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Sample records for obstetricans boscai lataste

  1. Multilocus phylogeography of the common midwife toad, Alytes obstetricans (Anura, Alytidae): Contrasting patterns of lineage diversification and genetic structure in the Iberian refugium.

    PubMed

    Gonçalves, H; Maia-Carvalho, B; Sousa-Neves, T; García-París, M; Sequeira, F; Ferrand, N; Martínez-Solano, I

    2015-12-01

    Recent investigations on the evolutionary history of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) revealed high levels of geographically structured genetic diversity but also a situation where delineation of major historical lineages and resolution of their relationships are much more complex than previously thought. We studied sequence variation in one mitochondrial and four nuclear genes throughout the entire distribution range of all recognized A. obstetricans subspecies to infer the evolutionary processes that shaped current patterns of genetic diversity and population subdivision. We found six divergent, geographically structured mtDNA haplogroups diagnosing population lineages, and varying levels of admixture in nuclear markers. Given the timeframe inferred for the splits between major lineages, the climatic and environmental changes that occurred during the Pleistocene seem to have shaped the diversification history of A. obstetricans. Survival of populations in allopatric refugia through the Ice Ages supports the generality of the "refugia-within-refugia" scenario for the Iberian Peninsula. However, lineages corresponding to subspecies A. o. almogavarii, A. o. pertinax, A. o. obstetricans, and A. o. boscai responded differently to Pleistocene climatic oscillations after diverging from a common ancestor. Alytes o. obstetricans expanded northward from a northern Iberian refugium through the western Pyrenees, leaving a signal of contrasting patterns of genetic diversity, with a single mtDNA haplotype north of the Pyrenees from SW France to Germany. Both A. o. pertinax and A. o. boscai are widespread and genetically diverse in Iberia, the latter comprising two divergent lineages with a long independent history. Finally, A. o. almogavarii is mostly restricted to the north-eastern corner of Iberia north of the Ebro river, with additional populations in a small region in south-eastern France. This taxon exhibits unparalleled levels of genetic diversity and little

  2. Within- and Among-Population Variation in Chytridiomycosis-Induced Mortality in the Toad Alytes obstetricans

    PubMed Central

    Tobler, Ursina; Schmidt, Benedikt R.

    2010-01-01

    Background Chytridiomycosis is a fungal disease linked to local and global extinctions of amphibians. Susceptibility to chytridiomycosis varies greatly between amphibian species, but little is known about between- and within-population variability. However, this kind of variability is the basis for the evolution of tolerance and resistance evolution to disease. Methodology/Principal Findings In a common garden experiment, we measured mortality after metamorphosis of Alytes obstetricans naturally infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Mortality rates differed significantly among populations and ranged from 27 to 90%. Within populations, mortality strongly depended on mass at and time through metamorphosis. Conclusions/Significance Although we cannot rule out that the differences observed resulted from differences in skin microbiota, different pathogen strains or environmental effects experienced by the host or the pathogen prior to the start of the experiment, we argue that genetic differences between populations are a likely source of at least part of this variation. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing differences in survival between and within populations under constant laboratory conditions. Assuming that some of this intraspecific variation has a genetic basis, this may suggest that there is the potential for the evolution of resistance or tolerance, which might allow population persistence. PMID:20532196

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Nonoptimal propagation of advertisement calls of midwife toads in Iberian habitats.

    PubMed

    Penna, Mario; Márquez, Rafael; Bosch, Jaime; Crespo, Eduardo G

    2006-02-01

    This study compares the efficiency of transmission of the advertisement calls of two species of midwife toads, Alytes cisternasii and A. obstetricans, in both native and non-native habitats in the Iberian Peninsula. Recorded calls of both species and pure tones were broadcast at ten sites native to either the relatively small A. cisternasii or the larger A. obstetricans. A large variation in the patterns of excess attenuation between localities was observed for calls measured at distances of 0.5 to 8 m from a loudspeaker. However, attenuation rates were higher for calls of both species in habitats of A. obstetricans relative to habitats of A. cisternasii. The calls of A. obstetricans experienced lower attenuation rates than those of A. cisternasii in both conspecific and heterospecific localities. Thus, although A. cisternasii occupies habitats more favorable for sound transmission, its advertisement call spectrum is not optimized for these habitats; the calls of A. obstetricans suffer less attenuation in A. cisternasii habitats. This result argues against the notion that spectral features of the calls are adapted to enhance transmission efficiency in natural habitats, and suggests that differences in call dominant frequency between the two species result from constraints imposed by selection on body size. PMID:16521783

  7. Assessing the ability of swab data to determine the true burden of infection for the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Clare, Frances; Daniel, Olivia; Garner, Trent; Fisher, Matthew

    2016-06-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a pathogenic fungus which causes the disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians by infecting the animals' epidermis. The most commonly applied method for the detection of Bd is the use of a sterile swab, rubbed over the keratinized areas of an amphibian and then processed to yield DNA for detection by qPCR. This method has been used to infer a threshold of lethal infection in some species; however, how reliable and reproducible the swabbing method is at detecting the true burden of infection suffered by individuals is not known. European midwife toads, Alytes obstetricans, are susceptible to chytridiomycosis and are highly parasitised by Bd across Europe. By quantifying Bd-load throughout the entire skin and comparing this to swab results taken from the same individual, we determined whether epidermal swabs provide a quantifiable and accurate indication of the true fungal burden suffered. Further, we examined whether we could infer a threshold for lethal infection based on comparison of swab data taken from infected A. obstetricans exhibiting different clinical states. From swab data, we detected significantly higher fungal burdens from moribund metamorphs compared to visually healthy individuals; however, the ability of these swab data to provide an accurate indication of the true fungal burden was not reliable. These data suggest that fungal load dynamics play an important role in disease-induced mortality in A. obstetricans at these sites, but that using swab data to infer an exact threshold for Bd-associated mortality might be inappropriate and misleading. PMID:27060065

  8. Exotic Fish in Exotic Plantations: A Multi-Scale Approach to Understand Amphibian Occurrence in the Mediterranean Region

    PubMed Central

    Cruz, Joana; Sarmento, Pedro; Carretero, Miguel A.; White, Piran C. L.

    2015-01-01

    Globally, amphibian populations are threatened by a diverse range of factors including habitat destruction and alteration. Forestry practices have been linked with low diversity and abundance of amphibians. The effect of exotic Eucalyptus spp. plantations on amphibian communities has been studied in a number of biodiversity hotspots, but little is known of its impact in the Mediterranean region. Here, we identify the environmental factors influencing the presence of six species of amphibians (the Caudata Pleurodeles waltl, Salamandra salamandra, Lissotriton boscai, Triturus marmoratus and the anurans Pelobates cultripes and Hyla arborea/meridionalis) occupying 88 ponds. The study was conducted in a Mediterranean landscape dominated by eucalypt plantations alternated with traditional use (agricultural, montados and native forest) at three different scales: local (pond), intermediate (400 metres radius buffer) and broad (1000 metres radius buffer). Using the Akaike Information Criterion for small samples (AICc), we selected the top-ranked models for estimating the probability of occurrence of each species at each spatial scale separately and across all three spatial scales, using a combination of covariates from the different magnitudes. Models with a combination of covariates at the different spatial scales had a stronger support than those at individual scales. The presence of predatory fish in a pond had a strong effect on Caudata presence. Permanent ponds were selected by Hyla arborea/meridionalis over temporary ponds. Species occurrence was not increased by a higher density of streams, but the density of ponds impacted negatively on Lissotriton boscai. The proximity of ponds occupied by their conspecifics had a positive effect on the occurrence of Lissotriton boscai and Pleurodeles waltl. Eucalypt plantations had a negative effect on the occurrence of the newt Lissotriton boscai and anurans Hyla arborea/meridionalis, but had a positive effect on the presence of

  9. Exotic Fish in Exotic Plantations: A Multi-Scale Approach to Understand Amphibian Occurrence in the Mediterranean Region.

    PubMed

    Cruz, Joana; Sarmento, Pedro; Carretero, Miguel A; White, Piran C L

    2015-01-01

    Globally, amphibian populations are threatened by a diverse range of factors including habitat destruction and alteration. Forestry practices have been linked with low diversity and abundance of amphibians. The effect of exotic Eucalyptus spp. plantations on amphibian communities has been studied in a number of biodiversity hotspots, but little is known of its impact in the Mediterranean region. Here, we identify the environmental factors influencing the presence of six species of amphibians (the Caudata Pleurodeles waltl, Salamandra salamandra, Lissotriton boscai, Triturus marmoratus and the anurans Pelobates cultripes and Hyla arborea/meridionalis) occupying 88 ponds. The study was conducted in a Mediterranean landscape dominated by eucalypt plantations alternated with traditional use (agricultural, montados and native forest) at three different scales: local (pond), intermediate (400 metres radius buffer) and broad (1000 metres radius buffer). Using the Akaike Information Criterion for small samples (AICc), we selected the top-ranked models for estimating the probability of occurrence of each species at each spatial scale separately and across all three spatial scales, using a combination of covariates from the different magnitudes. Models with a combination of covariates at the different spatial scales had a stronger support than those at individual scales. The presence of predatory fish in a pond had a strong effect on Caudata presence. Permanent ponds were selected by Hyla arborea/meridionalis over temporary ponds. Species occurrence was not increased by a higher density of streams, but the density of ponds impacted negatively on Lissotriton boscai. The proximity of ponds occupied by their conspecifics had a positive effect on the occurrence of Lissotriton boscai and Pleurodeles waltl. Eucalypt plantations had a negative effect on the occurrence of the newt Lissotriton boscai and anurans Hyla arborea/meridionalis, but had a positive effect on the presence of

  10. Reproductive ecology of Vipera latastei, in the Iberian Peninsula: implications for the conservation of a Mediterranean viper.

    PubMed

    Pleguezuelos, Juan Manuel; Santos, Xavier; Brito, José Carlos; Parellada, Xavier; Llorente, Gustavo Adolfo; Fahd, Soumia

    2007-01-01

    Eurosiberian vipers have been considered model organisms, and studies on their reproductive ecology have afforded much of the current knowledge concerning viviparity in snakes. However, such studies are biased towards northern species and there is little information on Mediterranean species and/or populations. The reproductive ecology of Vipera latastei in the Iberian Peninsula was studied by analysing a large sample of specimens from collections, to better understand the conservation status of this Mediterranean viper. Males and females matured at small and similar body sizes (240 and 265 mm snout-vent length, respectively) and reproductive cycles in both sexes were seasonal. Spermatogenesis peaked in August, vitellogenesis developed in spring and the timing of the mating period was puzzling, with populations mating in autumn, spring, or in both seasons. The most striking finding was that adult females reproduced triennially on average. Lataste's viper is currently in continuous decline in the IP, and most of its populations are isolated in Mediterranean mountains. We hypothesize that prey scarcity and the brevity of the activity period in mountain habitats diminishes the ability of vipers to recover over the short term the energy expended in reproduction. The species needs 2 years for the acquisition and storage of energy ("capital breeder"), and a third year for the expenditure of this energy (in vitellogenesis and embryogenesis), a year during which females feed consistently ("income breeder"). Thus, this viper combines both strategies to supply the reproductive energy cost. Current decline in population and distribution, together with a poor capacity to renew populations, renders Lataste's viper vulnerable to environmental stochasticity. PMID:17161594

  11. 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

  12. A new age model for the early-middle Miocene in the North Alpine Foreland Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reichenbacher, Bettina; Krijgsman, Wout; Pippèrr, Martina; Sant, Karin; Kirscher, Uwe

    2016-04-01

    The establishment of high-resolution age models for sedimentary successions is crucial for numerous research questions in the geosciences and related disciplines. Such models provide an absolute chronology that permits precise dating of depositional episodes and related processes such as mountain uplift or climate change. Recently, our work in the Miocene sediments of the North Alpine Foreland Basin (NAFB) has revealed a significantly younger age (16.6 Myr) for sediments that were thought to have been deposited 18 Myr ago. This implies that a fundamentally revised new age model is needed for the entire suite of lower-middle Miocene sedimentary rocks in the NAFB (20 to 15-Myr). Our new data also indicate that previously published reconstructions of early-middle Miocene palaeogeography, sedimentation dynamics, mountain uplift and climate change in the NAFB all require a critical review and revision. Further, the time-span addressed is of special interest, since it encompasses the onset of a global warming phase. However, it appears that a fundamentally revised new age model for the entire suite of lower-middle Miocene sedimentary rocks in the NAFB can only be achieved based on a 500 m deep drilling in the NAFB for which we currently seek collaboration partners to develop a grant application to the International Continental Deep Drilling Program (ICDP). Reference: Reichenbacher, B., W. Krijgsman, Y. Lataster, M. Pippèrr, C. G. C. Van Baak, L. Chang, D. Kälin, J. Jost, G. Doppler, D. Jung, J. Prieto, H. Abdul Aziz, M. Böhme, J. Garnish, U. Kirscher, and V. Bachtadse. 2013. A new magnetostratigraphic framework for the Lower Miocene (Burdigalian/Ottnangian, Karpatian) in the North Alpine Foreland Basin. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 106:309-334.

  13. Demography of common toads after local extirpation of co-occurring midwife toads

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bosch, Jaime; Fernandez-Beaskoetxea, S; Scherer, R.; Amburgey, Staci; Muths, Erin L.

    2014-01-01

    Estimating demographic parameters like survival or recruitment provides insight into the state and trajectory of populations, but understanding the contexts influencing those parameters, including both biotic and abiotic factors, is particularly important for management and conservation. At a high elevation national park in Central Spain, common toads (Bufo bufo) are apparently taking advantage of the near-extirpation of the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), as colonization into new breeding ponds is evident. Within this scenario, we expected demographic parameters of common toad populations tobe affected favorably by the putative release from competition. However, we found the population growth rate was negative in 4 of 5 years at the long-standing population; survival probability at the long-standing population and newly-colonised breeding ponds was lower than reported for other toads living at high elevations and the probability of recruitment was inadequate to compensate for the survival rate in maintaining a positive trajectory for either of the breeding ponds. We assessed weather covariates and disease for their contribution to the context that may be limiting the common toad’s successful use of the niche vacated by the midwife toad.

  14. Evaluation of MPEG-7-Based Audio Descriptors for Animal Voice Recognition over Wireless Acoustic Sensor Networks

    PubMed Central

    Luque, Joaquín; Larios, Diego F.; Personal, Enrique; Barbancho, Julio; León, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Environmental audio monitoring is a huge area of interest for biologists all over the world. This is why some audio monitoring system have been proposed in the literature, which can be classified into two different approaches: acquirement and compression of all audio patterns in order to send them as raw data to a main server; or specific recognition systems based on audio patterns. The first approach presents the drawback of a high amount of information to be stored in a main server. Moreover, this information requires a considerable amount of effort to be analyzed. The second approach has the drawback of its lack of scalability when new patterns need to be detected. To overcome these limitations, this paper proposes an environmental Wireless Acoustic Sensor Network architecture focused on use of generic descriptors based on an MPEG-7 standard. These descriptors demonstrate it to be suitable to be used in the recognition of different patterns, allowing a high scalability. The proposed parameters have been tested to recognize different behaviors of two anuran species that live in Spanish natural parks; the Epidalea calamita and the Alytes obstetricans toads, demonstrating to have a high classification performance. PMID:27213375

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  16. Evaluation of MPEG-7-Based Audio Descriptors for Animal Voice Recognition over Wireless Acoustic Sensor Networks.

    PubMed

    Luque, Joaquín; Larios, Diego F; Personal, Enrique; Barbancho, Julio; León, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Environmental audio monitoring is a huge area of interest for biologists all over the world. This is why some audio monitoring system have been proposed in the literature, which can be classified into two different approaches: acquirement and compression of all audio patterns in order to send them as raw data to a main server; or specific recognition systems based on audio patterns. The first approach presents the drawback of a high amount of information to be stored in a main server. Moreover, this information requires a considerable amount of effort to be analyzed. The second approach has the drawback of its lack of scalability when new patterns need to be detected. To overcome these limitations, this paper proposes an environmental Wireless Acoustic Sensor Network architecture focused on use of generic descriptors based on an MPEG-7 standard. These descriptors demonstrate it to be suitable to be used in the recognition of different patterns, allowing a high scalability. The proposed parameters have been tested to recognize different behaviors of two anuran species that live in Spanish natural parks; the Epidalea calamita and the Alytes obstetricans toads, demonstrating to have a high classification performance. PMID:27213375

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-17

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

  19. Infection and transmission heterogeneity of a multi-host pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) within an amphibian community.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Beaskoetxea, S; Bosch, J; Bielby, J

    2016-02-11

    The majority of parasites infect multiple hosts. As the outcome of the infection is different in each of them, most studies of wildlife disease focus on the few species that suffer the most severe consequences. However, the role that each host plays in the persistence and transmission of infection can be crucial to understanding the spread of a parasite and the risk it poses to the community. Current theory predicts that certain host species can modulate the infection in other species by amplifying or diluting both infection prevalence and infection intensity, both of which have implications for disease risk within those communities. The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causal agent of the disease chytridiomycosis, has caused global amphibian population declines and extinctions. However, not all infected species are affected equally, and thus Bd is a good example of a multi-host pathogen that must ultimately be studied with a community approach. To test whether the common midwife toad Alytes obstetricans is a reservoir and possible amplifier of infection of other species, we used experimental approaches in captive and wild populations to determine the effect of common midwife toad larvae on infection of other amphibian species found in the Peñalara Massif, Spain. We observed that the most widely and heavily infected species, the common midwife toad, may be amplifying the infection loads in other species, all of which have different degrees of susceptibility to Bd infection. Our results have important implications for performing mitigation actions focused on potential 'amplifier' hosts and for better understanding the mechanisms of Bd transmission. PMID:26865231

  20. Interacting Symbionts and Immunity in the Amphibian Skin Mucosome Predict Disease Risk and Probiotic Effectiveness

    PubMed Central

    Woodhams, Douglas C.; Brandt, Hannelore; Baumgartner, Simone; Kielgast, Jos; Küpfer, Eliane; Tobler, Ursina; Davis, Leyla R.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Bel, Christian; Hodel, Sandro; Knight, Rob; McKenzie, Valerie

    2014-01-01

    Pathogenesis is strongly dependent on microbial context, but development of probiotic therapies has neglected the impact of ecological interactions. Dynamics among microbial communities, host immune responses, and environmental conditions may alter the effect of probiotics in human and veterinary medicine, agriculture and aquaculture, and the proposed treatment of emerging wildlife and zoonotic diseases such as those occurring on amphibians or vectored by mosquitoes. Here we use a holistic measure of amphibian mucosal defenses to test the effects of probiotic treatments and to assess disease risk under different ecological contexts. We developed a non-invasive assay for antifungal function of the skin mucosal ecosystem (mucosome function) integrating host immune factors and the microbial community as an alternative to pathogen exposure experiments. From approximately 8500 amphibians sampled across Europe, we compared field infection prevalence with mucosome function against the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Four species were tested with laboratory exposure experiments, and a highly susceptible species, Alytes obstetricans, was treated with a variety of temperature and microbial conditions to test the effects of probiotic therapies and environmental conditions on mucosome function. We found that antifungal function of the amphibian skin mucosome predicts the prevalence of infection with the fungal pathogen in natural populations, and is linked to survival in laboratory exposure experiments. When altered by probiotic therapy, the mucosome increased antifungal capacity, while previous exposure to the pathogen was suppressive. In culture, antifungal properties of probiotics depended strongly on immunological and environmental context including temperature, competition, and pathogen presence. Functional changes in microbiota with shifts in temperature provide an alternative mechanistic explanation for patterns of disease susceptibility related

  1. Climate and environment of the earliest West European hominins inferred from amphibian and squamate reptile assemblages: Sima del Elefante Lower Red Unit, Atapuerca, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Bailon, Salvador; Cuenca-Bescós, Gloria; Bennàsar, Maria; Rofes, Juan; López-García, Juan Manuel; Huguet, Rosa; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José Maria; Carbonell, Eudald

    2010-11-01

    The Sima del Elefante cave, in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain), is famous for the fact that level TE9 of its Lower Red Unit recently delivered the oldest hominin remains of Western Europe, identified as Homo antecessor and dated by biostratigraphy and radiometric methods to ca 1.2 Ma. Given the importance of this discovery, every effort is being made to reconstruct the landscapes where these hominins once thrived. The amphibian and squamate reptile assemblage of the Sima del Elefante Lower Red Unit is here studied for the first time. The faunal list comprises at least 17 species (roughly 12,000 bone fossil remains): Salamandra salamandra, Triturus cf. marmoratus, Alytes obstetricans, Pelobates cultripes, Pelodytes punctatus, Bufo bufo, Bufo calamita, Hyla arborea, Rana sp., cf. Pelophylax sp., Lacerta s.l., small-sized indeterminate lacertids, Anguis fragilis, Natrix cf. natrix, Natrix cf. maura, Coronella cf. girondica and Vipera sp. As the amphibians and squamate reptiles do not differ at species level from the extant herpetofauna of the Iberian Peninsula, they can contribute to the reconstruction of the landscape and climate. In this paper, the mutual climatic range and habitat weighting methods are applied to the amphibian and squamate reptile assemblages in order to estimate quantitative data. The results from the squamate and amphibian study indicate that during the hominin presence the mean annual temperature (MAT = 10-13 °C) was always slightly warmer than at present and the mean annual precipitation (MAP = 800-1000 mm) was greater than today in the Burgos area. The landscape had open habitats in the vicinity of the Atapuerca caves throughout the sequence, with wet points in the surrounding area, and a predominance of humid meadows and open woodlands. These results mainly agree with those for large mammals, small mammals and the pollen analysis. The climate and landscape of TE-LRU are very similar to those reconstructed for the TD6 "Aurora Stratum