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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

    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

  6. 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

  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

    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

  15. 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

  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

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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 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

  1. 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

  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 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

  4. 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

  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

    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

  19. 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

  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.

    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

  4. 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.

  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. 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

  14. 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

  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. 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

  17. 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

  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 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

  6. 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

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  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. 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

  8. 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

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  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

    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

  14. 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

  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 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  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.