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Sample records for amphibian chytrid fungus

  1. Origin of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    du Preez, Louis H.; Hyatt, Alex D.; Muller, Reinhold; Speare, Rick

    2004-01-01

    The sudden appearance of chytridiomycosis, the cause of amphibian deaths and population declines in several continents, suggests that its etiologic agent, the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was introduced into the affected regions. However, the origin of this virulent pathogen is unknown. A survey was conducted of 697 archived specimens of 3 species of Xenopus collected from 1879 to 1999 in southern Africa in which the histologic features of the interdigital webbing were analyzed. The earliest case of chytridiomycosis found was in a Xenopus laevis frog in 1938, and overall prevalence was 2.7%. The prevalence showed no significant differences between species, regions, season, or time period. Chytridiomycosis was a stable endemic infection in southern Africa for 23 years before any positive specimen was found outside Africa. We propose that Africa is the origin of the amphibian chytrid and that the international trade in X. laevis that began in the mid-1930s was the means of dissemination. PMID:15663845

  2. Amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Cusuco National Park, Honduras.

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Padgett-Flohr, Gretchen E; Field, Richard

    2010-11-01

    Amphibian population declines in Honduras have long been attributed to habitat degradation and pollution, but an increasing number of declines are now being observed from within the boundaries of national parks in pristine montane environments. The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in these declines and was recently documented in Honduras from samples collected in Pico Bonito National Park in 2003. This report now confirms Cusuco National Park, a protected cloud forest reserve with reported amphibian declines, to be the second known site of infection for Honduras. B. dendrobatidis infection was detected in 5 amphibian species: Craugastor rostralis, Duellmanohyla soralia, Lithobates maculata, Plectrohyla dasypus, and Ptychohyla hypomykter. D. soralia, P. dasypus, and P. hypomykter are listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and have severely fragmented or restricted distributions. Further investigations are necessary to determine whether observed infection levels indicate an active B. dendrobatidis epizootic with the potential to cause further population declines and extinction.

  3. The invasive chytrid fungus of amphibians paralyzes lymphocyte responses.

    PubMed

    Fites, J Scott; Ramsey, Jeremy P; Holden, Whitney M; Collier, Sarah P; Sutherland, Danica M; Reinert, Laura K; Gayek, A Sophia; Dermody, Terence S; Aune, Thomas M; Oswald-Richter, Kyra; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2013-10-18

    The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, causes chytridiomycosis and is a major contributor to global amphibian declines. Although amphibians have robust immune defenses, clearance of this pathogen is impaired. Because inhibition of host immunity is a common survival strategy of pathogenic fungi, we hypothesized that B. dendrobatidis evades clearance by inhibiting immune functions. We found that B. dendrobatidis cells and supernatants impaired lymphocyte proliferation and induced apoptosis; however, fungal recognition and phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils was not impaired. Fungal inhibitory factors were resistant to heat, acid, and protease. Their production was absent in zoospores and reduced by nikkomycin Z, suggesting that they may be components of the cell wall. Evasion of host immunity may explain why this pathogen has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.

  4. The link between rapid enigmatic amphibian decline and the globally emerging chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Lötters, Stefan; Kielgast, Jos; Bielby, Jon; Schmidtlein, Sebastian; Bosch, Jaime; Veith, Michael; Walker, Susan F; Fisher, Matthew C; Rödder, Dennis

    2009-09-01

    Amphibians are globally declining and approximately one-third of all species are threatened with extinction. Some of the most severe declines have occurred suddenly and for unknown reasons in apparently pristine habitats. It has been hypothesized that these "rapid enigmatic declines" are the result of a panzootic of the disease chytridiomycosis caused by globally emerging amphibian chytrid fungus. In a Species Distribution Model, we identified the potential distribution of this pathogen. Areas and species from which rapid enigmatic decline are known significantly overlap with those of highest environmental suitability to the chytrid fungus. We confirm the plausibility of a link between rapid enigmatic decline in worldwide amphibian species and epizootic chytridiomycosis.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Additional disinfectants effective against the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Webb, R; Mendez, D; Berger, L; Speare, R

    2007-02-01

    Chytridiomycosis, a disease contributing to amphibian declines worldwide, is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Identifying efficient and practical disinfectants effective against B. dendrobatidis is important to reduce the spread of the disease both in the wild and captivity. Previous studies identified a range of suitable disinfectant strategies. We evaluated the suitability of 3 additional disinfectants: two of these (TriGene Virucidal Disinfectant Cleaner and F10 Super Concentrate Disinfectant) are mixtures of chemicals and one (Betadine Antiseptic Liquid) contains a single active ingredient, povidone iodine. The disinfectants were tested using a range of concentrations for 1,5 and 10 min to determine their ability to kill B. dendrobatidis in vitro. The measure of effectiveness was 100% kill of zoosporangia grown in multiwell plates. All disinfectants had a 100% efficacy at concentrations recommended by the manufacturers. The lowest concentrations capable of 100% kill after exposure for 1 min were 0.1 ml l(-1) for TriGene, 0.33 ml l(-1) for F10 and 100 ml l(-1) for Betadine. TriGene is the most effective disinfectant yet to be found, and both TriGene and F10 are more effective than various disinfectants tested in previous studies. TriGene and F10 are considered suitable for use in the field, as only small amounts of concentrate are needed. PMID:17425259

  10. Efficacy of SYBR 14/propidium iodide viability stain for the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-25

    The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a recently described pathogen that has been implicated as a causal agent in the global decline in amphibians. Research into its biology and epidemiology has frequently involved in vitro experimentation. However, this research is currently limited by the inability to differentiate between viable and inviable zoospores. Stains are frequently used to determine cell viability, and this study tested a 2-colour fluorescence assay for the detection and quantification of viable B. dendrobatidis zoospores. The results show that the nucleic acid stains SYBR 14 and propidium iodide are effective in distinguishing live from dead zoospores, and a protocol has been optimized for their use. This viability assay provides an efficient and reliable tool that will have applications in B. dendrobatidis challenge and amphibian exposure experiments.

  11. Survey of Turkey's endemic amphibians for chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Erismis, Ugur Cengiz; Konuk, Muhsin; Yoldas, Taner; Agyar, Pinar; Yumuk, Dilay; Korcan, Safiye Elif

    2014-09-30

    We report a new survey for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Turkey. We swabbed 228 individuals of 7 amphibian species (from 5 families) living in 2 locations (26-August National Park and the Turkish Lakes District) in the southwestern Anatolian region. The infection intensity of all the samples was determined using quantitative PCR. All 4 amphibian breeding sites and 4 amphibian species in 26-August National Park were infected by Bd, with the prevalence at each site ranging from 8 to 29%. Only 1 species was sampled from Beysehir Lake near the conservation area Beysehir Natural Park, but these samples were notable for their high detection rates (prevalence of 32.11%). This study reports the first records of Bd infecting wild Pelophylax ridibundus, Hyla orientalis, Pseudepidalea variabilis, and endemic Beysehir frogs Pelophylax caralitanus.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.; Skerratt, Lee F.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Skerratt, Lee F

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Skerratt, Lee F

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-28

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-28

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    McMahon, Taegan A; Rohr, Jason R

    2015-03-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Effects of pesticide exposure and the amphibian chytrid fungus on gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Gaietto, Kristina M; Rumschlag, Samantha L; Boone, Michelle D

    2014-10-01

    Pesticides are detectable in most aquatic habitats and have the potential to alter host-pathogen interactions. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been associated with amphibian declines around the world. However, Bd-associated declines are more prominent in some areas, despite nearly global distribution of Bd, suggesting other factors contribute to disease outbreaks. In a laboratory study, the authors examined the effects of 6 different isolates of Bd in the presence or absence of a pesticide (the insecticide carbaryl or the fungicide copper sulfate) to recently hatched Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) tadpoles reared through metamorphosis. The authors found the presence or absence of pesticides differentially altered the mass at metamorphosis of tadpoles exposed to different Bd isolates, suggesting that isolate could influence metamorphosis but not in ways expected based on origin of the isolate. Pesticide exposure had the strongest impact on metamorphosis of all treatment combinations. Whereas copper sulfate exposure reduced the length of the larval period, carbaryl exposure had apparent positive effects by increasing mass at metamorphosis and lengthening larval period, which adds to evidence that carbaryl can stimulate development in counterintuitive ways. The present study provides limited support to the hypothesis that pesticides can alter the response of tadpoles to isolates of Bd and that the insecticide carbaryl can alter developmental decisions.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. Survival of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on bare hands and gloves: hygiene implications for amphibian handling.

    PubMed

    Mendez, Diana; Webb, Rebecca; Berger, Lee; Speare, Rick

    2008-11-20

    Hygiene protocols for handling amphibians in the field and in laboratories have been proposed to decrease the transmission of chytridiomycosis caused by infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is responsible for global amphibian declines. However, these protocols are mainly based on theoretical principles. The aim of this study was to develop an evidence-based approach to amphibian handling hygiene protocols by testing the survival of B. dendrobatidis on human hands and various gloves. Bare or gloved human fingers were exposed to cultured zoospores and zoosporangia of B. dendrobatidis. Survival of B. dendrobatidis on hands and gloves was tested for up to 10 min post-exposure by inoculation onto tryptone/gelatin hydrolysate/lactose (TGhL) agar plates. The effects of repeated hand washings with water and with 70% ethanol and of washing gloves with water were also tested. Bare human skin demonstrated a fungicidal effect on B. dendrobatidis by 2 min and killed 100% of cells by 6 min, but this killing effect was reduced by repeated washing with water and ethanol. Nitrile gloves killed all B. dendrobatidis on contact, but washing in water decreased this effect. Latex and polyethylene gloves had no killing effect, and B. dendrobatidis survived for over 6 min. The killing effect of vinyl gloves varied with brands and batches. These results support the use of an unused pair of gloves for each new amphibian handled in either the field or the laboratory, and if this is not possible, bare hands are a preferable, although imperfect, alternative to continual use of the same pair of gloves. PMID:19149372

  12. Survival of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on bare hands and gloves: hygiene implications for amphibian handling.

    PubMed

    Mendez, Diana; Webb, Rebecca; Berger, Lee; Speare, Rick

    2008-11-20

    Hygiene protocols for handling amphibians in the field and in laboratories have been proposed to decrease the transmission of chytridiomycosis caused by infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is responsible for global amphibian declines. However, these protocols are mainly based on theoretical principles. The aim of this study was to develop an evidence-based approach to amphibian handling hygiene protocols by testing the survival of B. dendrobatidis on human hands and various gloves. Bare or gloved human fingers were exposed to cultured zoospores and zoosporangia of B. dendrobatidis. Survival of B. dendrobatidis on hands and gloves was tested for up to 10 min post-exposure by inoculation onto tryptone/gelatin hydrolysate/lactose (TGhL) agar plates. The effects of repeated hand washings with water and with 70% ethanol and of washing gloves with water were also tested. Bare human skin demonstrated a fungicidal effect on B. dendrobatidis by 2 min and killed 100% of cells by 6 min, but this killing effect was reduced by repeated washing with water and ethanol. Nitrile gloves killed all B. dendrobatidis on contact, but washing in water decreased this effect. Latex and polyethylene gloves had no killing effect, and B. dendrobatidis survived for over 6 min. The killing effect of vinyl gloves varied with brands and batches. These results support the use of an unused pair of gloves for each new amphibian handled in either the field or the laboratory, and if this is not possible, bare hands are a preferable, although imperfect, alternative to continual use of the same pair of gloves.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  14. Sodium chloride inhibits the growth and infective capacity of the amphibian chytrid fungus and increases host survival rates.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Sodium chloride inhibits the growth and infective capacity of the amphibian chytrid fungus and increases host survival rates.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

  1. Complex history of the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus revealed with genome resequencing data.

    PubMed

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; James, Timothy Y; Zamudio, Kelly R; Poorten, Thomas J; Ilut, Dan; Rodriguez, David; Eastman, Jonathan M; Richards-Hrdlicka, Katy; Joneson, Suzanne; Jenkinson, Thomas S; Longcore, Joyce E; Parra Olea, Gabriela; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Arellano, Maria Luz; Medina, Edgar M; Restrepo, Silvia; Flechas, Sandra Victoria; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J; Stajich, Jason E

    2013-06-01

    Understanding the evolutionary history of microbial pathogens is critical for mitigating the impacts of emerging infectious diseases on economically and ecologically important host species. We used a genome resequencing approach to resolve the evolutionary history of an important microbial pathogen, the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. We sequenced the genomes of 29 isolates of Bd from around the world, with an emphasis on North, Central, and South America because of the devastating effect that Bd has had on amphibian populations in the New World. We found a substantial amount of evolutionary complexity in Bd with deep phylogenetic diversity that predates observed global amphibian declines. By investigating the entire genome, we found that even the most recently evolved Bd clade (termed the global panzootic lineage) contained more genetic variation than previously reported. We also found dramatic differences among isolates and among genomic regions in chromosomal copy number and patterns of heterozygosity, suggesting complex and heterogeneous genome dynamics. Finally, we report evidence for selection acting on the Bd genome, supporting the hypothesis that protease genes are important in evolutionary transitions in this group. Bd is considered an emerging pathogen because of its recent effects on amphibians, but our data indicate that it has a complex evolutionary history that predates recent disease outbreaks. Therefore, it is important to consider the contemporary effects of Bd in a broader evolutionary context and identify specific mechanisms that may have led to shifts in virulence in this system.

  2. Complex history of the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus revealed with genome resequencing data

    PubMed Central

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; James, Timothy Y.; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Poorten, Thomas J.; Ilut, Dan; Rodriguez, David; Eastman, Jonathan M.; Richards-Hrdlicka, Katy; Joneson, Suzanne; Jenkinson, Thomas S.; Longcore, Joyce E.; Parra Olea, Gabriela; Toledo, Luís Felipe; Arellano, Maria Luz; Medina, Edgar M.; Restrepo, Silvia; Flechas, Sandra Victoria; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Stajich, Jason E.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the evolutionary history of microbial pathogens is critical for mitigating the impacts of emerging infectious diseases on economically and ecologically important host species. We used a genome resequencing approach to resolve the evolutionary history of an important microbial pathogen, the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. We sequenced the genomes of 29 isolates of Bd from around the world, with an emphasis on North, Central, and South America because of the devastating effect that Bd has had on amphibian populations in the New World. We found a substantial amount of evolutionary complexity in Bd with deep phylogenetic diversity that predates observed global amphibian declines. By investigating the entire genome, we found that even the most recently evolved Bd clade (termed the global panzootic lineage) contained more genetic variation than previously reported. We also found dramatic differences among isolates and among genomic regions in chromosomal copy number and patterns of heterozygosity, suggesting complex and heterogeneous genome dynamics. Finally, we report evidence for selection acting on the Bd genome, supporting the hypothesis that protease genes are important in evolutionary transitions in this group. Bd is considered an emerging pathogen because of its recent effects on amphibians, but our data indicate that it has a complex evolutionary history that predates recent disease outbreaks. Therefore, it is important to consider the contemporary effects of Bd in a broader evolutionary context and identify specific mechanisms that may have led to shifts in virulence in this system. PMID:23650365

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Infection and co-infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus and ranavirus in wild Costa Rican frogs.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Steven M; Geerdes, Erica; Chacon, Iria; Ballestero Rodriguez, Erick; Jimenez, Randall R; Donnelly, Maureen A; Kerby, Jacob L

    2013-05-27

    Amphibian populations are globally threatened by emerging infectious diseases, and 2 pathogens in particular are recognized as major threats: the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranaviruses. Here, we evaluated the prevalence of infection by Bd and ranavirus in an assemblage of frogs from a lowland wet forest in Costa Rica. We found an overall prevalence of 21.3% for Bd and 16.6% for ranavirus, and detected both pathogens widely among our 20 sampled species. We found a positive association between ranavirus and Bd infection in one of our 4 most commonly sampled species. We also found a positive but non-significant association between infection by ranavirus and infection by Bd among species overall. Our study is among the first detailed evaluations of ranavirus prevalence in the American tropics, and to our knowledge is the first to detect a positive association between Bd and ranavirus in any species. Considerable research attention has focused on the ecology of Bd in tropical regions, yet we argue that greater research focus is necessary to understand the ecology and conservation impact of ranaviruses on amphibian populations already decimated by the emergence of Bd.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-11

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-11

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  2. First detection of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in free-ranging populations of amphibians on mainland Asia: survey in South Korea.

    PubMed

    Yang, HyoJin; Baek, HaeJun; Speare, Richard; Webb, Rebecca; Park, SunKyung; Kim, TaeHo; Lasater, Kelly C; Shin, SangPhil; Son, SangHo; Park, JaeHak; Min, MiSook; Kim, YoungJun; Na, Kijeong; Lee, Hang; Park, SeChang

    2009-09-01

    Chytridiomycosis, a disease that has caused amphibian population declines globally and elevated many species of anurans to endangered or threatened status, has recently been declared an internationally notifiable disease. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian chytrid fungus causing this disease, has not been previously reported in Korea or on mainland Asia. Thirty-six frog specimens representing 7 species were collected from the wild in South Korea and examined for Bd using standard PCR. Bd was detected in 14 (38.8%) samples from 3 species (Bufo gargarizans, Hyla japonica, and Rana catesbiana). Skin sections from all 14 PCR-positive frogs were examined using 2 staining techniques: haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Bd immunoperoxidase (IPX). In histological sections, zoosporangia were found in 6 frogs, with lower sensitivity for H&E (21%) than for IPX (46%). Intensity of infection, based on histopathology, was low in all frogs. These results confirm that Bd is present in South Korea and, hence, on the Asian mainland. Studies are urgently required to determine the impact of chytridiomycosis on Korean amphibians, and to map the distribution of Bd in Korea and other Asian mainland countries. PMID:19899344

  3. First detection of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in free-ranging populations of amphibians on mainland Asia: survey in South Korea.

    PubMed

    Yang, HyoJin; Baek, HaeJun; Speare, Richard; Webb, Rebecca; Park, SunKyung; Kim, TaeHo; Lasater, Kelly C; Shin, SangPhil; Son, SangHo; Park, JaeHak; Min, MiSook; Kim, YoungJun; Na, Kijeong; Lee, Hang; Park, SeChang

    2009-09-01

    Chytridiomycosis, a disease that has caused amphibian population declines globally and elevated many species of anurans to endangered or threatened status, has recently been declared an internationally notifiable disease. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian chytrid fungus causing this disease, has not been previously reported in Korea or on mainland Asia. Thirty-six frog specimens representing 7 species were collected from the wild in South Korea and examined for Bd using standard PCR. Bd was detected in 14 (38.8%) samples from 3 species (Bufo gargarizans, Hyla japonica, and Rana catesbiana). Skin sections from all 14 PCR-positive frogs were examined using 2 staining techniques: haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Bd immunoperoxidase (IPX). In histological sections, zoosporangia were found in 6 frogs, with lower sensitivity for H&E (21%) than for IPX (46%). Intensity of infection, based on histopathology, was low in all frogs. These results confirm that Bd is present in South Korea and, hence, on the Asian mainland. Studies are urgently required to determine the impact of chytridiomycosis on Korean amphibians, and to map the distribution of Bd in Korea and other Asian mainland countries.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    An, Deuknam; Waldman, Bruce

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  12. Nikkomycin Z is an effective inhibitor of the chytrid fungus linked to global amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Holden, Whitney M; Fites, J Scott; Reinert, Laura K; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2014-01-01

    Fungal infections in humans, wildlife, and plants are a growing concern because of their devastating effects on human and ecosystem health. In recent years, populations of many amphibian species have declined, and some have become extinct due to chytridiomycosis caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. For some endangered amphibian species, captive colonies are the best intermediate solution towards eventual reintroduction, and effective antifungal treatments are needed to cure chytridiomycosis and limit the spread of this pathogen in such survival assurance colonies. Currently, the best accepted treatment for infected amphibians is itraconazole, but its toxic side effects reduce its usefulness for many species. Safer antifungal treatments are needed for disease control. Here, we show that nikkomycin Z, a chitin synthase inhibitor, dramatically alters the cell wall stability of B. dendrobatidis cells and completely inhibits growth of B. dendrobatidis at 250 μM. Low doses of nikkomycin Z enhanced the effectiveness of natural antimicrobial skin peptide mixtures tested in vitro. These studies suggest that nikkomycin Z would be an effective treatment to significantly reduce the fungal burden in frogs infected by B. dendrobatidis. PMID:24433676

  13. Nikkomycin Z is an effective inhibitor of the chytrid fungus linked to global amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Holden, Whitney M; Fites, J Scott; Reinert, Laura K; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2014-01-01

    Fungal infections in humans, wildlife, and plants are a growing concern because of their devastating effects on human and ecosystem health. In recent years, populations of many amphibian species have declined, and some have become extinct due to chytridiomycosis caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. For some endangered amphibian species, captive colonies are the best intermediate solution towards eventual reintroduction, and effective antifungal treatments are needed to cure chytridiomycosis and limit the spread of this pathogen in such survival assurance colonies. Currently, the best accepted treatment for infected amphibians is itraconazole, but its toxic side effects reduce its usefulness for many species. Safer antifungal treatments are needed for disease control. Here, we show that nikkomycin Z, a chitin synthase inhibitor, dramatically alters the cell wall stability of B. dendrobatidis cells and completely inhibits growth of B. dendrobatidis at 250 μM. Low doses of nikkomycin Z enhanced the effectiveness of natural antimicrobial skin peptide mixtures tested in vitro. These studies suggest that nikkomycin Z would be an effective treatment to significantly reduce the fungal burden in frogs infected by B. dendrobatidis.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-13

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-13

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

  17. Immunization is ineffective at preventing infection and mortality due to the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Stice, Mary J; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2010-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. It has been hypothesized that low inherent immunogenicity in Bd may be related to the high rates of morbidity and mortality that are associated with Bd-infected anuran populations. To test this idea, juvenile Rana muscosa (mountain yellow-legged frogs) were immunized with adjuvants in combination with a formalin-killed Bd culture to determine if it is possible to stimulate a protective immune response when challenged with a live inoculum of B. dendrobatidis. Three groups of juvenile R. muscosa (6 mo postmetamorphosis) were immunized with saline, Freunds Complete (FCA) and Incomplete Adjuvant (FIA), or the adjuvants in combination with a formalin-killed culture of B. dendrobatidis. The effects of immunization were modeled using survival analysis and a proportional hazards model. No significant differences were found between the groups in overall mortality, time to infection, infection prevalence, or intensity. While this study suggests that immunizing anurans against chytridiomycosis will not alter rates of infection or mortality among individuals, it does raise several questions regarding the attenuation and efficacy of anuran adaptive immune responses and whether they may be protective against this disease. PMID:20090019

  18. Fluorescent probes as a tool for labelling and tracking the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Herbert, Sarah M; Leung, Tommy L F; Bishop, Phillip J

    2011-09-01

    The dissemination of the virulent pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has contributed to the decline and extinction of many amphibian species worldwide. Several different strains have been identified, some of which are sympatric. Interactions between co-infecting strains of a pathogen can have significant influences on disease epidemiology and evolution; therefore the dynamics of multi-strain infections is an important area of research. We stained Bd cells with 2 fluorescent BODIPY fatty acid probes to determine whether these can potentially be used to distinguish and track Bd cell lines in multi-strain experiments. Bd cells in broth culture were stained with 5 concentrations of green-fluorescent BODIPY FL and red-fluorescent BODIPY 558/568 and visualised under an epifluorescent microscope for up to 16 d post-dye. Dyed strains were also assessed for growth inhibition. The most effective concentration for both dyes was 10 pM. This concentration of dye produced strong fluorescence for 12 to 16 d in Bd cultures held at 23 degrees C (3 to 4 generations), and did not inhibit Bd growth. Cells dyed with BODIPY FL and BODIPY 558/568 can be distinguished from each other on the basis of their fluorescence characteristics. Therefore, it is likely that this technique will be useful for research into multi-strain dynamics of Bd infections.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  20. Variation in Thermal Performance of a Widespread Pathogen, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Lisa A.; Alford, Ross A.; Bell, Sara C.; Roznik, Elizabeth A.; Berger, Lee; Pike, David A.

    2013-01-01

    Rates of growth and reproduction of the pathogens that cause emerging infectious diseases can be affected by local environmental conditions; these conditions can thus influence the strength and nature of disease outbreaks. An understanding of these relationships is important for understanding disease ecology and developing mitigation strategies. Widespread emergence of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis has had devastating effects on amphibian populations. The causative pathogen, Batrachochytriumdendrobatidis (Bd), is sensitive to temperature, but its thermal tolerances are not well studied. We examined the thermal responses of three Bd isolates collected across a latitudinal gradient in eastern Australia. Temperature affected all aspects of Bd growth and reproduction that we measured, in ways that often differed among Bd isolates. Aspects of growth, reproduction, and their relationships to temperature that differed among isolates included upper thermal maxima for growth (26, 27, or 28°C, depending on the isolate), relationships between zoospore production and temperature, and zoospore activity and temperature. Two isolates decreased zoospore production as temperature increased, whereas the third isolate was less fecund overall, but did not show a strong response to temperature until reaching the upper limit of its thermal tolerance. Our results show differentiation in life-history traits among isolates within Australia, suggesting that the pathogen may exhibit local adaptation. An understanding of how environmental temperatures can limit pathogens by constraining fitness will enhance our ability to assess pathogen dynamics in the field, model pathogen spread, and conduct realistic experiments on host susceptibility and disease transmission. PMID:24023908

  1. Immunization is ineffective at preventing infection and mortality due to the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Stice, Mary J; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2010-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. It has been hypothesized that low inherent immunogenicity in Bd may be related to the high rates of morbidity and mortality that are associated with Bd-infected anuran populations. To test this idea, juvenile Rana muscosa (mountain yellow-legged frogs) were immunized with adjuvants in combination with a formalin-killed Bd culture to determine if it is possible to stimulate a protective immune response when challenged with a live inoculum of B. dendrobatidis. Three groups of juvenile R. muscosa (6 mo postmetamorphosis) were immunized with saline, Freunds Complete (FCA) and Incomplete Adjuvant (FIA), or the adjuvants in combination with a formalin-killed culture of B. dendrobatidis. The effects of immunization were modeled using survival analysis and a proportional hazards model. No significant differences were found between the groups in overall mortality, time to infection, infection prevalence, or intensity. While this study suggests that immunizing anurans against chytridiomycosis will not alter rates of infection or mortality among individuals, it does raise several questions regarding the attenuation and efficacy of anuran adaptive immune responses and whether they may be protective against this disease.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  3. Historic occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations from Missouri.

    PubMed

    Bodinof, Catherine M; Briggler, Jeffrey T; Duncan, Mary C; Beringer, Jeff; Millspaugh, Joshua J

    2011-08-29

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) was recently detected in Missouri hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations that have declined precipitously for unclear reasons. The objective of this study was to determine whether Bd occurred historically in Missouri hellbender populations or is a relatively novel occurrence. Epidermal tissue was removed from 216 archived hellbenders collected from 7 Missouri streams between 1896 and 1994. Histological techniques and an immunoperoxidase stain were used to confirm historic occurrence of Bd infection in hellbenders from the North Fork of the White (1969, 1973, 1975), Meramec (1975, 1986), Big Piney (1986), and Current rivers (1988). Bd was not detected in hellbenders from the Niangua, Gasconade or Eleven Point rivers. The study detected no evidence for endemism of Bd in Missouri hellbender populations prior to 1969, despite the fact that nearly one third of the hellbenders sampled were collected earlier. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Bd is a non-endemic pathogen in North America that was introduced in the second half of the twentieth century. PMID:21991660

  4. Genetic evidence for a high diversity and wide distribution of endemic strains of the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in wild Asian amphibians.

    PubMed

    Bataille, Arnaud; Fong, Jonathan J; Cha, Moonsuk; Wogan, Guinevere O U; Baek, Hae Jun; Lee, Hang; Min, Mi-Sook; Waldman, Bruce

    2013-08-01

    Population declines and extinctions of amphibians have been attributed to the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), especially one globally emerging recombinant lineage ('Bd-GPL'). We used PCR assays that target the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) of Bd to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of Bd in South Korea, where Bd is widely distributed but is not known to cause morbidity or mortality in wild populations. We isolated Korean Bd strains from native amphibians with low infection loads and compared them to known worldwide Bd strains using 19 polymorphic SNP and microsatellite loci. Bd prevalence ranged between 12.5 and 48.0%, in 11 of 17 native Korean species, and 24.7% in the introduced bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus. Based on ITS sequence variation, 47 of the 50 identified Korean haplotypes formed a group closely associated with a native Brazilian Bd lineage, separated from the Bd-GPL lineage. However, multilocus genotyping of three Korean Bd isolates revealed strong divergence from both Bd-GPL and the native Brazilian Bd lineages. Thus, the ITS region resolves genotypes that diverge from Bd-GPL but otherwise generates ambiguous phylogenies. Our results point to the presence of highly diversified endemic strains of Bd across Asian amphibian species. The rarity of Bd-GPL-associated haplotypes suggests that either this lineage was introduced into Korea only recently or Bd-GPL has been outcompeted by native Bd strains. Our results highlight the need to consider possible complex interactions among native Bd lineages, Bd-GPL and their associated amphibian hosts when assessing the spread and impact of Bd-GPL on worldwide amphibian populations.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Nothing a hot bath won't cure: infection rates of amphibian chytrid fungus correlate negatively with water temperature under natural field settings.

    PubMed

    Forrest, Matthew J; Schlaepfer, Martin A

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Effects of nutrient supplementation on host-pathogen dynamics of the amphibian chytrid fungus: a community approach

    PubMed Central

    BUCK, JULIA C.; ROHR, JASON R.; BLAUSTEIN, ANDREW R.

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY Anthropogenic stressors may influence hosts and their pathogens directly or may alter host–pathogen dynamics indirectly through interactions with other species. For example, in aquatic ecosystems, eutrophication may be associated with increased or decreased disease risk. Conversely, pathogens can influence community structure and function and are increasingly recognised as important members of the ecological communities in which they exist.In outdoor mesocosms, we experimentally manipulated nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and the presence of a fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and examined the effects on Bd abundance on larval amphibian hosts (Pseudacris regilla: Hylidae), amphibian traits and community dynamics. We predicted that resource supplementation would mitigate negative effects of Bd on tadpole growth and development and that indirect effects of treatments would propagate through the community.Nutrient additions caused changes in algal growth, which benefitted tadpoles through increased mass, development and survival. Bd-exposed tadpoles metamorphosed sooner than unexposed individuals, but their mass at metamorphosis was not affected by Bd exposure. We detected additive rather than interactive effects of nutrient supplementation and Bd in this experiment.Nutrient supplementation was not a significant predictor of infection load of larval amphibians. However, a structural equation model revealed that resource supplementation and exposure of amphibians to Bd altered the structure of the aquatic community. This is the first demonstration that sublethal effects of Bd on amphibians can alter aquatic community dynamics. PMID:25432573

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  15. Susceptibility to the amphibian chytrid fungus varies with ontogeny in the direct-developing frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui.

    PubMed

    Langhammer, Penny F; Burrowes, Patricia A; Lips, Karen R; Bryant, Anna B; Collins, James P

    2014-07-01

    Age-related differences in susceptibility to infectious disease are known from a wide variety of plant and animal taxonomic groups. For example, the immature immune systems of young vertebrates, along with limited prior exposure to pathogens and behavioral factors, can place juveniles at greater risk of acquiring and succumbing to a pathogen. We studied the ontogenetic susceptibility of terrestrial direct-developing frogs (Eleutherodactylus coqui) to the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which is responsible for the decline of amphibian species worldwide. By exposing juvenile and adult frogs to the same dose and strain of Bd, we uncovered ontogenetic differences in susceptibility. Froglets exposed to the pathogen had significantly lower survival rates compared with control froglets, while adult frogs largely cleared infection and had survival rates indistinguishable from control frogs, even when exposed to a much higher dose of Bd. The high disease-induced mortality rate of juveniles may explain ongoing population declines in eastern Puerto Rico, where Bd is endemic and juveniles experience higher prevalence and infection intensity compared to adults. Our results have important implications for understanding and modeling the decline, possibly to extinction, of amphibian populations and species.

  16. Distribution and risk factors for spread of amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia.

    PubMed

    Pauza, Matthew D; Driessen, Michael M; Skerratt, Lee F

    2010-11-01

    Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and is the cause of the decline and extinction of amphibian species throughout the world. We surveyed the distribution of Bd within and around the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), a 1.38 million ha area of significant fauna conservation value, which provides the majority of habitat for Tasmania's 3 endemic frog species (Litoria burrowsae, Bryobatrachus nimbus and Crinia tasmaniensis). Bd was detected at only 1 (3%) of the 33 sites surveyed within the TWWHA and at 15 (52%) of the 29 sites surveyed surrounding the TWWHA. The relatively low incidence of the disease within the TWWHA suggests that the majority of the TWWHA is currently free of the pathogen despite the fact that the region provides what appears to be optimal conditions for the persistence of Bd. For all survey sites within and around the TWWHA, the presence of Bd was strongly associated with the presence of gravel roads, forest and < 1000 m altitude--factors that in this study were associated with human-disturbed landscapes around the TWWHA. Conversely, the presence of walking tracks was strongly associated with the absence of Bd, suggesting an association of absence with relatively remote locations. The wide distribution of Bd in areas of Tasmania with high levels of human disturbance and its very limited occurrence in remote wilderness areas suggests that anthropogenic activities may facilitate the dissemination of the pathogen on a landscape scale in Tasmania. Because the majority of the TWWHA is not readily accessible and appears to be largely free of Bd, and because Tasmanian frogs reproduce in ponds rather than streams, it may be feasible to control the spread of the disease in the TWWHA. PMID:21268981

  17. Distribution and risk factors for spread of amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia.

    PubMed

    Pauza, Matthew D; Driessen, Michael M; Skerratt, Lee F

    2010-11-01

    Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and is the cause of the decline and extinction of amphibian species throughout the world. We surveyed the distribution of Bd within and around the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), a 1.38 million ha area of significant fauna conservation value, which provides the majority of habitat for Tasmania's 3 endemic frog species (Litoria burrowsae, Bryobatrachus nimbus and Crinia tasmaniensis). Bd was detected at only 1 (3%) of the 33 sites surveyed within the TWWHA and at 15 (52%) of the 29 sites surveyed surrounding the TWWHA. The relatively low incidence of the disease within the TWWHA suggests that the majority of the TWWHA is currently free of the pathogen despite the fact that the region provides what appears to be optimal conditions for the persistence of Bd. For all survey sites within and around the TWWHA, the presence of Bd was strongly associated with the presence of gravel roads, forest and < 1000 m altitude--factors that in this study were associated with human-disturbed landscapes around the TWWHA. Conversely, the presence of walking tracks was strongly associated with the absence of Bd, suggesting an association of absence with relatively remote locations. The wide distribution of Bd in areas of Tasmania with high levels of human disturbance and its very limited occurrence in remote wilderness areas suggests that anthropogenic activities may facilitate the dissemination of the pathogen on a landscape scale in Tasmania. Because the majority of the TWWHA is not readily accessible and appears to be largely free of Bd, and because Tasmanian frogs reproduce in ponds rather than streams, it may be feasible to control the spread of the disease in the TWWHA.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D. Earl; Dodd, C. Kenneth

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-31

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-31

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

  1. 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

  2. Why does Amphibian Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) not occur everywhere? An exploratory study in Missouri ponds.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. Enzootic and epizootic dynamics of the chytrid fungal pathogen of amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Briggs, Cheryl J.; Knapp, Roland A.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2010-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, the disease caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has contributed to amphibian population declines and extinctions worldwide. The impact of this pathogen, however, varies markedly among amphibian species and populations. Following invasion into some areas of California's Sierra Nevada, Bd leads to rapid declines and local extinctions of frog populations (Rana muscosa, R. sierrae). In other areas, infected populations of the same frog species have declined but persisted at low host densities for many years. We present results of a 5-year study showing that infected adult frogs in persistent populations have low fungal loads, are surviving between years, and frequently lose and regain the infection. Here we put forward the hypothesis that fungal load dynamics can explain the different population-level outcomes of Bd observed in different areas of the Sierra Nevada and possibly throughout the world. We develop a model that incorporates the biological details of the Bd-host interaction. Importantly, model results suggest that host persistence versus extinction does not require differences in host susceptibility, pathogen virulence, or environmental conditions, and may be just epidemic and endemic population dynamics of the same host–pathogen system. The different disease outcomes seen in natural populations may result solely from density-dependent host–pathogen dynamics. The model also shows that persistence of Bd is enhanced by the long-lived tadpole stage that characterize these two frog species, and by nonhost Bd reservoirs. PMID:20457916

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-26

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

  5. High prevalence of the amphibian chytrid pathogen in Gabon.

    PubMed

    Bell, Rayna C; Gata Garcia, Adriana V; Stuart, Bryan L; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2011-03-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) that is implicated in the worldwide decline and extinction of amphibians. Africa has been proposed as a potential source for the global expansion of Bd, yet the distribution of Bd across the continent remains largely unexplored. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), we screened for the presence of Bd in 166 adult anurans from two national parks in Gabon (Monts de Cristal and Ivindo). Bd was detected in 20 of the 42 species and was present at all three sites surveyed (two in Monts de Cristal, and one in Ivindo) with high prevalence (19.6%-36.0%). Both national parks were Bd-positive at all elevations and across habitat types, though no dead or dying frogs were encountered. To our knowledge, this study presents the first evidence of Bd in Gabon and the first record of infection for 19 of the 20 species that were Bd-positive. Documenting the distribution and virulence of Bd across Africa will be essential for understanding the dynamics of amphibian chytridiomycosis across the globe.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. Eradication of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Japanese giant salamander Andrias japonicus.

    PubMed

    Une, Yumi; Matsui, Kumi; Tamukai, Kenichi; Goka, Koichi

    2012-04-26

    The purpose of this study was to establish a method for eradicating a chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bd) from the Japanese giant salamander Andrias japonicus. The emerging agent (Bd) has a high rate of detection in this endangered amphibian species, which is designated as a special natural monument in Japan. Four Japanese giant salamanders with Bd confirmed by PCR assay were bathed in 0.01% itraconazole for 5 min d-1 over 10 successive days. PCR assays were conducted prior to treatment, on Days 5 and 10 of treatment, and on Days 7 and 14 post-treatment. By treatment Day 5, all individuals tested negative for Bd and remained negative until the end of the experiment. No side effects associated with itraconazole were observed. The present method appears to be a safe and effective approach for Bd eradication and may contribute to reducing the threat and spread of Bd among endangered amphibians. Notably, this study represents the first reported Bd eradication experiment involving Japanese giant salamanders. PMID:22535874

  8. Eradication of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Japanese giant salamander Andrias japonicus.

    PubMed

    Une, Yumi; Matsui, Kumi; Tamukai, Kenichi; Goka, Koichi

    2012-04-26

    The purpose of this study was to establish a method for eradicating a chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bd) from the Japanese giant salamander Andrias japonicus. The emerging agent (Bd) has a high rate of detection in this endangered amphibian species, which is designated as a special natural monument in Japan. Four Japanese giant salamanders with Bd confirmed by PCR assay were bathed in 0.01% itraconazole for 5 min d-1 over 10 successive days. PCR assays were conducted prior to treatment, on Days 5 and 10 of treatment, and on Days 7 and 14 post-treatment. By treatment Day 5, all individuals tested negative for Bd and remained negative until the end of the experiment. No side effects associated with itraconazole were observed. The present method appears to be a safe and effective approach for Bd eradication and may contribute to reducing the threat and spread of Bd among endangered amphibians. Notably, this study represents the first reported Bd eradication experiment involving Japanese giant salamanders.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-27

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

  10. Strain differences in the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and non-permanent, sub-lethal effects of infection.

    PubMed

    Retallick, Richard W R; Miera, Verma

    2007-05-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is likely the cause of numerous recent amphibian population declines worldwide. While the fungus is generally highly pathogenic to amphibians, hosts express a wide range of responses to infection, probably due to variation among hosts and environmental conditions, but possibly also due to variation in Bd. We investigated variation in Bd by exposing standardized host groups to 2 Bd strains in a uniform environment. All exposed frogs became infected, but subsequent lethal and sub-lethal (weight loss) responses differed among groups. These results demonstrate variation in Bd and suggest variation occurs even at small geographical scales, likely explaining some of the variation in host responses. With lower than expected mortality among infected frogs, we continued our study opportunistically to determine whether or not frogs could recover from chytridiomycosis. Using heat, we cleared infection from half of the surviving frogs, leaving the other half infected, then continued to monitor mortality and weight. Mortality ceased among disinfected frogs but continued among infected frogs. Disinfected frogs gained weight significantly more than infected frogs, to the point of becoming indistinguishable from controls, demonstrating that at least some of the effects of sub-lethal chytridiomycosis on hosts can be non-permanent and reversible. PMID:17629114

  11. Drought reduces chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) infection intensity and mortality but not prevalence in adult crawfish frogs (Lithobates areolatus).

    PubMed

    Terrell, Vanessa C K; Engbrecht, Nathan J; Pessier, Allan P; Lannoo, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    To fully understand the impacts of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on amphibians it is necessary to examine the interactions between populations and their environment. Ecologic variables can exacerbate or ameliorate Bd prevalence and infection intensity, factors that are positively related when Bd is acting on naive amphibian populations as an epidemic disease. In crawfish frogs (Lithobates areolatus), a North American species with a complex life history, we have shown that Bd acts as an endemic disease with impacts that vary seasonally; the highest infection prevalences and intensities and highest frog mortality occurred during late spring in postbreeding individuals. In this study, conducted between 28 February and 23 August 2011 in southwestern Indiana on the same population, we report an uncoupling of the previously observed relationship between Bd prevalence and intensity following an extreme drought. Specifically, there was a postdrought reduction in Bd infection intensity and mortality, but not in infection prevalence. This result suggests that the relationship between prevalence and intensity observed in Bd epidemics can be uncoupled in populations harboring endemic infections. Further, constant prevalence rates suggest either that crawfish frogs are being exposed to Bd sources independent of ambient moisture or that low-level infections below detection thresholds persist from year to year. Drought has several ecologically beneficial effects for amphibians with complex life histories, including eliminating fish and invertebrate populations that feed on larvae. To these ecologic benefits we suggest another, that drought can reduce the incidence of the severe skin disease (chytridiomycosis) due to Bd infection.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-20

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yasumiba, Kiyomi; Bell, Sara; Alford, Ross

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yasumiba, Kiyomi; Bell, Sara; Alford, Ross

    2016-01-01

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

  18. Life cycle stages of the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee; Hyatt, Alex D; Speare, Rick; Longcore, Joyce E

    2005-12-30

    An overview of the morphology and life cycle of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the cause of chytridiomycosis of amphibians, is presented. We used a range of methods to examine stages of the life cycle in culture and in frog skin, and to assess ultrastructural pathology in the skin of 2 frogs. Methods included light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy with conventional methods as well as high pressure freezing and freeze substitution, and scanning electron microscopy with critical point drying as well as examination of bulk-frozen and freeze-fractured material. Although chytridiomycosis is an emerging disease, B. dendrobatidis has adaptations that suggest it has long been evolved to live within cells in the dynamic tissue of the stratified epidermis. Sporangia developed at a rate that coincided with the maturation of the cell, and fungal discharge tubes usually opened onto the distal surface of epidermal cells of the stratum corneum. A zone of condensed, fibrillar, host cytoplasm surrounded some sporangia. Hyperkeratosis may be due to (1) a hyperplastic response that leads to an increased turnover of epidermal cells, and (2) premature keratinization and death of infected cells.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

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

  1. Geographic distribution of the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis among mountain amphibians along the Italian peninsula.

    PubMed

    Zampiglia, Mauro; Canestrelli, Daniele; Chiocchio, Andrea; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2013-11-25

    The amphibian chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is considered a major cause of amphibian population declines, particularly in montane areas. Here, we investigated the presence and distribution of Bd among populations of 3 mid- to high-altitude species spanning the entire Italian peninsula (486 individuals from 39 sites overall): the stream frog Rana italica, the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra gigliolii, and the alpine newt Mesotriton alpestris apuanus. We found Bd in all of the analyzed species. Despite the widespread distribution of the pathogen, its overall prevalence (6, 9 and 19%, respectively) was lower than previously reported for the endangered Apennine yellow-bellied toad Bombina pachypus (62.5%). Moreover, several populations of the species studied here were not infected, even at sites where Bd has been detected in other host species. When coupled with the lack of evidence for Bd-related mortalities in these species in peninsular Italy, these results suggest that mechanisms of resistance and/or tolerance are protecting populations of these species from the pathogenic activity of Bd. Nevertheless, in light of the dynamic pattern of Bd-host interactions reported in other studies, of Bd-related mortalities in at least 1 study species (S. s. salamandra) in other areas, and the ongoing climate changes in montane environments, we suggest that the occurrence of Bd should be considered a potential threat to the long-term persistence of these species, and urge the implementation of monitoring and conservation plans. PMID:24270024

  2. Geographic distribution of the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis among mountain amphibians along the Italian peninsula.

    PubMed

    Zampiglia, Mauro; Canestrelli, Daniele; Chiocchio, Andrea; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2013-11-25

    The amphibian chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is considered a major cause of amphibian population declines, particularly in montane areas. Here, we investigated the presence and distribution of Bd among populations of 3 mid- to high-altitude species spanning the entire Italian peninsula (486 individuals from 39 sites overall): the stream frog Rana italica, the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra gigliolii, and the alpine newt Mesotriton alpestris apuanus. We found Bd in all of the analyzed species. Despite the widespread distribution of the pathogen, its overall prevalence (6, 9 and 19%, respectively) was lower than previously reported for the endangered Apennine yellow-bellied toad Bombina pachypus (62.5%). Moreover, several populations of the species studied here were not infected, even at sites where Bd has been detected in other host species. When coupled with the lack of evidence for Bd-related mortalities in these species in peninsular Italy, these results suggest that mechanisms of resistance and/or tolerance are protecting populations of these species from the pathogenic activity of Bd. Nevertheless, in light of the dynamic pattern of Bd-host interactions reported in other studies, of Bd-related mortalities in at least 1 study species (S. s. salamandra) in other areas, and the ongoing climate changes in montane environments, we suggest that the occurrence of Bd should be considered a potential threat to the long-term persistence of these species, and urge the implementation of monitoring and conservation plans.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Survey for the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Hong Kong in native amphibians and in the international amphibian trade.

    PubMed

    Rowley, Jodi J L; Chan, Simon Kin Fung; Tang, Wing Sze; Speare, Richard; Skerratt, Lee F; Alford, Ross A; Cheung, Ka Shing; Ho, Ching Yee; Campbell, Ruth

    2007-12-13

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for many amphibian declines and has been identified in wild amphibian populations on all continents where they exist, except for Asia. In order to assess whether B. dendrobatidis is present on the native amphibians of Hong Kong, we sampled wild populations of Amolops hongkongensis, Paa exilispinosa, P. spinosa and Rana chloronota during 2005-2006. Amphibians infected with B. dendrobatidis have been found in the international trade, so we also examined the extent and nature of the amphibian trade in Hong Kong during 2005-2006, and assessed whether B. dendrobatidis was present in imported amphibians. All 274 individuals of 4 native amphibian species sampled tested negative for B. dendrobatidis, giving an upper 95% confidence limit for prevalence of 1.3%. Approximately 4.3 million amphibians of 45 species from 11 countries were imported into Hong Kong via air over 12 mo; we did not detect B. dendrobatidis on any of 137 imported amphibians sampled. As B. dendrobatidis generally occurs at greater than 5% prevalence in infected populations during favorable environmental conditions, native amphibians in Hong Kong appear free of B. dendrobatidis, and may be at severe risk of impact if it is introduced. Until it is established that the pathogen is present in Hong Kong, management strategies should focus on preventing it from being imported and decreasing the risk of it escaping into the wild amphibian populations if imported. Further research is needed to determine the status of B. dendrobatidis in Hong Kong with greater certainty.

  5. Clinical trials with itraconazole as a treatment for chytrid fungal infections in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Brannelly, Laura A; Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L; Pessier, Allan P

    2012-11-01

    Due in large part to recent global declines and extinctions, amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate group. Captive assurance colonies may be the only lifeline for some rapidly disappearing species. Maintaining these colonies free of disease represents a challenge to effective amphibian conservation. The fungal disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is one of the major contributors to global amphibian declines and also poses a serious threat to captive assurance colonies. Many treatment options for Bd infection have not been experimentally tested and the commonly administered dosages of some drugs are known to have negative side effects, highlighting a need for clinical trials. The objective of this study was to clinically test the drug itraconazole as a method for curing Bd infection. We bathed Bd-positive juveniles of 2 anuran amphibian species, Litoria caerulea and Incilius nebulifer, in aqueous itraconazole, varying the concentration and duration of treatment, to find the combination that caused the fewest side effects while also reliably ridding animals of Bd. Our results suggest that a bath in 0.0025% itraconazole for 5 min d-1 for 6 d reliably cures Bd infection and causes fewer side effects than the longer treatment times and higher concentrations of this drug that are commonly administered. PMID:23135136

  6. Substrate-Specific Gene Expression in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the Chytrid Pathogen of Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Poorten, Thomas J.; Joneson, Suzanne; Settles, Matthew

    2012-01-01

    Determining the mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction is critical for understanding and mitigating infectious disease. Mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity are of particular interest given the recent outbreaks of fungal diseases in wildlife populations. Our study focuses on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the chytrid pathogen responsible for amphibian declines around the world. Previous studies have hypothesized a role for several specific families of secreted proteases as pathogenicity factors in Bd, but the expression of these genes has only been evaluated in laboratory growth conditions. Here we conduct a genome-wide study of Bd gene expression under two different nutrient conditions. We compare Bd gene expression profiles in standard laboratory growth media and in pulverized host tissue (i.e., frog skin). A large proportion of genes in the Bd genome show increased expression when grown in host tissue, indicating the importance of studying pathogens on host substrate. A number of gene classes show particularly high levels of expression in host tissue, including three families of secreted proteases (metallo-, serine- and aspartyl-proteases), adhesion genes, lipase-3 encoding genes, and a group of phylogenetically unusual crinkler-like effectors. We discuss the roles of these different genes as putative pathogenicity factors and discuss what they can teach us about Bd’s metabolic targets, host invasion, and pathogenesis. PMID:23185485

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

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

  10. The Bacterially Produced Metabolite Violacein Is Associated with Survival of Amphibians Infected with a Lethal Fungus

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-10

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-10

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

  13. A tale of two lineages: unexpected, long-term persistence of the amphibian-killing fungus in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Lips, Karen

    2014-02-01

    For the past 17 years, scientists have been compiling a list of amphibian species susceptible to infection by the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), all over the world, with >500 species infected on every continent except Antarctica (Olson et al.). Where Bd has been found, the impacts on amphibians has been one of two types: either Bd arrives into a naïve amphibian population followed by a mass die-off and population declines (e.g. Lips et al.), or Bd is present at some moderate prevalence, usually infecting many species but at apparently nonlethal intensities for a long time. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Rodriguez et al. (2014) discover that the Atlantic Coastal Forest of Brazil is home to two Bd lineages: the Global Pandemic Lineage (Bd-GPL) - the strain responsible for mass die-offs and population declines - and a lineage endemic to Brazil (Bd-Bz). Even more surprising was that both lineages have been present in this area for the past 100 years, making these the oldest records of Bd infecting amphibians. The team also described a moderate but steady prevalence of ~20% across all sampled anuran families for over 100 years, indicating that Brazil has been in an enzootic disease state for over a century. Most amphibians were infected with Bd-GPL, suggesting this lineage may be a better competitor than Bd-Bz or may be replacing the Bd-Bz lineage. Rodriguez et al. (2014) also detected likely hybridization of the two Bd lineages, as originally described by Schloegel et al. (2012).

  14. Fungicidal effects of chemical disinfectants, UV light, desiccation and heat on the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Megan L; Berger, Lee; Philips, Lara; Speare, Richard

    2003-12-29

    The efficacy of a number of disinfection treatments was tested on in vitro cultures of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the causative agent of chytridiomycosis in amphibians. The aim was to evaluate the fungicidal effects of chemical disinfectants, sterilising ultraviolet (UV) light, heat and desiccation, using methods that were feasible for either disinfection in the field, in amphibian husbandry or in the laboratory. The chemical disinfectants tested were: sodium chloride, household bleach (active ingredient: sodium hypochlorite), potassium permanganate, formaldehyde solution, Path-X agricultural disinfectant (active ingredient: didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, DDAC), quaternary ammonium compound 128 (DDAC), Dithane, Virkon, ethanol and benzalkonium chloride. In 2 series of experiments using separate isolates of B. dendrobatidis, the fungicidal effect was evaluated for various time periods and at a range of chemical concentrations. The end point measured was death of 100% of zoospores and zoosporangia. Nearly all chemical disinfectants resulted in 100%, mortality for at least one of the concentrations tested. However, concentration and time of exposure was critical for most chemicals. Exposure to 70% ethanol, 1 mg Virkon ml(-1) or 1 mg benzalkonium chloride ml(-1) resulted in death of all zoosporangia after 20 s. The most effective products for field use were Path-X and the quaternary ammonium compound 128, which can be used at dilutions containing low levels (e.g. 0.012 or 0.008%, respectively) of the active compound didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. Bleach, containing the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite, was effective at concentrations of 1% sodium hypochlorite and above. Cultures did not survive complete drying, which occurred after <3 h at room temperature. B. dendrobatidis was sensitive to heating, and within 4 h at 37 degrees C, 30 min at 47 degrees C and 5 min at 60 degrees C, 100% mortality occurred. UV light (at 1000 mW m(-2) with a

  15. Immune defenses against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungus linked to global amphibian declines, in the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a chytrid fungus that causes the lethal skin disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians. It is regarded as an emerging infectious disease affecting diverse amphibian populations in many parts of the world. Because there are few model amphibian species for immunological studies, little is known about immune defenses against B. dendrobatidis. We show here that the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, is a suitable model for investigating immunity to this pathogen. After an experimental exposure, a mild infection developed over 20 to 30 days and declined by 45 days postexposure. Either purified antimicrobial peptides or mixtures of peptides in the skin mucus inhibited B. dendrobatidis growth in vitro. Skin peptide secretion was maximally induced by injection of norepinephrine, and this treatment resulted in sustained skin peptide depletion and increased susceptibility to infection. Sublethal X-irradiation of frogs decreased leukocyte numbers in the spleen and resulted in greater susceptibility to infection. Immunization against B. dendrobatidis induced elevated pathogen-specific IgM and IgY serum antibodies. Mucus secretions from X. laevis previously exposed to B. dendrobatidis contained significant amounts of IgM, IgY, and IgX antibodies that bind to B. dendrobatidis. These data strongly suggest that both innate and adaptive immune defenses are involved in the resistance of X. laevis to lethal B. dendrobatidis infections.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

  17. Effects of chytrid and carbaryl exposure on survival, growth and skin peptide defenses in foothill yellow-legged frogs.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Carlos; Benard, Michael F; Shaffer, H Bradley; Parker, John M; O'Leary, Chadrick; Conlon, J Michael; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2007-03-01

    Environmental contaminants and disease may synergistically contribute to amphibian population declines. Sub-lethal levels of contaminants can suppress amphibian immune defenses and, thereby, may facilitate disease outbreaks. We conducted laboratory experiments on newly metamorphosed foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii) to determine whether sublethal exposure to the pesticide carbaryl would increase susceptibility to the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that is widely associated with amphibian declines. We examined the effect of carbaryl alone, chytrid alone, and interactions of the two on individual survival, growth, and antimicrobial skin defenses. We found no effect of chytrid, carbaryl, or their interaction on survival. However, chytrid infection reduced growth by approximately one-half. This is the first report of suppressed growth in post-metamorphic amphibians due to infection with chytrid. Rana boylii skin peptides strongly inhibited chytrid growth in vitro, which may explain why chytrid exposure did not result in significant mortality. Skin peptide defenses were significantly reduced after exposure to carbaryl suggesting that pesticides may inhibit this innate immune defense and increase susceptibility to disease.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Pathogenic Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, but Not B. salamandrivorans, Detected on Eastern Hellbenders

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Chytrid blinders: what other disease risks to amphibians are we missing?

    PubMed

    Duffus, Amanda L J

    2009-09-01

    Amphibian declines are occurring on a global scale, and infectious disease has been implicated as a factor in some species. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been associated with amphibian declines and/or extinctions in many locations, however, few of the studies have actually performed detailed pathological investigations to link the emergence of the disease with mortality rates large enough to cause the declines. Many studies are based solely on the presence of infection, not disease, because of the reliance on molecular tests for Bd. The emphasis of the importance of Bd combined with easy molecular tests has resulted in poor investigations into amphibian mortality and declines in many areas. The line between infection and disease has been blurred, and a step back to basic pathological and biological investigations is needed as other disease risks to amphibians, such as ranaviruses, are likely being missed. In this article, starting points for proper investigative techniques for amphibian mortalities and declines are identified and areas that need to be improved, especially communication between biologist and veterinarians involved in amphibian disease research, are suggested. It is hoped that this will start a much needed discussion in the area and lead to some consensus building about methodologies used in amphibian disease research.

  2. Antibacterial therapeutics for the treatment of chytrid infection in amphibians: Columbus’s egg?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The establishment of safe and effective protocols to treat chytridiomycosis in amphibians is urgently required. In this study, the usefulness of antibacterial agents to clear chytridiomycosis from infected amphibians was evaluated. Results Florfenicol, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine and the combination of trimethoprim and sulfonamides were active in vitro against cultures of five Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis strains containing sporangia and zoospores, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.5-1.0 μg/ml for florfenicol and 8.0 μg/ml for the sulfonamides. Trimethoprim was not capable of inhibiting growth but, combined with sulfonamides, reduced the time to visible growth inhibition by the sulfonamides. Growth inhibition of B. dendrobatidis was not observed after exposure to clindamycin, doxycycline, enrofloxacin, paromomycin, polymyxin E and tylosin. Cultures of sporangia and zoospores of B. dendrobatidis strains JEL423 and IA042 were killed completely after 14 days of exposure to 100 μg/ml florfenicol or 16 μg/ml trimethoprim combined with 80 μg/ml sulfadiazine. These concentrations were, however, not capable of efficiently killing zoospores within 4 days after exposure as assessed using flow cytometry. Florfenicol concentrations remained stable in a bathing solution during a ten day period. Exposure of Discoglossus scovazzi tadpoles for ten days to 100 μg/ml but not to 10 μg florfenicol /ml water resulted in toxicity. In an in vivo trial, post metamorphic Alytes muletensis, experimentally inoculated with B. dendrobatidis, were treated topically with a solution containing 10 μg/ml of florfenicol during 14 days. Although a significant reduction of the B. dendrobatidis load was obtained, none of the treated animals cleared the infection. Conclusions We thus conclude that, despite marked anti B. dendrobatidis activity in vitro, the florfenicol treatment used is not capable of eliminating B. dendrobatidis infections

  3. Prevalence of the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in an endangered population of northern leopard frogs, Rana pipiens

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Emerging infectious diseases threaten naïve host populations with extinction. Chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease of amphibians, is caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and has been linked to global declines in amphibians. Results We monitored the prevalence of Bd for four years in the Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens, which is critically imperiled in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The prevalence of Bd initially increased and then remained constant over the last three years of the study. Young of the year emerging from breeding ponds in summer were rarely infected with Bd. Some individuals cleared their Bd infections and the return rate between infected and uninfected individuals was not significantly different. Conclusions The BC population of R. pipiens appears to have evolved a level of resistance that allows it to co-exist with Bd. However, this small population of R. pipiens remains vulnerable to extinction. PMID:20202208

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-10

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

  5. Ecology: global warming and amphibian losses.

    PubMed

    Alford, Ross A; Bradfield, Kay S; Richards, Stephen J

    2007-05-31

    Is global warming contributing to amphibian declines and extinctions by promoting outbreaks of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis? Analysing patterns from the American tropics, Pounds et al. envisage a process in which a single warm year triggers die-offs in a particular area (for instance, 1987 in the case of Monteverde, Costa Rica). However, we show here that populations of two frog species in the Australian tropics experienced increasing developmental instability, which is evidence of stress, at least two years before they showed chytrid-related declines. Because the working model of Pounds et al. is incomplete, their test of the climate-linked epidemic hypothesis could be inconclusive.

  6. Survey for the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in southwestern North Carolina salamander populations.

    PubMed

    Keitzer, S Conor; Goforth, Reuben; Pessier, Allan P; Johnson, April J

    2011-04-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungal pathogen responsible for a potentially fatal disease of amphibians. We conducted a survey for B. dendrobatidis in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern North Carolina, USA, from 10 June to 23 July 23 2009. Ventral skin swabs were collected from plethodontid salamanders (n=278) and real-time PCR was performed to test for the presence of B. dendrobatidis. We found no evidence of B. dendrobatidis, suggesting that B. dendrobatidis is absent or present in such low levels that it was undetected. If B. dendrobatidis was present at the time of our sampling, this survey supports evidence of low prevalence of B. dendrobatidis in North American headwater stream salamander populations. PMID:21441199

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-27

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-27

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  15. Potential causes for amphibian declines in Puerto Rico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burrowes, P.A.; Joglar, R.L.; Green, David E.

    2004-01-01

    We monitored 11 populations of eight species of Eleutherodactylus in Puerto Rico from 1989 through 2001. We determined relative abundance of active frogs along transects established in the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque), Carite Forest, San Lorenzo, and in the vicinity of San Juan. Three species (Eleutherodactylus karlschmidti, E. jasperi, and E. eneidae) are presumed to be extinct and eight populations of six different species of endemic Eleutherodactylus are significantly declining at elevations above 400 m. Of the many suspected causes of amphibian declines around the world, we focused on climate change and disease. Temperature and precipitation data from 1970a??2000 were analyzed to determine the general pattern of oscillations and deviations that could be correlated with amphibian declines. We examined a total of 106 tissues taken from museum specimens collected from 1961a??1978 and from live frogs in 2000. We found chytrid fungi in two species collected at El Yunque as early as 1976, this is the first report of chytrid fungus in the Caribbean. Analysis of weather data indicates a significant warming trend and an association between years with extended periods of drought and the decline of amphibians in Puerto Rico. The 1970's and 1990's, which represent the periods of amphibian extirpations and declines, were significantly drier than average. We suggest a possible synergistic interaction between drought and the pathological effect of the chytrid fungus on amphibian populations.

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2013-09-17

    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.

  18. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection of amphibians in the Doñana National Park, Spain.

    PubMed

    Hidalgo-Vila, Judit; Díaz-Paniagua, Carmen; Marchand, Marc A; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2012-03-20

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the non-hyphal, zoosporic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an emerging infectious disease recognised as a cause of recent amphibian population declines and extinctions worldwide. The Doñana National Park (DNP) is located in southwestern Spain, a country with widespread Bd infection. This protected area has a great diversity of aquatic habitats that constitute important breeding habitats for 11 native amphibian species. We sampled 625 amphibians in December 2007 and February to March 2008, months that correspond to the early and intermediate breeding seasons for amphibians, respectively. We found 7 of 9 sampled species to be infected with Bd and found differences in prevalence between sampling periods. Although some amphibians tested had higher intensities of infection than others, all animals sampled were apparently healthy and, so far, there has been no evidence of either unusually high rates of mortality or amphibian population declines in the DNP.

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

    PubMed

    Ghosh, Pria; Fisher, Matthew C

    2016-07-01

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

  20. Widespread co-occurrence of virulent pathogens within California amphibian communities.

    PubMed

    Hoverman, Jason T; Mihaljevic, Joseph R; Richgels, Katherine L D; Kerby, Jacob L; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2012-09-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, ranaviruses, and trematodes (Ribeiroia ondatrae and echinostomes) are highly virulent pathogens known to infect amphibians, yet the extent to which they co-occur within amphibian communities remains poorly understood. Using field surveillance of 85 wetlands in the East Bay region of California, USA, we found that 68% of wetlands had ≥2 pathogens and 36% had ≥3 pathogens. Wetlands with high pathogen species richness also tended to cluster spatially. Our results underscore the need for greater integration of multiple pathogens and their interactions into amphibian disease research and conservation efforts.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-26

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are experiencing catastrophic declines driven by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although horizontal gene transfer (HGT) facilitates the evolution and adaptation in many fungi by conferring novel function genes to the recipient fungi, inter-kingdom HGT in Bd remains largely unexplored. In this study, our investigation detects 19 bacterial genes transferred to Bd, including metallo-beta-lactamase and arsenate reductase that play important roles in the resistance to antibiotics and arsenates. Moreover, three probable HGT gene families in Bd are from plants and one gene family coding the ankyrin repeat-containing protein appears to come from oomycetes. The observed multi-copy gene families associated with HGT are probably due to the independent transfer events or gene duplications. Five HGT genes with extracellular locations may relate to infection, and some other genes may participate in a variety of metabolic pathways, and in doing so add important metabolic traits to the recipient. The evolutionary analysis indicates that all the transferred genes evolved under purifying selection, suggesting that their functions in Bd are similar to those of the donors. Collectively, our results indicate that HGT from diverse donors may be an important evolutionary driver of Bd, and improve its adaptations for infecting and colonizing host amphibians. PMID:27630622

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are experiencing catastrophic declines driven by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although horizontal gene transfer (HGT) facilitates the evolution and adaptation in many fungi by conferring novel function genes to the recipient fungi, inter-kingdom HGT in Bd remains largely unexplored. In this study, our investigation detects 19 bacterial genes transferred to Bd, including metallo-beta-lactamase and arsenate reductase that play important roles in the resistance to antibiotics and arsenates. Moreover, three probable HGT gene families in Bd are from plants and one gene family coding the ankyrin repeat-containing protein appears to come from oomycetes. The observed multi-copy gene families associated with HGT are probably due to the independent transfer events or gene duplications. Five HGT genes with extracellular locations may relate to infection, and some other genes may participate in a variety of metabolic pathways, and in doing so add important metabolic traits to the recipient. The evolutionary analysis indicates that all the transferred genes evolved under purifying selection, suggesting that their functions in Bd are similar to those of the donors. Collectively, our results indicate that HGT from diverse donors may be an important evolutionary driver of Bd, and improve its adaptations for infecting and colonizing host amphibians. PMID:27630622

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Amphibians.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1987

    1987-01-01

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

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  16. Confronting inconsistencies in the amphibian-chytridiomycosis system: implications for disease management.

    PubMed

    Venesky, Matthew D; Raffel, Thomas R; McMahon, Taegan A; Rohr, Jason R

    2014-05-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is one of the largest threats to wildlife and is putatively linked to the extirpation of numerous amphibians. Despite over a decade of research on Bd, conflicting results from a number of studies make it difficult to forecast where future epizootics will occur and how to manage this pathogen effectively. Here, we emphasize how resolving these conflicts will advance Bd management and amphibian conservation efforts. We synthesize current knowledge on whether Bd is novel or endemic, whether amphibians exhibit acquired resistance to Bd, the importance of host resistance versus tolerance to Bd, and how biotic (e.g. species richness) and abiotic factors (e.g. climate change) affect Bd abundance. Advances in our knowledge of amphibian-chytrid interactions might inform the management of fungal pathogens in general, which are becoming more common and problematic globally. PMID:24118903

  17. Confronting inconsistencies in the amphibian-chytridiomycosis system: implications for disease management.

    PubMed

    Venesky, Matthew D; Raffel, Thomas R; McMahon, Taegan A; Rohr, Jason R

    2014-05-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is one of the largest threats to wildlife and is putatively linked to the extirpation of numerous amphibians. Despite over a decade of research on Bd, conflicting results from a number of studies make it difficult to forecast where future epizootics will occur and how to manage this pathogen effectively. Here, we emphasize how resolving these conflicts will advance Bd management and amphibian conservation efforts. We synthesize current knowledge on whether Bd is novel or endemic, whether amphibians exhibit acquired resistance to Bd, the importance of host resistance versus tolerance to Bd, and how biotic (e.g. species richness) and abiotic factors (e.g. climate change) affect Bd abundance. Advances in our knowledge of amphibian-chytrid interactions might inform the management of fungal pathogens in general, which are becoming more common and problematic globally.

  18. Review and synthesis of the effects of climate change on amphibians.

    PubMed

    Li, Yiming; Cohen, Jeremy M; Rohr, Jason R

    2013-06-01

    Considerable progress has been made in understanding the responses of amphibians to climate change, with successful research carried out on climate change-associated shifts in amphibian phenology, elevational distributions and amphibian-parasite interactions. We review and synthesize the literature on this topic, emphasizing acutely lethal, sublethal, indirect and positive effects of climate change on amphibians, and major research gaps. For instance, evidence is lacking on poleward shifts in amphibian distributions and on changes in body sizes and morphologies of amphibians in response to climate change. We have limited information on amphibian thermal tolerances, thermal preferences, dehydration breaths, opportunity costs of water conserving behaviors and actual temperature and moisture ranges amphibians experience. Even when much of this information is available, there remains little evidence that climate change is acutely lethal to amphibians. This suggests that if climate change is contributing to declines, it might be through effects that are not acutely lethal, indirect, or both, but evidence in support of this suggestion is necessary. In fact, evidence that climate change is directly contributing to amphibian declines is weak, partly because researchers have not often ruled out alternative hypotheses, such as chytrid fungus or climate-fungus interactions. Consequently, we recommend that amphibian-climate research shift from primarily inductive, correlational approach as to studies that evaluate alternative hypotheses for declines. This additional rigor will require interdisciplinary collaborations, estimates of costs and benefits of climate change to amphibian fitness and populations, and the integration of correlative field studies, experiments on 'model' amphibian species, and mathematical and functional, physiological models.

  19. Amphibian skin may select for rare environmental microbes.

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-11

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

  3. Restored agricultural wetlands in Central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pierce, Clay; Rebecca A. Reeves,; Smalling, Kelly; Klaver, Robert W.; Vandever, Mark; Battaglin, William A.; Muths, Erin L.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians are declining throughout the United States and worldwide due, partly, to habitat loss. Conservation practices on the landscape restore wetlands to denitrify tile drainage effluent and restore ecosystem services. Understanding how water quality, hydroperiod, predation, and disease affect amphibians in restored wetlands is central to maintaining healthy amphibian populations in the region. We examined the quality of amphibian habitat in restored wetlands relative to reference wetlands by comparing species richness, developmental stress, and adult leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) survival probabilities to a suite of environmental metrics. Although measured habitat variables differed between restored and reference wetlands, differences appeared to have sub-lethal rather than lethal effects on resident amphibian populations. There were few differences in amphibian species richness and no difference in estimated survival probabilities between wetland types. Restored wetlands had more nitrate and alkaline pH, longer hydroperiods, and were deeper, whereas reference wetlands had more amphibian chytrid fungus zoospores in water samples and resident amphibians exhibited increased developmental stress. Restored and reference wetlands are both important components of the landscape in central Iowa and maintaining a complex of fish-free wetlands with a variety of hydroperiods will likely contribute to the persistence of amphibians in this landscape.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Densmore, Christine L.; Cipriano, R.C.; Bruckner, A.W.; Shchelkunov, I.S.

    2011-01-01

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

  5. Tropical amphibian populations experience higher disease risk in natural habitats

    PubMed Central

    Becker, C. Guilherme; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2011-01-01

    Habitat loss and disease are main drivers of global amphibian declines, yet the interaction between them remains largely unexplored. Here we show that paradoxically, habitat loss is negatively associated with occurrence, prevalence, and infection intensity of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in amphibian populations in the tropics. At a large spatial scale, increased habitat loss predicted lower disease risk in amphibian populations across Costa Rica and eastern Australia, even after jointly considering the effect of potential biotic and abiotic correlates. Lower host-species richness and suboptimal microclimates for Bd in disturbed habitats are potential mechanisms underlying this pattern. Furthermore, we found that anthropogenic deforestation practices biased to lowlands and natural vegetation remaining in inaccessible highlands explain increased Bd occurrence at higher elevations. At a smaller spatial scale, holding constant elevation, latitude, and macroclimate, we also found a negative relationship between habitat loss, and both Bd prevalence and infection intensity in frog populations in two landscapes of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our results indicate that amphibians will be disproportionately affected by emerging diseases in pristine environments, and that, paradoxically, disturbed habitats may act as shelters from disease, but only for the very few species that can tolerate deforestation. Thus, tropical amphibian faunas are threatened both by destruction of natural habitats as well as increased disease in pristine forests. To curb further extinctions and develop effective mitigation and restoration programs we must look to interactions between habitat loss and disease, the two main factors at the root of global amphibian declines. PMID:21628560

  6. Tropical amphibian populations experience higher disease risk in natural habitats.

    PubMed

    Becker, C Guilherme; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2011-06-14

    Habitat loss and disease are main drivers of global amphibian declines, yet the interaction between them remains largely unexplored. Here we show that paradoxically, habitat loss is negatively associated with occurrence, prevalence, and infection intensity of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in amphibian populations in the tropics. At a large spatial scale, increased habitat loss predicted lower disease risk in amphibian populations across Costa Rica and eastern Australia, even after jointly considering the effect of potential biotic and abiotic correlates. Lower host-species richness and suboptimal microclimates for Bd in disturbed habitats are potential mechanisms underlying this pattern. Furthermore, we found that anthropogenic deforestation practices biased to lowlands and natural vegetation remaining in inaccessible highlands explain increased Bd occurrence at higher elevations. At a smaller spatial scale, holding constant elevation, latitude, and macroclimate, we also found a negative relationship between habitat loss, and both Bd prevalence and infection intensity in frog populations in two landscapes of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our results indicate that amphibians will be disproportionately affected by emerging diseases in pristine environments, and that, paradoxically, disturbed habitats may act as shelters from disease, but only for the very few species that can tolerate deforestation. Thus, tropical amphibian faunas are threatened both by destruction of natural habitats as well as increased disease in pristine forests. To curb further extinctions and develop effective mitigation and restoration programs we must look to interactions between habitat loss and disease, the two main factors at the root of global amphibian declines.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-25

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  10. Transmission of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis within and between amphibian life stages.

    PubMed

    Rachowicz, Lara J; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2004-10-21

    Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has been implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. The mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa is a declining amphibian species that can be infected by B. dendrobatidis; however, transmission between conspecifics has not been documented. Here, we present experimental evidence that R. muscosa tadpoles can be infected by fungal zoospores and that they can transmit infection to each other and to postmetamorphic animals. We compared several techniques for detecting B. dendrobatidis transmission and found that histology with serial sectioning was able to detect infection before cytology or visual inspections. We also show that R. muscosa tadpoles appear healthy with B. dendrobatidis infection, while postmetamorphic animals experience mortality. In addition, we provide guidelines for visually detecting B. dendrobatidis in R. muscosa tadpoles, which may be useful in other affected species. Field surveys of infected and uninfected populations verify this identification technique.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  12. Using amphibians in laboratory studies: precautions against the emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis.

    PubMed

    Schmeller, Dirk S; Loyau, Adeline; Dejean, Tony; Miaud, Claude

    2011-01-01

    The African clawed frog Xenopus laevis is by far the most widely used amphibian species in laboratories. In the wild, X. laevis is an asymptomatic carrier of an emerging infectious disease called chytridiomycosis. The vector is the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has devastating effects on wild amphibian populations around the world. The impact of Bd on the metabolism of X. laevis has not been comprehended yet. However, even if asymptomatic, an infection is likely to affect the individual's physiology, immunology, development, reproduction and overall response to stress from a purely medical point of view, which will introduce noise and therefore increase variance within experimental groups of X. laevis. This could have implications on the scientific results from studies using this species. Here, we review the current knowledge on treatments of infected amphibians and propose a hygiene protocol adapted to laboratory populations and amphibian husbandry. Following the presented sanitation guidelines could further prevent the spread of Bd and probably of other amphibian pathogens. The sanitation guidelines will help to reduce the impact of amphibian husbandry on natural populations and must be considered a crucial contribution to amphibian conservation, as today 32% of all amphibians are considered threatened. PMID:21075827

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

    PubMed Central

    Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L

    2010-02-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-28

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

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-28

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

  2. 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.

  3. Effects of herbicides and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on the health of post-metamorphic northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens).

    PubMed

    Paetow, Linda J; Daniel McLaughlin, J; Cue, Roger I; Pauli, Bruce D; Marcogliese, David J

    2012-06-01

    Effects of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides along with exposure to pathogens have been listed as two major contributors to the global crisis of declining amphibian populations. These two factors have also been linked in explanations of the causes of these population declines. We conducted a combined exposure experiment to test the hypothesis that exposure to two agricultural herbicides would increase the susceptibility of post-metamorphic northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) to the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We assessed the independent and interactive effects of these exposures on the health and survival of the frogs. Wild-caught frogs underwent a 21-day exposure to a nominal concentration of either 2.1 μg/L atrazine (Aatrex(®) Liquid 480) or 100 μg a.e./L glyphosate (Roundup(®) Original), followed by Bd, and then were observed until 94 days post-initial exposure to the herbicides. Actual levels of atrazine were between 4.28 ± 0.04 μg/L and 1.70 ± 0.26 μg/L while glyphosate degraded from 100 μg a.e./L to approximately 7 μg a.e./L within 6 days of initial exposure to the herbicides. Compared to controls, the glyphosate formulation reduced the snout-vent length of frogs during the pesticide exposure (at Day 21), and the atrazine formulation reduced gain in mass up to Day 94. No treatment affected survival, splenosomatic or hepatosomatic indices, the densities and sizes of hepatic and splenic melanomacrophage aggregates, the density and size of hepatic granulomas, proportions of circulating leucocytes, the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes, or the ratio of leucocytes to erythrocytes. Histological assessment of samples collected at Day 94 revealed no evidence of Bd infection in any Bd-exposed frogs, while real-time PCR detected only one case of light infection in a single atrazine- and Bd-exposed frog. Frogs exposed to Bd shed their skin significantly more frequently than Bd-unexposed frogs, which may

  4. Chytrid mycoparasitism of entomophthoralean azygospores.

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Amphibian chytridiomycosis in Japan: distribution, haplotypes and possible route of entry into Japan.

    PubMed

    Goka, Koichi; Yokoyama, Jun; Une, Yumi; Kuroki, Toshiro; Suzuki, Kazutaka; Nakahara, Miri; Kobayashi, Arei; Inaba, Shigeki; Mizutani, Tomoo; Hyatt, Alex D

    2009-12-01

    A serious disease of amphibians caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was first found in Japan in December 2006 in imported pet frogs. This was the first report of chytridiomycosis in Asia. To assess the risk of pandemic chytridiomycosis to Japanese frogs, we surveyed the distribution of the fungus among captive and wild frog populations. We established a nested PCR assay that uses two pairs of PCR primers to amplify the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of a ribosomal RNA cassette to detect mild fungal infections from as little as 0.001 pg (1 fg) of B. dendrobatidis DNA. We collected swab samples from 265 amphibians sold at pet shops, 294 bred at institutes and 2103 collected at field sites from northern to southwestern Japan. We detected infections in native and exotic species, both in captivity and in the field. Sequencing of PCR products revealed 26 haplotypes of the B. dendrobatidis ITS region. Phylogenetic analysis showed that three of these haplotypes were specific to the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) and appeared to have established a commensal relationship with this native amphibian. Many other haplotypes were carried by alien amphibians. The highest genetic diversity of B. dendrobatidis was found in the American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). Some strains of B. dendrobatidis appeared to be endemic to Japanese native amphibians, but many alien strains are being introduced into Japan via imported amphibians. To improve chytridiomycosis risk management, we must consider the risk of B. dendrobatidis changing hosts as a result of anthropogenic disturbance of the host-specific distribution of the fungus. PMID:19840263

  8. Health evaluation of amphibians in and near Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado, USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D.E.; Muths, E.

    2005-01-01

    We conducted a health survey of amphibians in and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to document current disease presence inside RMNP and identify disease outside RMNP with the potential to spread to the Park's amphibians. Amphibians from five sites within RMNP and seven sites within 60 km of Park boundaries were collected and examined. Necropsies (n - 238), virus isolation, bacterial and fungal cultures, and histological examinations were carried out on amphibian egg masses (outside RMNP/within RMNP: 26/22), larvae (30/42), imagos (recently metamorphosed individuals) (0/3) and adults (61/67) of five species. Marked infections by a pathogenic chytrid fungus (chyridiomycosis), Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, were detected in three species (Bufo boreas, Pseudacris maculata and Rana sylvatica) from three of five sites within RMNP and in one of three species (P. maculata) from three sites outside RMNP. Of the fully metamorphosed individuals tested (B. boreas, P. maculata and R. sylvatica), chytridiomycosis was found in 60 % (n = 3), 46 % (n = 37) and 54 % (n = 7), respectively. Chytridiomycosis was the principal lethal pathogenic infectious disease detected in three amphibian species within or adjacent to RMNP. Higher fungi were isolated from the cloaca and skin of all five amphibian species. Watermolds (Oomycetes) were isolated from amphibian eggs or skin of all five species. No evidence of Ranavirus was found in cultures and histological examinations of 176 and 142 amphibians, respectively. Fifteen genera of bacteria were identified in larval and just metamorphosed amphibians, and a potentially pathogenic lungworm, Rhabdias sp, was identified in 61.1 % (n = 11) of B. woodhousii outside RMNP, but in only 2 (15.4 %) R. sylvatica within the Park.

  9. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2015-10-20

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

  10. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2015-10-20

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

  11. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Predicted disease susceptibility in a Panamanian amphibian assemblage based on skin peptide defenses.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Voyles, Jamie; Lips, Karen R; Carey, Cynthia; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2006-04-01

    Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease of amphibians caused by a chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. This panzootic does not equally affect all amphibian species within an assemblage; some populations decline, others persist. Little is known about the factors that affect disease resistance. Differences in behavior, life history, biogeography, or immune function may impact survival. We found that an innate immune defense, antimicrobial skin peptides, varied significantly among species within a rainforest stream amphibian assemblage that has not been exposed to B. dendrobatidis. If exposed, all amphibian species at this central Panamanian site are at risk of population declines. In vitro pathogen growth inhibition by peptides from Panamanian species compared with species with known resistance (Rana pipiens and Xenopus laevis) or susceptibility (Bufo boreas) suggests that of the nine species examined, two species (Centrolene prosoblepon and Phyllomedusa lemur) may demonstrate strong resistance, and the other species will have a higher risk of disease-associated population declines. We found little variation among geographically distinct B. dendrobatidis isolates in sensitivity to an amphibian skin peptide mixture. This supports the hypothesis that B. dendrobatidis is a generalist pathogen and that species possessing an innate immunologic defense at the time of disease emergence are more likely to survive.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-28

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-28

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. First evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in China: discovery of chytridiomycosis in introduced American bullfrogs and native amphibians in the Yunnan Province, China.

    PubMed

    Bai, Changming; Garner, Trenton W J; Li, Yiming

    2010-08-01

    Although the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the etiological agent of amphibian chytridiomycosis, has been implicated in mass mortality and population declines on several continents around the world, there have been no reports on the presence of Bd infections in amphibians in China. We employed quantitative PCR and histological techniques to investigate the presence of Bd in introduced North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) (referred to hereafter as bullfrog) and native amphibians in bullfrog-invaded areas of the Yunnan Province, China. A total of 259 samples at five wild sites were collected between June and September in 2007 and 2008, including bullfrogs and four native amphibian species (Rana pleuraden, Rana chaochiaoensis, Odorrana andersonii, and Bombina maxima). In addition, 37 samples of adult bullfrogs were obtained from a food market. Bd infections were discovered in bullfrogs and three native amphibian species from all of the surveyed sites. Of the 39 Bd-positive samples, 35 were from wild-caught bullfrog tadpoles, postmetamorphic bullfrogs, R. pleuraden, R. chaochiaoensis, and O. andersonii, and four were from adult bullfrogs from the market. Our results provide the first evidence of the presence of Bd in Chinese amphibians, suggesting that native amphibian diversity in China is at risk from Bd. There is an urgent need to monitor the distribution of Bd in amphibians in China and understand the susceptibility of native amphibian species to chytridiomycosis. Strict regulations on the transportation of bullfrogs and the breeding of bullfrogs in markets and farms should be drafted in order to stop the spread of Bd by bullfrogs.

  3. First evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in China: discovery of chytridiomycosis in introduced American bullfrogs and native amphibians in the Yunnan Province, China.

    PubMed

    Bai, Changming; Garner, Trenton W J; Li, Yiming

    2010-08-01

    Although the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the etiological agent of amphibian chytridiomycosis, has been implicated in mass mortality and population declines on several continents around the world, there have been no reports on the presence of Bd infections in amphibians in China. We employed quantitative PCR and histological techniques to investigate the presence of Bd in introduced North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) (referred to hereafter as bullfrog) and native amphibians in bullfrog-invaded areas of the Yunnan Province, China. A total of 259 samples at five wild sites were collected between June and September in 2007 and 2008, including bullfrogs and four native amphibian species (Rana pleuraden, Rana chaochiaoensis, Odorrana andersonii, and Bombina maxima). In addition, 37 samples of adult bullfrogs were obtained from a food market. Bd infections were discovered in bullfrogs and three native amphibian species from all of the surveyed sites. Of the 39 Bd-positive samples, 35 were from wild-caught bullfrog tadpoles, postmetamorphic bullfrogs, R. pleuraden, R. chaochiaoensis, and O. andersonii, and four were from adult bullfrogs from the market. Our results provide the first evidence of the presence of Bd in Chinese amphibians, suggesting that native amphibian diversity in China is at risk from Bd. There is an urgent need to monitor the distribution of Bd in amphibians in China and understand the susceptibility of native amphibian species to chytridiomycosis. Strict regulations on the transportation of bullfrogs and the breeding of bullfrogs in markets and farms should be drafted in order to stop the spread of Bd by bullfrogs. PMID:20372969

  4. Amphibian commerce as a likely source of pathogen pollution.

    PubMed

    Picco, Angela M; Collins, James P

    2008-12-01

    The commercial trade of wildlife occurs on a global scale. In addition to removing animals from their native populations, this trade may lead to the release and subsequent introduction of nonindigenous species and the pathogens they carry. Emerging infectious diseases, such as chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and ranaviral disease have spread with global trade in amphibians and are linked to amphibian declines and die-offs worldwide, which suggests that the commercial trade in amphibians may be a source of pathogen pollution. We screened tiger salamanders involved in the bait trade in the western United States for both ranaviruses and Bd with polymerase chain reaction and used oral reports from bait shops and ranavirus DNA sequences from infected bait salamanders to determine how these animals and their pathogens are moved geographically by commerce. In addition, we conducted 2 surveys of anglers to determine how often tiger salamanders are used as bait and how often they are released into fishing waters by anglers, and organized bait-shop surveys to determine whether tiger salamanders are released back into the wild after being housed in bait shops. Ranaviruses were detected in the tiger salamander bait trade in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, and Bd was detected in Arizona bait shops. Ranaviruses were spread geographically through the bait trade. All tiger salamanders in the bait trade were collected from the wild, and in general they moved east to west and north to south, bringing with them their multiple ranavirus strains. Finally, 26-73% of anglers used tiger salamanders as fishing bait, 26-67% of anglers released tiger salamanders bought as bait into fishing waters, and 4% of bait shops released tiger salamanders back into the wild after they were housed in shops with infected animals. The tiger salamander bait trade in the western United States is a useful model for understanding the consequences of the

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Daszak, Peter

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R

    2010-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Development of in vitro models for a better understanding of the early pathogenesis of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Van Rooij, Pascale; Martel, An; Brutyn, Melanie; Maes, Sofie; Chiers, Koen; Van Waeyenberghe, Lieven; Croubels, Siska; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Pasmans, Frank

    2010-12-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the causal agent of chytridiomycosis, is implicated in the global decline of amphibians. This chytrid fungus invades keratinised epithelial cells, and infection is mainly associated with epidermal hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis. Since little is known about the pathogenesis of chytridiomycosis, this study was designed to optimise the conditions under which primary keratinocytes and epidermal explants of amphibian skin could be maintained ex vivo for several days. The usefulness of the following set-ups for pathogenesis studies was investigated: a) cultures of primary keratinocytes; b) stripped epidermal (SE) explants; c) full-thickness epidermal (FTE) explants on Matrigel™; d) FTE explants in cell culture inserts; and e) FTE explants in Ussing chambers. SE explants proved most suitable for short-term studies, since adherence of fluorescently-labelled zoospores to the superficial epidermis could be observed within one hour of infection. FTE explants in an Ussing chamber set-up are most suitable for the study of the later developmental stages of B. dendrobatidis in amphibian skin up to five days post-infection. These models provide a good alternative for in vivo experiments, and reduce the number of experimental animals needed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  1. Ambient ultraviolet B radiation and prevalence of infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in two amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Ortiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E; Fisher, Matthew C; Fernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Fernández-Benéitez, María J; Bosch, Jaime

    2011-10-01

    Chytridiomycosis, the emerging disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is responsible for declines and extirpations of amphibian populations worldwide. Environmental covariates modify the host-Bd interaction and thus affect the ongoing spread of the pathogen. One such covariate may be the intensity of ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation. In a field experiment conducted in Laguna Grande de Peñalara (central Spain), a mountainous region where the presence of Bd has been documented since 1997, we analyzed the potential effect of environmental UV-B (daily maximum 2.5-3.9 W/m(2) ) on the susceptibility of larvae of the common toad (Bufo bufo) to Bd. The proportion of infected individuals increased as tadpoles developed. The prevalence of Bd was significantly lower in tadpoles exposed to environmental UV-B intensities (2.94%) than in tadpoles not exposed to the radiation (9.72%). This finding mirrors that seen for a second amphibian species, the European midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), for which conditional prevalence (i.e., prevalence of infection conditioned on the probability of a site being infected) across the Iberian Peninsula was inversely correlated with the intensity of UV-B. PMID:21676032

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

  6. Life-history trade-offs influence disease in changing climates: strategies of an amphibian pathogen.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Alford, Ross A; Briggs, Cheryl J; Johnson, Megan; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2008-06-01

    Life-history trade-offs allow many animals to maintain reproductive fitness across a range of climatic conditions. When used by parasites and pathogens, these strategies may influence patterns of disease in changing climates. The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is linked to global declines of amphibian populations. Short-term growth in culture is maximal at 17 degrees-25 degrees C. This has been used in an argument that global warming, which increases the time that amphibians spend at these temperatures in cloud-covered montane environments, has led to extinctions. Here we show that the amphibian chytrid responds to decreasing temperatures with trade-offs that increase fecundity as maturation rate slows and increase infectivity as growth decreases. At 17 degrees-25 degrees C, infectious zoospores encyst (settle and develop a cell wall) and develop into the zoospore-producing stage (zoosporangium) faster, while at 7 degrees-10 degrees C, greater numbers of zoospores are produced per zoosporangium; these remain infectious for a longer period of time. We modeled the population growth of B. dendrobatidis through time at various temperatures using delayed differential equations and observational data for four parameters: developmental rate of thalli, fecundity, rate of zoospore encystment, and rate of zoospore survival. From the models, it is clear that life-history trade-offs allow B. dendrobatidis to maintain a relatively high long-term growth rate at low temperatures, so that it maintains high fitness across a range of temperatures. When a seven-day cold shock is simulated, the outcome is intermediate between the two constant temperature regimes, and in culture, a sudden drop in temperature induces zoospore release. These trade-offs can be ecologically important for a variety of organisms with complex life histories, including pathogenic microorganisms. The effect of temperature on amphibian mortality will depend on the interaction between fungal

  7. 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

  8. Characterization of the first Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis isolate from the Colombian Andes, an amphibian biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Flechas, S V; Medina, E M; Crawford, A J; Sarmiento, C; Cárdenas, M E; Amézquita, A; Restrepo, S

    2013-03-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), constitutes a significant threat to more than 790 amphibian species occurring in Colombia. To date there is no molecular or morphological description of strains infecting Colombian populations. Here we report the genetic and morphological characterization of the first Colombian isolate of Bd (strain EV001). Our goals were threefold: (1) to characterize the morphology of EV001 using light and scanning electron microscopy, (2) to genotype this strain by direct sequencing of 17 polymorphic nuclear markers developed previously, and (3) to compare our findings with published reports on strains from other areas of the globe. We found that EV001 is morphologically consistent with previously described strains. Multi-locus genotyping suggested that EV001 is grouped genetically with Panamanian strains and is most similar to strain JEL203 isolated from a captive individual. This finding fills an important gap in our knowledge of Neotropical strains of Bd and provides a baseline for further evolutionary and functional analyses.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Deanna H.; Blaustein, Andrew R.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

  14. 75 FR 56975 - Injurious Wildlife Species; Review of Information Concerning a Petition To List All Live...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-09-17

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

  15. Emerging disease of amphibians cured by elevated body temperature.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Alford, Ross A; Marantelli, Gerry

    2003-06-20

    The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis is thought to have contributed to many of the recent alarming declines in amphibian populations. Mortalities associated with these declines have often occurred during cooler seasons and at high elevations, suggesting that environmental temperature may be an important factor in disease emergence. We found that thermal environment affects the progress of the disease, and that housing frogs Litoria chloris at an environmental temperature of 37 degrees C for less than 16 h can clear them of the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Our experiment demonstrated that elevated body temperatures similar to those experienced in behavioral fever and during normal thermoregulation can clear frogs of chytrid infection; therefore, variation in thermoregulatory opportunities and behaviors are likely to contribute to the differences in disease incidence observed among host species, populations, and regions. Although further refinement of the technique is needed to encompass various host species, appropriately applied thermal manipulations of amphibians and their enclosures may prove to be a safe and effective way of eliminating the fungal pathogen from captive amphibian populations and: preventing accidental spread of the pathogen when animals are translocated or released from captivity. PMID:12887256

  16. Phylogeny and biogeography of an uncultured clade of snow chytrids.

    PubMed

    Naff, C S; Darcy, J L; Schmidt, S K

    2013-10-01

    Numerous studies have shown that snow can contain a diverse array of algae known as 'snow algae'. Some reports also indicate that parasites of algae (e.g. chytrids) are also found in snow, but efforts to phylogenetically identify 'snow chytrids' have not been successful. We used culture-independent molecular approaches to phylogenetically identify chytrids that are common in long-lived snowpacks of Colorado and Europe. The most remarkable finding of the present study was the discovery of a new clade of chytrids that has representatives in snowpacks of Colorado and Switzerland and cold sites in Nepal and France, but no representatives from warmer ecosystems. This new clade ('Snow Clade 1' or SC1) is as deeply divergent as its sister clade, the Lobulomycetales, and phylotypes of SC1 show significant (P < 0.003) genetic-isolation by geographic distance patterns, perhaps indicating a long evolutionary history in the cryosphere. In addition to SC1, other snow chytrids were phylogenetically shown to be in the order Rhizophydiales, a group with known algal parasites and saprotrophs. We suggest that these newly discovered snow chytrids are important components of snow ecosystems where they contribute to snow food-web dynamics and the release of nutrients due to their parasitic and saprotrophic activities.

  17. Chytrids dominate arctic marine fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Hassett, B T; Gradinger, R

    2016-06-01

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

  18. Chytrids dominate arctic marine fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Hassett, B T; Gradinger, R

    2016-06-01

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

  19. Amphibian Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob

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

  20. Endemic and introduced haplotypes of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Japanese amphibians: sink or source?

    PubMed

    Fisher, Matthew C

    2009-12-01

    The global emergence of the amphibian chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is one of the most compelling, and troubling, examples of a panzootic. Only discovered in 1998, Bd is now recognized as a proximate driver of global declines in amphibian diversity and is now widely acknowledged as a key threatening process for this ancient class of vertebrates. Moreover, Bd has become a member of a small group of highly virulent multihost pathogens that are known to have had effects on entire vertebrate communities and the ecosystem-level effects of Bd-driven amphibian declines are starting to emerge as a consequence of regional decreases in amphibian diversity. Despite the speed at which this species of aquatic chytrid has become a focus of research efforts, major questions still exist about where Bd originated, how it spreads, where it occurs and what are Bd's effects on populations and species inhabiting different regions and biomes. In this issue, Goka et al. (2009) make an important contribution by publishing the first nationwide surveillance for Bd in Asia. Although previous data had suggested that amphibians in Asia are largely uninfected by Bd, these surveys were limited in their extent and few firm conclusions could be drawn about the true extent of infection. Goka et al. herein describe a systematic surveillance of Japan for both native and exotic species in the wild, as well as amphibians housed in captivity, using a Bd-specific nested PCR reaction on a sample of over 2600 amphibians. Their results show that Bd is widely prevalent in native species across Japan in at least three of the islands that make up the archipelago, proving for the first time that Asia harbours Bd.

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

    PubMed

    Mills, Georgina

    2015-01-24

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

  2. Citation rate and perceived subject bias in the amphibian-decline literature.

    PubMed

    Ohmer, Michel E; Bishop, Phillip J

    2011-02-01

    As a result of global declines in amphibian populations, interest in the conservation of amphibians has grown. This growth has been fueled partially by the recent discovery of other potential causes of declines, including chytridiomycosis (the amphibian chytrid, an infectious disease) and climate change. It has been proposed that researchers have shifted their focus to these novel stressors and that other threats to amphibians, such as habitat loss, are not being studied in proportion to their potential effects. We tested the validity of this proposal by reviewing the literature on amphibian declines, categorizing the primary topic of articles within this literature (e.g., habitat loss or UV-B radiation) and comparing citation rates among articles on these topics and impact factors of journals in which the articles were published. From 1990 to 2009, the proportion of papers on habitat loss remained fairly constant, and although the number of papers on chytridiomycosis increased after the disease was described in 1998, the number of published papers on amphibian declines also increased. Nevertheless, papers on chytridiomycosis were more highly cited than papers not on chytridiomycosis and were published in journals with higher impact factors on average, which may indicate this research topic is more popular in the literature. Our results were not consistent with a shift in the research agenda on amphibians. We believe the perception of such a shift has been supported by the higher citation rates of papers on chytridiomycosis. PMID:21251072

  3. Citation rate and perceived subject bias in the amphibian-decline literature.

    PubMed

    Ohmer, Michel E; Bishop, Phillip J

    2011-02-01

    As a result of global declines in amphibian populations, interest in the conservation of amphibians has grown. This growth has been fueled partially by the recent discovery of other potential causes of declines, including chytridiomycosis (the amphibian chytrid, an infectious disease) and climate change. It has been proposed that researchers have shifted their focus to these novel stressors and that other threats to amphibians, such as habitat loss, are not being studied in proportion to their potential effects. We tested the validity of this proposal by reviewing the literature on amphibian declines, categorizing the primary topic of articles within this literature (e.g., habitat loss or UV-B radiation) and comparing citation rates among articles on these topics and impact factors of journals in which the articles were published. From 1990 to 2009, the proportion of papers on habitat loss remained fairly constant, and although the number of papers on chytridiomycosis increased after the disease was described in 1998, the number of published papers on amphibian declines also increased. Nevertheless, papers on chytridiomycosis were more highly cited than papers not on chytridiomycosis and were published in journals with higher impact factors on average, which may indicate this research topic is more popular in the literature. Our results were not consistent with a shift in the research agenda on amphibians. We believe the perception of such a shift has been supported by the higher citation rates of papers on chytridiomycosis.

  4. Acid tolerance in amphibians

    SciTech Connect

    Pierce, B.A.

    1985-04-01

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

  5. Endoscopy in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2015-09-01

    Despite advances in exotic animal endoscopy, descriptions involving amphibians are scarce. Amphibian endoscopy shares some similarities with reptiles, especially in lizards. Selected procedures are discussed, including stomatoscopy, gastroscopy, coelioscopy, and biopsy of coelomic organs and lesions. This short overview provides the practitioner with pragmatic advice on how to conduct safe and effective endoscopic examinations in amphibians.

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

    PubMed

    Kiesecker, J M; Blaustein, A 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. PMID:7479934

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Parasitic chytrids sustain zooplankton growth during inedible algal bloom

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Surgery in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Surgery in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Fungus Amongus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wakeley, Deidra

    2005-01-01

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

  16. The role of amphibian antimicrobial peptides in protection of amphibians from pathogens linked to global amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2009-08-01

    Amphibian species have experienced population declines and extinctions worldwide that are unprecedented in recent history. Many of these recent declines have been linked to a pathogenic skin fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or to iridoviruses of the genus Ranavirus. One of the first lines of defense against pathogens that enter by way of the skin are antimicrobial peptides synthesized and stored in dermal granular glands and secreted into the mucus following alarm or injury. Here, I review what is known about the capacity of amphibian antimicrobial peptides from diverse amphibians to inhibit B. dendrobatidis or ranavirus infections. When multiple species were compared for the effectiveness of their in vitro antimicrobial peptides defenses against B. dendrobatidis, non-declining species of rainforest amphibians had more effective antimicrobial peptides than species in the same habitat that had recently experienced population declines. Further, there was a significant correlation between the effectiveness of the antimicrobial peptides and resistance of the species to experimental infection. These studies support the hypothesis that antimicrobial peptides are an important component of innate defenses against B. dendrobatidis. Some amphibian antimicrobial peptides inhibit ranavirus infections and infection of human T lymphocytes by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). An effective antimicrobial peptide defense against skin pathogens appears to depend on a diverse array of genes expressing antimicrobial peptides. The production of antimicrobial peptides may be regulated by signals from the pathogens. However, this defense must also accommodate potentially beneficial microbes on the skin that compete or inhibit growth of the pathogens. How this delicate balancing act is accomplished is an important area of future research.

  17. Pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in marbled water frog Telmatobius marmoratus: first record from Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.

    PubMed

    Cossel, John; Lindquist, Erik; Craig, Heather; Luthman, Kyle

    2014-11-13

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been associated with amphibian declines worldwide but has not been well-studied among Critically Endangered amphibian species in Bolivia. We sampled free-living marbled water frogs Telmatobius marmoratus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from Isla del Sol, Bolivia, for Bd using skin swabs and quantitative polymerase chain reactions. We detected Bd on 44% of T. marmoratus sampled. This is the first record of Bd in amphibians from waters associated with Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. These results further confirm the presence of Bd in Bolivia and substantiate the potential threat of this pathogen to the Critically Endangered, sympatric Titicaca water frog T. culeus and other Andean amphibians.

  18. The emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis globally infects introduced populations of the North American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana.

    PubMed

    Garner, Trenton W J; Perkins, Matthew W; Govindarajulu, Purnima; Seglie, Daniele; Walker, Susan; Cunningham, Andrew A; Fisher, Matthew C

    2006-09-22

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the chytridiomycete fungus which has been implicated in global amphibian declines and numerous species extinctions. Here, we show that introduced North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) consistently carry this emerging pathogenic fungus. We detected infections by this fungus on introduced bullfrogs from seven of eight countries using both PCR and microscopic techniques. Only native bullfrogs from eastern Canada and introduced bullfrogs from Japan showed no sign of infection. The bullfrog is the most commonly farmed amphibian, and escapes and subsequent establishment of feral populations regularly occur. These factors taken together with our study suggest that the global threat of B. dendrobatidis disease transmission posed by bullfrogs is significant. PMID:17148429

  19. The emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis globally infects introduced populations of the North American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana.

    PubMed

    Garner, Trenton W J; Perkins, Matthew W; Govindarajulu, Purnima; Seglie, Daniele; Walker, Susan; Cunningham, Andrew A; Fisher, Matthew C

    2006-09-22

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the chytridiomycete fungus which has been implicated in global amphibian declines and numerous species extinctions. Here, we show that introduced North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) consistently carry this emerging pathogenic fungus. We detected infections by this fungus on introduced bullfrogs from seven of eight countries using both PCR and microscopic techniques. Only native bullfrogs from eastern Canada and introduced bullfrogs from Japan showed no sign of infection. The bullfrog is the most commonly farmed amphibian, and escapes and subsequent establishment of feral populations regularly occur. These factors taken together with our study suggest that the global threat of B. dendrobatidis disease transmission posed by bullfrogs is significant.

  20. 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

  1. Vikers Viking Amphibian - biplane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1924-01-01

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

  2. Antiviral immunity in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chen, Guangchun; Robert, Jacques

    2011-11-01

    Although a variety of virus species can infect amphibians, diseases caused by ranaviruses ([RVs]; Iridoviridae) have become prominent, and are a major concern for biodiversity, agriculture and international trade. The relatively recent and rapid increase in prevalence of RV infections, the wide range of host species infected by RVs, the variability in host resistance among population of the same species and among different developmental stages, all suggest an important involvement of the amphibian immune system. Nevertheless, the roles of the immune system in the etiology of viral diseases in amphibians are still poorly investigated. We review here the current knowledge of antiviral immunity in amphibians, focusing on model species such as the frog Xenopus and the salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), and on recent progress in generating tools to better understand how host immune defenses control RV infections, pathogenicity, and transmission.

  3. 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...

  4. Antiviral Immunity in Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Guangchun; Robert, Jacques

    2011-01-01

    Although a variety of virus species can infect amphibians, diseases caused by ranaviruses ([RVs]; Iridoviridae) have become prominent, and are a major concern for biodiversity, agriculture and international trade. The relatively recent and rapid increase in prevalence of RV infections, the wide range of host species infected by RVs, the variability in host resistance among population of the same species and among different developmental stages, all suggest an important involvement of the amphibian immune system. Nevertheless, the roles of the immune system in the etiology of viral diseases in amphibians are still poorly investigated. We review here the current knowledge of antiviral immunity in amphibians, focusing on model species such as the frog Xenopus and the salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), and on recent progress in generating tools to better understand how host immune defenses control RV infections, pathogenicity, and transmission. PMID:22163335

  5. Amphibian biology and husbandry.

    PubMed

    Pough, F Harvey

    2007-01-01

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

  6. Amphibian biology and husbandry.

    PubMed

    Pough, F Harvey

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Cancer resistance in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ruben, Laurens N; Clothier, Richard H; Balls, Michael

    2007-10-01

    While spontaneous tumours may occasionally develop in inbred and isogenic strains of Xenopus laevis, the South African clawed toad, they are extremely rare in natural and laboratory populations. Only two amphibian neoplasms, the renal adenocarcinoma of Rana pipiens and the lymphosarcoma of Xenopus laevis, have been extensively explored. Amphibians are resistant to the development of neoplasia, even following exposure to "direct-acting" chemical carcinogens such as N-methyl-N-nitrosourea, that are highly lymphotoxic, thus diminishing immune reactivity. Regenerative capacity in adults, and a dramatic metamorphosis which remodels much of the larval body to produce the adult form, are unique to amphibian vertebrates, and the control mechanisms involved may protect against cancer. For example, naturally rising corticosteroid titres during metamorphosis will impair some T-cell functions, and the removal of T-regulatory (suppressor) functions inhibits the induction of altered-self tolerance. Altered-self tolerance is not as effectively induced in adult Xenopus laevis as in mammals, so cancer cells with new antigenicity are more likely be rejected in amphibians. Amphibian immunocytes tend to undergo apoptosis readily in vitro, and, unlike mammalian immunocytes, undergo apoptosis without entering the cell cycle. Cells not in the cell cycle that die from nuclear damage (apoptosis), will have no opportunity to express genetic instability leading to cell transformation. We suggest that all these factors, rather than any one of them, may reduce susceptibility to cancer in amphibians.

  8. Alogomyces tanneri gen. et sp. nov., a chytrid in Lobulomycetales from horse manure.

    PubMed

    Simmons, D Rabern; Letcher, Peter M; Powell, Martha J; Longcore, Joyce E

    2012-01-01

    The order Lobulomycetales contains chytrids from soil, freshwater and marine habitats; environmental DNA sampling has indicated that representatives of this order might be found in deep ocean localities. We describe Alogomyces tanneri as the first lobulomycetalean chytrid isolated from horse manure; A. tanneri is also the first species in the order to possess a rumposome in its zoospore. This species widens the range of habitats, ultrastructural variation and thallus morphology for Lobulomycetales.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Adaptive colouration in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Rudh, Andreas; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

    Mills, Georgina

    2015-01-24

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

  14. 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.

  15. DEVELOPMENTAL DIVERSITY OF AMPHIBIANS

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. Invasive reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Moutou, F; Pastoret, P P

    2010-08-01

    Although they are frequently lumped together, reptiles and amphibians belong to two very different zoological groups. Nevertheless, one fact is clear: while numerous reptile and amphibian species on Earth are in decline, others have taken advantage of trade or human movements to become established in new lands, adopting different, and sometimes unusual, strategies. The authors have taken a few examples from these two zoological groups that illustrate the majority of cases. A brief analysis of the causes and effects of their introductions into new areas reveals connections with economic interests, trade in companion animals, medical research and public health.

  17. Amphibians of Olympic National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

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

  18. Rainforest: Reptiles and Amphibians

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Olson, Susanna

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  3. Chytrid parasitism facilitates trophic transfer between bloom-forming cyanobacteria and zooplankton (Daphnia)

    PubMed Central

    Agha, Ramsy; Saebelfeld, Manja; Manthey, Christin; Rohrlack, Thomas; Wolinska, Justyna

    2016-01-01

    Parasites are rarely included in food web studies, although they can strongly alter trophic interactions. In aquatic ecosystems, poorly grazed cyanobacteria often dominate phytoplankton communities, leading to the decoupling of primary and secondary production. Here, we addressed the interface between predator-prey and host-parasite interactions by conducting a life-table experiment, in which four Daphnia galeata genotypes were maintained on quantitatively comparable diets consisting of healthy cyanobacteria or cyanobacteria infected by a fungal (chytrid) parasite. In four out of five fitness parameters, at least one Daphnia genotype performed better on parasitised cyanobacteria than in the absence of infection. Further treatments consisting of purified chytrid zoospores and heterotrophic bacteria suspensions established the causes of improved fitness. First, Daphnia feed on chytrid zoospores which trophically upgrade cyanobacterial carbon. Second, an increase in heterotrophic bacterial biomass, promoted by cyanobacterial decay, provides an additional food source for Daphnia. In addition, chytrid infection induces fragmentation of cyanobacterial filaments, which could render cyanobacteria more edible. Our results demonstrate that chytrid parasitism can sustain zooplankton under cyanobacterial bloom conditions, and exemplify the potential of parasites to alter interactions between trophic levels. PMID:27733762

  4. Chytrid parasitism facilitates trophic transfer between bloom-forming cyanobacteria and zooplankton (Daphnia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agha, Ramsy; Saebelfeld, Manja; Manthey, Christin; Rohrlack, Thomas; Wolinska, Justyna

    2016-10-01

    Parasites are rarely included in food web studies, although they can strongly alter trophic interactions. In aquatic ecosystems, poorly grazed cyanobacteria often dominate phytoplankton communities, leading to the decoupling of primary and secondary production. Here, we addressed the interface between predator-prey and host-parasite interactions by conducting a life-table experiment, in which four Daphnia galeata genotypes were maintained on quantitatively comparable diets consisting of healthy cyanobacteria or cyanobacteria infected by a fungal (chytrid) parasite. In four out of five fitness parameters, at least one Daphnia genotype performed better on parasitised cyanobacteria than in the absence of infection. Further treatments consisting of purified chytrid zoospores and heterotrophic bacteria suspensions established the causes of improved fitness. First, Daphnia feed on chytrid zoospores which trophically upgrade cyanobacterial carbon. Second, an increase in heterotrophic bacterial biomass, promoted by cyanobacterial decay, provides an additional food source for Daphnia. In addition, chytrid infection induces fragmentation of cyanobacterial filaments, which could render cyanobacteria more edible. Our results demonstrate that chytrid parasitism can sustain zooplankton under cyanobacterial bloom conditions, and exemplify the potential of parasites to alter interactions between trophic levels.

  5. Chytridiomycosis in endemic amphibians of the mountain tops of the Córdoba and San Luis ranges, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Lescano, Julián N; Longo, Silvana; Robledo, Gerardo

    2013-02-28

    Chytridiomycosis is a major threat to amphibian conservation. In Argentina, the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been recorded in several localities, and recently, it was registered in amphibians inhabiting low-elevation areas of mountain environments in Córdoba and San Luis provinces. In the present study, we searched for B. dendrobatidis in endemic and non-endemic amphibians on the mountain tops of Córdoba and San Luis provinces. We collected dead amphibians in the upper vegetation belt of the mountains of Córdoba and San Luis. Using standard histological techniques, the presence of fungal infection was confirmed in 5 species. Three of these species are endemic to the mountain tops of both provinces. Although there are no reported population declines in amphibians in these mountains, the presence of B. dendrobatidis in endemic species highlights the need for long-term monitoring plans in the area.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Amphibian development in microgravity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Souza, K. A.

    1987-01-01

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

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. First report of chytrid mycoparasitism of entomophthoralean azygospores

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

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

  14. Unique odd-chain polyenoic phospholipid fatty acids present in chytrid fungi.

    PubMed

    Akinwole, Philips O; Lefevre, Emilie; Powell, Martha J; Findlay, Robert H

    2014-09-01

    Chytrid fungi are ubiquitous components of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems yet they remain understudied. To investigate the use of phospholipid fatty acids as phenotypic characteristics in taxonomic studies and biomarkers for ecological studies, 18 chytrid fungi isolated from soil to freshwater samples were grown in defined media and their phospholipid fatty acid profile determined. Gas chromatographic/mass spectral analysis indicated the presence of fatty acids typically associated with fungi, such as 16:1(n-7), 16:0, 18:2(n-6), 18:3(n-3) 18:1(n-9), and 18:0, as well as, a number of odd-chain length fatty acids, including two polyunsaturated C-17 fatty acids. Conversion to their 3-pyridylcarbinol ester facilitated GC-MS determination of double-bond positions and these fatty acid were identified as 6,9-17:2 [17:2(n-8)] and 6,9,12-17:3 [17:3(n-5)]. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of polyunsaturated C-17 fatty acids isolated from the phospholipids of chytrid fungi. Cluster analysis of PLFA profiles showed sufficient correlation with chytrid phylogeny to warrant inclusion of lipid analysis in species descriptions and the presence of several phospholipid fatty acids of restricted phylogenetic distributions suggests their usefulness as biomarkers for ecological studies. PMID:25119485

  15. Sex determination in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Masahisa

    2009-05-01

    The heterogametic sex is male in all mammals, whereas it is female in almost all birds. By contrast, there are two heterogametic types (XX/XY and ZZ/ZW) for genetic sex determination in amphibians. Though the original heterogametic sex was female in amphibians, the two heterogametic types were probably interchangeable, suggesting that sex chromosomes evolved several times in this lineage. Indeed, the frog Rana rugosa has the XX/XY and ZZ/ZW sex-determining systems within a single species, depending on the local population in Japan. The XY and ZW geographic forms with differentiated sex chromosomes probably have a common origin as undifferentiated sex chromosomes resulted from the hybridization between the primary populations of West Japan and Kanto forms. It is clear that the sex chromosomes are still undergoing evolution in this species group. Regardless of the presence of a sex-determining gene in amphibians, the gonadal sex of some species can be changed by sex steroids. Namely, sex steroids can induce the sex reversal, with estrogens inducing the male-to-female sex reversal, whereas androgens have the opposite effect. In R. rugosa, gonadal activity of CYP19 (P450 aromatase) is correlated with the feminization of gonads. Of particular interest is that high levels of CYP19 expression are observed in indifferent gonads at time before sex determination. Increases in the expression of CYP19 in female gonads and CYP17 (P450 17alpha-hydroxylase/C17-20 lyase) in male gonads suggest that the former plays an important role in phenotypic female determination, whereas the latter is needed for male determination. Thus, steroids could be the key factor for sex determination in R. rugosa. In addition to the role of sex steroids in gonadal sex determination in this species, Foxl2 and Sox3 are capable of promoting CYP19 expression. Since both the genes are autosomal, another factor up-regulating CYP19 expression must be recruited. The factor, which may be located on the X or W

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-01-12

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-01-12

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

  18. DNA barcoding amphibians and reptiles.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Chemosignals, hormones, and amphibian reproduction.

    PubMed

    Woodley, Sarah

    2015-02-01

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

  20. Carotid labyrinth of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Kusakabe, Tatsumi

    2002-11-01

    The amphibian carotid labyrinth is a characteristic maze-like vascular expansion at the bifurcation of the common carotid artery into the internal and external carotid arteries. The carotid labyrinths of anurans are spherical and those of urodeles are oblong. In the intervascular stroma of both anuran and urodelan carotid labyrinths, the glomus cells (type I cells, chief cells) are distributed singly or in clusters between connective tissue cells and smooth muscle cells. In fluorescence histochemistry, the glomus cells emit intense fluorescence for biogenic monoamines. In fine structure, the glomus cells are characterized by a number of dense-cored vesicles in their cytoplasm. The glomus cells have long, thin cytoplasmic processes, some of which are closely associated with smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, and pericytes. Afferent, efferent, and reciprocal synapses are found on the glomus cells. The morphogenesis of the carotid labyrinth starts in the larvae at the point where the carotid arch descends to the internal gills. Through the early stages of larval development, the slightly expanded region of the external carotid artery becomes closely connected with the carotid arch. By the end of the foot stage, the expanded region becomes globular, and at the final stage of metamorphosis the carotid labyrinth is close to its adult form. In fine structure, the glomus cells appear as early as the initial stage of larval development. At the middle stages of development, the number of dense-cored vesicles increases remarkably. Distinct afferent synapses are found in juveniles, although efferent synapses can be seen during metamorphosis. The carotid labyrinth is innervated by nerve fibers containing several kinds of regulatory neuropeptides. Double-immunolabeling in combination with a multiple dye filter system demonstrates the coexistence of two different neuropeptides. The amphibian carotid labyrinth has been electrophysiologically confirmed to have arterial chemo

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  2. Polarity of the Amphibian Egg

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malacinski, G. M.

    1983-01-01

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

  3. Mitigating amphibian chytridiomycosis in nature

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garner, Trenton W. J.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Muths, Erin L.; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Weldon, Che; Fisher, Matthew C.; Bosch, Jaime

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians across the planet face the threat of population decline and extirpation caused by the disease chytridiomycosis. Despite consensus that the fungal pathogens responsible for the disease are conservation issues, strategies to mitigate their impacts in the natural world are, at best, nascent. Reducing risk associated with the movement of amphibians, non-amphibian vectors and other sources of infection remains the first line of defence and a primary objective when mitigating the threat of disease in wildlife. Amphibian-associated chytridiomycete fungi and chytridiomycosis are already widespread, though, and we therefore focus on discussing options for mitigating the threats once disease emergence has occurred in wild amphibian populations. All strategies have shortcomings that need to be overcome before implementation, including stronger efforts towards understanding and addressing ethical and legal considerations. Even if these issues can be dealt with, all currently available approaches, or those under discussion, are unlikely to yield the desired conservation outcome of disease mitigation. The decision process for establishing mitigation strategies requires integrated thinking that assesses disease mitigation options critically and embeds them within more comprehensive strategies for the conservation of amphibian populations, communities and ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Valerie J; Peterson, Anna C

    2012-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Valerie J; Peterson, Anna C

    2012-11-01

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

  6. The Red Queen race between parasitic chytrids and their host, Planktothrix: a test using a time series reconstructed from sediment DNA.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. North American amphibians: distribution and diversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    : Green, David M.; Weir, Linda A.; Casper, Gary S.; Lannoo, Michael

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. Whether the Weather Drives Patterns of Endemic Amphibian Chytridiomycosis: A Pathogen Proliferation Approach

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  11. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection patterns among Panamanian amphibian species, habitats and elevations during epizootic and enzootic stages.

    PubMed

    Brem, Forrest M R; Lips, Karen R

    2008-09-24

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused declines of many amphibian populations, yet the full course of the epizootic has rarely been observed in wild populations. We determined effects of elevation, habitat, and aquatic index (AI) on prevalence of infection among Panamanian amphibians sampled along 2 elevational transects. Amphibian populations on the Santa Fé transect (SFT) had declined in 2002, while those on the El Copé transect (ECT) were healthy until September 2004. In 2004 we sampled Bd along both transects, surveying the SFT 2 yr after decline, and surveying the ECT 4 mo prior to the arrival of Bd, during the epizootic, and 2 mo later. Overall prevalence of Bd along the ECT increased from 0.0 (95% CI 0.00-0.0003) to 0.51 (95% CI 0.48-0.55) over a 3 mo period, accompanied by significant decreases in amphibian abundance and species richness in all habitats. Prevalence of infection on the ECT was highest along riparian transects and at higher elevations, but not among levels of AI. Prevalence of infection on the SFT was highest in pool transects, and at higher elevations, but not among levels of AI. Riparian amphibian abundance and species richness also declined at SFT following detection of Bd in 2002. Variation among species, microenvironmental conditions, and the length of coexistence with Bd may contribute to observed differences in prevalence of Bd and in population response.

  12. Understanding Amphibian Declines Through Geographic Approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gallant, Alisa

    2006-01-01

    Growing concern over worldwide amphibian declines warrants serious examination. Amphibians are important to the proper functioning of ecosystems and provide many direct benefits to humans in the form of pest and disease control, pharmaceutical compounds, and even food. Amphibians have permeable skin and rely on both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems during different seasons and stages of their lives. Their association with these ecosystems renders them likely to serve as sensitive indicators of environmental change. While much research on amphibian declines has centered on mysterious causes, or on causes that directly affect humans (global warming, chemical pollution, ultraviolet-B radiation), most declines are the result of habitat loss and habitat alteration. Improving our ability to characterize, model, and monitor the interactions between environmental variables and amphibian habitats is key to addressing amphibian conservation. In 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) to address issues surrounding amphibian declines.

  13. 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...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS AND AMPHIBIAN CONSERVATION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. Ecopathology of ranaviruses infecting amphibians.

    PubMed

    Miller, Debra; Gray, Matthew; Storfer, Andrew

    2011-11-01

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

  18. The metamorphosis of amphibian toxicogenomics.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Caren C

    2012-01-01

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

  19. The Metamorphosis of Amphibian Toxicogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Helbing, Caren C.

    2012-01-01

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

  20. Multiple overseas dispersal in amphibians.

    PubMed Central

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

    2003-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. The metamorphosis of amphibian toxicogenomics.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Caren C

    2012-01-01

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

  3. Ecopathology of Ranaviruses Infecting Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Debra; Gray, Matthew; Storfer, Andrew

    2011-01-01

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

  4. Amphibians as models for studying environmental change.

    PubMed

    Hopkins, William A

    2007-01-01

    The use of amphibians as models in ecological research has a rich history. From an early foundation in studies of amphibian natural history sprang generations of scientists who used amphibians as models to address fundamental questions in population and community ecology. More recently, in the wake of an environment that human disturbances rapidly altered, ecologists have adopted amphibians as models for studying applied ecological issues such as habitat loss, pollution, disease, and global climate change. Some of the characteristics of amphibians that make them useful models for studying these environmental problems are highlighted, including their trophic importance, environmental sensitivity, research tractability, and impending extinction. The article provides specific examples from the recent literature to illustrate how studies on amphibians have been instrumental in guiding scientific thought on a broad scale. Included are examples of how amphibian research has transformed scientific disciplines, generated new theories about global health, called into question widely accepted scientific paradigms, and raised awareness in the general public that our daily actions may have widespread repercussions. In addition, studies on amphibian declines have provided insight into the complexity in which multiple independent factors may interact with one another to produce catastrophic and sometimes unpredictable effects. Because of the complexity of these problems, amphibian ecologists have been among the strongest advocates for interdisciplinary research. Future studies of amphibians will be important not only for their conservation but also for the conservation of other species, critical habitats, and entire ecosystems.

  5. Fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Weber, N A

    1966-08-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are in reality unique fungus-culturing insects.There are several hundred species in some dozen genera, of which Acromyrmex and Atta are the conspicuous leaf-cutters. The center of their activities is the fungus garden, which is also the site of the queen and brood. The garden, in most species, is made from fresh green leaves or other vegetal material. The ants forage for this, forming distinct trails to the vegetation that is being harvested. The cut leaves or other substrate are brought into the nest and prepared for the fungus. Fresh leaves and flowers are cut into pieces a millimeter or two in diameter; the ants form them into a pulpy mass by pinching them with the mandibles and adding saliva. Anal droplets are deposited on the pieces, which are then forced into place in the garden. Planting of the fungus is accomplished by an ant's picking up tufts of the adjacent mycelium and dotting the surface of the new substrate with it. The combination of salivary and anal secretions, together with the constant care given by the ants, facilitates the growth of the ant fungus only, despite constant possibilities for contamination. When the ants are removed, alien fungi and other organisms flourish. A mature nest of Atta Sexdens may consist of 2000 chambers, some temporarily empty, some with refuse, and the remainder with fungus gardens. Thousands of kilograms of fresh leaves will have been used. A young laboratory colony of Atta cephalotes will use 1 kilogram of fresh leaves for one garden. The attines are the chief agents for introducing organic matter into the soil in tropical rain forests; this matter becomes the nucleus for a host of other organisms, including nematodes and arthropods, after it is discarded by the ants. One ant species cultures a yeast; all others grow a mycelium. In the higher species the mycelium forms clusters of inflated hyphae. Mycologists accept as valid two names for confirmed fruiting stages: Leucocoprinus ( or

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Female Sexual Arousal in Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Wilczynski, Walter; Lynch, Kathleen S.

    2010-01-01

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

  9. Female sexual arousal in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wilczynski, Walter; Lynch, Kathleen S

    2011-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wake, David B; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2008-08-12

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

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

    PubMed

    Wake, David B; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2008-08-12

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

  12. Neuroendocrine-immune system interactions in amphibians: implications for understanding global amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, L A

    2001-01-01

    Amphibians are ancient creatures valued by biologists and naturalists around the world. They share with all other vertebrates a complex neuroendocrine system that enables them to flourish in a variety of aquatic and semiaquatic environments. Studies from a number of laboratories have demonstrated that the immune system of amphibian species is nearly as complex as that of mammals. Yet for reasons that are not well understood, amphibian species are facing greater survival challenges than in the recent past. This article will review our current understanding of the neuroendocrine immune system interactions in amphibians and address the question of whether environmental stressors may contribute to immunosuppression and amphibian declines.

  13. Amphibians at risk? Susceptibility of terrestrial amphibian life stages to pesticides.

    PubMed

    Brühl, Carsten A; Pieper, Silvia; Weber, Brigitte

    2011-11-01

    Current pesticide risk assessment does not specifically consider amphibians. Amphibians in the aquatic environment (aquatic life stages or postmetamorphic aquatic amphibians) and terrestrial living juvenile or adult amphibians are assumed to be covered by the risk assessment for aquatic invertebrates and fish, or mammals and birds, respectively. This procedure has been evaluated as being sufficiently protective regarding the acute risk posed by a number of pesticides to aquatic amphibian life stages (eggs, larvae). However, it is unknown whether the exposure and sensitivity of terrestrial living amphibians are comparable to mammalian and avian exposure and sensitivity. We reviewed the literature on dermal pesticide absorption and toxicity studies for terrestrial life stages of amphibians, focusing on the dermal exposure pathway, that is, through treated soil or direct overspray. In vitro studies demonstrated that cutaneous absorption of chemicals is significant and that chemical percutaneous passage, P (cm/h), is higher in amphibians than in mammals. In vivo, the rapid and substantial uptake of the herbicide atrazine from treated soil by toads (Bufo americanus) has been described. Severe toxic effects on various amphibian species have been reported for field-relevant application rates of different pesticides. In general, exposure and toxicity studies for terrestrial amphibian life stages are scarce, and the reported data indicate the need for further research, especially in light of the global amphibian decline.

  14. The complexity of amphibian population declines: understanding the role of cofactors in driving amphibian losses.

    PubMed

    Blaustein, Andrew R; Han, Barbara A; Relyea, Rick A; Johnson, Pieter T J; Buck, Julia C; Gervasi, Stephanie S; Kats, Lee B

    2011-03-01

    Population losses and extinctions of species are occurring at unprecedented rates, as exemplified by declines and extinctions of amphibians worldwide. However, studies of amphibian population declines generally do not address the complexity of the phenomenon or its implications for ecological communities, focusing instead on single factors affecting particular amphibian species. We argue that the causes for amphibian population declines are complex; may differ among species, populations, and life stages within a population; and are context dependent with multiple stressors interacting to drive declines. Because amphibians are key components of communities, we emphasize the importance of investigating amphibian declines at the community level. Selection pressures over evolutionary time have molded amphibian life history characteristics, such that they may remain static even in the face of strong, recent human-induced selection pressures.

  15. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis haplotypes on the hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis are identical to global strains.

    PubMed

    Tominaga, Atsushi; Irwin, Kelly J; Freake, Michael J; Suzuki, Kazutaka; Goka, Koichi

    2013-02-28

    To determine whether the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) found on the hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis in the southern US is endemic or exotic, we identified the genetic type of this fungus using partial DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. We identified 3 genetic types, which are found on Japanese amphibians other than the Japanese giant salamander Andrias japonicus, a species that belongs to the same family (Cryptobranchidae) as hellbenders. The fungus collected from hellbenders exhibited low genetic diversity and matched the common Bd genetic types which have been detected from around the world. These results support that the chytrid fungus on the hellbender is a novel pathogen, as proposed by previous studies. Although we have not observed disease symptoms directly linked to this fungus on this endangered salamander, further evaluation of the influence of this exotic fungus on this species is warranted. PMID:23446967

  16. Urban amphibian assemblages as metacommunities.

    PubMed

    Parris, Kirsten M

    2006-05-01

    1. Urban ecosystems are expanding throughout the world, and urban ecology is attracting increasing research interest. Some authors have questioned the value of existing ecological theories for understanding the processes and consequences of urbanization. 2. In order to assess the applicability of metacommunity theory to urban systems, I evaluated three assumptions that underlie the theory - the effect of patch area, the effect of patch isolation, and species-environment relations - using data on assemblages of pond-breeding amphibians in the Greater Melbourne area of Australia. I also assessed the relative impact of habitat fragmentation, habitat isolation, and changes to habitat quality on these assemblages. 3. Poisson regression modelling provided support for an important increase in species richness with patch area (pond size) and a decrease in species richness with increasing patch isolation, as measured by surrounding road cover. Holding all other variables constant, species richness was predicted to be 2.8-5.5 times higher at the largest pond than at the smallest, while the most isolated pond was predicted to have 12-19% of the species richness of the least isolated pond. Thus, the data were consistent with the first two assumptions of metacommunity theory evaluated. 4. The quality of habitat at a pond was also important, with a predicted 44-56% decrease in the number of species detected at ponds with a surrounding vertical wall compared with those with a gently sloping bank. This demonstrates that environmental differences between habitat patches were also influencing amphibian assemblages, providing support for the species-sorting and/or mass-effect perspectives of metacommunity theory. 5. Without management intervention, urbanization may lead to a reduction in the number of amphibian species persisting in urban ponds, particularly where increasing isolation of ponds by roads and associated infrastructure reduces the probability of re-colonization following

  17. Ecology and pathology of amphibian ranaviruses.

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Ossification sequence heterochrony among amphibians.

    PubMed

    Harrington, Sean M; Harrison, Luke B; Sheil, Christopher A

    2013-01-01

    Heterochrony is an important mechanism in the evolution of amphibians. Although studies have centered on the relationship between size and shape and the rates of development, ossification sequence heterochrony also may have been important. Rigorous, phylogenetic methods for assessing sequence heterochrony are relatively new, and a comprehensive study of the relative timing of ossification of skeletal elements has not been used to identify instances of sequence heterochrony across Amphibia. In this study, a new version of the program Parsimov-based genetic inference (PGi) was used to identify shifts in ossification sequences across all extant orders of amphibians, for all major structural units of the skeleton. PGi identified a number of heterochronic sequence shifts in all analyses, the most interesting of which seem to be tied to differences in metamorphic patterns among major clades. Early ossification of the vomer, premaxilla, and dentary is retained by Apateon caducus and members of Gymnophiona and Urodela, which lack the strongly biphasic development seen in anurans. In contrast, bones associated with the jaws and face were identified as shifting late in the ancestor of Anura. The bones that do not shift late, and thereby occupy the earliest positions in the anuran cranial sequence, are those in regions of the skull that undergo the least restructuring throughout anuran metamorphosis. Additionally, within Anura, bones of the hind limb and pelvic girdle were also identified as shifting early in the sequence of ossification, which may be a result of functional constraints imposed by the drastic metamorphosis of most anurans.

  20. NUDC expression during amphibian development.

    PubMed

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

    2001-10-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Heterogeneous Occupancy and Density Estimates of the Pathogenic Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Waters of North America

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Nutrition and health in amphibian husbandry.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Nutrition and Health in Amphibian Husbandry

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Nutrition and health in amphibian husbandry.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. Suitability of amphibians and reptiles for translocation.

    PubMed

    Germano, Jennifer M; Bishop, Phillip J

    2009-02-01

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

  9. Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. [Perspective on gravitational biology of amphibians].

    PubMed

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

    2002-12-01

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

  11. Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. Chytridiomycosis: a global threat to amphibians.

    PubMed

    Pereira, P L L; Torres, A M C; Soares, D F M; Hijosa-Valsero, M; Bécares, E

    2013-12-01

    Chytridiomycosis, which is caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is an emerging infectious disease of amphibians. The disease is one of the main causes of the global decline in amphibians. The aetiological agent is ubiquitous, with worldwide distribution, and affects a large number of amphibian species in several biomes. In the last decade, scientific research has substantially increased knowledge of the aetiological agent and the associated infection. However, important epidemiological aspects of the environment-mediated interactions between the aetiological agent and the host are not yet clear. The objective of the present review is to describe chytridiomycosis with regard to the major features of the aetiological agent, the host and the environment.

  13. Ecotoxicology of organic contaminants to amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.; Sparling, Donald W.; Linder, Greg L.; Bishop, Christine A.

    2000-01-01

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

  14. Cardiovascular physiology and diseases of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Heinz-Taheny, Kathleen M

    2009-01-01

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

  15. Cardiovascular physiology and diseases of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Heinz-Taheny, Kathleen M

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-22

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. Report of Amphibian Development Group

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malacinski, G.

    1985-01-01

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

  19. Amphibian macrophage development and antiviral defenses.

    PubMed

    Grayfer, Leon; Robert, Jacques

    2016-05-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Amphibians and Reptiles of Los Alamos County

    SciTech Connect

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

    1999-10-01

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

  2. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. [abstract

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Griffin, J.

    1998-01-01

    The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program has been under development for the past three years. The monitoring strategy for NAAMP has five main prongs: terrestrial salamander surveys, calling surveys, aquatic surveys, western surveys, and atlassing. Of these five, calling surveys were selected as one of the first implementation priorities due to their friendliness to volunteers of varying knowledge levels, relative low cost, and the fact that several groups had already pioneered the techniques involved. While some states and provinces had implemented calling surveys prior to NAAMP, like WI and IL, most states and provinces had little or no history of state/provincewide amphibian monitoring. Thus, the majority of calling survey programs were initiated in the past two years. To assess the progress of this pilot phase, a program review was conducted on the status of the NAAMP calling survey program, and the results of that review will be presented at the meeting. Topics to be discussed include: who is doing what where, extent of route coverage, the continuing random route discussions, quality assurance, strengths and weaknesses of calling surveys, reliability of data, and directions for the future. In addition, a brief overview of the DISPro project will be included. DISPro is a new amphibian monitoring program in National Parks, funded by the Demonstration of Intensive Sites Program (DISPro) through the EPA and NPS. It will begin this year at Big Bend and Shenandoah National Parks. The purpose of the DISPro Amphibian Project will be to investigate relationships between environmental factors and stressors and the distribution, abundance, and health of amphibians in these National Parks. At each Park, amphibian long-term monitoring protocols will be tested, distributions and abundance of amphibians will be mapped, and field research experiments will be conducted to examine stressor effects on amphibians (e.g., ultraviolet radiation, contaminants, acidification).

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wake, David B.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2008-01-01

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

  5. An examination of amphibian sensitivity to environmental contaminants: are amphibians poor canaries?

    PubMed

    Kerby, Jacob L; Richards-Hrdlicka, Kathryn L; Storfer, Andrew; Skelly, David K

    2010-01-01

    Nearly two decades ago, the global biodiversity crisis was catapulted to the front pages of newspapers with the recognition of worldwide amphibian declines. Amphibians earned their appellation, 'canaries in a coal mine', because of apparent high sensitivity to human-mediated environmental change. The most frequently cited causes for high susceptibility include permeable skin, a dual aquatic-terrestrial life cycle and a relatively rudimentary immune system. While some researchers have questioned the basis for the canary assertion, there has been no systematic evaluation of amphibian sensitivity to environmental challenges relative to other taxa. Here, we apply a database representing thousands of toxicity tests to compare the responses of amphibians relative to that of other taxonomic groups. The use of standardized methods combined with large numbers of identical challenges enables a particularly powerful test of relative effect size. Overall, we found that amphibians only exhibit moderate relative responses to water-borne toxins. Our findings imply that, as far as chemical contaminants are concerned, amphibians are not particularly sensitive and might more aptly be described as 'miners in a coal mine'. To the extent that amphibian declines have been mediated by chemical contaminants, our findings suggest that population losses and extinctions may have already occurred in a variety of taxa much more sensitive than amphibians.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Countryside biogeography of Neotropical reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Mendenhall, Chase D; Frishkoff, Luke O; Santos-Barrera, Georgina; Pacheco, Jesús; Mesfun, Eyobed; Mendoza Quijano, Fernando; Ehrlich, Paul R; Ceballos, Gerardo; Daily, Gretchen C; Pringle, Robert M

    2014-04-01

    The future of biodiversity and ecosystem services depends largely on the capacity of human-dominated ecosystems to support them, yet this capacity remains largely unknown. Using the framework of countryside biogeography, and working in the Las Cruces system of Coto Brus, Costa Rica, we assessed reptile and amphibian assemblages within four habitats that typify much of the Neotropics: sun coffee plantations (12 sites), pasture (12 sites), remnant forest elements (12 sites), and a larger, contiguous protected forest (3 sites in one forest). Through analysis of 1678 captures of 67 species, we draw four primary conclusions. First, we found that the majority of reptile (60%) and amphibian (70%) species in this study used an array of habitat types, including coffee plantations and actively grazed pastures. Second, we found that coffee plantations and pastures hosted rich, albeit different and less dense, reptile and amphibian biodiversity relative to the 326-ha Las Cruces Forest Reserve and neighboring forest elements. Third, we found that the small ribbons of "countryside forest elements" weaving through farmland collectively increased the effective size of a 326-ha local forest reserve 16-fold for reptiles and 14-fold for amphibians within our 236-km2 study area. Therefore, countryside forest elements, often too small for most remote sensing techniques to identify, are contributing -95% of the available habitat for forest-dependent reptiles and amphibians in our largely human-dominated study region. Fourth, we found large and pond-reproducing amphibians to prefer human-made habitats, whereas small, stream-reproducing, and directly developing species are more dependent on forest elements. Our investigation demonstrates that tropical farming landscapes can support substantial reptile and amphibian biodiversity. Our approach provides a framework for estimating the conservation value of the complex working landscapes that constitute roughly half of the global land surface

  8. Vertebral development and amphibian evolution.

    PubMed

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

    1999-01-01

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

  9. Vertebral development and amphibian evolution.

    PubMed

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

    1999-01-01

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

  10. The phylogeny of amphibian metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Reiss, John O

    2002-01-01

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

  11. Widespread infection of the Eastern red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) by a new species of Amphibiocystidium, a genus of fungus-like mesomycetozoan parasites not previously reported in North America.

    PubMed

    Raffel, T R; Bommarito, T; Barry, D S; Witiak, S M; Shackelton, L A

    2008-02-01

    Given the worldwide decline of amphibian populations due to emerging infectious diseases, it is imperative that we identify and address the causative agents. Many of the pathogens recently implicated in amphibian mortality and morbidity have been fungal or members of a poorly understood group of fungus-like protists, the mesomycetozoans. One mesomycetozoan, Amphibiocystidium ranae, is known to infect several European amphibian species and was associated with a recent decline of frogs in Italy. Here we present the first report of an Amphibiocystidium sp. in a North American amphibian, the Eastern red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), and characterize it as the new species A. viridescens in the order Dermocystida based on morphological, geographical and phylogenetic evidence. We also describe the widespread and seasonal distribution of this parasite in red-spotted newt populations and provide evidence of mortality due to infection.

  12. Estimating terrestrial amphibian pesticide body burden through dermal exposure

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  14. Amphibians do not follow Bergmann's rule.

    PubMed

    Adams, Dean C; Church, James O

    2008-02-01

    The tendency for organisms to be larger in cooler climates (Bergmann's rule) is widely observed in endotherms, and has been reputed to apply to some ectotherms including amphibians. However, recent reports provide conflicting support for the pattern, questioning whether Bergmann's clines are generally present in amphibians. In this study, we measured 96,996 adult Plethodon from 3974 populations to test for the presence of Bergmann's clines in these salamanders. Only three Plethodon species exhibited a significant negative correlation between body size and temperature consistent with Bergmann's rule, whereas 37 of 40 species did not display a pattern consistent with this prediction. Further, a phylogenetic comparative analysis found no relationship between body size and temperature among species. A meta-analysis combining our data with the available data for other amphibian species revealed no support for Bergmann's rule at the genus (Plethodon), order (Caudata), or class (Amphibia) levels. Our findings strongly suggest that negative thermal body size clines are not common in amphibians, and we conclude that Bergmann's rule is not generally applicable to these taxa. Thus, evolutionary explanations of Bergmann's clines in other tetrapods need not account for unique life-history attributes of amphibians.

  15. Amphibians used in research and teaching.

    PubMed

    O'Rourke, Dorcas P

    2007-01-01

    Amphibians have long been utilized in scientific research and in education. Historically, investigators have accumulated a wealth of information on the natural history and biology of amphibians, and this body of information is continually expanding as researchers describe new species and study the behaviors of these animals. Amphibians evolved as models for a variety of developmental and physiological processes, largely due to their unique ability to undergo metamorphosis. Scientists have used amphibian embryos to evaluate the effects of toxins, mutagens, and teratogens. Likewise, the animals are invaluable in research due to the ability of some species to regenerate limbs. Certain species of amphibians have short generation times and genetic constructs that make them desirable for transgenic and knockout technology, and there is a current national focus on developing these species for genetic and genomic research. This group of vertebrates is also critically important in the investigation of the inter-relationship of humans and the environment based on their sensitivity to climatic and habitat changes and environmental contamination.

  16. Amphibian parathyroids: morphological and functional aspects.

    PubMed

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

    1995-10-01

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

  17. Amphibian defenses against ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Blaustein, Andrew R; Belden, Lisa K

    2003-01-01

    As part of an overall decline in biodiversity, amphibian populations throughout the world are disappearing. There are a number of potential causes for these declines, including those related to environmental changes such as increasing ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion. UV-B radiation can kill amphibian embryos or can cause sublethal effects that can harm amphibians in later life stages. However, amphibians have defenses against UV-B damage that can limit damage or repair it after exposure to UV-B radiation. These include behavioral, physiological, and molecular defenses. These defenses differ interspecifically, with some species more able to cope with exposure to UV-B than others. Unfortunately, the defense mechanisms of many species may not be effective against increasing persistent levels of UV-B radiation that have only been present for the past several decades due to human-induced environmental damage. Moreover, we predict that persistent UV-B-induced mortality and sublethal damage in species without adequate defenses could lead to changes in community structure. In this article we review the effects of UV-B radiation on amphibians and the defenses they use to avoid solar radiation and make some predictions regarding community structure in light of interspecific differences in UV-B tolerance. PMID:12492415

  18. Amphibian parathyroids: morphological and functional aspects.

    PubMed

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

    1995-10-01

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

  19. Biological Scaling Problems and Solutions in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Levy, Daniel L; Heald, Rebecca

    2015-08-10

    Size is a primary feature of biological systems that varies at many levels, from the organism to its constituent cells and subcellular structures. Amphibians populate some of the extremes in biological size and have provided insight into scaling mechanisms, upper and lower size limits, and their physiological significance. Body size variation is a widespread evolutionary tactic among amphibians, with miniaturization frequently correlating with direct development that occurs without a tadpole stage. The large genomes of salamanders lead to large cell sizes that necessitate developmental modification and morphological simplification. Amphibian extremes at the cellular level have provided insight into mechanisms that accommodate cell-size differences. Finally, how organelles scale to cell size between species and during development has been investigated at the molecular level, because subcellular scaling can be recapitulated using Xenopus in vitro systems.

  20. Design of an Amphibian Exploring Robot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maity, Atanu; Majumder, Somajyoti

    2014-07-01

    To design and develop an amphibian exploring robot capable of operation in constrained mine environment puts a tremendous challenge to the system developers from both scientific and engineering perspective. Very few attempts have been made to fulfil these criteria of versatility in design, communication and control. The CSIR-CMERI developed amphibian subterranean robotic explorer (SR) is capable of moving over fairly rough terrain. It can swim as well as crawl over basin floor effortlessly. It is capable of operating at a maximum depth of 10m and can swim at 1 knot. A number of field trials have been carried out for performance testing of the system to ascertain its capability in underground flooded mine tunnels. This paper presents the insight on the design of an amphibian exploring robot for mine safety and disaster mitigation with special features of low power consumption vis-a-vis high mission time.

  1. Amphibians of the northern Great Plains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.; Euliss, Ned H.; Lannoo, Michael J.; Mushet, David M.; Mac, M.J.; Opler, P.A.; Puckett Haecker, C. E.; Doran, P.D.

    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.

  2. Microbiota and Mucosal Immunity in Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Colombo, Bruno M.; Scalvenzi, Thibault; Benlamara, Sarah; Pollet, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    We know that animals live in a world dominated by bacteria. In the last 20 years, we have learned that microbes are essential regulators of mucosal immunity. Bacteria, archeas, and viruses influence different aspects of mucosal development and function. Yet, the literature mainly covers findings obtained in mammals. In this review, we focus on two major themes that emerge from the comparative analysis of mammals and amphibians. These themes concern: (i) the structure and functions of lymphoid organs and immune cells in amphibians, with a focus on the gut mucosal immune system; and (ii) the characteristics of the amphibian microbiota and its influence on mucosal immunity. Lastly, we propose to use Xenopus tadpoles as an alternative small-animal model to improve the fundamental knowledge on immunological functions of gut microbiota. PMID:25821449

  3. Microbiota and mucosal immunity in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Colombo, Bruno M; Scalvenzi, Thibault; Benlamara, Sarah; Pollet, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    We know that animals live in a world dominated by bacteria. In the last 20 years, we have learned that microbes are essential regulators of mucosal immunity. Bacteria, archeas, and viruses influence different aspects of mucosal development and function. Yet, the literature mainly covers findings obtained in mammals. In this review, we focus on two major themes that emerge from the comparative analysis of mammals and amphibians. These themes concern: (i) the structure and functions of lymphoid organs and immune cells in amphibians, with a focus on the gut mucosal immune system; and (ii) the characteristics of the amphibian microbiota and its influence on mucosal immunity. Lastly, we propose to use Xenopus tadpoles as an alternative small-animal model to improve the fundamental knowledge on immunological functions of gut microbiota. PMID:25821449

  4. 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.

  5. Emesis and Space Motion Sickness in Amphibians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naitoh, T.; Yamashita, M.; Izumi-Kurotani, A.; Takabatake, I.; Wassersug, R. J.

    Amphibians possess the ability to vomit in response to a variety of stimuli that provoke emesis in mammals. Pharmacological studies have establish that the ejection of gastric contents and the basic mechanism for vomiting have been phylogenetically conserved among these tetrapods. As part of on-going comparative studies on emesis in vertebrates, we previously documented that some postmetamorphic anurans and salamander larvae experience motion-induced emesis when exposed to the provocative stimulus of parabolic aircraft flight. However, more recent experiments suggest that there are strict conditions for inducing emesis in amphibians exposed to parabolic flight and that amphibians are not as sensitive to this stimulus as mammals. Further studies on emesis in lower vertebrates may help us understand the processes that cause emesis in abnormal gravitational regimes

  6. 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

  7. Amphibians as model to study endocrine disrupters.

    PubMed

    Kloas, Werner; Lutz, Ilka

    2006-10-13

    Environmental compounds can interfere with endocrine systems of wildlife and humans. These so-called endocrine disrupters (ED) are known to affect reproductive biology and thyroid system. The classical model species for these endocrine systems are amphibians and therefore they can serve as sentinels for detection of the modes of action (MOAs) of ED. Recently, amphibians are being reviewed as suitable models to assess (anti)estrogenic and (anti)androgenic MOAs influencing reproductive biology as well as (anti)thyroidal MOAs interfering with the thyroid system. The development of targeted bioassays in combination with adequate chemical analyses is the prerequisite for a concise risk assessment of ED.

  8. White-Nose Syndrome fungus introduced from Europe to North America.

    PubMed

    Leopardi, Stefania; Blake, Damer; Puechmaille, Sébastien J

    2015-03-16

    The investigation of factors underlying the emergence of fungal diseases in wildlife has gained significance as a consequence of drastic declines in amphibians, where the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has caused the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity ever documented [1]. Identification of the causative agent and its origin (native versus introduced) is a crucial step in understanding and controlling a disease [2]. Whereas genetic studies on the origin of B. dendrobatidis have illuminated the mechanisms behind the global emergence of amphibian chytridiomycosis [3], the origin of another recently-emerged fungal disease, White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) and its causative agent, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, remains unresolved [2,4]. WNS is decimating multiple North American bat species with an estimated death toll reaching 5-6 million. Here, we present the first informative molecular comparison between isolates from North America and Europe and provide strong evidence for the long-term presence of the fungus in Europe and a recent introduction into North America. Our results further demonstrate great genetic similarity between the North American and some European fungal populations, indicating the likely source population for this introduction from Europe.

  9. White-Nose Syndrome fungus introduced from Europe to North America.

    PubMed

    Leopardi, Stefania; Blake, Damer; Puechmaille, Sébastien J

    2015-03-16

    The investigation of factors underlying the emergence of fungal diseases in wildlife has gained significance as a consequence of drastic declines in amphibians, where the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has caused the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity ever documented [1]. Identification of the causative agent and its origin (native versus introduced) is a crucial step in understanding and controlling a disease [2]. Whereas genetic studies on the origin of B. dendrobatidis have illuminated the mechanisms behind the global emergence of amphibian chytridiomycosis [3], the origin of another recently-emerged fungal disease, White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) and its causative agent, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, remains unresolved [2,4]. WNS is decimating multiple North American bat species with an estimated death toll reaching 5-6 million. Here, we present the first informative molecular comparison between isolates from North America and Europe and provide strong evidence for the long-term presence of the fungus in Europe and a recent introduction into North America. Our results further demonstrate great genetic similarity between the North American and some European fungal populations, indicating the likely source population for this introduction from Europe. PMID:25784035

  10. The state of amphibians in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, E.; Adams, M.J.; Grant, E.H.C.; Miller, D.; Corn, P.S.; Ball, L.C.

    2012-01-01

    More than 25 years ago, scientists began to identify unexplained declines in amphibian populations around the world. Much has been learned since then, but amphibian declines have not abated and the interactions among the various threats to amphibians are not clear. Amphibian decline is a problem of local, national, and international scope that can affect ecosystem function, biodiversity, and commerce. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of the state of the amphibians and introduces examples to illustrate the range of issues in the United States.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murphy, Tony P.

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Carey, C; Bryant, C J

    1995-05-01

    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

  13. ELASTICITY ANALYSIS OF AMPHIBIAN LIFE HISTORIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    By comparing life history parameters (e.g., age at metamorphosis, age at sexual maturation, egg number, longevity) and phenology of different species, we gain valuable insight into why growth rates differ across populations. Although the demography of most amphibians is lacking, ...

  14. Life history of amphibians and gravity.

    PubMed

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

    2004-11-01

    Anurans hold a unique position in vertebrate phylogeny, as they made the major transition from water to land. Through evolution they have acquired fundamental mechanisms to adapt to terrestrial gravity. Such mechanisms are now shared among other terrestrial vertebrates derived from ancestral amphibians. Space research, using amphibians as a model animal, is significant based on the following aspects: (1) Anuran amphibians show drastic changes in their living niche during their metamorphosis. Environments for tadpoles and for terrestrial life of frogs are quite different in terms of gravity and its associated factors. (2) Certain tadpoles, such as Rhacophorus viridis amamiensis, have a transparent abdominal wall. Thus visceral organs and their motion can be observed in these animals in non-invasive manner through their transparent abdominal skin. This feature enables biologists to evaluate the physiological state of these amphibians and study the autonomic control of visceral organs. It is also feasible for space biologists to examine how such autonomic regulation could be altered by microgravity and exposure to the space environment.

  15. Culture of Cells from Amphibian Embryos.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stanisstreet, Martin

    1983-01-01

    Describes a method for in vitro culturing of cells from amphibian early embryos. Such cells can be used to demonstrate such properties of eukaryote cells as cell motility, adhesion, differentiation, and cell sorting into tissues. The technique may be extended to investigate other factors. (Author/JN)

  16. Universal COI primers for DNA barcoding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Che, Jing; Chen, Hong-Man; Yang, Jun-Xiao; Jin, Jie-Qiong; Jiang, Ke; Yuan, Zhi-Yong; Murphy, Robert W; Zhang, Ya-Ping

    2012-03-01

    DNA barcoding is a proven tool for the rapid and unambiguous identification of species, which is essential for many activities including the vouchering tissue samples in the genome 10K initiative, genealogical reconstructions, forensics and biodiversity surveys, among many other applications. A large-scale effort is underway to barcode all amphibian species using the universally sequenced DNA region, a partial fragment of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I COI. This fragment is desirable because it appears to be superior to 16S for barcoding, at least for some groups of salamanders. The barcoding of amphibians is essential in part because many species are now endangered. Unfortunately, existing primers for COI often fail to achieve this goal. Herein, we report two new pairs of primers (➀, ➁) that in combination serve to universally amplify and sequence all three orders of Chinese amphibians as represented by 36 genera. This taxonomic diversity, which includes caecilians, salamanders and frogs, suggests that the new primer pairs will universally amplify COI for the vast majority species of amphibians.

  17. Universal COI primers for DNA barcoding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Che, Jing; Chen, Hong-Man; Yang, Jun-Xiao; Jin, Jie-Qiong; Jiang, Ke; Yuan, Zhi-Yong; Murphy, Robert W; Zhang, Ya-Ping

    2012-03-01

    DNA barcoding is a proven tool for the rapid and unambiguous identification of species, which is essential for many activities including the vouchering tissue samples in the genome 10K initiative, genealogical reconstructions, forensics and biodiversity surveys, among many other applications. A large-scale effort is underway to barcode all amphibian species using the universally sequenced DNA region, a partial fragment of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I COI. This fragment is desirable because it appears to be superior to 16S for barcoding, at least for some groups of salamanders. The barcoding of amphibians is essential in part because many species are now endangered. Unfortunately, existing primers for COI often fail to achieve this goal. Herein, we report two new pairs of primers (➀, ➁) that in combination serve to universally amplify and sequence all three orders of Chinese amphibians as represented by 36 genera. This taxonomic diversity, which includes caecilians, salamanders and frogs, suggests that the new primer pairs will universally amplify COI for the vast majority species of amphibians. PMID:22145866

  18. Characterization of the Carbohydrate Binding Module 18 gene family in the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Liu, Peng; Stajich, Jason E

    2015-04-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis responsible for worldwide decline in amphibian populations. Previous analysis of the Bd genome revealed a unique expansion of the carbohydrate-binding module family 18 (CBM18) predicted to be a sub-class of chitin recognition domains. CBM expansions have been linked to the evolution of pathogenicity in a variety of fungal species by protecting the fungus from the host. Based on phylogenetic analysis and presence of additional protein domains, the gene family can be classified into 3 classes: Tyrosinase-, Deacetylase-, and Lectin-like. Examination of the mRNA expression levels from sporangia and zoospores of nine of the cbm18 genes found that the Lectin-like genes had the highest expression while the Tyrosinase-like genes showed little expression, especially in zoospores. Heterologous expression of GFP-tagged copies of four CBM18 genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae demonstrated that two copies containing secretion signal peptides are trafficked to the cell boundary. The Lectin-like genes cbm18-ll1 and cbm18-ll2 co-localized with the chitinous cell boundaries visualized by staining with calcofluor white. In vitro assays of the full length and single domain copies from CBM18-LL1 demonstrated chitin binding and no binding to cellulose or xylan. Expressed CBM18 domain proteins were demonstrated to protect the fungus, Trichoderma reeseii, in vitro against hydrolysis from exogenously added chitinase, likely by binding and limiting exposure of fungal chitin. These results demonstrate that cbm18 genes can play a role in fungal defense and expansion of their copy number may be an important pathogenicity factor of this emerging infectious disease of amphibians. PMID:25819009

  19. Characterization of the Carbohydrate Binding Module 18 gene family in the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Liu, Peng; Stajich, Jason E

    2015-04-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis responsible for worldwide decline in amphibian populations. Previous analysis of the Bd genome revealed a unique expansion of the carbohydrate-binding module family 18 (CBM18) predicted to be a sub-class of chitin recognition domains. CBM expansions have been linked to the evolution of pathogenicity in a variety of fungal species by protecting the fungus from the host. Based on phylogenetic analysis and presence of additional protein domains, the gene family can be classified into 3 classes: Tyrosinase-, Deacetylase-, and Lectin-like. Examination of the mRNA expression levels from sporangia and zoospores of nine of the cbm18 genes found that the Lectin-like genes had the highest expression while the Tyrosinase-like genes showed little expression, especially in zoospores. Heterologous expression of GFP-tagged copies of four CBM18 genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae demonstrated that two copies containing secretion signal peptides are trafficked to the cell boundary. The Lectin-like genes cbm18-ll1 and cbm18-ll2 co-localized with the chitinous cell boundaries visualized by staining with calcofluor white. In vitro assays of the full length and single domain copies from CBM18-LL1 demonstrated chitin binding and no binding to cellulose or xylan. Expressed CBM18 domain proteins were demonstrated to protect the fungus, Trichoderma reeseii, in vitro against hydrolysis from exogenously added chitinase, likely by binding and limiting exposure of fungal chitin. These results demonstrate that cbm18 genes can play a role in fungal defense and expansion of their copy number may be an important pathogenicity factor of this emerging infectious disease of amphibians.

  20. Refugia and connectivity sustain amphibian metapopulations afflicted by disease.

    PubMed

    Heard, Geoffrey W; Thomas, Chris D; Hodgson, Jenny A; Scroggie, Michael P; Ramsey, David S L; Clemann, Nick

    2015-08-01

    Metapopulation persistence in fragmented landscapes depends on habitat patches that can support resilient local populations and sufficient connectivity between patches. Yet epidemiological theory for metapopulations has largely overlooked the capacity of particular patches to act as refuges from disease, and has suggested that connectivity can undermine persistence. Here, we show that relatively warm and saline wetlands are environmental refuges from chytridiomycosis for an endangered Australian frog, and act jointly with connectivity to sustain frog metapopulations. We coupled models of microclimate and infection probability to map chytrid prevalence, and demonstrate a strong negative relationship between chytrid prevalence and the persistence of frog populations. Simulations confirm that frog metapopulations are likely to go extinct when they lack environmental refuges from disease and lose connectivity between patches. This study demonstrates that environmental heterogeneity can mediate host-pathogen interactions in fragmented landscapes, and provides evidence that connectivity principally supports host metapopulations afflicted by facultative pathogens. PMID:26108261

  1. Microbiome Variation Across Amphibian Skin Regions: Implications for Chytridiomycosis Mitigation Efforts.

    PubMed

    Bataille, Arnaud; Lee-Cruz, Larisa; Tripathi, Binu; Kim, Hyoki; Waldman, Bruce

    2016-01-01

    Cutaneous bacteria may play an important role in the resistance of amphibians to the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Microbial communities resident on hosts' skin show topographical diversity mapping to skin features, as demonstrated by studies of the human microbiome. We examined skin microbiomes of wild and captive fire-bellied toads (Bombina orientalis) for differences across their body surface. We found that bacterial communities differed between ventral and dorsal skin. Wild toads showed slightly higher bacterial richness and diversity in the dorsal compared to the ventral region. On the other hand, captive toads hosted a higher richness and diversity of bacteria on their ventral than their dorsal skin. Microbial community composition and relative abundance of major bacterial taxonomic groups also differed between ventral and dorsal skin in all populations. Furthermore, microbiome diversity patterns varied as a function of their Bd infection status in wild toads. Bacterial richness and diversity was greater, and microbial community structure more complex, in wild than captive toads. The results suggest that bacterial community structure is influenced by microhabitats associated with skin regions. These local communities may be differentially modified when interacting with environmental bacteria and Bd. A better understanding of microbiome variation across skin regions will be needed to assess how the skin microbiota affects the abilities of amphibian hosts to resist Bd infection, especially in captive breeding programs.

  2. Susceptibility to disease varies with ontogeny and immunocompetence in a threatened amphibian.

    PubMed

    Abu Bakar, Amalina; Bower, Deborah S; Stockwell, Michelle P; Clulow, Simon; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J

    2016-08-01

    Ontogenetic changes in disease susceptibility have been demonstrated in many vertebrate taxa, as immature immune systems and limited prior exposure to pathogens can place less developed juveniles at a greater disease risk. By causing the disease chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection has led to the decline of many amphibian species. Despite increasing knowledge on how Bd varies in its effects among species, little is known on the interaction between susceptibility and development within host species. We compared the ontogenetic susceptibility of post-metamorphic green and golden bell frogs Litoria aurea to chytridiomycosis by simultaneously measuring three host-pathogen responses as indicators of the development of the fungus-infection load, survival rate, and host immunocompetence-following Bd exposure in three life stages (recently metamorphosed juveniles, subadults, adults) over 95 days. Frogs exposed to Bd as recently metamorphosed juveniles acquired higher infection loads and experienced lower immune function and lower survivorship than subadults and adults, indicating an ontogenetic decline in chytridiomycosis susceptibility. By corresponding with an intrinsic developmental maturation in immunocompetence seen in uninfected frogs, we suggest these developmental changes in host susceptibility in L. aurea may be immune mediated. Consequently, the physiological relationship between ontogeny and immunity may affect host population structure and demography through variation in life stage survival, and understanding this can shape management targets for effective amphibian conservation. PMID:27021312

  3. Variable breeding phenology affects the exposure of amphibian embryos to ultraviolet radiation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.; Muths, E.

    2002-01-01

    Reduced water depth in dry years has been proposed to interact with ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation and pathogenic fungus to cause episodes of high mortality of amphibian embryos. Observations of breeding phenology of boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata) in Colorado from 1986-2001 show that dry years result in earlier breeding. The earliest and latest dates of maximum calling activity by males were 20 May and 16 June, and the date of maximum calling was strongly related to the amount of snow accumulation during the winter. Surface UV-B flux, estimated from satellite-based measurements, was positively related to date of maximum calling. In dry years, surface UV-B during calling was reduced by an amount similar to that attributed to reduced depth. Although there was a significant trend of increasing UV-B from 1978-2001 on the average date (2 June) of maximum calling activity, there was no relationship between year and surface UV-B at actual dates of maximum calling. Exposure to extreme temperatures is an alternative explanation for increased mortality of amphibian embryos in shallow water.

  4. Variable breeding phenology affects the exposure of amphibian embryos to ultraviolet radiation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.; Muths, E.

    2002-01-01

    Reduced water depth in dry years has been proposed to interact with ultraviolet- B (UV-B) radiation and a pathogenic fungus to cause episodes of high mortality of amphibian embryos. Observations of breeding phenology of boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata) in Colorado from 1986 to 2001 show that dry years result in earlier breeding. The earliest and latest dates of maximum calling activity by males were 20 May and 16 June, and the date of maximum calling was strongly related to the amount of snow accumulation during the winter. Surface UV-B flux, estimated from satellite-based measurements, was positively related to date of maximum calling. In dry years, surface UV-B during calling was reduced by an amount similar to that attributed to reduced depth. Although there was a significant trend of increasing UV-B from 1978 to 2001 on the average date (2 June) of maximum calling activity, there was no relationship between year and surface UV-B at actual dates of maximum calling. Exposure to extreme temperatures is an alternative explanation for increased mortality of amphibian embryos in shallow water.

  5. Pseudacris triseriata (western chorus frog) and Rana sylvatica (wood frog) chytridiomycosis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rittman, S.E.; Muths, E.; Green, D.E.

    2003-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a known pathogen of anuran amphibians, and has been correlated with amphibian die-offs worldwide (Daszak et. al. 1999. Emerging Infectious Diseases 5:735-748). In Colorado, B. dendrobatidis has infected Boreal toads (Bufo boreas) (Muths et. al., in review) and has been identified on museum specimens of northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) (Carey et. al. 1999. Develop. Comp. Immunol. 23:459-472). We report the first verified case of chytrid fungus in chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) in the United States. We collected seven P. triseriata, and two adult and two juvenile R. sylvatica in the Kawuneeche Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during June 2001. These animals were submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) as part of an amphibian health evaluation in RMNP. Chorus frogs were shipped in one container. Wood frog adults and juveniles were shipped in two separate containers. Histological examinations of all chorus frogs and 3 of 4 wood frogs were positive for chytrid fungus infection. The fourth (adult) wood frog was too decomposed for meaningful histology. Histological findings consisted of multifocally mild to diffusely severe infections of the epidermis of the ventrum and hindlimb digital skin. Chytrid thalli were confined to the thickened epidermis (hyperkeratosis), were spherical to oval, and occasional thalli contained characteristic discharge pores or zoospores (Green and Kagarise Sherman 1999. J. Herpetol 35:92-103; Fellers et al. 2001. Copeia 2001:945-953). We cannot confirm that all specimens carried the fungus at collection, because infection may have spread from one individual to all other individuals in each container during transport. Further sampling of amphibians in Kawuneeche Valley is warranted to determine the rate of infection and mortality in these populations.

  6. Comparison of the hazards posed to amphibians by the glyphosate spray control program versus the chemical and physical activities of coca production in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Brain, Richard A; Solomon, Keith R

    2009-01-01

    This study evaluates the cumulative multifactorial physical and chemical impacts resulting from coca production on amphibian populations in comparison with the potential impacts produced by the herbicide glyphosate (Glyphos), which, mixed with the surfactant Cosmo-Flux, is used in the spray control program for illicit crops in Colombia. Using similar worst-case assumptions for exposure, several other pesticides used for coca production, including mancozeb, lambda cyhalothrin, endosulfan, diazinon, malathion, and chlorpyrifos, were up to 10- to 100-fold more toxic to frogs than the Glyphos-Cosmo-Flux mixture. Comparing hazard quotients based on application rates, several of these compounds demonstrated hazards 3-383 times that of formulated glyphosate. Secondary effects, particularly of insecticides, are also a concern, as these agents selectively target the primary food source of amphibians, which may indirectly impact growth and development. Although the potential chemical impacts by other pesticides are considerable, physical activities associated with coca production, particularly deforestation of primary forests for new coca plots, portend the greatest hazard to amphibian populations. The entire production cycle of cocaine has been linked to ecosystem degradation. The clearing of pristine forests for coca propagation in Colombia is well documented, and some of these regions coincide with those that contain exceptional amphibian biodiversity. This is particularly problematic as coca production encroaches more deeply into more remote areas of tropical rain forest. Transportation of disease, including the chitrid fungus, to these remote regions via human intrusion may also adversely affect amphibian populations. Therefore, the cumulative impacts of coca production, through habitat destruction, application of agrochemicals, and potential transmission of disease, are judged to pose greater risks to amphibian populations in coca-growing regions than the glyphosate

  7. Amphibians as animal models for laboratory research in physiology.

    PubMed

    Burggren, Warren W; Warburton, Stephen

    2007-01-01

    The concept of animal models is well honored, and amphibians have played a prominent part in the success of using key species to discover new information about all animals. As animal models, amphibians offer several advantages that include a well-understood basic physiology, a taxonomic diversity well suited to comparative studies, tolerance to temperature and oxygen variation, and a greater similarity to humans than many other currently popular animal models. Amphibians now account for approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of lower vertebrate and invertebrate research, and this proportion is especially true in physiological research, as evident from the high profile of amphibians as animal models in Nobel Prize research. Currently, amphibians play prominent roles in research in the physiology of musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, reproductive, and sensory systems. Amphibians are also used extensively in physiological studies aimed at generating new insights in evolutionary biology, especially in the investigation of the evolution of air breathing and terrestriality. Environmental physiology also utilizes amphibians, ranging from studies of cryoprotectants for tissue preservation to physiological reactions to hypergravity and space exploration. Amphibians are also playing a key role in studies of environmental endocrine disruptors that are having disproportionately large effects on amphibian populations and where specific species can serve as sentinel species for environmental pollution. Finally, amphibian genera such as Xenopus, a genus relatively well understood metabolically and physiologically, will continue to contribute increasingly in this new era of systems biology and "X-omics."

  8. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, Tony P.

    2001-12-01

    A pilot on-line course on amphibians was offered free to 20 educators around the United States in 1999. This course, called Helping Your Local Amphibians (HYLA), was the first of its kind on-line course for educators dealing with amphibian issues. It also used these animals as a focus to teach about the environment. The course lasted 9 weeks with some additional time for continued discussions and used various aspects of Internet technology (including a virtual conference center), media, and traditional paper-based products to complete the learning process. Five teachers were selected to attend a national amphibian summit hosted by the Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. The course was aimed primarily at upper elementary and middle school teachers, but participants included formal and nonformal educators. For the most part, educators expressed satisfaction with the course and the content, as well as the structure of the web site. For 80% of the group, this was their first Internet-based course. In addition, as part of the course, the educators were expected to take some action with their primary audiences to help local amphibian populations. This mainly took the form of surveys or habitat clean-ups. The development of the course was underwritten by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Best Buy Children's Foundation, and Hamline University.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. Pesticide Detection in Rainwater, Stemflow, and Amphibians from Agricultural Spray Drift in Southern Georgia, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Amphibians are important sentinel environmental species since they integrate stressors from both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Pesticides are well established as a significant stressor for amphibians. In order to study spray-drift contributions to amphibian habitats, pestic...

  13. Research proceedings on amphibian model organisms.

    PubMed

    Liu, Lu-Sha; Zhao, Lan-Ying; Wang, Shou-Hong; Jiang, Jian-Ping

    2016-07-18

    Model organisms have long been important in biology and medicine due to their specific characteristics. Amphibians, especially Xenopus, play key roles in answering fundamental questions on developmental biology, regeneration, genetics, and toxicology due to their large and abundant eggs, as well as their versatile embryos, which can be readily manipulated and developed in vivo. Furthermore, amphibians have also proven to be of considerable benefit in human disease research due to their conserved cellular developmental and genomic organization. This review gives a brief introduction on the progress and limitations of these animal models in biology and human disease research, and discusses the potential and challenge of Microhyla fissipes as a new model organism. PMID:27469255

  14. Research proceedings on amphibian model organisms

    PubMed Central

    LIU, Lu-Sha; ZHAO, Lan-Ying; WANG, Shou-Hong; JIANG, Jian-Ping

    2016-01-01

    Model organisms have long been important in biology and medicine due to their specific characteristics. Amphibians, especially Xenopus, play key roles in answering fundamental questions on developmental biology, regeneration, genetics, and toxicology due to their large and abundant eggs, as well as their versatile embryos, which can be readily manipulated and developed in vivo. Furthermore, amphibians have also proven to be of considerable benefit in human disease research due to their conserved cellular developmental and genomic organization. This review gives a brief introduction on the progress and limitations of these animal models in biology and human disease research, and discusses the potential and challenge of Microhyla fissipes as a new model organism. PMID:27469255

  15. Experimental transmission of cutaneous chytridiomycosis in dendrobatid frogs.

    PubMed

    Nichols, D K; Lamirande, E W; Pessier, A P; Longcore, J E

    2001-01-01

    In a series of three experiments during March-October, 1998, two species of captive-bred poison dart frogs (Dendrobates tinctorius and D. auratus) were exposed to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a recently-described chytridiomycete fungus (chytrid) that was originally isolated from a blue poison dart frog (D. azureus). All frogs exposed to the chytrids developed a fatal skin disease, whereas none of the control frogs developed skin lesions. The most consistent clinical sign in chytrid-exposed frogs was excessive shedding of skin. Gross lesions were subtle, usually affected the legs and ventrum, and consisted of mild skin thickening and discoloration. Microscopic examination of shed skin pieces and/or skin imprints demonstrated the presence of chytrids and was used for ante mortem and post mortem confirmation of chytrid infection. Histologically, there was epidermal hyperkeratosis, hyperplasia, and hypertrophy associated with low to moderate numbers of chytrids in the keratinized layers. These experiments demonstrated that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis can be a fatal pathogen in poison dart frogs. The experimentally-induced disease in these frogs resembled cases of cutaneous chytridiomycosis that have recently been described in several other species of captive and wild amphibians. PMID:11272482

  16. Amphibian molecular ecology and how it has informed conservation.

    PubMed

    McCartney-Melstad, Evan; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2015-10-01

    Molecular ecology has become one of the key tools in the modern conservationist's kit. Here we review three areas where molecular ecology has been applied to amphibian conservation: genes on landscapes, within-population processes, and genes that matter. We summarize relevant analytical methods, recent important studies from the amphibian literature, and conservation implications for each section. Finally, we include five in-depth examples of how molecular ecology has been successfully applied to specific amphibian systems.

  17. Wetland Management for Amphibians in the Willamette Valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.; Pearl, Christopher A.; Bury, R. Bruce

    2004-01-01

    Introduction In the past two decades, scientists around the world have increasingly noted losses of amphibian populations. Many of these declines have occurred in protected areas like national parks, where the causes mostly remain mysterious. However, in multipleuse landscapes, resource managers frequently face more obvious conservation problems and must make decisions that will affect amphibians. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present recent findings pertinent to wetland management and amphibians in a multiple-use landscape.

  18. 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).

  19. 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

  20. The first anionic defensin from amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wei, Lin; Che, Helong; Han, Yi; Lv, Jing; Mu, Lixian; Lv, Lechun; Wu, Jing; Yang, Hailong

    2015-07-01

    A variety of antimicrobial peptides against infection have been identified from the skin of amphibians. However, knowledge on amphibian defensins is very limited. A novel anionic defensin designated PopuDef was purified from the skin of tree frog Polypedates puerensis, and the cDNA encoding PopuDef precursor was cloned from the skin cDNA library. The amino acid sequence of PopuDef (net charge: -2, pI: 4.75) shared the highest identity of 57 % (25/44) with the salamander defensin CFBD-1 (net charge: 0, pI: 6.14) from urodela amphibians. PopuDef showed moderate antimicrobial activities against P. aeruginosa and S. aureus (MICs are 19.41 and 17.25 μM, respectively), and relatively weak activities against E. coli and B. subtilis (MICs are 38.82 and 43.14 μM, respectively). Tissue distribution analysis indicated that relatively high expression level of PopuDef mRNA was observed in immune-related tissues including skin, gut, lung and spleen. Furthermore, the expression level of PopuDef was significantly upregulated in these tissues after tree frogs were infected with different bacteria strains mentioned above. Interestingly, the induction of PopuDef challenged with E. coli or B. subtilis, which was less sensitive to PopuDef, was much higher than that did with P. aeruginosa or S. aureus. These findings highlight the key role of PopuDef in innate immunity against infection. To our knowledge, PopuDef is the first anionic defensin characterized from amphibians.

  1. Amphibians as research models for regenerative medicine

    PubMed Central

    Song, Fengyu; Li, Bingbing

    2010-01-01

    The ability to regenerate bone across a critical size defect would be a marked clinical advance over current methods for dealing with such structural gaps. Here, we briefly review the development of limb bones and the mandible, the regeneration of urodele limbs after amputation, and present evidence that urodele and anuran amphibians represent a valuable research model for the study of segment defect regeneration in both limb bones and mandible. PMID:21197215

  2. 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

  3. Bent's Old Fort: Amphibians and Reptiles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, E.

    2008-01-01

    Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site sits along the Arkansas River in the semi-desert prairie of southeastern Colorado. The USGS provided assistance in designing surveys to assess the variety of herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) resident at this site. This brochure is the results of those efforts and provides visitors with information on what frogs, toads, snakes and salamanders might be seen and heard at Bent's Old Fort.

  4. Complex causes of amphibian population declines.

    PubMed

    Kiesecker, J M; Blaustein, A R; Belden, L K

    2001-04-01

    Amphibian populations have suffered widespread declines and extinctions in recent decades. Although climatic changes, increased exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation and increased prevalence of disease have all been implicated at particular localities, the importance of global environmental change remains unclear. Here we report that pathogen outbreaks in amphibian populations in the western USA are linked to climate-induced changes in UV-B exposure. Using long-term observational data and a field experiment, we examine patterns among interannual variability in precipitation, UV-B exposure and infection by a pathogenic oomycete, Saprolegnia ferax. Our findings indicate that climate-induced reductions in water depth at oviposition sites have caused high mortality of embryos by increasing their exposure to UV-B radiation and, consequently, their vulnerability to infection. Precipitation, and thus water depth/UV-B exposure, is strongly linked to El Niño/Southern Oscillation cycles, underscoring the role of large-scale climatic patterns involving the tropical Pacific. Elevated sea-surface temperatures in this region since the mid-1970s, which have affected the climate over much of the world, could be the precursor for pathogen-mediated amphibian declines in many regions. PMID:11287952

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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.

  6. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide.

    PubMed

    Stuart, Simon N; Chanson, Janice S; Cox, Neil A; Young, Bruce E; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Fischman, Debra L; Waller, Robert W

    2004-12-01

    The first global assessment of amphibians provides new context for the well-publicized phenomenon of amphibian declines. Amphibians are more threatened and are declining more rapidly than either birds or mammals. Although many declines are due to habitat loss and overutilization, other, unidentified processes threaten 48% of rapidly declining species and are driving species most quickly to extinction. Declines are nonrandom in terms of species' ecological preferences, geographic ranges, and taxonomic associations and are most prevalent among Neotropical montane, stream-associated species. The lack of conservation remedies for these poorly understood declines means that hundreds of amphibian species now face extinction.

  7. Analgesia in Amphibians: Preclinical Studies and Clinical Applications

    PubMed Central

    Stevens, Craig W.

    2010-01-01

    SYNOPSIS Preclinical studies of analgesia in amphibians or recommendations for clinical use of analgesics in amphibian species are extremely limited. This article briefly reviews the issues surrounding the use of analgesics in amphibians starting with common definitions of pain and analgesia when applied to non-human animals. Nociceptive and endogenous opioid systems in amphibians are reviewed and results of preclinical research on opioid and non-opioid analgesics summarized. Recommended opioid and non-opioid analgesics are summarized and practical recommendations made for their clinical use. PMID:21074701

  8. AmphibiaChina: an online database of Chinese Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Che, Jing; Wang, Kai

    2016-01-18

    AmphibiaChina, an open-access, web-based database, is designed to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on Chinese amphibians. It offers an integrated module with six major sections. Compared to other known databases including AmphibiaWeb and Amphibian Species of the World, AmphibiaChina has the following new functions: (1) online species identification based on DNA barcode sequences; (2) comparisons and discussions of different major taxonomic systems; and (3) phylogenetic progress on Chinese amphibians. This database offers a window for the world to access available information of Chinese amphibians. AmphibiaChina with its Chinese version can be accessed at http://www.amphibiachina.org.

  9. Parasite fitness traits under environmental variation: disentangling the roles of a chytrid's immediate host and external environment.

    PubMed

    Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Vanholsbeeck, Olivier; Spaak, Piet; Ibelings, Bas W

    2014-10-01

    Parasite environments are heterogeneous at different levels. The first level of variability is the host itself. The second level represents the external environment for the hosts, to which parasites may be exposed during part of their life cycle. Both levels are expected to affect parasite fitness traits. We disentangle the main and interaction effects of variation in the immediate host environment, here the diatom Asterionella formosa (variables host cell volume and host condition through herbicide pre-exposure) and variation in the external environment (variables host density and acute herbicide exposure) on three fitness traits (infection success, development time and reproductive output) of a chytrid parasite. Herbicide exposure only decreased infection success in a low host density environment. This result reinforces the hypothesis that chytrid zoospores use photosynthesis-dependent chemical cues to locate its host. At high host densities, chemotaxis becomes less relevant due to increasing chance contact rates between host and parasite, thereby following the mass-action principle in epidemiology. Theoretical support for this finding is provided by an agent-based simulation model. The immediate host environment (cell volume) substantially affected parasite reproductive output and also interacted with the external herbicide exposed environment. On the contrary, changes in the immediate host environment through herbicide pre-exposure did not increase infection success, though it had subtle effects on zoospore development time and reproductive output. This study shows that both immediate host and external environment as well as their interaction have significant effects on parasite fitness. Disentangling these effects improves our understanding of the processes underlying parasite spread and disease dynamics.

  10. A pulmonary fungus ball produced by Cladosporium cladosporioides.

    PubMed

    Kwon-Chung, K J; Schwartz, I S; Rybak, B J

    1975-10-01

    A case of pulmonary fungus ball produced by Cladosporium cladosporioides is reported. The fungus occupied a cavity in the upper lobe of right lung. Invasion of the cavitary wall or adjacent pulmonary tissue by the fungus was not observed.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Macroparasite infections of amphibians: what can they tell us?

    PubMed

    Koprivnikar, Janet; Marcogliese, David J; Rohr, Jason R; Orlofske, Sarah A; Raffel, Thomas R; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2012-09-01

    Understanding linkages between environmental changes and disease emergence in human and wildlife populations represents one of the greatest challenges to ecologists and parasitologists. While there is considerable interest in drivers of amphibian microparasite infections and the resulting consequences, comparatively little research has addressed such questions for amphibian macroparasites. What work has been done in this area has largely focused on nematodes of the genus Rhabdias and on two genera of trematodes (Ribeiroia and Echinostoma). Here, we provide a synopsis of amphibian macroparasites, explore how macroparasites may affect amphibian hosts and populations, and evaluate the significance of these parasites in larger community and ecosystem contexts. In addition, we consider environmental influences on amphibian-macroparasite interactions by exploring contemporary ecological factors known or hypothesized to affect patterns of infection. While some macroparasites of amphibians have direct negative effects on individual hosts, no studies have explicitly examined whether such infections can affect amphibian populations. Moreover, due to their complex life cycles and varying degrees of host specificity, amphibian macroparasites have rich potential as bioindicators of environmental modifications, especially providing insights into changes in food webs. Because of their documented pathologies and value as bioindicators, we emphasize the need for broader investigation of this understudied group, noting that ecological drivers affecting these parasites may also influence disease patterns in other aquatic fauna.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gosselin, Heather; Johnson, Bob

    1996-01-01

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

  15. All about Amphibians. Animal Life for Children. [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    This videotape teaches children about their favorite amphibious creatures, as well as amphibians' nearest cousins--toads, newts, and salamanders. Young students discover how these amazing creatures can live both in and out of water, learn about the amphibious life cycle, and compare the differences between amphibians and reptiles. This videotape…

  16. 50 CFR 17.43 - Special rules-amphibians.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 2 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Special rules-amphibians. 17.43 Section 17.43 Wildlife and Fisheries UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR... Special rules—amphibians. (a) San Marcos salamander (Eurycea nana). (1) All provisions of § 17.31 apply...

  17. Incorporating Amphibian Malformations into Inquiry-Based Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Talley, Brooke L.

    2007-01-01

    Amphibians, a class of vertebrates consisting of frogs and toads, salamanders, and caecilians, are excellent organisms for middle school science students to study because of their ecological significance. Because they exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide through their skin, amphibians absorb any chemicals or substances present in their immediate…

  18. Amphibians and Reptiles from Paramakatoi and Kato, Guyana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    MacCulloch, Ross D.; Reynolds, Robert P.

    2012-01-01

    We report the herpetofauna of two neighboring upland locations in west-central Guyana. Twenty amphibian and 24 reptile species were collected. Only 40% of amphibians and 12.5% of reptiles were collected in both locations. This is one of the few collections made at upland (750–800 m) locations in the Guiana Shield.

  19. 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...

  20. MOJAVE DESERT SPRING: THE AMPHIBIAN POINT OF VIEW

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerous springs are scattered throughout the eastern Mojave Desert, most of which are concentrated near the bases of mountain ranges. Spring-fed wetlands in this region comprise nearly all the available habitat for amphibians. We surveyed 128 springs for amphibians and habitat t...

  1. Current and Future Effects of Climate Change on Montane Amphibians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corn, S.

    2002-05-01

    Breeding phenology of amphibians in inextricably linked to weather, and change in the timing of breeding resulting from climate change may have consequences for the fitness of individuals and may affect persistence of amphibian populations. Amphibians in some north temperate locations have been observed to breed earlier in recent years in response to warmer spring temperatures, but this is not a universal phenomenon. In mountain populations, phenology is influenced by snow deposition as much as temperature. A trend towards earlier breeding, associated with increasing El Niño frequency, may be occurring in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, but only at lower elevations. There is no evidence for changes in the dates of breeding activity by amphibians in the Rocky Mountains. Too few amphibian species have been studied, and those for which data exist have been studied for too brief a span of years to allow general conclusions about the effects of climate change. However, regardless of whether climate change has contributed to current amphibian declines, changes in temperature and the extent and duration of snow cover predicted for the next century will have increasingly severe consequences for the persistence of some species. Additional observations from amphibian populations, and spatial and temporal modeling of climate variables are needed to generate predictions of past and future breeding phenology, and the effects on amphibian population dynamics.

  2. Partners in amphibian and reptile conservation 2013 annual report

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conrad, Paulette M.; Weir, Linda A.; Nanjappa, Priya

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Estrogens Can Disrupt Amphibian Mating Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Frauke; Kloas, Werner

    2012-01-01

    The main component of classical contraceptives, 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), has high estrogenic activity even at environmentally relevant concentrations. Although estrogenic endocrine disrupting compounds are assumed to contribute to the worldwide decline of amphibian populations by adverse effects on sexual differentiation, evidence for EE2 affecting amphibian mating behaviour is lacking. In this study, we demonstrate that EE2 exposure at five different concentrations (0.296 ng/L, 2.96 ng/L, 29.64 ng/L, 2.96 µg/L and 296.4 µg/L) can disrupt the mating behavior of adult male Xenopus laevis. EE2 exposure at all concentrations lowered male sexual arousal, indicated by decreased proportions of advertisement calls and increased proportions of the call type rasping, which characterizes a sexually unaroused state of a male. Additionally, EE2 at all tested concentrations affected temporal and spectral parameters of the advertisement calls, respectively. The classical and highly sensitive biomarker vitellogenin, on the other hand, was only induced at concentrations equal or higher than 2.96 µg/L. If kept under control conditions after a 96 h EE2 exposure (2.96 µg/L), alterations of male advertisement calls vanish gradually within 6 weeks and result in a lower sexual attractiveness of EE2 exposed males toward females as demonstrated by female choice experiments. These findings indicate that exposure to environmentally relevant EE2 concentrations can directly disrupt male mate calling behavior of X. laevis and can indirectly affect the mating behavior of females. The results suggest the possibility that EE2 exposure could reduce the reproductive success of EE2 exposed animals and these effects might contribute to the global problem of amphibian decline. PMID:22355410

  4. Late Cretaceous vicariance in Gondwanan amphibians.

    PubMed

    Van Bocxlaer, Ines; Roelants, Kim; Biju, S D; Nagaraju, J; Bossuyt, Franky

    2006-01-01

    Overseas dispersals are often invoked when Southern Hemisphere terrestrial and freshwater organism phylogenies do not fit the sequence or timing of Gondwana fragmentation. We used dispersal-vicariance analyses and molecular timetrees to show that two species-rich frog groups, Microhylidae and Natatanura, display congruent patterns of spatial and temporal diversification among Gondwanan plates in the Late Cretaceous, long after the presumed major tectonic break-up events. Because amphibians are notoriously salt-intolerant, these analogies are best explained by simultaneous vicariance, rather than by oceanic dispersal. Hence our results imply Late Cretaceous connections between most adjacent Gondwanan landmasses, an essential concept for biogeographic and palaeomap reconstructions. PMID:17183706

  5. Captive breeding, reintroduction, and the conservation of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Richard A; Pavajeau, Lissette

    2008-08-01

    The global amphibian crisis has resulted in renewed interest in captive breeding as a conservation tool for amphibians. Although captive breeding and reintroduction are controversial management actions, amphibians possess a number of attributes that make them potentially good models for such programs. We reviewed the extent and effectiveness of captive breeding and reintroduction programs for amphibians through an analysis of data from the Global Amphibian Assessment and other sources. Most captive breeding and reintroduction programs for amphibians have focused on threatened species from industrialized countries with relatively low amphibian diversity. Out of 110 species in such programs, 52 were in programs with no plans for reintroduction that had conservation research or conservation education as their main purpose. A further 39 species were in programs that entailed captive breeding and reintroduction or combined captive breeding with relocations of wild animals. Nineteen species were in programs with relocations of wild animals only. Eighteen out of 58 reintroduced species have subsequently bred successfully in the wild, and 13 of these species have established self-sustaining populations. As with threatened amphibians generally, amphibians in captive breeding or reintroduction programs face multiple threats, with habitat loss being the most important. Nevertheless, only 18 out of 58 reintroduced species faced threats that are all potentially reversible. When selecting species for captive programs, dilemmas may emerge between choosing species that have a good chance of surviving after reintroduction because their threats are reversible and those that are doomed to extinction in the wild as a result of irreversible threats. Captive breeding and reintroduction programs for amphibians require long-term commitments to ensure success, and different management strategies may be needed for species earmarked for reintroduction and species used for conservation

  6. Fetal adaptations for viviparity in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wake, Marvalee H

    2015-08-01

    Live-bearing has evolved in all three orders of amphibians--frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Developing young may be either yolk dependent, or maternal nutrients may be supplied after yolk is resorbed, depending on the species. Among frogs, embryos in two distantly related lineages develop in the skin of the maternal parents' backs; they are born either as advanced larvae or fully metamorphosed froglets, depending on the species. In