6) to 0.1% (95% CI, 0.0 to 0.4), and by 78% among young women ages 20–24, from 1.8% (95% CI, 1.6 to 3.0) to 0.4% (95% CI, 0.0 to 0.7). During the same time period, people reported safer sex behaviors. For example, significantly higher percentages of never-married youth reported they had never had sex, lower percentages of sexually active youth reported multiple

  14. Facility design and associated services for the study of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Browne, Robert K; Odum, R Andrew; Herman, Timothy; Zippel, Kevin

    2007-01-01

    The role of facilities and associated services for amphibians has recently undergone diversification. Amphibians traditionally used as research models adjust well to captivity and thrive with established husbandry techniques. However, it is now necessary to maintain hundreds of novel amphibian species in captive breeding, conservation research, and biomedical research programs. These diverse species have a very wide range of husbandry requirements, and in many cases the ultimate survival of threatened species will depend on captive populations. Two critical factors have emerged in the maintenance of amphibians, stringent quarantine and high-quality water. Because exotic diseases such as chytridiomycosis have devastated both natural and captive populations of amphibians, facilities must provide stringent quarantine. The provision of high-quality water is also essential to maintain amphibian health and condition due to the intimate physiological relationship of amphibians to their aquatic environment. Fortunately, novel technologies backed by recent advances in the scientific knowledge of amphibian biology and disease management are available to overcome these challenges. For example, automation can increase the reliability of quarantine and maintain water quality, with a corresponding decrease in handling and the associated disease-transfer risk. It is essential to build facilities with appropriate nontoxic waterproof materials and to provide quarantined amphibian rooms for each population. Other spaces and services include live feed rooms, quarantine stations, isolation rooms, laboratory space, technical support systems, reliable energy and water supplies, high-quality feed, and security. Good husbandry techniques must include reliable and species-specific management by trained staff members who receive support from the administration. It is possible to improve husbandry techniques for many species by sharing knowledge through common information systems. Overall

  15. Seasonal Differences in Extinction and Colonization Drive Occupancy Dynamics of an Imperilled Amphibian

    PubMed Central

    Randall, Lea A.; Smith, Des H. V.; Jones, Breana L.; Prescott, David R. C.; Moehrenschlager, Axel

    2015-01-01

    A detailed understanding of the population dynamics of many amphibian species is lacking despite concerns about declining amphibian biodiversity and abundance. This paper explores temporal patterns of occupancy and underlying extinction and colonization dynamics in a regionally imperiled amphibian species, the Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in Alberta. Our study contributes to elucidating regional occupancy dynamics at northern latitudes, where climate extremes likely have a profound effect on seasonal occupancy. The primary advantage of our study is its wide geographic scale (60,000 km2) and the use of repeat visual surveys each spring and summer from 2009–2013. We find that occupancy varied more dramatically between seasons than years, with low spring and higher summer occupancy. Between spring and summer, colonization was high and extinction low; inversely, colonization was low and extinction high over the winter. The dynamics of extinction and colonization are complex, making conservation management challenging. Our results reveal that Northern leopard frog occupancy was constant over the last five years and thus there is no evidence of decline or recovery within our study area. Changes to equilibrium occupancy are most sensitive to increasing colonization in the spring or declining extinction in the summer. Therefore, conservation and management efforts should target actions that are likely to increase spring colonization; this could be achieved through translocations or improving the quality or access to breeding habitat. Because summer occupancy is already high, it may be difficult to improve further. Nevertheless, summer extinction could be reduced by predator control, increasing water quality or hydroperiod of wetlands, or increasing the quality or quantity of summer habitat. PMID:25993256

  16. Detecting population declines over large areas with presence-absence, time-to-encounter, and count survey methods.

    PubMed

    Pollock, Jacob E

    2006-06-01

    Ecologists often discount presence-absence surveys as a poor way to gain insight into population dynamics, in part because these surveys are not amenable to many standard statistical tests. Still, presence-absence surveys are sometimes the only feasible alternative for monitoring large areas when funds are limited, especially for sparse or difficult-to-detect species. I undertook a detailed simulation study to compare the power of presence-absence, count, and time-to-encounter surveys to detect regional declines in a population. I used a modeling approach that simulates both population numbers and the monitoring process, accounting for observation and other measurement errors. In gauging the efficacy of presence-absence surveys versus other approaches, I varied the number of survey sites, the spatial variation in encounter rate, the mean encounter rate, and the type of population loss. My results showed that presence-absence data can be as or more powerful than count data in many cases. Quantitative guidelines for choosing between presence-absence surveys and count surveys depend on the biological and logistical constraints governing a conservation monitoring situation. Generally, presence-absence surveys work best when there is little variability in abundance among the survey sites, the organism is rare, and the species is difficult to detect so that the time spent getting to each survey site is less than or equal to the time spent surveying each site. Count surveys work best otherwise. I present a case study with count data on the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) from the North American Breeding Bird Survey to illustrate how the method might be used with field-survey data. The case study demonstrates that a count survey would be the most cost-effective design but would entail reduction in the number of sites. If this site reduction is not desirable, a presence-absence survey would be the most cost-effective survey. PMID:16909580

  17. 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.

  18. Acid precipitation studies in Colorado and Wyoming: interim report of surveys of montane amphibians and water chemistry

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen; Stolzenburg, William; Bury, R. Bruce

    1989-01-01

    Acid deposition may be detrimental or stressful to native populations of wildlife. Because many species of amphibians breed in shallow ponds created by spring rains or melting snow, they may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of acidification. From 1986 to 1988, we surveyed 105 locations in the central Rocky Mountains where amphibians had been recorded previously, and we found that two species of amphibians had experiences major losses. We found the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) at only 4 of 33 (12%) historically known localities, and the boreal toad (Bufo boreas) was present at 10 of 59 (17%) known localities. Three other species have not suffered region-wide declines. Tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) were present at 45% and 69% of known localities respectively, and were observed at several localities were they had not been recorded previously. Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) suffered a catastrophic decline in population size in one population monitored since 1961, but regionally, this species was observed in 36 of 56 (64%) known localities and in another 19 localities where there were no previous records. Complete water chemistry was recorded for 41 localities, and pH was measured at 110 sites in total. Acid neutralizing capacity, pH, specific conductivity, and cation concentrations were negatively correlated with elevation. However, in mountain ponds and lakes, pH was rarely less than 6.0 during the amphibian breeding season. We tested the tolerance of embryos of the four species of frogs to low pH. The LC50 pH was 4.8 for chorus frogs, 4.4-4.7 for leopard frogs, 4.4-4.5 for boreal toads, and 4.2-4.3 for wood frogs. Survival of wood frog embryos declined when exposed to aluminum concentrations of 100 µg/L or greater, but boreal toad embryos survived exposure to aluminum concentrations of 400 µg/L. Acid deposition does not appear to be a major factor in the decline of leopard frogs and boreal toads

  19. Climate-associated population declines reverse recovery and threaten future of an iconic high-elevation plant

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krushelnycky, Paul D.; Loope, Lloyd L.; Giambelluca, Thomas W.; Starr, Forest; Starr, Kim; Drake, Donald R.; Taylor, Andrew D.; Robichaux, Robert H.

    2013-01-01

    Although climate change is predicted to place mountain-top and other narrowly endemic species at severe risk of extinction, the ecological processes involved in such extinctions are still poorly resolved. In addition, much of this biodiversity loss will likely go unobserved, and therefore largely unappreciated. The Haleakalā silversword is restricted to a single volcano summit in Hawai‘i, but is a highly charismatic giant rosette plant that is viewed by 1–2 million visitors annually. We link detailed local climate data to a lengthy demographic record, and combine both with a population-wide assessment of recent plant mortality and recruitment, to show that after decades of strong recovery following successful management, this iconic species has entered a period of substantial climate-associated decline. Mortality has been highest at the lower end of the distributional range, where most silverswords occur, and the strong association of annual population growth rates with patterns of precipitation suggests an increasing frequency of lethal water stress. Local climate data confirm trends toward warmer and drier conditions on the mountain, and signify a bleak outlook for silverswords if these trends continue. The silversword example foreshadows trouble for diversity in other biological hotspots, and illustrates how even well-protected and relatively abundant species may succumb to climate-induced stresses.

  20. Introduction of ranavirus to isolated wood frog populations could cause local extinction.

    PubMed

    Earl, Julia E; Gray, Matthew J

    2014-12-01

    Amphibian declines and extinction have been attributed to many causes, including disease such as chytridiomycosis. Other pathogens may also contribute to declines, with ranavirus as the most likely candidate given reoccurring die-offs observed in the wild. We were interested in whether it is possible for ranavirus to cause extinction of a local, closed population of amphibians. We used susceptibility data from experimental challenges on different life stages combined with estimates of demographic parameters from a natural population to predict the likelihood of extinction using a stage-structured population model for wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). Extinction was most likely when the larval or metamorph stage was exposed under frequent intervals in smaller populations. Extinction never occurred when only the egg stage was exposed to ranavirus. Under the worst-case scenario, extinction could occur in as quickly as 5 years with exposure every year and 25-44 years with exposure every 2 years. In natural wood frog populations, die-offs typically occur in the larval stage and can reoccur in subsequent years, indicating that our simulations represent possible scenarios. Additionally, wood frog populations are particularly sensitive to changes in survival during the pre-metamorphic stages when ranavirus tends to be most pathogenic. Our results suggest that ranavirus could contribute to amphibian species declines, especially for species that are very susceptible to ranavirus with closed populations. We recommend that ranavirus be considered in risk analyses for amphibian species. PMID:24962849

  1. 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…

  2. The Current and Historical Distribution of Special Status Amphibians at the Livermore Site and Site 300

    SciTech Connect

    Hattem, M V; Paterson, L; Woollett, J

    2008-08-20

    65 surveys were completed in 2002 to assess the current distribution of special status amphibians at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) Livermore Site and Site 300. Combined with historical information from previous years, the information presented herein illustrates the dynamic and probable risk that amphibian populations face at both sites. The Livermore Site is developed and in stark contrast to the mostly undeveloped Site 300. Yet both sites have significant issues threatening the long-term sustainability of their respective amphibian populations. Livermore Site amphibians are presented with a suite of challenges inherent of urban interfaces, most predictably the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), while Site 300's erosion issues and periodic feral pig (Sus scrofa) infestations reduce and threaten populations. The long-term sustainability of LLNL's special status amphibians will require active management and resource commitment to maintain and restore amphibian habitat at both sites.

  3. Canopy Defoliation has More Impact on Carbohydrate Availability than on Hydraulic Function in Declining Scots Pine Populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poyatos, R.; Aguadé, D.; Gómez, M.; Mencuccini, M.; Martínez-Vilalta, J.

    2013-12-01

    Drought-induced defoliation has recently been associated with depletion of carbohydrate reserves and increased mortality risk in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at its dry limit. Are defoliated pines hydraulically impaired compared to non-defoliated pines? Moreover, how do defoliated pines cope with potentially lethal droughts, as compared to non-defoliated pines in the same population? In order to address these questions, we measured the seasonal dynamics of sap flow and needle water potentials (2010-2012), hydraulic function and non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) (2012) in healthy and defoliated pines in the Prades mountains (NE Spain). The summer drought was mild in 2010, intense in 2012 and extremely long in 2011. Defoliated Scots pines showed higher sap flow per unit leaf area during spring, but they were more sensitive to summer drought (Figure 1). This pattern was associated with a steeper decline in soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductance, which could not be explained by differences in branch vulnerability to embolism across defoliation classes. Accordingly, the native loss of xylem conductivity in branches, measured in 2012, remained similar across defoliation classes and reached >65% at the peak of the drought. However, a steeper vulnerability curve was observed for root xylem of defoliated pines. Xylem diameter variations (2011-2012) will be used to further investigate possible differences in the aboveground/belowground partitioning of hydraulic resistance across defoliation classes. NSC levels varied across tree organs (leaves>branches>roots>trunk) and strongly declined with drought. Defoliated pines displayed reduced NSC levels throughout the study period, despite enhanced water transport capacity and increased gas exchange rates during spring. Overall, the defoliated vs. healthy status seems to be more associated to differences in carbohydrate storage and dynamics than to hydraulic differences per se. However, starch conversion to soluble sugars during

  4. A Method for Investigating Population Declines of Migratory Birds Using Stable Isotopes: Origins of Harvested Lesser Scaup in North America

    PubMed Central

    Hobson, Keith A.; Wunder, Michael B.; Van Wilgenburg, Steven L.; Clark, Robert G.; Wassenaar, Leonard I.

    2009-01-01

    Background Elucidating geographic locations from where migratory birds are recruited into adult breeding populations is a fundamental but largely elusive goal in conservation biology. This is especially true for species that breed in remote northern areas where field-based demographic assessments are logistically challenging. Methodology/Findings Here we used hydrogen isotopes (δD) to determine natal origins of migrating hatch-year lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) harvested by hunters in the United States from all North American flyways during the hunting seasons of 1999–2000 (n = 412) and 2000–2001 (n = 455). We combined geospatial, observational, and analytical data sources, including known scaup breeding range, δD values of feathers from juveniles at natal sites, models of δD for growing-season precipitation, and scaup band-recovery data to generate probabilistic natal origin landscapes for individual scaup. We then used Monte Carlo integration to model assignment uncertainty from among individual δD variance estimates from birds of known molt origin and also from band-return data summarized at the flyway level. We compared the distribution of scaup natal origin with the distribution of breeding population counts obtained from systematic long-term surveys. Conclusions/Significance Our analysis revealed that the proportion of young scaup produced in the northern (above 60°N) versus the southern boreal and Prairie-Parkland region was inversely related to the proportions of breeding adults using these regions, suggesting that despite having a higher relative abundance of breeding adults, the northern boreal region was less productive for scaup recruitment into the harvest than more southern biomes. Our approach for evaluating population declines of migratory birds (particularly game birds) synthesizes all available distributional data and exploits the advantages of intrinsic isotopic markers that link individuals to geography. PMID:19946360

  5. Estimating Trends of Population Decline in Long-Lived Marine Species in the Mediterranean Sea Based on Fishers' Perceptions

    PubMed Central

    Maynou, Francesc; Sbrana, Mario; Sartor, Paolo; Maravelias, Christos; Kavadas, Stefanos; Damalas, Dimitros; Cartes, Joan E.; Osio, Giacomo

    2011-01-01

    We conducted interviews of a representative sample of 106 retired fishers in Italy, Spain and Greece, asking specific questions about the trends they perceived in dolphin and shark abundances between 1940 and 1999 (in three 20 year periods) compared to the present abundance. The large marine fauna studied were not target species of the commercial fleet segment interviewed (trawl fishery). The fishers were asked to rank the perceived abundance in each period into qualitative ordinal classes based on two indicators: frequency of sightings and frequency of catches (incidental or intentional) of each taxonomic group. The statistical analysis of the survey results showed that both incidental catches and the sighting frequency of dolphins have decreased significantly over the 60+ years of the study period (except for in Greece due to the recent population increase). This shows that fishers' perceptions are in agreement with the declining population trends detected by scientists. Shark catches were also perceived to have diminished since the early 1940s for all species. Other long-lived Mediterranean marine fauna (monk seals, whales) were at very low levels in the second half of the 20th century and no quantitative data could be obtained. Our study supports the results obtained in the Mediterranean and other seas that show the rapid disappearance (over a few decades) of marine fauna. We show that appropriately designed questionnaires help provide a picture of animal abundance in the past through the valuable perceptions of fishers. This information can be used to complement scientific sources or in some cases be taken as the only information source for establishing population trends in the abundance of sensitive species. PMID:21818268

  6. Mixed Fortunes: Ancient Expansion and Recent Decline in Population Size of a Subtropical Montane Primate, the Arunachal Macaque Macaca munzala

    PubMed Central

    Chakraborty, Debapriyo; Sinha, Anindya; Ramakrishnan, Uma

    2014-01-01

    Quaternary glacial oscillations are known to have caused population size fluctuations in many temperate species. Species from subtropical and tropical regions are, however, considerably less studied, despite representing most of the biodiversity hotspots in the world including many highly threatened by anthropogenic activities such as hunting. These regions, consequently, pose a significant knowledge gap in terms of how their fauna have typically responded to past climatic changes. We studied an endangered primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, from the subtropical southern edge of the Tibetan plateau, a part of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, also known to be highly threatened due to rampant hunting. We employed a 534 bp-long mitochondrial DNA sequence and 22 autosomal microsatellite loci to investigate the factors that have potentially shaped the demographic history of the species. Analysing the genetic data with traditional statistical methods and advance Bayesian inferential approaches, we demonstrate a limited effect of past glacial fluctuations on the demographic history of the species before the last glacial maximum, approximately 20,000 years ago. This was, however, immediately followed by a significant population expansion possibly due to warmer climatic conditions, approximately 15,000 years ago. These changes may thus represent an apparent balance between that displayed by the relatively climatically stable tropics and those of the more severe, temperate environments of the past. This study also draws attention to the possibility that a cold-tolerant species like the Arunachal macaque, which could withstand historical climate fluctuations and grow once the climate became conducive, may actually be extremely vulnerable to anthropogenic exploitation, as is perhaps indicated by its Holocene ca. 30-fold population decline, approximately 3,500 years ago. Our study thus provides a quantitative appraisal of these demographically important

  7. Helping Your Local Amphibians (HYLA): An Internet-Based Amphibian Course for Educators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, Tony P.

    2001-12-01

    A pilot on-line course on amphibians was offered free to 20 educators around the United States in 1999. This course, called Helping Your Local Amphibians (HYLA), was the first of its kind on-line course for educators dealing with amphibian issues. It also used these animals as a focus to teach about the environment. The course lasted 9 weeks with some additional time for continued discussions and used various aspects of Internet technology (including a virtual conference center), media, and traditional paper-based products to complete the learning process. Five teachers were selected to attend a national amphibian summit hosted by the Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. The course was aimed primarily at upper elementary and middle school teachers, but participants included formal and nonformal educators. For the most part, educators expressed satisfaction with the course and the content, as well as the structure of the web site. For 80% of the group, this was their first Internet-based course. In addition, as part of the course, the educators were expected to take some action with their primary audiences to help local amphibian populations. This mainly took the form of surveys or habitat clean-ups. The development of the course was underwritten by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Best Buy Children's Foundation, and Hamline University.

  8. Cattle Grazing and Conservation of a Meadow-Dependent Amphibian Species in the Sierra Nevada

    PubMed Central

    Roche, Leslie M.; Latimer, Andrew M.; Eastburn, Danny J.; Tate, Kenneth W.

    2012-01-01

    World-wide population declines have sharpened concern for amphibian conservation on working landscapes. Across the Sierra Nevada's national forest lands, where almost half of native amphibian species are considered at risk, permitted livestock grazing is a notably controversial agricultural activity. Cattle (Bos taurus) grazing is thought to degrade the quality, and thus reduce occupancy, of meadow breeding habitat for amphibian species of concern such as the endemic Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus [ = Bufo] canorus). However, there is currently little quantitative information correlating cattle grazing intensity, meadow breeding habitat quality, and toad use of meadow habitat. We surveyed biotic and abiotic factors influencing cattle utilization and toad occupancy across 24 Sierra Nevada meadows to establish these correlations and inform conservation planning efforts. We utilized both traditional regression models and Bayesian structural equation modeling to investigate potential drivers of meadow habitat use by cattle and Yosemite toads. Cattle use was negatively related to meadow wetness, while toad occupancy was positively related. In mid and late season (mid July–mid September) grazing periods, cattle selected for higher forage quality diets associated with vegetation in relatively drier meadows, whereas toads were more prevalent in wetter meadows. Because cattle and toads largely occupied divergent zones along the moisture gradient, the potential for indirect or direct negative effects is likely minimized via a partitioning of the meadow habitat. During the early season, when habitat use overlap was highest, overall low grazing levels resulted in no detectable impacts on toad occupancy. Bayesian structural equation analyses supported the hypothesis that meadow hydrology influenced toad meadow occupancy, while cattle grazing intensity did not. These findings suggest cattle production and amphibian conservation can be compatible goals within this working

  9. 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

  10. Localized Hotspots Drive Continental Geography of Abnormal Amphibians on U.S. Wildlife Refuges

    PubMed Central

    Reeves, Mari K.; Medley, Kimberly A.; Pinkney, Alfred E.; Holyoak, Marcel; Johnson, Pieter T. J.; Lannoo, Michael J.

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians with missing, misshapen, and extra limbs have garnered public and scientific attention for two decades, yet the extent of the phenomenon remains poorly understood. Despite progress in identifying the causes of abnormalities in some regions, a lack of knowledge about their broader spatial distribution and temporal dynamics has hindered efforts to understand their implications for amphibian population declines and environmental quality. To address this data gap, we conducted a nationwide, 10-year assessment of 62,947 amphibians on U.S. National Wildlife Refuges. Analysis of a core dataset of 48,081 individuals revealed that consistent with expected background frequencies, an average of 2% were abnormal, but abnormalities exhibited marked spatial variation with a maximum prevalence of 40%. Variance partitioning analysis demonstrated that factors associated with space (rather than species or year sampled) captured 97% of the variation in abnormalities, and the amount of partitioned variance decreased with increasing spatial scale (from site to refuge to region). Consistent with this, abnormalities occurred in local to regional hotspots, clustering at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers. We detected such hotspot clusters of high-abnormality sites in the Mississippi River Valley, California, and Alaska. Abnormality frequency was more variable within than outside of hotspot clusters. This is consistent with dynamic phenomena such as disturbance or natural enemies (pathogens or predators), whereas similarity of abnormality frequencies at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers suggests involvement of factors that are spatially consistent at a regional scale. Our characterization of the spatial and temporal variation inherent in continent-wide amphibian abnormalities demonstrates the disproportionate contribution of local factors in predicting hotspots, and the episodic nature of their occurrence. PMID:24260103

  11. 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

  12. Localized hotspots drive continental geography of abnormal amphibians on U.S. wildlife refuges.

    PubMed

    Reeves, Mari K; Medley, Kimberly A; Pinkney, Alfred E; Holyoak, Marcel; Johnson, Pieter T J; Lannoo, Michael J

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians with missing, misshapen, and extra limbs have garnered public and scientific attention for two decades, yet the extent of the phenomenon remains poorly understood. Despite progress in identifying the causes of abnormalities in some regions, a lack of knowledge about their broader spatial distribution and temporal dynamics has hindered efforts to understand their implications for amphibian population declines and environmental quality. To address this data gap, we conducted a nationwide, 10-year assessment of 62,947 amphibians on U.S. National Wildlife Refuges. Analysis of a core dataset of 48,081 individuals revealed that consistent with expected background frequencies, an average of 2% were abnormal, but abnormalities exhibited marked spatial variation with a maximum prevalence of 40%. Variance partitioning analysis demonstrated that factors associated with space (rather than species or year sampled) captured 97% of the variation in abnormalities, and the amount of partitioned variance decreased with increasing spatial scale (from site to refuge to region). Consistent with this, abnormalities occurred in local to regional hotspots, clustering at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers. We detected such hotspot clusters of high-abnormality sites in the Mississippi River Valley, California, and Alaska. Abnormality frequency was more variable within than outside of hotspot clusters. This is consistent with dynamic phenomena such as disturbance or natural enemies (pathogens or predators), whereas similarity of abnormality frequencies at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers suggests involvement of factors that are spatially consistent at a regional scale. Our characterization of the spatial and temporal variation inherent in continent-wide amphibian abnormalities demonstrates the disproportionate contribution of local factors in predicting hotspots, and the episodic nature of their occurrence. PMID:24260103

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Delayed metamorphosis of amphibian larvae facilitates Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis transmission and persistence.

    PubMed

    Medina, Daniel; Garner, Trenton W J; Carrascal, Luis María; Bosch, Jaime

    2015-12-01

    Highly virulent pathogens that cause host population declines confront the risk of fade-out, but if pathogen transmission dynamics are age-structured, pathogens can persist. Among other features of amphibian biology, variable larval developmental rates generate age-structured larval populations, which in theory can facilitate pathogen persistence. We investigated this possibility empirically in a population of Salamandra salamandra in Spain affected by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) at breeding sites that lacked alternative amphibian hosts. None of the adults presented infection by Bd. However, for the larvae, while environmental heterogeneity was the most important predictor of infection, the effect on infection dynamics was mediated by transmission from overwintered larvae to new larval recruits, which occurred only in permanent larval habitats. We suggest that interannual Bd maintenance in a host population that experiences mass mortality associated with infection can occur without an environmental reservoir or direct involvement of an alternative host in our study system. However the 2 aquatic habitat types that support intraspecific reservoirs, permanent streams and ponds, are not ideal habitats for long-term Bd maintenance, either due to poor transmission probability or low host survival, respectively. While intraspecific pathogen maintenance due to larval plasticity might be possible at our study sites, this transmission pattern is not without significant risk to the pathogen. The availability of alternative hosts nearby does indicate that permanent Bd fade-out is unlikely. PMID:26648101

  16. Ancient and contemporary DNA reveal a pre-human decline but no population bottleneck associated with recent human persecution in the kea (Nestor notabilis).

    PubMed

    Dussex, Nicolas; Rawlence, Nicolas J; Robertson, Bruce C

    2015-01-01

    The impact of population bottlenecks is an important factor to consider when assessing species survival. Population declines can considerably limit the evolutionary potential of species and make them more susceptible to stochastic events. New Zealand has a well documented history of decline of endemic avifauna related to human colonization. Here, we investigate the genetic effects of a recent population decline in the endangered kea (Nestor notabilis). Kea have undergone a long-lasting persecution between the late 1800s to 1970s where an estimated 150,000 kea were culled under a governmental bounty scheme. Kea now number 1,000-5,000 individuals in the wild and it is likely that the recent population decline may have reduced the genetic diversity of the species. Comparison of contemporary (n = 410), historical (n = 15) and fossil samples (n = 4) showed a loss of mitochondrial diversity since the end of the last glaciation (Otiran Glacial) but no loss of overall genetic diversity associated with the cull. Microsatellite data indicated a recent bottleneck for only one population and a range-wide decline in Ne dating back some 300 - 6,000 years ago, a period predating European arrival in NZ. These results suggest that despite a recent human persecution, kea might have experienced a large population decline before stabilizing in numbers prior to human settlement of New Zealand in response to Holocene changes in habitat distribution. Our study therefore highlights the need to understand the respective effects of climate change and human activities on endangered species dynamics when proposing conservation guidelines. PMID:25719752

  17. Ancient and Contemporary DNA Reveal a Pre-Human Decline but No Population Bottleneck Associated with Recent Human Persecution in the Kea (Nestor notabilis)

    PubMed Central

    Dussex, Nicolas; Rawlence, Nicolas J.; Robertson, Bruce C.

    2015-01-01

    The impact of population bottlenecks is an important factor to consider when assessing species survival. Population declines can considerably limit the evolutionary potential of species and make them more susceptible to stochastic events. New Zealand has a well documented history of decline of endemic avifauna related to human colonization. Here, we investigate the genetic effects of a recent population decline in the endangered kea (Nestor notabilis). Kea have undergone a long-lasting persecution between the late 1800s to 1970s where an estimated 150,000 kea were culled under a governmental bounty scheme. Kea now number 1,000–5,000 individuals in the wild and it is likely that the recent population decline may have reduced the genetic diversity of the species. Comparison of contemporary (n = 410), historical (n = 15) and fossil samples (n = 4) showed a loss of mitochondrial diversity since the end of the last glaciation (Otiran Glacial) but no loss of overall genetic diversity associated with the cull. Microsatellite data indicated a recent bottleneck for only one population and a range-wide decline in Ne dating back some 300 – 6,000 years ago, a period predating European arrival in NZ. These results suggest that despite a recent human persecution, kea might have experienced a large population decline before stabilizing in numbers prior to human settlement of New Zealand in response to Holocene changes in habitat distribution. Our study therefore highlights the need to understand the respective effects of climate change and human activities on endangered species dynamics when proposing conservation guidelines. PMID:25719752

  18. 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

  19. Detecting warning signs of trouble within population fluctuations: using capture-recapture modeling to uncover changes in population dynamics leading to declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spendelow, J.A.; Nichols, J.D.; Kendall, W.L.; Hines, J.E.; Hatfield, J.S.; Nisbet, I.C.T.

    2004-01-01

    An intensive mark-recapture/resighting program has been carried out on the Roseate Terns nesting at Falkner Island, Connecticut, since the late 1980s as part of a regional study of the metapopulation dynamics and ecology of the endangered Northwest Atlantic breeding population of this species. Substantial losses of tern eggs and chicks to predation at this colony site began in 1996 when at least five Black-crowned Night-Herons started nocturnal raids. This depredation has been a major factor in the reduction of productivity from an average of about 1.0 chicks/pair for the 10 years before night-heron predation began to as low as about 0.2 chicks/pair in 2002. Recent capture-recapture modelling analyses have detected other important impacts on the population dynamics of the Roseate Terns at this site including a reduction by about half in the 'development-of-residency' rates of first-time breeders, and a substantial decline in the local 'survival-and-fidelity' rates of experienced breeders believed due mostly to increased immigration rates to other colony sites.

  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. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Carr