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Sample records for amphibian chytrid fungus

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Kolby, Jonathan E.

    2014-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Future potential distribution of the emerging amphibian chytrid fungus under anthropogenic climate change.

    PubMed

    Rödder, Dennis; Kielgast, Jos; Lötters, Stefan

    2010-11-01

    Anthropogenic climate change poses a major threat to global biodiversity with a potential to alter biological interactions at all spatial scales. Amphibians are the most threatened vertebrates and have been subject to increasing conservation attention over the past decade. A particular concern is the pandemic emergence of the parasitic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has been identified as the cause of extremely rapid large-scale declines and species extinctions. Experimental and observational studies have demonstrated that the host-pathogen system is strongly influenced by climatic parameters and thereby potentially affected by climate change. Herein we project a species distribution model of the pathogen onto future climatic scenarios generated by the IPCC to examine their potential implications on the pandemic. Results suggest that predicted anthropogenic climate change may reduce the geographic range of B. dendrobatidis and its potential influence on amphibian biodiversity.

  13. Amphibian chytrid fungus and ranaviruses in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

    PubMed

    Schock, Danna M; Ruthig, Gregory R; Collins, James P; Kutz, Susan J; Carrière, Suzanne; Gau, Robert J; Veitch, Alasdair M; Larter, Nicholas C; Tate, Douglas P; Guthrie, Glen; Allaire, Daniel G; Popko, Richard A

    2010-11-01

    Pathogens can cause serious declines in host species, and knowing where pathogens associated with host declines occur facilitates understanding host-pathogen ecology. Suspected drivers of global amphibian declines include infectious diseases, with 2 pathogens in particular, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranaviruses, causing concern. We explored the host range and geographic distribution of Bd and ranaviruses in the Taiga Plains ecoregion of the Northwest Territories, Canada, in 2007 and 2008. Both pathogens were detected, greatly extending their known geographic distributions. Ranaviruses were widespread geographically, but found only in wood frogs. In contrast, Bd was found at a single site, but was detected in all 3 species of amphibians in the survey area (wood frogs, boreal chorus frogs, western toads). The presence of Bd in the Northwest Territories is not congruent with predicted distributions based on niche models, even though findings from other studies at northern latitudes are consistent with those same models. Unexpectedly, we also found evidence that swabs routinely used to collect samples for Bd screening detected fewer infections than toe clips. Our use and handling of the swabs was consistent with other studies, and the cause of the apparent lack of integrity of swabs is unknown. The ranaviruses detected in our study were confirmed to be Frog Virus 3 by sequence analysis of a diagnostic 500 bp region of the major capsid protein gene. It is unknown whether Bd or ranaviruses are recent arrivals to the Canadian north. However, the genetic analyses required to answer that question can inform larger debates about the origin of Bd in North America as well as the potential effects of climate change and industrial development on the distributions of these important amphibian pathogens.

  14. 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.

  15. Chytrid fungus infection in zebrafish demonstrates that the pathogen can parasitize non-amphibian vertebrate hosts

    PubMed Central

    Liew, Nicole; Mazon Moya, Maria J.; Wierzbicki, Claudia J.; Hollinshead, Michael; Dillon, Michael J.; Thornton, Christopher R.; Ellison, Amy; Cable, Jo; Fisher, Matthew C.; Mostowy, Serge

    2017-01-01

    Aquatic chytrid fungi threaten amphibian biodiversity worldwide owing to their ability to rapidly expand their geographical distributions and to infect a wide range of hosts. Combating this risk requires an understanding of chytrid host range to identify potential reservoirs of infection and to safeguard uninfected regions through enhanced biosecurity. Here we extend our knowledge on the host range of the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis by demonstrating infection of a non-amphibian vertebrate host, the zebrafish. We observe dose-dependent mortality and show that chytrid can infect and proliferate on zebrafish tissue. We also show that infection phenotypes (fin erosion, cell apoptosis and muscle degeneration) are direct symptoms of infection. Successful infection is dependent on disrupting the zebrafish microbiome, highlighting that, as is widely found in amphibians, commensal bacteria confer protection against this pathogen. Collectively, our findings greatly expand the limited tool kit available to study pathogenesis and host response to chytrid infection. PMID:28425465

  16. 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

  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. Elimination of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis by Archey's frog Leiopelma archeyi.

    PubMed

    Bishop, Phillip J; Speare, Rick; Poulter, Russell; Butler, Margi; Speare, Benjamin J; Hyatt, Alex; Olsen, Veronica; Haigh, Amanda

    2009-03-09

    Archey's frog Leiopelma archeyi is a critically endangered New Zealand endemic species. The discovery of the emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, in wild populations of this frog raised concern that this disease may drive the species to extinction. Twelve wild-caught Archey's frogs naturally infected with the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis were monitored in captivity by observing clinical signs, measuring weight gain, and performing repeated PCR tests. Eight frogs were treated with topical chloramphenicol, without PCR results being available, for B. dendrobatidis at the day of entry of the frog into the trial. Eleven of the 12 frogs (92%) cleared their infection within 3 mo of capture, even though they were held at 15 degrees C and in high humidity, conditions that are ideal for the survival and propagation of B. dendrobatidis. B. dendrobatidis in the remaining frog tested positive for the fungus was eliminated after treatment with topical chloramphenicol. None of the 8 frogs exposed to chloramphenicol showed any acute adverse reactions. Archey's frog appears to have a low level of susceptibility to the clinical effects of chytridiomycosis. Individual frogs can eliminate B. dendrobatidis and Archey's frog can apparently be treated with topical chloramphenicol with no acute adverse reactions. However, the small number of specimens treated here requires that more extensive testing be done to confirm the safety of chloramphenicol. The significance of the amphibian chytrid fungus for wild populations of Archey's frog needs to be determined by a longitudinal study in an infected wild population to correlate the presence of B. dendrobatidis in individual frogs. Such a study should occur over a period of at least 3 yr with clinical assessment and monitoring of survival, growth and body condition parameters.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  2. 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.

  3. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in fully aquatic salamanders from Southeastern North America.

    PubMed

    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.

  4. 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. © 2014 SETAC.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Integral Projection Models for host-parasite systems with an application to amphibian chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Wilber, Mark Q; Langwig, Kate E; Kilpatrick, A Marm; McCallum, Hamish I; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2016-10-01

    Host parasite models are typically constructed under either a microparasite or macroparasite paradigm. However, this has long been recognized as a false dichotomy because many infectious disease agents, including most fungal pathogens, have attributes of both microparasites and macroparasites.We illustrate how Integral Projection Models (IPM)s provide a novel, elegant modeling framework to represent both types of pathogens. We build a simple host-parasite IPM that tracks both the number of susceptible and infected hosts and the distribution of parasite burdens in infected hosts.The vital rate functions necessary to build IPMs for disease dynamics share many commonalities with classic micro and macroparasite models and we discuss how these functions can be parameterized to build a host-parasite IPM. We illustrate the utility of this IPM approach by modeling the temperature-dependent epizootic dynamics of amphibian chytrid fungus in Mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa).The host-parasite IPM can be applied to other diseases such as facial tumor disease in Tasmanian devils and white-nose syndrome in bats. Moreover, the host-parasite IPM can be easily extended to capture more complex disease dynamics and provides an exciting new frontier in modeling wildlife disease.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2008-10-16

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Low prevalence of chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in amphibians of U.S

    Treesearch

    Blake R. Hossack; Michael J. Adams; Evan H. Campbell Grant; Christopher A. Pearl; James B. Bettaso; William J. Barichivich; Winsor H. Lowe; Kimberly True; Joy L. Ware; Paul Stephen Corn

    2010-01-01

    Many declines of amphibian populations have been associated with chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite the relatively high prevalence of chytridiomycosis in stream amphibians globally, most surveys in North America have focused primarily on wetland-associated species, which are frequently infected. To...

  16. 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

  17. 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

    2013-06-04

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Unlocking the story in the swab: A new genotyping assay for the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Byrne, Allison Q; Rothstein, Andrew P; Poorten, Thomas J; Erens, Jesse; Settles, Matthew L; Rosenblum, Erica Bree

    2017-04-02

    One of the most devastating emerging pathogens of wildlife is the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which affects hundreds of amphibian species around the world. Genomic data from pure Bd cultures have advanced our understanding of Bd phylogenetics, genomic architecture and mechanisms of virulence. However, pure cultures are laborious to obtain and whole-genome sequencing is comparatively expensive, so relatively few isolates have been genetically characterized. Thus, we still know little about the genetic diversity of Bd in natural systems. The most common noninvasive method of sampling Bd from natural populations is to swab amphibian skin. Hundreds of thousands of swabs have been collected from amphibians around the world, but Bd DNA collected via swabs is often low in quality and/or quantity. In this study, we developed a custom Bd genotyping assay using the Fluidigm Access Array platform to amplify 192 carefully selected regions of the Bd genome. We obtained robust sequence data for pure Bd cultures and field-collected skin swabs. This new assay has the power to accurately discriminate among the major Bd clades, recovering the basic tree topology previously revealed using whole-genome data. Additionally, we established a critical value for initial Bd load for swab samples (150 Bd genomic equivalents) above which our assay performs well. By leveraging advances in microfluidic multiplex PCR technology and the globally distributed resource of amphibian swab samples, noninvasive skin swabs can now be used to address critical spatial and temporal questions about Bd and its effects on declining amphibian populations. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Low prevalence of chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in amphibians of U.S. headwater streams

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hossack, Blake R.; Adams, Michael J.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Pearl, Chistopher A.; Bettaso, James B.; Barichivich, William J.; Lowe, Winsor H.; True, Kimberly; Ware, Joy L.; Corn, Paul Stephen

    2010-01-01

    Many declines of amphibian populations have been associated with chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite the relatively high prevalence of chytridiomycosis in stream amphibians globally, most surveys in North America have focused primarily on wetland-associated species, which are frequently infected. To better understand the distribution and prevalence of Bd in headwater amphibian communities, we sampled 452 tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei and Ascaphus montanus) and 304 stream salamanders (seven species in the Dicamptodontidae and Plethodontidae) for Bd in 38, first- to third-order streams in five montane areas across the United States. We tested for presence of Bd by using PCR on skin swabs from salamanders and metamorphosed tailed frogs or the oral disc of frog larvae. We detected Bd on only seven individuals (0.93%) in four streams. Based on our study and results from five other studies that have sampled headwater- or seep-associated amphibians in the United States, Bd has been detected on only 3% of 1,322 individuals from 21 species. These results differ strongly from surveys in Central America and Australia, where Bd is more prevalent on stream-breeding species, as well as results from wetland-associated anurans in the same regions of the United States that we sampled. Differences in the prevalence of Bd between stream- and wetland-associated amphibians in the United States may be related to species-specific variation in susceptibility to chytridiomycosis or habitat differences.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. No evidence for effects of infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus on populations of yellow-bellied toads.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Norman; Neubeck, Claus; Guicking, Daniela; Finke, Lennart; Wittich, Martin; Weising, Kurt; Geske, Christian; Veith, Michael

    2017-02-08

    The parasitic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause the lethal disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians and therefore may play a role in population declines. The yellow-bellied toad Bombina variegata suffered strong declines throughout western and northwestern parts of its range and is therefore listed as highly endangered for Germany and the federal state of Hesse. Whether chytridiomycosis may play a role in the observed local declines of this strictly protected anuran species has never been tested. We investigated 19 Hessian yellow-bellied toad populations for Bd infection rates, conducted capture-mark-recapture studies in 4 of them over 2 to 3 yr, examined survival histories of recaptured infected individuals, and tested whether multi-locus heterozygosity of individuals as well as expected heterozygosity and different environmental variables of populations affect probabilities of Bd infection. Our results show high prevalence of Bd infection in Hessian yellow-bellied toad populations, but although significant decreases in 2 populations could be observed, no causative link to Bd as the reason for this can be established. Mass mortalities or obvious signs of disease in individuals were not observed. Conversely, we show that growth of Bd-infected populations is possible under favorable habitat conditions and that most infected individuals could be recaptured with improved body indices. Neither genetic diversity nor environmental variables appeared to affect Bd infection probabilities. Hence, genetically diverse amphibian specimens and populations may not automatically be less susceptible for Bd infection.

  9. Detection of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Museum Specimens of Andean Aquatic Birds: Implications for Pathogen Dispersal.

    PubMed

    Burrowes, Patricia A; De la Riva, Ignacio

    2017-04-01

    The occurrence of the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in the feet of live waterfowl has been documented, but the potential role of birds as dispersers has not been studied. We report the presence of Bd in the feet of preserved aquatic birds in the Bolivian high Andes during the time of drastic amphibian declines in the country. We sampled 48 aquatic birds from the Bolivian Andes that were preserved in museum collections. Birds were sampled for the presence of Bd DNA by swabbing, taking small pieces of tissue from toe webbing, or both. We detected Bd by DNA using quantitative PCR in 42% of the birds sampled via toe tissue pieces. This method was significantly better than swabbing at detecting Bd from bird feet. We confirmed Bd presence by sequencing Bd -positive samples and found 91-98% homology with Bd sequences from GenBank. Our study confirms that aquatic birds can carry Bd and thus may serve as potential vectors of this pathogen across large distances and complex landscapes. In addition, we recommend using DNA from preserved birds as a novel source of data to test hypotheses on the spread of chytridiomycosis in amphibians.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    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. Copyright © 2015 Refsnider et al.

  14. Presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in threatened corroboree frog populations in the Australian Alps.

    PubMed

    Hunter, David A; Speare, Rick; Marantelli, Gerry; Mendez, Diana; Pietsch, Rod; Osborne, Will

    2010-11-01

    Since the early 1980s, the southern corroboree frog Pseudophryne corroboree and northern corroboree frog P. pengilleyi have been in a state of decline from their sub-alpine and high montane bog environments on the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. To date, there has been no adequate explanation as to what is causing the decline of these species. We investigated the possibility that a pathogen associated with other recent frog declines in Australia, the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, may have been implicated in the decline of the corroboree frogs. We used histology of toe material and real-time PCR of skin swabs to investigate the presence and infection rates with B. dendrobatidis in historic and extant populations of both corroboree frog species. Using histology, we did not detect any B. dendrobatidis infections in corroboree frog populations prior to their decline. However, using the same technique, high rates of infection were observed in populations of both species after the onset of substantial population declines. The real-time PCR screening of skin swabs identified high overall infection rates in extant populations of P. corroboree (between 44 and 59%), while significantly lower rates of infection were observed in low-altitude P. pengilleyi populations (14%). These results suggest that the initial and continued decline of the corroboree frogs may well be attributed to the emergence of B. dendrobatidis in populations of these species.

  15. Effects of amphibian phylogeny, climate and human impact on the occurrence of the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Bacigalupe, Leonardo D; Soto-Azat, Claudio; García-Vera, Cristobal; Barría-Oyarzo, Ismael; Rezende, Enrico L

    2017-09-01

    Chytridiomycosis, due to the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been associated with the alarming decline and extinction crisis of amphibians worldwide. Because conservation programs are implemented locally, it is essential to understand how the complex interactions among host species, climate and human activities contribute to Bd occurrence at regional scales. Using weighted phylogenetic regressions and model selection, we investigated geographic patterns of Bd occurrence along a latitudinal gradient of 1500 km within a biodiversity hot spot in Chile (1845 individuals sampled from 253 sites and representing 24 species), and its association with climatic, socio-demographic and economic variables. Analyses show that Bd prevalence decreases with latitude although it has increased by almost 10% between 2008 and 2013, possibly reflecting an ongoing spread of Bd following the introduction of Xenopus laevis. Occurrence of Bd was higher in regions with high gross domestic product (particularly near developed centers) and with a high variability in rainfall regimes, whereas models including other bioclimatic or geographic variables, including temperature, exhibited substantially lower fit and virtually no support based on Akaike weights. In addition, Bd prevalence exhibited a strong phylogenetic signal, with five species having high numbers of infected individuals and higher prevalence than the average of 13.3% across all species. Taken together, our results highlight that Bd in Chile might still be spreading south, facilitated by a subset of species that seem to play an important epidemiological role maintaining this pathogen in the communities, in combination with climatic and human factors affecting the availability and quality of amphibian breeding sites. This information may be employed to design conservation strategies and mitigate the impacts of Bd in the biodiversity hot spot of southern Chile, and similar studies may prove useful to disentangle the

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    Treesearch

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

    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...

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

    Treesearch

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

    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...

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

    PubMed

    An, Deuknam; Waldman, Bruce

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    An, Deuknam

    2016-01-01

    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

  2. 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

    2015-03-09

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-13

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

  6. Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

    2011-09-09

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

  12. Effects of urbanization on the occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis: do urban environments provide refuge from the amphibian chytrid fungus?

    Treesearch

    Daniel Saenz; Taylor L. Hall; Matthew A. Kwiatkowski

    2015-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a widespread pathogenic fungus that is known to cause the disease, chytridiomycosis, which can be lethal to many amphibians. We compared occurrence rates on spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) in urban and forested breeding sites in eastern Texas, USA. All study sites were at...

  13. Overview of chytrid emergence and impacts on amphibians.

    PubMed

    Lips, Karen R

    2016-12-05

    Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease of amphibians that affects over 700 species on all continents where amphibians occur. The amphibian-chytridiomycosis system is complex, and the response of any amphibian species to chytrid depends on many aspects of the ecology and evolutionary history of the amphibian, the genotype and phenotype of the fungus, and how the biological and physical environment can mediate that interaction. Impacts of chytridiomycosis on amphibians are varied; some species have been driven extinct, populations of others have declined severely, whereas still others have not obviously declined. Understanding patterns and mechanisms of amphibian responses to chytrids is critical for conservation and management. Robust estimates of population numbers are needed to identify species at risk, prioritize taxa for conservation actions, design management strategies for managing populations and species, and to develop effective measures to reduce impacts of chytrids on amphibians.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience'.

  14. 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. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. 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

  16. 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).

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Linking Ecology and Epidemiology to Understand Predictors of Multi-Host Responses to an Emerging Pathogen, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus.

    PubMed

    Gervasi, Stephanie S; Stephens, Patrick R; Hua, Jessica; Searle, Catherine L; Xie, Gisselle Yang; Urbina, Jenny; Olson, Deanna H; Bancroft, Betsy A; Weis, Virginia; Hammond, John I; Relyea, Rick A; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2017-01-01

    Variation in host responses to pathogens can have cascading effects on populations and communities when some individuals or groups of individuals display disproportionate vulnerability to infection or differ in their competence to transmit infection. The fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been detected in almost 700 different amphibian species and is implicated in numerous global amphibian population declines. Identifying key hosts in the amphibian-Bd system-those who are at greatest risk or who pose the greatest risk for others-is challenging due in part to many extrinsic environmental factors driving spatiotemporal Bd distribution and context-dependent host responses to Bd in the wild. One way to improve predictive risk models and generate testable mechanistic hypotheses about vulnerability is to complement what we know about the spatial epidemiology of Bd with data collected through comparative experimental studies. We used standardized pathogen challenges to quantify amphibian survival and infection trajectories across 20 post-metamorphic North American species raised from eggs. We then incorporated trait-based models to investigate the predictive power of phylogenetic history, habitat use, and ecological and life history traits in explaining responses to Bd. True frogs (Ranidae) displayed the lowest infection intensities, whereas toads (Bufonidae) generally displayed the greatest levels of mortality after Bd exposure. Affiliation with ephemeral aquatic habitat and breadth of habitat use were strong predictors of vulnerability to and intensity of infection and several other traits including body size, lifespan, age at sexual maturity, and geographic range also appeared in top models explaining host responses to Bd. Several of the species examined are highly understudied with respect to Bd such that this study represents the first experimental susceptibility data. Combining insights gained from experimental studies with observations of

  2. Linking Ecology and Epidemiology to Understand Predictors of Multi-Host Responses to an Emerging Pathogen, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Stephens, Patrick R.; Hua, Jessica; Searle, Catherine L.; Xie, Gisselle Yang; Urbina, Jenny; Olson, Deanna H.; Bancroft, Betsy A.; Weis, Virginia; Hammond, John I.; Relyea, Rick A.; Blaustein, Andrew R.

    2017-01-01

    Variation in host responses to pathogens can have cascading effects on populations and communities when some individuals or groups of individuals display disproportionate vulnerability to infection or differ in their competence to transmit infection. The fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been detected in almost 700 different amphibian species and is implicated in numerous global amphibian population declines. Identifying key hosts in the amphibian-Bd system–those who are at greatest risk or who pose the greatest risk for others–is challenging due in part to many extrinsic environmental factors driving spatiotemporal Bd distribution and context-dependent host responses to Bd in the wild. One way to improve predictive risk models and generate testable mechanistic hypotheses about vulnerability is to complement what we know about the spatial epidemiology of Bd with data collected through comparative experimental studies. We used standardized pathogen challenges to quantify amphibian survival and infection trajectories across 20 post-metamorphic North American species raised from eggs. We then incorporated trait-based models to investigate the predictive power of phylogenetic history, habitat use, and ecological and life history traits in explaining responses to Bd. True frogs (Ranidae) displayed the lowest infection intensities, whereas toads (Bufonidae) generally displayed the greatest levels of mortality after Bd exposure. Affiliation with ephemeral aquatic habitat and breadth of habitat use were strong predictors of vulnerability to and intensity of infection and several other traits including body size, lifespan, age at sexual maturity, and geographic range also appeared in top models explaining host responses to Bd. Several of the species examined are highly understudied with respect to Bd such that this study represents the first experimental susceptibility data. Combining insights gained from experimental studies with observations of

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 

  7. Do Frogs Still Get Their Kicks On Route 66? A Transcontinental Transect For Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis) Infection On U.S. Department Of Defense Installations

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-01-04

    military lands harbor some of the greatest concentrations of endangered and threatened habitats and species in the United States (Stein et al. 2008...decline and extinction of frogs. EcoHealth 4: 125-134. Stein BA, Scott C, Benton N (2008) Federal Lands and Endangered Species : The Role of Military...survey for Bd conducted to date. Half of the amphibian species sampled (15/30) tested positive for Bd. There was a strong spatial component to our

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis , in Wild Populations of the Lake Titicaca Frog, Telmatobius culeus, in Peru.

    PubMed

    Berenguel, Raul A; Elias, Roberto K; Weaver, Thomas J; Reading, Richard P

    2016-10-01

    The Lake Titicaca frog (Telmatobius culeus) is critically endangered, primarily from overexploitation. However, additional threats, such as chytrid fungus ( Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ), are poorly studied. We found moderate levels of chytrid infection using quantitative PCR. Our results enhance our understanding of chytrid tolerance to high pH and low water temperature.

  11. Only skin deep: shared genetic response to the deadly chytrid fungus in susceptible frog species.

    PubMed

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Poorten, Thomas J; Settles, Matthew; Murdoch, Gordon K

    2012-07-01

    Amphibian populations around the world are threatened by an emerging infectious pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). How can a fungal skin infection kill such a broad range of amphibian hosts? And do different host species have a similar response to Bd infection? Here, we use a genomics approach to understand the genetic response of multiple susceptible frog species to Bd infection. We characterize the transcriptomes of two closely related endangered frog species (Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae) and analyse whole genome expression profiles from frogs in controlled Bd infection experiments. We integrate the Rana results with a comparable data set from a more distantly related susceptible species (Silurana tropicalis). We demonstrate that Bd-infected frogs show massive disruption of skin function and show no evidence of a robust immune response. The genetic response to infection is shared across the focal susceptible species, suggesting a common effect of Bd on susceptible frogs.

  12. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans is the predominant chytrid fungus in Vietnamese salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Laking, Alexandra E.; Ngo, Hai Ngoc; Pasmans, Frank; Martel, An; Nguyen, Tao Thien

    2017-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), pose a major threat to amphibian biodiversity. Recent evidence suggests Southeast Asia as a potential cradle for both fungi, which likely resulted in widespread host-pathogen co-existence. We sampled 583 salamanders from 8 species across Vietnam in 55 locations for Bsal and Bd, determined scaled mass index as a proxy for fitness and collected environmental data. Bsal was found within 14 of the 55 habitats (2 of which it was detected in 2013), in 5 salamandrid species, with a prevalence of 2.92%. The globalized pandemic lineage of Bd was found within one pond on one species with a prevalence of 0.69%. Combined with a complete lack of correlation between infection and individual body condition and absence of indication of associated disease, this suggests low level pathogen endemism and Bsal and Bd co-existence with Vietnamese salamandrid populations. Bsal was more widespread than Bd, and occurs at temperatures higher than tolerated by the type strain, suggesting a wider thermal niche than currently known. Therefore, this study provides support for the hypothesis that these chytrid fungi may be endemic to Asia and that species within this region may act as a disease reservoir. PMID:28287614

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-02

    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.

  16. Ubiquity of the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Anuran communities in Panamá.

    PubMed

    Kilburn, Vanessa L; Ibáñez, Roberto; Sanjur, Oris; Bermingham, Eldredge; Suraci, Justin P; Green, David M

    2010-12-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been implicated as the main driver of many enigmatic amphibian declines in neotropical sites at high elevation. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is thought to be a waterborne pathogen limited by temperature, and the extent to which it persists and causes disease in amphibians at lower elevations in the neotropics is not known. It also is unclear by what mechanism(s) B. dendrobatidis has emerged as a pathogenic organism. To test whether B. dendrobatidis is limited by elevation in Panamá, we sought to determine the prevalence and intensity of B. dendrobatidis in relation to anuran abundance and diversity using quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses. Sites were situated at varying elevations, from 45 to 1215 m, and were at varying stages of epizootic amphibian decline, including pre-epizootic, mid-epizootic, 2 years post-epizootic, and 10 years post-epizootic. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was found in all sites regardless of elevation or stage of epizootic decline. Levels of prevalence and infection intensity were comparable across all sites except at the mid-epizootic site, where both prevalence and intensity were significantly higher than at other sites. Symptoms of chytridiomycosis and corresponding declines in amphibian populations were variably seen at all elevations along a post-epizootic gradient. Because it is inherently difficult to prove a negative proposition, it can neither be proven that B. dendrobatidis is truly not present where it is not detected nor proven that it is only recently arrived where it is detected. Thus, there will always be doubts about whether B. dendrobatidis is enzootic or invasive. In any case, our results, coupled with current knowledge, suggest most clearly that the disease, chytridiomycosis, may be novel and invasive, and that the pathogen, B. dendrobatidis either is, or is becoming, globally ubiquitous.

  17. Waterfowl: potential environmental reservoirs of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Garmyn, An; Van Rooij, Pascale; Pasmans, Frank; Hellebuyck, Tom; Van Den Broeck, Wim; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Martel, An

    2012-01-01

    Infections with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (B. dendrobatidis), the causal agent of chytridiomycosis, have been shown to play an important role in the decline of amphibians worldwide. Spread of the fungus is poorly understood. Bird movement might possibly contribute to the spread of B. dendrobatidis in the environment. Therefore, 397 wild geese in Belgium were screened for presence of B. dendrobatidis on their toes using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). In addition, chemotaxis towards, adhesion, survival after desiccation and proliferation of B. dendrobatidis on keratinous toe scales from waterfowl were examined in vitro. qPCR revealed that 76 geese (15%) were positive for B. dendrobatidis. Results of the in vitro tests showed that B. dendrobatidis is attracted to the keratinous toes of aquatic birds on which they can adhere and even proliferate. However, desiccation is poorly tolerated. This suggests waterfowl are potential environmental reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis.

  18. Waterfowl: Potential Environmental Reservoirs of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Pasmans, Frank; Hellebuyck, Tom; Van Den Broeck, Wim; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Martel, An

    2012-01-01

    Infections with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (B. dendrobatidis), the causal agent of chytridiomycosis, have been shown to play an important role in the decline of amphibians worldwide. Spread of the fungus is poorly understood. Bird movement might possibly contribute to the spread of B. dendrobatidis in the environment. Therefore, 397 wild geese in Belgium were screened for presence of B. dendrobatidis on their toes using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). In addition, chemotaxis towards, adhesion, survival after desiccation and proliferation of B. dendrobatidis on keratinous toe scales from waterfowl were examined in vitro. qPCR revealed that 76 geese (15%) were positive for B. dendrobatidis. Results of the in vitro tests showed that B. dendrobatidis is attracted to the keratinous toes of aquatic birds on which they can adhere and even proliferate. However, desiccation is poorly tolerated. This suggests waterfowl are potential environmental reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis. PMID:22514705

  19. Genome-wide transcriptional response of Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis to infection with the deadly chytrid fungus.

    PubMed

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Poorten, Thomas J; Settles, Matthew; Murdoch, Gordon K; Robert, Jacques; Maddox, Nicole; Eisen, Michael B

    2009-08-04

    Emerging infectious diseases are of great concern for both wildlife and humans. Several highly virulent fungal pathogens have recently been discovered in natural populations, highlighting the need for a better understanding of fungal-vertebrate host-pathogen interactions. Because most fungal pathogens are not fatal in the absence of other predisposing conditions, host-pathogen dynamics for deadly fungal pathogens are of particular interest. The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (hereafter Bd) infects hundreds of species of frogs in the wild. It is found worldwide and is a significant contributor to the current global amphibian decline. However, the mechanism by which Bd causes death in amphibians, and the response of the host to Bd infection, remain largely unknown. Here we use whole-genome microarrays to monitor the transcriptional responses to Bd infection in the model frog species, Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis, which is susceptible to chytridiomycosis. To elucidate the immune response to Bd and evaluate the physiological effects of chytridiomycosis, we measured gene expression changes in several tissues (liver, skin, spleen) following exposure to Bd. We detected a strong transcriptional response for genes involved in physiological processes that can help explain some clinical symptoms of chytridiomycosis at the organismal level. However, we detected surprisingly little evidence of an immune response to Bd exposure, suggesting that this susceptible species may not be mounting efficient innate and adaptive immune responses against Bd. The weak immune response may be partially explained by the thermal conditions of the experiment, which were optimal for Bd growth. However, many immune genes exhibited decreased expression in Bd-exposed frogs compared to control frogs, suggesting a more complex effect of Bd on the immune system than simple temperature-mediated immune suppression. This study generates important baseline data for ongoing efforts to

  20. Effects of the Chytrid fungus on the Tarahumara frog (Rana tarahumarae) in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico

    Treesearch

    Stephen F. Hale; Philip C. Rosen; James L. Jarchow; Gregory A. Bradley

    2005-01-01

    We conducted histological analyses on museum specimens collected 1975-1999 from 10 sites in Arizona and Sonora to test for the pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in ranid frogs, focusing on the Tarahumara frog (Rana tarahumarae). During 1981-2000, frogs displaying disease signs were found in the field, and...

  1. 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.

  2. 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, Annemarieke; 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

  3. 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.

  4. Sleuthing out a silent scourge for amphibians

    Treesearch

    Noreen Parks; Deanna (Dede) Olson

    2013-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), causes the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, which has triggered massive die-offs and extinctions of amphibians around the world. The disease, identified in 1998, is a significant contributor to the global amphibian biodiversity crisis, and no clear means of arresting its spread...

  5. Effects of chytrid fungus and a glyphosate-based herbicide on survival and growth of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus).

    PubMed

    Gahl, Megan K; Pauli, Bruce D; Houlahan, Jeff E

    2011-10-01

    Anthropogenic-derived stressors in the environment, such as contaminants, are increasingly considered important cofactors that may decrease the immune response of amphibians to pathogens. Few studies, however, have integrated amphibian disease and contaminants to test this multiple-stressor hypothesis for amphibian declines. We examined whether exposure to sublethal concentrations of a glyphosate-based herbicide and two strains of the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochrytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) could: (1) sublethally affect wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) by altering the time to and size at metamorphosis, and (2) directly affect survivability of wood frogs after metamorphosis. Neither Bd strain nor herbicide exposure alone significantly altered growth or time to metamorphosis. The two Bd strains did not differ in their pathogenicity, and both caused mortality in post-metamorphic wood frogs. There was no evidence of an interaction between treatments, indicating a lack of herbicide-induced susceptibility to Bd. However, the trends in our data suggest that exposure of wood frogs to a high concentration of glyphosate-based herbicide may reduce Bd-caused mortality compared to animals exposed to Bd alone. These results exemplify the complexities inherent when populations are coping with multiple stressors. In this case, the perceived stressor, glyphosate-based herbicide, appeared to affect the pathogen more than the host's immune system, relieving the host from disease-caused effects. This suggests caution when invoking multiple stressors as a cause for increased disease susceptibility and indicates that the effects of multiple stressors on disease outcome depend on the interrelationships of stressors to both the pathogen and the host.

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Substrate-specific gene expression in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the chytrid pathogen of amphibians.

    PubMed

    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.

  15. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Treesearch

    Erin Muths; David S. Pilliod; Lauren J. Livo

    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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Immune Defenses against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a Fungus Linked to Global Amphibian Declines, in the South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis▿

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20584973

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Long-term monitoring of tropical alpine habitat change, Andean anurans, and chytrid fungus in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru: Results from a decade of study.

    PubMed

    Seimon, Tracie A; Seimon, Anton; Yager, Karina; Reider, Kelsey; Delgado, Amanda; Sowell, Preston; Tupayachi, Alfredo; Konecky, Bronwen; McAloose, Denise; Halloy, Stephan

    2017-03-01

    The Cordillera Vilcanota in southern Peru is the second largest glacierized range in the tropics and home to one of the largest high-alpine lakes, Sibinacocha (4,860 m). Here, Telmatobius marmoratus (marbled water frog), Rhinella spinulosa (Andean toad), and Pleurodema marmoratum (marbled four-eyed frog) have expanded their range vertically within the past century to inhabit newly formed ponds created by ongoing deglaciation. These anuran populations, geographically among the highest (5,200-5,400 m) recorded globally, are being impacted by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and the disease it causes, chytridiomycosis. In this study, we report results from over a decade of monitoring these three anuran species, their habitat, and Bd infection status. Our observations reveal dynamic changes in habitat including ongoing rapid deglaciation (18.4 m/year widening of a corridor between retreating glaciers from 2005 to 2015), new pond formation, changes in vegetation in amphibian habitat, and widespread occurrence of Bd in amphibians in seven sites. Three of these sites have tested positive for Bd over a 9- to 12-year period. In addition, we observed a widespread reduction in T. marmoratus encounters in the Vilcanota in 2008, 2009, and 2012, while encounters increased in 2013 and 2015. Despite the rapid and dynamic changes in habitat under a warming climate, continued presence of Bd in the environment for over a decade, and a reduction in one of three anuran species, we document that these anurans continue to breed and survive in this high Andean environment. High variability in anuran encounters across sites and plasticity in these populations across habitats, sites, and years are all factors that could favor repopulation postdecline. Preserving the connectivity of wetlands in the Cordillera Vilcanota is therefore essential in ensuring that anurans continue to breed and adapt as climate change continues to reshape the environment.

  6. Evidence for acquisition of virulence effectors in pathogenic chytrids.

    PubMed

    Sun, Guiling; Yang, Zefeng; Kosch, Tiffany; Summers, Kyle; Huang, Jinling

    2011-07-08

    The decline in amphibian populations across the world is frequently linked to the infection of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). This is particularly perplexing because Bd was only recently discovered in 1999 and no chytrid fungus had previously been identified as a vertebrate pathogen. In this study, we show that two large families of known virulence effector genes, crinkler (CRN) proteins and serine peptidases, were acquired by Bd from oomycete pathogens and bacteria, respectively. These two families have been duplicated after their acquisition by Bd. Additional selection analyses indicate that both families evolved under strong positive selection, suggesting that they are involved in the adaptation of Bd to its hosts. We propose that the acquisition of virulence effectors, in combination with habitat disruption and climate change, may have driven the Bd epidemics and the decline in amphibian populations. This finding provides a starting point for biochemical investigations of chytridiomycosis.

  7. Genomic Transition to Pathogenicity in Chytrid Fungi

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  9. The interactive effects of chytrid fungus, pesticides, and exposure timing on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) larvae.

    PubMed

    Hanlon, Shane M; Parris, Matthew J

    2014-01-01

    Aquatic organisms are often exposed to a wide variety of perturbations in nature, including pathogens and chemical contaminants. Despite the co-occurrence of these 2 stressors, few studies have examined the effects of chemical contaminants on host-pathogen dynamics. The authors tested the individual and combined effects on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles of 2 commonly used pesticides (Roundup® and Sevin®) and the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). A fully factorial design was used, and tadpoles were exposed to Bd, Roundup, or Sevin alone, or a combination of Bd and either pesticide at 3 points during larval development (early, mid, late). It was predicted that pesticides would mediate the effect of Bd on tadpoles and reduce the likelihood of negative consequences of infection and that timing of exposure would influence these effects. Tadpoles exposed to Bd at the mid point experienced higher survival through metamorphosis than those exposed to Bd at the early or late points, while tadpoles exposed to Sevin at the early point experienced reduced survival compared with those exposed to Roundup or no-pesticide control at the same exposure point. Roundup ameliorated the effects of Bd on survival compared with tadpoles exposed to Bd alone, while there was no interactive effect of Sevin on survival. In addition, Sevin reduced mass of new metamorphs compared with Roundup and reduced snout-vent length compared with all other treatments. The present study supports the hypothesis that pesticides can mitigate the effects of Bd on amphibian hosts and that such effects may depend on the timing of exposure.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Muijsers, Mariska; Martel, An; Van Rooij, Pascale; Baert, Kris; Vercauteren, Griet; Ducatelle, Richard; De Backer, Patrick; Vercammen, Francis; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Pasmans, Frank

    2012-09-25

    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. 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. We thus conclude that, despite marked anti B. dendrobatidis activity in vitro, the florfenicol treatment used is not capable of eliminating B. dendrobatidis infections from amphibians.

  12. 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

  13. Survey for the Pathogenic Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Southwestern North Carolina Salamander Populations

    Treesearch

    S. Keitzer; Reuben Goforth; Allan Pessier; April Johnson

    2011-01-01

    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...

  14. 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.

  15. Phylogenetic evidence for a fusion of archaeal and bacterial SemiSWEETs to form eukaryotic SWEETs and identification of SWEET hexose transporters in the amphibian chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Hu, Yi-Bing; Sosso, Davide; Qu, Xiao-Qing; Chen, Li-Qing; Ma, Lai; Chermak, Diane; Zhang, De-Chun; Frommer, Wolf B

    2016-10-01

    SWEETs represent a new class of sugar transporters first described in plants, animals, and humans and later in prokaryotes. Plant SWEETs play key roles in phloem loading, seed filling, and nectar secretion, whereas the role of archaeal, bacterial, and animal transporters remains elusive. Structural analyses show that eukaryotic SWEETs are composed of 2 triple-helix bundles (THBs) fused via an inversion linker helix, whereas prokaryotic SemiSWEETs contain only a single THB and require homodimerization to form transport pores. This study indicates that SWEETs retained sugar transport activity in all kingdoms of life, and that SemiSWEETs are likely their ancestral units. Fusion of oligomeric subunits into single polypeptides during evolution of eukaryotes is commonly found for transporters. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that THBs of eukaryotic SWEETs may not have evolved by tandem duplication of an open reading frame, but rather originated by fusion between an archaeal and a bacterial SemiSWEET, which potentially explains the asymmetry of eukaryotic SWEETs. Moreover, despite the ancient ancestry, SWEETs had not been identified in fungi or oomycetes. Here, we report the identification of SWEETs in oomycetes as well as SWEETs and a potential SemiSWEET in primitive fungi. BdSWEET1 and BdSWEET2 from Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a nonhyphal zoosporic fungus that causes global decline in amphibians, showed glucose and fructose transport activities.-Hu, Y.-B., Sosso, D., Qu, X.-Q., Chen, L.-Q., Ma, L., Chermak, D., Zhang, D.-C., Frommer, W. B. Phylogenetic evidence for a fusion of archaeal and bacterial SemiSWEETs to form eukaryotic SWEETs and identification of SWEET hexose transporters in the amphibian chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. © FASEB.

  16. Exploring the Distribution of the Spreading Lethal Salamander Chytrid Fungus in Its Invasive Range in Europe – A Macroecological Approach

    PubMed Central

    Feldmeier, Stephan; Schefczyk, Lukas; Wagner, Norman; Heinemann, Günther; Veith, Michael; Lötters, Stefan

    2016-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a dangerous pathogen to salamanders and newts. Apparently native to Asia, it has recently been detected in Western Europe where it is expected to spread and to have dramatic effects on naïve hosts. Since 2010, Bsal has led to some catastrophic population declines of urodeles in the Netherlands and Belgium. More recently, it has been discovered in additional, more distant sites including sites in Germany. With the purpose to contribute to a better understanding of Bsal, we modelled its potential distribution in its invasive European range to gain insights about the factors driving this distribution. We computed Bsal Maxent models for two predictor sets, which represent different temporal resolutions, using three different background extents to account for different invasion stage scenarios. Beside ‘classical’ bioclimate, we employed weather data, which allowed us to emphasize predictors in accordance with the known pathogen’s biology. The most important predictors as well as spatial predictions varied between invasion scenarios and predictor sets. The most reasonable model was based on weather data and the scenario of a recent pathogen introduction. It identified temperature predictors, which represent optimal growing conditions and heat limiting conditions, as the most explaining drivers of the current distribution. This model also predicted large areas in the study region as suitable for Bsal. The other models predicted considerably less, but shared some areas which we interpreted as most likely high risk zones. Our results indicate that growth relevant temperatures measured under laboratory conditions might also be relevant on a macroecological scale, if predictors with a high temporal resolution and relevance are used. Additionally, the conditions in our study area support the possibility of a further Bsal spread, especially when considering that our models might tend to underestimate the

  17. Exploring the Distribution of the Spreading Lethal Salamander Chytrid Fungus in Its Invasive Range in Europe - A Macroecological Approach.

    PubMed

    Feldmeier, Stephan; Schefczyk, Lukas; Wagner, Norman; Heinemann, Günther; Veith, Michael; Lötters, Stefan

    2016-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a dangerous pathogen to salamanders and newts. Apparently native to Asia, it has recently been detected in Western Europe where it is expected to spread and to have dramatic effects on naïve hosts. Since 2010, Bsal has led to some catastrophic population declines of urodeles in the Netherlands and Belgium. More recently, it has been discovered in additional, more distant sites including sites in Germany. With the purpose to contribute to a better understanding of Bsal, we modelled its potential distribution in its invasive European range to gain insights about the factors driving this distribution. We computed Bsal Maxent models for two predictor sets, which represent different temporal resolutions, using three different background extents to account for different invasion stage scenarios. Beside 'classical' bioclimate, we employed weather data, which allowed us to emphasize predictors in accordance with the known pathogen's biology. The most important predictors as well as spatial predictions varied between invasion scenarios and predictor sets. The most reasonable model was based on weather data and the scenario of a recent pathogen introduction. It identified temperature predictors, which represent optimal growing conditions and heat limiting conditions, as the most explaining drivers of the current distribution. This model also predicted large areas in the study region as suitable for Bsal. The other models predicted considerably less, but shared some areas which we interpreted as most likely high risk zones. Our results indicate that growth relevant temperatures measured under laboratory conditions might also be relevant on a macroecological scale, if predictors with a high temporal resolution and relevance are used. Additionally, the conditions in our study area support the possibility of a further Bsal spread, especially when considering that our models might tend to underestimate the potential

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Prevalence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in stream and wetland amphibians in Maryland, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Ware, Joy L.; Duncan, Karen L.

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  1. Amphibians

    Treesearch

    Harold E. Basey; David A. Sinclear

    1980-01-01

    This chapter offers the most recent information available on the habitat relations of teh 26 speicies of amphibians and 27 species of reptiles know to occur in the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. nomenclature used follows that in the most recent literature for each species. the species are arrange in phylogenetic order and numbered in sequence, with prefix "A...

  2. 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. © 2013 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2013 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

  4. Differential patterns of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in relict amphibian populations following severe disease-associated declines.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Steven M; Alvarado, Gilbert; Abarca, Juan; Zumbado, Hector; Zuñiga, Ibrahim; Wainwright, Mark; Kerby, Jacob

    2017-09-20

    Global amphibian biodiversity has declined dramatically in the past 4 decades, and many amphibian species have declined to near extinction as a result of emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). However, persistent or recovering populations of several amphibian species have recently been rediscovered, and such populations may illustrate how amphibian species that are highly susceptible to chytridiomycosis may survive in the presence of Bd. We conducted field surveys for Bd infection in 7 species of Costa Rican amphibians (all species that have declined to near extinction but for which isolated populations persist) to characterize infection profiles in highly Bd-susceptible amphibians post-decline. We found highly variable patterns in infection, with some species showing low prevalence (~10%) and low infection intensity and others showing high infection prevalence (>80%) and either low or high infection intensity. Across sites, infection rates were negatively associated with mean annual precipitation, and infection intensity across sites was negatively associated with mean average temperatures. Our results illustrate that even the most Bd-susceptible amphibians can persist in Bd-enzootic ecosystems, and that multiple ecological or evolutionary mechanisms likely exist for host-pathogen co-existence between Bd and the most Bd-susceptible amphibian species. Continued monitoring of these populations is necessary to evaluate population trends (continuing decline, stability, or population growth). These results should inform efforts to mitigate impacts of Bd on amphibians in the field.

  5. 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. © 2012 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd, ISZS and IOZ/CAS.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Antimicrobial peptide defenses against pathogens associated with global amphibian declines.

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A; Doersam, Jennifer K; Longcore, Joyce E; Taylor, Sharon K; Shamblin, Jessica C; Carey, Cynthia; Zasloff, Michael A

    2002-01-01

    Global declines of amphibian populations are a source of great concern. Several pathogens that can infect the skin have been implicated in the declines. The pathogen most frequently associated with recent die-offs is a chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. A second fungus, Basidiobolus ranarum, was isolated from declining populations of Wyoming toads. A third pathogen, Aeromonas hydrophila, is an opportunistic bacterium found in healthy frogs, but capable of inducing disease. Among the immune defense mechanisms used by amphibians is the production of antimicrobial peptides in granular glands in the skin. These packets of natural antibiotics can be emptied onto the skin when the amphibian is injured. To determine whether antimicrobial skin peptides defend against these amphibian pathogens, six peptides (magainin I, magainin II, PGLa, CPF, ranalexin, and dermaseptin), from three species, and representing three structurally different families of peptides, were tested in growth inhibition assays. We show here that the peptides can kill or inhibit growth of both fungi but not Aeromonas. Although each peptide varied in its effectiveness, at least one from each species was effective against both fungi at a concentration of about 10-20 microM. This is the first direct evidence that antimicrobial peptides in the skin can operate as a first line of defense against the organisms associated with global amphibian declines. It suggests that this innate defense mechanism may play a role in preventing or limiting infection by these organisms.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

  11. Effects of two amphibian pathogens on the developmental stability of green frogs.

    PubMed

    St-Amour, Valérie; Garner, Trenton W J; Schulte-Hostedde, Albrecht I; Lesbarrères, David

    2010-06-01

    Developmental instability, measured as fluctuating asymmetry (FA), is often used as a tool to measure stress and the overall quality of organisms. Under FA, it is assumed that control of symmetry during development is costly and that under stress the trajectory of development is disturbed, resulting in asymmetric morphologies. Amphibian emergent infectious diseases (EIDs), such as Ranavirus and chytrid fungus, have been involved in several mortality events, which makes them stressors and allows for the study of FA. We analyzed nine populations of green frogs (Rana clamitans) for the presence or absence of Ranavirus and chytrid fungus. Individuals were measured to determine levels of FA in seven traits under the hypothesis that FA is more likely to be observed in individuals infected by the pathogens. Significantly higher levels of FA were found in individuals with Ranavirus compared with uninfected individuals among all populations and all traits. We did not observe FA in individuals infected with chytrid fungus for any of the traits measured. Additionally, we observed a significant association between Ranavirus infection and levels of FA in both males and females, which may indicate this viral disease is likely to affect both sexes during development. Altogether, our results indicate that some EIDs may have far-reaching and nonlethal effects on individual development and populations harboring such diseases and that FA can be used as a conservation tool to identify populations subject to such a stress.

  12. Virulence variation among strains of the emerging infectious fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in multiple amphibian host species.

    PubMed

    Dang, Trang D; Searle, Catherine L; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2017-05-11

    Emerging infectious diseases have been documented in numerous plant and animal populations. The infectious disease amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is associated with global amphibian population declines. While much Bd-amphibian research has centered on response variation in hosts, a paucity of information exists on how variation in the pathogen, such as strain differences, affects infection dynamics. To examine how different Bd strains may differentially impact multiple hosts, we conducted laboratory experiments to measure 2 infection outcomes, viz. host survival and pathogen load, in 3 amphibian host species (Pacific treefrog, western toad, and Cascades frog) after exposure to 3 different Bd strains (an additional fourth Bd strain was tested in toads only). Our results confirm that the infection response differs among host species. Western toads experienced significant mortality, but Pacific treefrogs and Cascades frogs did not. Interestingly, our experiment also captured strain-dependent virulence variation but only in 1 host species, the western toad. Increased mortality was observed in 2 of the 4 Bd strains tested in this host species. Toads were also the only host species found to have variable pathogen load dependent on strain type; individuals exposed to the Panama strain harbored significantly higher loads compared to all other strains. These findings underscore the dynamic nature of Bd infection, showing that virulence can vary contingent on host and strain type. We highlight the importance of both host- and pathogen-dependent factors in determining overall infection virulence and show the need for in vivo testing to fully assess pathogenicity.

  13. Effects of an infectious fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on amphibian predator-prey interactions.

    PubMed

    Han, Barbara A; Searle, Catherine L; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2011-02-02

    The effects of parasites and pathogens on host behaviors may be particularly important in predator-prey contexts, since few animal behaviors are more crucial for ensuring immediate survival than the avoidance of lethal predators in nature. We examined the effects of an emerging fungal pathogen of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on anti-predator behaviors of tadpoles of four frog species. We also investigated whether amphibian predators consumed infected prey, and whether B. dendrobatidis caused differences in predation rates among prey in laboratory feeding trials. We found differences in anti-predator behaviors among larvae of four amphibian species, and show that infected tadpoles of one species (Anaxyrus boreas) were more active and sought refuge more frequently when exposed to predator chemical cues. Salamander predators consumed infected and uninfected tadpoles of three other prey species at similar rates in feeding trials, and predation risk among prey was unaffected by B. dendrobatidis. Collectively, our results show that even sub-lethal exposure to B. dendrobatidis can alter fundamental anti-predator behaviors in some amphibian prey species, and suggest the unexplored possibility that indiscriminate predation between infected and uninfected prey (i.e., non-selective predation) could increase the prevalence of this widely distributed pathogen in amphibian populations. Because one of the most prominent types of predators in many amphibian systems is salamanders, and because salamanders are susceptible to B. dendrobatidis, our work suggests the importance of considering host susceptibility and behavioral changes that could arise from infection in both predators and prey.

  14. Effects of an Infectious Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on Amphibian Predator-Prey Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Han, Barbara A.; Searle, Catherine L.; Blaustein, Andrew R.

    2011-01-01

    The effects of parasites and pathogens on host behaviors may be particularly important in predator-prey contexts, since few animal behaviors are more crucial for ensuring immediate survival than the avoidance of lethal predators in nature. We examined the effects of an emerging fungal pathogen of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on anti-predator behaviors of tadpoles of four frog species. We also investigated whether amphibian predators consumed infected prey, and whether B. dendrobatidis caused differences in predation rates among prey in laboratory feeding trials. We found differences in anti-predator behaviors among larvae of four amphibian species, and show that infected tadpoles of one species (Anaxyrus boreas) were more active and sought refuge more frequently when exposed to predator chemical cues. Salamander predators consumed infected and uninfected tadpoles of three other prey species at similar rates in feeding trials, and predation risk among prey was unaffected by B. dendrobatidis. Collectively, our results show that even sub-lethal exposure to B. dendrobatidis can alter fundamental anti-predator behaviors in some amphibian prey species, and suggest the unexplored possibility that indiscriminate predation between infected and uninfected prey (i.e., non-selective predation) could increase the prevalence of this widely distributed pathogen in amphibian populations. Because one of the most prominent types of predators in many amphibian systems is salamanders, and because salamanders are susceptible to B. dendrobatidis, our work suggests the importance of considering host susceptibility and behavioral changes that could arise from infection in both predators and prey. PMID:21311771

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Climate change and outbreaks of amphibian chytridiomycosis in a montane area of Central Spain; is there a link?

    PubMed Central

    Bosch, Jaime; Carrascal, Luís M; Durán, Luis; Walker, Susan; Fisher, Matthew C

    2006-01-01

    Amphibian species are declining at an alarming rate on a global scale in large part owing to an infectious disease caused by the chytridiomycete fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. This disease of amphibians has recently emerged within Europe, but knowledge of its effects on amphibian assemblages remains poor. Importantly, little is known about the environmental envelope that is associated with chytridiomycosis in Europe and the potential for climate change to drive future disease dynamics. Here, we use long-term observations on amphibian population dynamics in the Peñalara Natural Park, Spain, to investigate the link between climate change and chytridiomycosis. Our analysis shows a significant association between change in local climatic variables and the occurrence of chytridiomycosis within this region. Specifically, we show that rising temperature is linked to the occurrence of chytrid-related disease, consistent with the chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis. We show that these local variables are driven by general circulation patterns, principally the North Atlantic Oscillation. Given that B. dendrobatidis is known to be broadly distributed across Europe, there is now an urgent need to assess the generality of our finding and determine whether climate-driven epidemics may be expected to impact on amphibian species across the wider region. PMID:17148254

  4. 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.

  5. Impact of asynchronous emergence of two lethal pathogens on amphibian assemblages.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Gonçalo M; Sabino-Pinto, Joana; Laurentino, Telma G; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Rebelo, Rui; Griffiths, Richard A; Stöhr, Anke C; Marschang, Rachel E; Price, Stephen J; Garner, Trenton W J; Bosch, Jaime

    2017-02-27

    Emerging diseases have been increasingly associated with population declines, with co-infections exhibiting many types of interactions. The chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranaviruses have extraordinarily broad host ranges, however co-infection dynamics have been largely overlooked. We investigated the pattern of co-occurrence of these two pathogens in an amphibian assemblage in Serra da Estrela (Portugal). The detection of chytridiomycosis in Portugal was linked to population declines of midwife-toads (Alytes obstetricans). The asynchronous and subsequent emergence of a second pathogen - ranavirus - caused episodes of lethal ranavirosis. Chytrid effects were limited to high altitudes and a single host, while ranavirus was highly pathogenic across multiple hosts, life-stages and altitudinal range. This new strain (Portuguese newt and toad ranavirus - member of the CMTV clade) caused annual mass die-offs, similar in host range and rapidity of declines to other locations in Iberia affected by CMTV-like ranaviruses. However, ranavirus was not always associated with disease, mortality and declines, contrasting with previous reports on Iberian CMTV-like ranavirosis. We found little evidence that pre-existing chytrid emergence was associated with ranavirus and the emergence of ranavirosis. Despite the lack of cumulative or amplified effects, ranavirus drove declines of host assemblages and changed host community composition and structure, posing a grave threat to all amphibian populations.

  6. Impact of asynchronous emergence of two lethal pathogens on amphibian assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Rosa, Gonçalo M.; Sabino-Pinto, Joana; Laurentino, Telma G.; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Rebelo, Rui; Griffiths, Richard A.; Stöhr, Anke C.; Marschang, Rachel E.; Price, Stephen J.; Garner, Trenton W. J.; Bosch, Jaime

    2017-01-01

    Emerging diseases have been increasingly associated with population declines, with co-infections exhibiting many types of interactions. The chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranaviruses have extraordinarily broad host ranges, however co-infection dynamics have been largely overlooked. We investigated the pattern of co-occurrence of these two pathogens in an amphibian assemblage in Serra da Estrela (Portugal). The detection of chytridiomycosis in Portugal was linked to population declines of midwife-toads (Alytes obstetricans). The asynchronous and subsequent emergence of a second pathogen - ranavirus - caused episodes of lethal ranavirosis. Chytrid effects were limited to high altitudes and a single host, while ranavirus was highly pathogenic across multiple hosts, life-stages and altitudinal range. This new strain (Portuguese newt and toad ranavirus – member of the CMTV clade) caused annual mass die-offs, similar in host range and rapidity of declines to other locations in Iberia affected by CMTV-like ranaviruses. However, ranavirus was not always associated with disease, mortality and declines, contrasting with previous reports on Iberian CMTV-like ranavirosis. We found little evidence that pre-existing chytrid emergence was associated with ranavirus and the emergence of ranavirosis. Despite the lack of cumulative or amplified effects, ranavirus drove declines of host assemblages and changed host community composition and structure, posing a grave threat to all amphibian populations. PMID:28240267

  7. Citizen scientists monitor a deadly fungus threatening amphibian communities in northern coastal California, USA

    Treesearch

    Karen L. Pope; Greta M. Wengert; Janet E. Foley; Donald T. Ashton; Richard G. Botzler

    2016-01-01

    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...

  8. 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

  9. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Evaluation of the skin peptide defenses of the Oregon spotted frog Rana pretiosa against infection by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Conlon, J Michael; Reinert, Laura K; Mechkarska, Milena; Prajeep, Manju; Meetani, Mohammed A; Coquet, Laurent; Jouenne, Thierry; Hayes, Marc P; Padgett-Flohr, Gretchen; Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2013-06-01

    Population declines due to amphibian chytridiomycosis among selected species of ranid frogs from western North America have been severe, but there is evidence that the Oregon spotted frog, Rana pretiosa Baird and Girard, 1853, displays resistance to the disease. Norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions were collected from a non-declining population of R. pretiosa that had been exposed to the causative agent Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Peptidomic analysis led to identification and isolation, in pure form, of a total of 18 host-defense peptides that were characterized structurally. Brevinin-1PRa, -1PRb, -1PRc, and -1PRd, esculentin-2PRa and -PRb, ranatuerin-2PRa, -2PRb, -2PRc, and -2PRe, temporin-PRb and -PRc were identified in an earlier study of skin secretions of frogs from a different population of R. pretiosa known to be declining. Ranatuerin-2PRf, -2PRg, -2PRh, temporin-PRd, -PRe, and -PRf were not identified in skin secretions from frogs from the declining population, whereas temporin-PRa and ranatuerin-2PRd, present in skin secretions from the declining population, were not detected in the current study. All purified peptides inhibited the growth of B. dendrobatidis zoospores. Peptides of the brevinin-1 and esculentin-2 families displayed the highest potency (minimum inhibitory concentration = 6.25-12.5 μM). The study provides support for the hypothesis that the multiplicity and diversity of the antimicrobial peptide repertoire in R. pretiosa and the high growth-inhibitory potency of certain peptides against B. dendrobatidis are important in conferring a measure of resistance to fatal chytridiomycosis.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Mortality rates differ among amphibian populations exposed to three strains of a lethal ranavirus.

    PubMed

    Schock, Danna M; Bollinger, Trent K; Collins, James P

    2009-09-01

    Infectious diseases are a growing threat to biodiversity, in many cases because of synergistic effects with habitat loss, environmental contamination, and climate change. Emergence of pathogens as new threats to host populations can also arise when novel combinations of hosts and pathogens are unintentionally brought together, for example, via commercial trade or wildlife relocations and reintroductions. Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and amphibian ranaviruses (family Iridoviridae) are pathogens implicated in global amphibian declines. The emergence of disease associated with these pathogens appears to be at least partly related to recent translocations over large geographic distances. We experimentally examined the outcomes of novel combinations of host populations and pathogen strains using the amphibian ranavirus Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV) and barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium, formerly considered part of the Ambystoma tigrinum complex). One salamander population was highly resistant to lethal infections by all ATV strains, including its own strain, and mortality rates differed among ATV strains according to salamander population. Mortality rates in novel pairings of salamander population and ATV strain were not predictable based on knowledge of mortality rates when salamander populations were exposed to their own ATV strain. The underlying cause(s) for the differences in mortality rates are unknown, but local selection pressures on salamanders, viruses, or both, across the range of this widespread host-pathogen system are a plausible hypothesis. Our study highlights the need to minimize translocations of amphibian ranaviruses, even among conspecifc host populations, and the importance of considering intraspecific variation in endeavors to manage wildlife diseases.

  1. 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.

  2. Species-level correlates of susceptibility to the pathogenic amphibian fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the United States

    Treesearch

    Betsy A. Bancroft; Barbara A. Han; Catherine L. Searle; Lindsay M. Biga; Deanna H. Olson; Lee B. Kats; Joshua J. Lawler; Andrew R. Blaustein

    2011-01-01

    Disease is often implicated as a factor in population declines of wildlife and plants. Understanding the characteristics that may predispose a species to infection by a particular pathogen can help direct conservation efforts. Recent declines in amphibian populations world-wide are a major conservation issue and may be caused in part by a fungal pathogen, ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Unlikely remedy: fungicide clears infection from pathogenic fungus in larval southern leopard frogs (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Global gene expression profiles for life stages of the deadly amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Stajich, Jason E.; Maddox, Nicole; Eisen, Michael B.

    2008-01-01

    Amphibians around the world are being threatened by an emerging pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite intensive ecological study in the decade since Bd was discovered, little is known about the mechanism by which Bd kills frogs. Here, we compare patterns of global gene expression in controlled laboratory conditions for the two phases of the life cycle of Bd: the free-living zoospore and the substrate-embedded sporangia. We find zoospores to be transcriptionally less complex than sporangia. Several transcripts more abundant in zoospores provide clues about how this motile life stage interacts with its environment. Genes with higher levels of expression in sporangia provide new hypotheses about the molecular pathways involved in metabolic activity, flagellar function, and pathogenicity in Bd. We highlight expression patterns for a group of fungalysin metallopeptidase genes, a gene family thought to be involved in pathogenicity in another group of fungal pathogens that similarly cause cutaneous infection of vertebrates. Finally we discuss the challenges inherent in developing a molecular toolkit for chytrids, a basal fungal lineage separated by vast phylogenetic distance from other well characterized fungi. PMID:18852473

  11. Global gene expression profiles for life stages of the deadly amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Stajich, Jason E; Maddox, Nicole; Eisen, Michael B

    2008-11-04

    Amphibians around the world are being threatened by an emerging pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite intensive ecological study in the decade since Bd was discovered, little is known about the mechanism by which Bd kills frogs. Here, we compare patterns of global gene expression in controlled laboratory conditions for the two phases of the life cycle of Bd: the free-living zoospore and the substrate-embedded sporangia. We find zoospores to be transcriptionally less complex than sporangia. Several transcripts more abundant in zoospores provide clues about how this motile life stage interacts with its environment. Genes with higher levels of expression in sporangia provide new hypotheses about the molecular pathways involved in metabolic activity, flagellar function, and pathogenicity in Bd. We highlight expression patterns for a group of fungalysin metallopeptidase genes, a gene family thought to be involved in pathogenicity in another group of fungal pathogens that similarly cause cutaneous infection of vertebrates. Finally we discuss the challenges inherent in developing a molecular toolkit for chytrids, a basal fungal lineage separated by vast phylogenetic distance from other well characterized fungi.

  12. Characterization of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Inhibiting Bacteria from Amphibian Populations in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Madison, Joseph D; Berg, Elizabeth A; Abarca, Juan G; Whitfield, Steven M; Gorbatenko, Oxana; Pinto, Adrian; Kerby, Jacob L

    2017-01-01

    Global amphibian declines and extinction events are occurring at an unprecedented rate. While several factors are responsible for declines and extinction, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been cited as a major constituent in these events. While the effects of this chytrid fungus have been shown to cause broad scale population declines and extinctions, certain individuals and relict populations have shown resistance. This resistance has been attributed in part to the cutaneous bacterial microbiome. Here, we present the first study characterizing anti-Bd bacterial isolates from amphibian populations in Costa Rica, including the characterization of two strains of Serratia marcescens presenting strong anti-Bd activity. Transcriptome sequencing was utilized for delineation of shifts in gene expression of the two previously uncharacterized strains of S. marcescens grown in three different treatments comprising Bd, heat-killed Bd, and a no Bd control. These results revealed up- and down-regulation of key genes associated with different metabolic and regulatory pathways. This information will be valuable in continued efforts to develop a bacterial-based approach for amphibian protection as well as providing direction for continued mechanistic inquiries of the bacterial anti-Bd response.

  13. Characterization of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Inhibiting Bacteria from Amphibian Populations in Costa Rica

    PubMed Central

    Madison, Joseph D.; Berg, Elizabeth A.; Abarca, Juan G.; Whitfield, Steven M.; Gorbatenko, Oxana; Pinto, Adrian; Kerby, Jacob L.

    2017-01-01

    Global amphibian declines and extinction events are occurring at an unprecedented rate. While several factors are responsible for declines and extinction, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been cited as a major constituent in these events. While the effects of this chytrid fungus have been shown to cause broad scale population declines and extinctions, certain individuals and relict populations have shown resistance. This resistance has been attributed in part to the cutaneous bacterial microbiome. Here, we present the first study characterizing anti-Bd bacterial isolates from amphibian populations in Costa Rica, including the characterization of two strains of Serratia marcescens presenting strong anti-Bd activity. Transcriptome sequencing was utilized for delineation of shifts in gene expression of the two previously uncharacterized strains of S. marcescens grown in three different treatments comprising Bd, heat-killed Bd, and a no Bd control. These results revealed up- and down-regulation of key genes associated with different metabolic and regulatory pathways. This information will be valuable in continued efforts to develop a bacterial-based approach for amphibian protection as well as providing direction for continued mechanistic inquiries of the bacterial anti-Bd response. PMID:28293222

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R

    2010-05-04

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Rohr, Jason R.; Raffel, Thomas R.

    2010-01-01

    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

  19. Species-specific chitin-binding module 18 expansion in the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Abramyan, John; Stajich, Jason E

    2012-01-01

    Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, which is considered one of the driving forces behind the worldwide decline in populations of amphibians. As a member of the phylum Chytridiomycota, B. dendrobatidis has diverged significantly to emerge as the only pathogen of adult vertebrates. Such shifts in lifestyle are generally accompanied by various degrees of genomic modifications, yet neither its mode of pathogenicity nor any factors associated with it have ever been identified. Presented here is the identification and characterization of a unique expansion of the carbohydrate-binding module family 18 (CBM18), specific to B. dendrobatidis. CBM (chitin-binding module) expansions have been likened to the evolution of pathogenicity in a variety of fungus species, making this expanded group a prime candidate for the identification of potential pathogenicity factors. Furthermore, the CBM18 expansions are confined to three categories of genes, each having been previously implicated in host-pathogen interactions. These correlations highlight this specific domain expansion as a potential key player in the mode of pathogenicity in this unique fungus. The expansion of CBM18 in B. dendrobatidis is exceptional in its size and diversity compared to other pathogenic species of fungi, making this genomic feature unique in an evolutionary context as well as in pathogenicity. Amphibian populations are declining worldwide at an unprecedented rate. Although various factors are thought to contribute to this phenomenon, chytridiomycosis has been identified as one of the leading causes. This deadly fungal disease is cause by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a chytrid fungus species unique in its pathogenicity and, furthermore, its specificity to amphibians. Despite more than two decades of research, the biology of this fungus species and its deadly interaction with amphibians had been notoriously difficult to unravel. Due to the alarming rate of worldwide

  20. Designing screening protocols for amphibian disease that account for imperfect and variable capture rates of individuals.

    PubMed

    Canessa, Stefano; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank

    2014-07-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is one of the main factors in global amphibian decline. Accurate knowledge of its presence and prevalence in an area is needed to trigger conservation actions. However, imperfect capture rates determine the number of individuals caught and tested during field surveys, and contribute to the uncertainty surrounding estimates of prevalence. Screening programs should be planned with the objective of minimizing such uncertainty. We show how this can be achieved by using predictive models that incorporate information about population size and capture rates. Using as a case study an existing screening program for three populations of the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata pachypus) in northern Italy, we sought to quantify the effect of seasonal variation in individual capture rates on the uncertainty surrounding estimates of chytrid prevalence. We obtained estimates of population size and capture rates from mark-recapture data, and found wide seasonal variation in the individual recapture rates. We then incorporated this information in a binomial model to predict the estimates of prevalence that would be obtained by sampling at different times in the season, assuming no infected individuals were found. Sampling during the period of maximum capture probability was predicted to decrease upper 95% credible intervals by a maximum of 36%, compared with least suitable periods, with greater gains when using uninformative priors. We evaluated model predictions by comparing them with the results of screening surveys in 2012. The observed results closely matched the predicted figures for all populations, suggesting that this method can be reliably used to maximize the sampling size of surveillance programs, thus improving their efficiency.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

    The recent global spread of the amphibian-killing fungus [Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd)] has been closely tied to anthropogenic activities; however, regional patterns of spread are not completely understood. Using historical samples, we can test whether Bd was a spreading or endemic pathogen in a region within a particular time frame, because those two disease states provide different predictions for the regional demographic dynamics and population genetics of Bd. Testing historical patterns of pathogen prevalence and population genetics under these predictions is key to understanding the evolution and origin of Bd. Focusing on the Atlantic Forest (AF) of Brazil, we used qPCR assays to determine the presence or absence of Bd on 2799 preserved postmetamorphic anurans collected between 1894 and 2010 and used semi-nested PCRs to determine the frequency of rRNA ITS1 haplotypes from 52 samples. Our earliest date of detection was 1894. A mean prevalence of 23.9% over time and spatiotemporal patterns of Bd clusters indicate that Bd has been enzootic in the Brazilian AF with no evidence of regional spread within the last 116 years. ITS1 haplotypes confirm the long-term presence of two divergent strains of Bd (BdGPL and Bd-Brazil) and three spatiotemporally broad genetic demes within BdGPL, indicating that Bd was not introduced into southeast Brazil by the bullfrog trade. Our data show that the evolutionary history and pathogen dynamics of Bd in Brazil is better explained by the endemic pathogen hypothesis. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  4. 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

  5. Potential concerns with analytical methods used for the detection of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans from archived DNA of amphibian swab samples, Oregon, USA

    Treesearch

    Deborah D. Iwanowicz; William B. Schill; Deanna H. Olson; Michael J. Adams; Christine Densmore; R. Scott Cornman; Cynthia Adams; Jr. Figiel; Chauncey W. Anderson; Andrew R. Blaustein; Tara Chestnut

    2017-01-01

    We report on the results of surveillance for the salamander chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Two samples from archived DNA used in a previous chytrid study in Oregon were Bsal-positive, alerting us to the first potential finding of this pathogen in North America, infecting American...

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Battaglin, William A.; Smalling, Kelly L.; Anderson, Chauncey; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Chestnut, Tara E.; Muths, Erin L.

    2016-01-01

    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

  10. 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

  11. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

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

  12. Genomic innovations linked to infection strategies across emerging pathogenic chytrid fungi

    PubMed Central

    Farrer, Rhys A.; Martel, An; Verbrugghe, Elin; Abouelleil, Amr; Ducatelle, Richard; Longcore, Joyce E.; James, Timothy Y.; Pasmans, Frank; Fisher, Matthew C.; Cuomo, Christina A.

    2017-01-01

    To understand the evolutionary pathways that lead to emerging infections of vertebrates, here we explore the genomic innovations that allow free-living chytrid fungi to adapt to and colonize amphibian hosts. Sequencing and comparing the genomes of two pathogenic species of Batrachochytrium to those of close saprophytic relatives reveals that pathogenicity is associated with remarkable expansions of protease and cell wall gene families, while divergent infection strategies are linked to radiations of lineage-specific gene families. By comparing the host–pathogen response to infection for both pathogens, we illuminate the traits that underpin a strikingly different immune response within a shared host species. Our results show that, despite commonalities that promote infection, specific gene-family radiations contribute to distinct infection strategies. The breadth and evolutionary novelty of candidate virulence factors that we discover underscores the urgent need to halt the advance of pathogenic chytrids and prevent incipient loss of biodiversity. PMID:28322291

  13. Genomic innovations linked to infection strategies across emerging pathogenic chytrid fungi.

    PubMed

    Farrer, Rhys A; Martel, An; Verbrugghe, Elin; Abouelleil, Amr; Ducatelle, Richard; Longcore, Joyce E; James, Timothy Y; Pasmans, Frank; Fisher, Matthew C; Cuomo, Christina A

    2017-03-21

    To understand the evolutionary pathways that lead to emerging infections of vertebrates, here we explore the genomic innovations that allow free-living chytrid fungi to adapt to and colonize amphibian hosts. Sequencing and comparing the genomes of two pathogenic species of Batrachochytrium to those of close saprophytic relatives reveals that pathogenicity is associated with remarkable expansions of protease and cell wall gene families, while divergent infection strategies are linked to radiations of lineage-specific gene families. By comparing the host-pathogen response to infection for both pathogens, we illuminate the traits that underpin a strikingly different immune response within a shared host species. Our results show that, despite commonalities that promote infection, specific gene-family radiations contribute to distinct infection strategies. The breadth and evolutionary novelty of candidate virulence factors that we discover underscores the urgent need to halt the advance of pathogenic chytrids and prevent incipient loss of biodiversity.

  14. Dermocystid-chytrid coinfection in the neotropical frog Hypsiboas pulchellus (Anura: Hylidae).

    PubMed

    Borteiro, Claudio; Cruz, Juan Carlos; Kolenc, Francisco; Verdes, José Manuel; Moraña, Antonio; Martínez Debat, Claudio; Kun, Alejandra; Ubilla, Martín; Okada, Kosuke

    2014-01-01

    We present gross and histologic evidence of coinfection in amphibians by fungal-like parasites of the order Dermocystidia (Amphibiocystidium sp.) and the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. The condition was observed in frogs Hypsiboas pulchellus (Hylidae) from Uruguay in 2009 to 2012. This report is the first of dermocystids in Neotropical amphibians since 1940.

  15. How does chytrid infection vary among habitats? The case of Litoria wilcoxii (Anura, Hylidae) in SE Queensland, Australia.

    PubMed

    Van Sluys, Monique; Hero, Jean-Marc

    2009-12-01

    Most analyses dealing with the geographical distribution of the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) have been performed on large geographical scales and data on more localized distribution of the chytrid within catchments are scarce. In this study, we compare the prevalence and intensity of infection of chytrid within and outside rainforest habitats at five independent catchments in southeast Queensland. In each catchment, we sampled adult Litoria wilcoxii along two transects on the same stream: one in forested areas, and the other in open nearby farmland. We analyzed swabs using quantitative PCR techniques. Male frogs were in higher densities in open habitats compared with the nearby forested areas. Infected male frogs were found in all catchments surveyed; however, prevalence of B. dendrobatidis in adult males was higher in the forested habitats than in the open habitats in four of the catchments. There was no significant difference in intensity of infection between forested and open habitats. For adult females and juveniles, sample sizes were not high enough for comparisons. Our results suggest that habitat influences chytrid prevalence and open areas may provide refuge from chytrid-induced population declines.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    Amphibians are suffering unprecedented global declines. A leading cause is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Chytridiomycosis is a skin disease which disrupts transport of essential ions leading to death. Soluble factors produced by B. dendrobatidis impair amphibian and mammalian lymphocytes in vitro, but previous studies have not shown the effects of these inhibitory factors in vivo. To demonstrate in vivo inhibition of immunity by B. dendrobatidis, a modified delayed-type-hypersensitivity (DTH) protocol was developed to induce innate and adaptive inflammatory swelling in the feet of Xenopus laevis by injection of killed bacteria or phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Compared to previous protocols for PHA injection in amphibians, this method induced up to 20-fold greater inflammatory swelling. Using this new protocol, we measured DTH responses induced by killed bacteria or PHA in the presence of B. dendrobatidis supernatants. Swelling induced by single injection of PHA or killed bacteria was not significantly affected by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. However, swelling caused by a secondary injection of PHA, was significantly reduced by B. dendrobatidis supernatants. As previously described in vitro, factors from B. dendrobatidis appear to inhibit lymphocyte-mediated inflammatory swelling but not swelling caused by an inducer of innate leukocytes. This suggests that B. dendrobatidis is capable of inhibiting lymphocytes in a localized response to prevent adaptive immune responses in the skin. The modified protocol used to induce inflammatory swelling in the present study may be more effective than previous methods to investigate amphibian immune competence, particularly in nonmodel species. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  17. 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

  18. Amphibian mycobacteriosis.

    PubMed

    Martinho, Filipe; Heatley, J Jill

    2012-01-01

    Amphibians are commonly kept in laboratory and zoological facilities and are becoming more frequent as pets. However, many amphibian species are declining in the wild owing to a variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases. This article reviews the current state of knowledge of mycobacteriosis in amphibian species, including pathogenesis, clinical signs, appropriate diagnostics, treatment options, and zoonotic potential and prevention. It is hoped this review will provide clinical veterinarians and scientists the tools they need to provide better care for amphibian species suffering mycobacteriosis, as well as serve to stimulate additional research into amphibians affected by mycobacterosis.

  19. 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.

  20. An alternative framework for responding to the amphibian crisis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin L.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2017-01-01

    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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Do Frogs Get Their Kicks on Route 66? Continental U.S. Transect Reveals Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-07-21

    McCallum H, Speare R (2004) Endemic infection of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a frog community post-decline. PLoS Biol 2: 1965–1971. 49. Carnival ACOQ... Carnival ACO, Puschendorf R, Peixoto OL, Verdade VK, Rodrigues MT (2009) Amphibian chytrid fungus broadly distributed in the Brazilian Atlantic Rain

  6. 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.

  7. 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. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Treesearch

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

    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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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. ©2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

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

    Treesearch

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

    2007-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis (infection by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is an emerging pathogen of amphibians that is associated with declines in at least four continents. We report results of disease screens from 271 field-sampled amphibians from Oregon and Washington. Chytridiomycosis was detected on 5 of 7 species and from 31 percent of all...

  12. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis detected in amphibians from National Forests in eastern Texas, USA

    Treesearch

    Daniel Saenz; Brendan T. Kavanagh; Matthew A. Kwiatkowski

    2010-01-01

    The amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd, Longcore et al. 1999), is well known as a major threat to amphibians resulting in mass die-offs and population declines throughout the world (Berger et al. 1998; Blaustein and Keisecker 2002; Daszak et al. 2003; McCallum 2005; Rachowicz et al. 2006)....

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-08-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Kiesecker, J.M.; Blaustein, R.

    1995-11-21

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

  17. 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

  18. Diseases of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Densmore, Christine L; Green, David Earl

    2007-01-01

    The development and refinement of amphibian medicine comprise an ongoing science that reflects the unique life history of these animals and our growing knowledge of amphibian diseases. Amphibians are notoriously fastidious in terms of captive care requirements, and the majority of diseases of amphibians maintained in captivity will relate directly or indirectly to husbandry and management. Investigators have described many infectious and noninfectious diseases that occur among various species of captive and wild amphibians, and there is considerable overlap in the diseases of captive versus free-ranging populations. In this article, some of the more commonly reported infectious and noninfectious diseases as well as their etiological agents and causative factors are reviewed. Some of the more common amphibian diseases with bacterial etiologies include bacterial dermatosepticemia or "red leg syndrome," flavobacteriosis, mycobacteriosis, and chlamydiosis. The most common viral diseases of amphibians are caused by the ranaviruses, which have an impact on many species of anurans and caudates. Mycotic and mycotic-like organisms cause a number of diseases among amphibians, including chytridiomycosis, zygomycoses, chromomycoses, saprolegniasis, and ichthyophoniasis. Protozoan parasites of amphibians include a variety of amoeba, ciliates, flagellates, and sporozoans Common metazoan parasites include various myxozoans, helminths (particularly trematodes and nematodes), and arthropods. Commonly encountered noninfectious disease etiologies for amphibians include neoplasia, absolute or specific nutritional deficiencies or overloads, chemical toxicities, and inadequate husbandry or environmental management.

  19. Sex Reversal in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Flament, Stéphane

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians have been widely used to study developmental biology due to the fact that embryo development takes place independently of the maternal organism and that observations and experimental approaches are easy. Some amphibians like Xenopus became model organisms in this field. In the first part of this article, the differentiation of the gonads in amphibians and the mechanisms governing this process are reviewed. In the second part, the state of the art about sex reversal, which can be induced by steroid hormones in general and by temperature in some species, is presented. Also information about pollutants found in the environment that could interfere with the development of the amphibian reproductive apparatus or with their reproductive physiology is given. Such compounds could play a part in the amphibian decline, since in the wild, many amphibians are endangered species. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Amphibian renal disease.

    PubMed

    Cecil, Todd R

    2006-01-01

    Amphibians by nature have an intimate connection with the aquatic environment at some stage of development and fight an osmotic battle due to the influx of water. Many amphibians have acquired a more terrestrial existence at later stages of development and consequently have physiologic adaptations to conserve moisture. Renal adaptations have allowed amphibians successfully to bridge the gap between aqueous and terrestrial habitats. The kidneys, skin,and, in many amphibian species, the urinary bladder play key roles in fluid homeostasis. Renal impairment may be responsible for the clinical manifestation of disease, morbidity, and mortality.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  3. 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

    2010-08-03

    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.

  4. Evidence that chytrids dominate fungal communities in high-elevation soils.

    PubMed

    Freeman, K R; Martin, A P; Karki, D; Lynch, R C; Mitter, M S; Meyer, A F; Longcore, J E; Simmons, D R; Schmidt, S K

    2009-10-27

    Periglacial soils are one of the least studied ecosystems on Earth, yet they are widespread and are increasing in area due to retreat of glaciers worldwide. Soils in these environments are cold and during the brief summer are exposed to high levels of UV radiation and dramatic fluctuations in moisture and temperature. Recent research suggests that these environments harbor immense microbial diversity. Here we use sequencing of environmental DNA, culturing of isolates, and analysis of environmental variables to show that members of the Chytridiomycota (chytrids) dominate fungal biodiversity and perhaps decomposition processes in plant-free, high-elevation soils from the highest mountain ranges on Earth. The zoosporic reproduction of chytrids requires free water, yet we found that chytrids constituted over 70% of the ribosomal gene sequences of clone libraries from barren soils of the Himalayas and Rockies; by contrast, they are rare in other soil environments. Very few chytrids have been cultured, although we were successful at culturing chytrids from high-elevation sites throughout the world. In a more focused study of our sites in Colorado, we show that carbon sources that support chytrid growth (eolian deposited pollen and microbial phototrophs) are abundant and that soils are saturated with water for several months under the snow, thus creating ideal conditions for the development of a chytrid-dominated ecosystem. Our work broadens the known biodiversity of the Chytridomycota, and describes previously unsuspected links between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in alpine regions.

  5. Evidence that chytrids dominate fungal communities in high-elevation soils

    PubMed Central

    Freeman, K. R.; Martin, A. P.; Karki, D.; Lynch, R. C.; Mitter, M. S.; Meyer, A. F.; Longcore, J. E.; Simmons, D. R.; Schmidt, S. K.

    2009-01-01

    Periglacial soils are one of the least studied ecosystems on Earth, yet they are widespread and are increasing in area due to retreat of glaciers worldwide. Soils in these environments are cold and during the brief summer are exposed to high levels of UV radiation and dramatic fluctuations in moisture and temperature. Recent research suggests that these environments harbor immense microbial diversity. Here we use sequencing of environmental DNA, culturing of isolates, and analysis of environmental variables to show that members of the Chytridiomycota (chytrids) dominate fungal biodiversity and perhaps decomposition processes in plant-free, high-elevation soils from the highest mountain ranges on Earth. The zoosporic reproduction of chytrids requires free water, yet we found that chytrids constituted over 70% of the ribosomal gene sequences of clone libraries from barren soils of the Himalayas and Rockies; by contrast, they are rare in other soil environments. Very few chytrids have been cultured, although we were successful at culturing chytrids from high-elevation sites throughout the world. In a more focused study of our sites in Colorado, we show that carbon sources that support chytrid growth (eolian deposited pollen and microbial phototrophs) are abundant and that soils are saturated with water for several months under the snow, thus creating ideal conditions for the development of a chytrid-dominated ecosystem. Our work broadens the known biodiversity of the Chytridomycota, and describes previously unsuspected links between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in alpine regions. PMID:19826082

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. A DNA-based assay identifies Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Annis, Seanna L; Dastoor, Farahad P; Ziel, Heather; Daszak, Peter; Longcore, Joyce E

    2004-07-01

    Chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Chytridiomycota) has been implicated in declines of amphibian populations on four continents. We have developed a sensitive and specific polymerase chain reaction-based assay to detect this pathogen. We isolated B. dendrobatidis from captive and wild amphibians collected across North America and sequenced the internal transcribed spacer regions of the rDNA cassette of multiple isolates. We identified two primers (Bd1a and Bd2a) that are specific to B. dendrobatidis under amplification conditions described in this study. DNA amplification with Bd1a/Bd2a primers produced a fragment of approximately 300 bp from B. dendrobatidis DNA but not from DNA of other species of chytrids or common soil fungi. The assay detected 10 zoospores or 10 pg of DNA from B. dendrobatidis and detected infections in skin samples from a tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), boreal toads (Bufo boreas), Wyoming toads (Bufo baxteri), and smooth-sided toads (Bufo guttatus). This assay required only small samples of skin and can be used to process a large number of samples.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

    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

  10. Temperature Alters Host Genotype-Specific Susceptibility to Chytrid Infection

    PubMed Central

    Gsell, Alena S.; de Senerpont Domis, Lisette N.; van Donk, Ellen; Ibelings, Bas W.

    2013-01-01

    The cost of parasitism often depends on environmental conditions and host identity. Therefore, variation in the biotic and abiotic environment can have repercussions on both, species-level host-parasite interaction patterns but also on host genotype-specific susceptibility to disease. We exposed seven genetically different but concurrent strains of the diatom Asterionella formosa to one genotype of its naturally co-occurring chytrid parasite Zygorhizidium planktonicum across five environmentally relevant temperatures. We found that the thermal tolerance range of the tested parasite genotype was narrower than that of its host, providing the host with a “cold” and “hot” thermal refuge of very low or no infection. Susceptibility to disease was host genotype-specific and varied with temperature level so that no genotype was most or least resistant across all temperatures. This suggests a role of thermal variation in the maintenance of diversity in disease related traits in this phytoplankton host. The duration and intensity of chytrid parasite pressure on host populations is likely to be affected by the projected changes in temperature patterns due to climate warming both through altering temperature dependent disease susceptibility of the host and, potentially, through en- or disabling thermal host refugia. This, in turn may affect the selective strength of the parasite on the genetic architecture of the host population. PMID:23990982

  11. Reproductive Medicine in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2017-05-01

    Reproduction of amphibians includes ovulation, spermiation, fertilization, oviposition, larval stage and development, and metamorphosis. A problem at any stage could lead to reproductive failure. To stimulate reproduction, environmental conditions must be arranged to simulate changes in natural habits. Reproductive life history is well documented in amphibians; a thorough knowledge of this subject will aid the practitioner in diagnosis and treatment. Technologies for artificial reproduction are developing rapidly, and some protocols may be transferable to privately kept or endangered species. Reproductive tract disorders are rarely described; no bacterial or viral diseases are known that specifically target the amphibian reproductive system. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. 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…

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology: research gaps and needs.

    PubMed

    Frenken, Thijs; Alacid, Elisabet; Berger, Stella A; Bourne, Elizabeth C; Gerphagnon, Mélanie; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Gsell, Alena S; Ibelings, Bas W; Kagami, Maiko; Küpper, Frithjof C; Letcher, Peter M; Loyau, Adeline; Miki, Takeshi; Nejstgaard, Jens C; Rasconi, Serena; Reñé, Albert; Rohrlack, Thomas; Rojas-Jimenez, Keilor; Schmeller, Dirk S; Scholz, Bettina; Seto, Kensuke; Sime-Ngando, Télesphore; Sukenik, Assaf; Van de Waal, Dedmer B; Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Van Donk, Ellen; Wolinska, Justyna; Wurzbacher, Christian; Agha, Ramsy

    2017-06-15

    Chytridiomycota, often referred to as chytrids, can be virulent parasites with the potential to inflict mass mortalities on hosts, causing e.g. changes in phytoplankton size distributions and succession, and the delay or suppression of bloom events. Molecular environmental surveys have revealed an unexpectedly large diversity of chytrids across a wide range of aquatic ecosystems worldwide. As a result, scientific interest towards fungal parasites of phytoplankton has been gaining momentum in the past few years. Yet, we still know little about the ecology of chytrids, their life cycles, phylogeny, host specificity and range. Information on the contribution of chytrids to trophic interactions, as well as co-evolutionary feedbacks of fungal parasitism on host populations is also limited. This paper synthesizes ideas stressing the multifaceted biological relevance of phytoplankton chytridiomycosis, resulting from discussions among an international team of chytrid researchers. It presents our view on the most pressing research needs for promoting the integration of chytrid fungi into aquatic ecology. © 2017 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. 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. © 2015 by The Mycological Society of America.

  2. Phylogenetic Position of Parasitic Chytrids on Diatoms: Characterization of a Novel Clade in Chytridiomycota.

    PubMed

    Seto, Kensuke; Kagami, Maiko; Degawa, Yousuke

    2017-05-01

    Chytrids are true fungi that reproduce with posteriorly uniflagellate zoospores. In the last decade, environmental DNA surveys revealed a large number of uncultured chytrids as well as undescribed order-level novel clades in Chytridiomycota. Although many species have been morphologically described, only some DNA sequence data of parasitic chytrids are available from the database. We herein discuss five cultures of parasitic chytrids on diatoms Aulacoseira spp. and Asterionella formosa. In order to identify the chytrids examined, thallus morphologies were observed using light microscopy. We also conducted a phylogenetic analysis using 18S, 5.8S, and 28S rDNA sequences to obtain their phylogenetic positions. Based on their morphological characteristics, two cultures parasitic on As. formosa were identified as Rhizophydium planktonicum and Zygorhizidium planktonicum. The other three cultures infecting Aulacoseira spp. (two on Aulacoseira ambigua and the other on Aulacoseira granulata) were regarded as Zygorhizidium aff. melosirae. The results of the molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed that R. planktonicum belonged to the known order Chytridiales, while the two species of Zygorhizidium were placed in a novel clade that was previously reported as an undescribed clade composed of only the environmental sequences of uncultured chytrids. © 2016 The Author(s) Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology © 2016 International Society of Protistologists.

  3. Recent Emergence of a Chytrid Fungal Pathogen in California Cascades Frogs (Rana cascadae).

    PubMed

    De León, Marina E; Vredenburg, Vance T; Piovia-Scott, Jonah

    2016-12-12

    The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been associated with global amphibian declines, but it is often difficult to discern the relative importance of Bd as a causal agent in declines that have already occurred. Retrospective analyses of museum specimens have allowed researchers to associate the timing of Bd arrival with the timing of past amphibian declines. Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae) have experienced dramatic declines in northern California, but it is not clear whether the onset of these declines corresponds to the arrival of Bd. We used quantitative real-time PCR assays of samples collected from museum specimens to determine historical Bd prevalence in the northern California range of Cascades frogs. We detected Bd in 13 of 364 (3.5%) Cascades frog specimens collected between 1907 and 2003, with the first positive result from 1978. A Bayesian analysis suggested that Bd arrived in the region between 1973 and 1978, which corresponds well with the first observations of declines in the 1980s.

  4. 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.

  5. Possible implications of chytrid parasitism for population subdivision in freshwater cyanobacteria of the genus Planktothrix.

    PubMed

    Sønstebø, Jørn Henrik; Rohrlack, Thomas

    2011-02-01

    Populations of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix comprise multiple coexisting oligopeptide chemotypes that can behave differently in nature. We tested whether this population subdivision can, in principle, be driven by parasitic chytrid fungi, which are almost neglected agents of Planktothrix mortality. Two chytrid strains, Chy-Lys2009 and Chy-Kol2008, were isolated from Planktothrix-dominated lakes in Norway. The two strains shared 98.2% and 86.2% of their 28S and internal transcribe spacer rRNA gene sequences, respectively. A phylogenetic analysis placed them in the order Rhizophydiales family Angulomycetaceae. Chy-Lys2009 and Chy-Kol2008 could completely lyse Planktothrix cultures within days, while they failed to infect other filamentous cyanobacteria. The effect on Planktothrix was chemotype dependent, and both chytrid strains showed distinct chemotype preferences. These findings identify chytrid fungi infecting Planktothrix as highly potent and specialized parasites which may exert strong selective pressure on their hosts. According to established hypotheses on host-parasite coevolution, parasitism with the above properties may result in subdivision of Planktothrix populations into coexisting chemotypes and periodic shifts in the relative Planktothrix chemotype composition. These predictions are in agreement with field observations. Moreover, a genetic analysis verified the co-occurrence of Chy-Lys2009 and Chy-Kol2008 or related chytrid strains along with distinct Planktothrix chemotypes in at least one water body. Our findings are consistent with a scenario where chytrid parasitism is one driving force of Planktothrix population subdivision, which in turn leads to polymorphism in parasitic chytrid fungi. Future studies should test the validity of this scenario under field conditions.

  6. Developmental diversity of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Elinson, Richard P; del Pino, Eugenia M

    2012-01-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Historical amphibian declines and extinctions in Brazil linked to chytridiomycosis.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Tamilie; Becker, C Guilherme; Toledo, Luís Felipe

    2017-02-08

    The recent increase in emerging fungal diseases is causing unprecedented threats to biodiversity. The origin of spread of the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a matter of continued debate. To date, the historical amphibian declines in Brazil could not be attributed to chytridiomycosis; the high diversity of hosts coupled with the presence of several Bd lineages predating the reported declines raised the hypothesis that a hypervirulent Bd genotype spread from Brazil to other continents causing the recent global amphibian crisis. We tested for a spatio-temporal overlap between Bd and areas of historical amphibian population declines and extinctions in Brazil. A spatio-temporal convergence between Bd and declines would support the hypothesis that Brazilian amphibians were not adapted to Bd prior to the reported declines, thus weakening the hypothesis that Brazil was the global origin of Bd emergence. Alternatively, a lack of spatio-temporal association between Bd and frog declines would indicate an evolution of host resistance in Brazilian frogs predating Bd's global emergence, further supporting Brazil as the potential origin of the Bd panzootic. Here, we Bd-screened over 30 000 museum-preserved tadpoles collected in Brazil between 1930 and 2015 and overlaid spatio-temporal Bd data with areas of historical amphibian declines. We detected an increase in the proportion of Bd-infected tadpoles during the peak of amphibian declines (1979-1987). We also found that clusters of Bd-positive samples spatio-temporally overlapped with most records of amphibian declines in Brazil's Atlantic Forest. Our findings indicate that Brazil is post epizootic for chytridiomycosis and provide another piece to the puzzle to explain the origin of Bd globally. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. '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. British Veterinary Association.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. Mapping amphibian disease patterns

    Treesearch

    Noreen Parks

    2013-01-01

    Over the past two decades the worldwide emergence of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis, has drastically impacted populations of frogs, toads, and salamanders. Currently, as much as 40% of the roughly 6300 known amphibian species are deemed imperiled, and chytridiomycosis is...

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Perspectives on invasive amphibians in Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Forti, Lucas Rodriguez; Becker, C. Guilherme; Tacioli, Leandro; Pereira, Vânia Rosa; Santos, André Cid F. A.; Oliveira, Igor; Haddad, Célio F. B.; Toledo, Luís Felipe

    2017-01-01

    Introduced species have the potential to become invasive and jeopardize entire ecosystems. The success of species establishing viable populations outside their original extent depends primarily on favorable climatic conditions in the invasive ranges. Species distribution modeling (SDM) can thus be used to estimate potential habitat suitability for populations of invasive species. Here we review the status of six amphibian species with invasive populations in Brazil (four domestic species and two imported species). We (i) modeled the current habitat suitability and future potential distribution of these six focal species, (ii) reported on the disease status of Eleutherodactylus johnstonei and Phyllodytes luteolus, and (iii) quantified the acoustic overlap of P. luteolus and Leptodactylus labyrinthicus with three co-occurring native species. Our models indicated that all six invasive species could potentially expand their ranges in Brazil within the next few decades. In addition, our SDMs predicted important expansions in available habitat for 2 out of 6 invasive species under future (2100) climatic conditions. We detected high acoustic niche overlap between invasive and native amphibian species, underscoring that acoustic interference might reduce mating success in local frogs. Despite the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus being recognized as a potential reservoir for the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Brazil, we did not detect Bd in the recently introduced population of E. johnstonei and P. luteolus in the State of São Paulo. We emphasize that the number of invasive amphibian species in Brazil is increasing exponentially, highlighting the urgent need to monitor and control these populations and decrease potential impacts on the locally biodiverse wildlife. PMID:28938024

  1. Perspectives on invasive amphibians in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Forti, Lucas Rodriguez; Becker, C Guilherme; Tacioli, Leandro; Pereira, Vânia Rosa; Santos, André Cid F A; Oliveira, Igor; Haddad, Célio F B; Toledo, Luís Felipe

    2017-01-01

    Introduced species have the potential to become invasive and jeopardize entire ecosystems. The success of species establishing viable populations outside their original extent depends primarily on favorable climatic conditions in the invasive ranges. Species distribution modeling (SDM) can thus be used to estimate potential habitat suitability for populations of invasive species. Here we review the status of six amphibian species with invasive populations in Brazil (four domestic species and two imported species). We (i) modeled the current habitat suitability and future potential distribution of these six focal species, (ii) reported on the disease status of Eleutherodactylus johnstonei and Phyllodytes luteolus, and (iii) quantified the acoustic overlap of P. luteolus and Leptodactylus labyrinthicus with three co-occurring native species. Our models indicated that all six invasive species could potentially expand their ranges in Brazil within the next few decades. In addition, our SDMs predicted important expansions in available habitat for 2 out of 6 invasive species under future (2100) climatic conditions. We detected high acoustic niche overlap between invasive and native amphibian species, underscoring that acoustic interference might reduce mating success in local frogs. Despite the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus being recognized as a potential reservoir for the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Brazil, we did not detect Bd in the recently introduced population of E. johnstonei and P. luteolus in the State of São Paulo. We emphasize that the number of invasive amphibian species in Brazil is increasing exponentially, highlighting the urgent need to monitor and control these populations and decrease potential impacts on the locally biodiverse wildlife.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Population genetics of the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Morgan, Jess A. T.; Vredenburg, Vance T.; Rachowicz, Lara J.; Knapp, Roland A.; Stice, Mary J.; Tunstall, Tate; Bingham, Rob E.; Parker, John M.; Longcore, Joyce E.; Moritz, Craig; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Taylor, John W.

    2007-01-01

    Global amphibian decline by chytridiomycosis is a major environmental disaster that has been attributed to either recent fungal spread or environmental change that promotes disease. Here, we present a population genetic comparison of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis isolates from an intensively studied region of frog decline, the Sierra Nevada of California. In support of a novel pathogen, we find low diversity, no amphibian-host specificity, little correlation between fungal genotype and geography, local frog extirpation by a single fungal genotype, and evidence of human-assisted fungus migration. In support of endemism, at a local scale, we find some diverse, recombining populations. Therefore neither epidemic spread nor endemism alone explains this particular amphibian decline. Recombination raises the possibility of resistant sporangia and a mechanism for rapid spread as well as persistence that could greatly complicate global control of the pathogen. PMID:17693553

  11. First report of chytrid mycoparasitism of entomophthoralean azygospores

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  12. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. [Jaws of amphibians and reptiles].

    PubMed

    Tanimoto, Masahiro

    2005-04-01

    Big jaws of amphibians and reptiles are mainly treated in this article. In amphibians enlarged skulls are for the big jaw in contrast with human's skulls for the brain. For example, famous fossils of Homo diluvii testis are ones of salamanders in fact. In reptiles, mosasaur jaws and teeth and their ecology are introduced for instance.

  16. 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.

  17. Medicine and surgery of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Gentz, Edward J

    2007-01-01

    Amphibians are most notably characterized by their glandular skin, which they shed regularly and ingest routinely. It is advisable to handle amphibians only with protective gloves to avoid damaging their skin. These animals absorb water readily across the skin as a means of maintaining hydration. They also easily absorb drugs and anesthetics that are applied directly to the skin. Investigators commonly utilize cutaneous respiration in amphibians and evaluate skin abnormalities via wet mount preparations, skin scrapes, and biopsy. The examination of blood samples can be useful in evaluating the status of ill amphibians, although the similarity in function of amphibian blood cell types and those of other species is largely unknown. If surgery is required, it is necessary to fast the animals before surgery, and to monitor their hydration. The wet environment required for amphibian surgery makes sterile technique challenging, and it is advisable to institute prophylactic antibiotic therapy before the procedure. The anesthetic of choice for amphibian surgery is tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222). Postoperative recommendations include fluids, nutritional support if necessary, and analgesia. If euthanasia is required, MS-222 overdose or pentobarbital injection are the preferred methods.

  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. 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

  20. STUDIES ON AMPHIBIAN YOLK

    PubMed Central

    Karasaki, Shuichi

    1963-01-01

    The yolk platelets of mature eggs and young embryonic cells of all amphibian species studied (Rana pipiens, Triturus pyrrhogaster, Diemictylus viridescens, Rana nigromaculata, and Bufo vulgaris) have a superficial layer of fine particles or fibrils (ca. 50 A in diameter), a central main body with a crystalline lattice structure, and an enclosing membrane approximately 70 A in thickness. Electron micrographs of the main body reveal hexagonal net (spacing ca. 70 A), square net (spacing ca. 80 A), and parallel band (spacing from 35 to 100 A but most frequent at ca. 70 A) patterns. The crystalline structure is believed to be a simple hexagonal lattice made of closely packed cylindrical rods. Each rod is estimated to be about 80 A in diameter and 160 A in length. PMID:13962448

  1. Reptiles and amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Perrow, Martin

    2017-01-01

    Summary – We reviewed all the peer-reviewed scientific publications we could find on the known and potential effects of wind farm development, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning on reptiles and amphibians (collectively herpetofauna) worldwide. Both groups are declining globally due to a multitude of threats including energy development. Effect studies were limited to the long-term research by the authors on Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise ecology and behavior at single operational wind farm in California, US and an analysis of the effects of wind farm installation on species richness of vertebrates including reptiles and amphibians in northwestern Portugal. Research on Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise found few demonstrable differences in biological parameters between populations in the wind farm and those in more natural habitats. High reproductive output is due to the regional climate and not to the presence or operation of the wind farm. Site operations have resulted in death and injury to a small number of adult tortoises and over the long-term tortoises now appear to avoid the areas of greatest turbine concentration. Research in Portugal using models and simulations based on empirical data show that vertebrate species richness (including herpetofauna) decreased by almost 20% after the installation of only two large monopole turbines per 250 x 250 m plot. Knowledge of the known responses of herpetofauna to various disturbances allows identification of potential impacts from construction material acquisition in offsite areas, mortality and stress due to impacts of roads and related infrastructure, destruction and modification of habitat, habitat fragmentation and barriers to gene flow, noise, vibration, electromagnetic field generation, heat from buried high voltage transmission lines, alteration of local and regional climate, predator attraction, and increased risk of fire. Research on herpetofauna lags far behind what is needed and, in particular, before

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Mitigating amphibian chytridiomycoses in nature.

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-05

    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.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  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. 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

  11. 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.

  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. Cryptosporidium in birds, fish and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Una

    2010-01-01

    Whilst considerable information is available for avian cryptosporidiosis, scant information is available for Cryptosporidium infections in fish and amphibians. The present review details recent studies in avian cryptosporidiosis and our current knowledge of piscine and amphibian infections.

  14. Clinical pathology of amphibians: a review.

    PubMed

    Forzán, María J; Heatley, Jill; Russell, Karen E; Horney, Barbara

    2017-03-01

    Amphibian declines and extinctions have worsened in the last 2 decades. Partly because one of the main causes of the declines is infectious disease, veterinary professionals have increasingly become involved in amphibian research, captive husbandry, and management. Health evaluation of amphibians, free-living or captive, can benefit from employing the tools of clinical pathology, something that is commonly used in veterinary medicine of other vertebrates. The present review compiles what is known of amphibian clinical pathology emphasizing knowledge that may assist with the interpretation of laboratory results, provides diagnostic recommendations for common amphibian diseases, and includes RIs for a few amphibian species estimated based on peer-reviewed studies. We hope to encourage the incorporation of clinical pathology in amphibian practice and research, and to highlight the importance of applying veterinary medicine principles in furthering our knowledge of amphibian pathophysiology. © 2017 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology.

  15. Reptiles and amphibians as laboratory animals.

    PubMed

    O'Rourke, Dorcas P

    2002-06-01

    Although reptiles and amphibians have long been used in biomedical research, few in the arena understand their health and husbandry needs. The author provides an introduction to the successful maintenance of reptiles and amphibians in the laboratory environment.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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%) were parasitized by 1 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 2 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. dissimilewas significantly more abundant during the dry season.

  1. 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

  2. Fungus Infections: Tinea

    MedlinePlus

    ... cat, or from exposure to fungus in the soil. Itchy red scaly patches come up anywhere the ... Truth 12/19/2013 Osteopathic Training Statement Online Surveys About AOCD The AOCD was recognized in 1958 ...

  3. Identifying parasitic and saprotrophic interactions of freshwater chytrids with a microalga

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, C.; Longcore, J. E.; Carney, L. T.; Mayali, X.; Pett-Ridge, J.; Thelen, M. P.; Stuart, R.

    2016-12-01

    Despite having long been regarded as ecologically insignificant, aquatic fungi may be key regulators of carbon cycling in phytoplankton-dominated freshwater ecosystems. For several decades, it has been known that through infection chytrids and other parasitic fungi can cause major declines in natural algal populations and the release of large quantities of organic matter into the water column. Additionally, as in other environments fungi may be critically important in the decomposition of refractory organic matter, although to our knowledge this has never been investigated in pelagic freshwater ecosystems. We have a limited understanding of how fungi can interact with phytoplankton or phytoplankton-derived organic matter, and logistical difficulties complicate their study in the environment. Here, we have developed a model green alga-chytrid system to characterize the interactions under varying host physiologies and to investigate how these interactions influence the physiological and metabolic outcomes of both members. Chytrid infection was clearly linked to algal growth stage in the fungal isolate belonging to Rhizophydiales with infectivity only in late cyst stage, while the isolate belonging to Paraphysoderma could infect in both early and late cyst stages. To test whether freshwater chytrids can metabolize algal-derived organic matter, fungal isolates were grown axenically in algal spent media from different growth stages. The Rhizophydiales isolate grew on algal exudate from early cyst stage, while the Paraphysodermaisolate grew on exudates from both growth stages. Ongoing work has focused on using biochemical and multi-omic approaches to study the mechanistic underpinnings of algal-fungal interactions and to better understand the factors contributing to growth stage- and strain-specific differences. Together, these findings suggest that fungi may play a dual role in regulating carbon cycling in freshwater ecosystems via parasitic and saprotrophic strategies

  4. Enumeration of Parasitic Chytrid Zoospores in the Columbia River via Quantitative PCR

    PubMed Central

    Maier, Michelle A.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Through lethal infection, fungal parasites of phytoplankton (“chytrids”) repackage organic material from the large, effectively inedible, colonial diatoms they infect into much smaller zoospores, which are easier for zooplankton to consume. However, their small size and lack of distinguishing morphological features render it difficult to distinguish zoospores from other small flagellates in mixed assemblages in the natural environment. In this study, we developed and tested a method to quantify chytrid zoospores in field studies using quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region within the rRNA gene cluster. To achieve accurate quantification, the assay was designed to be highly specific for a parasite (Rhizophydium planktonicum) of the diatom Asterionella formosa; however, the approach is applicable to additional host-parasite systems. Parasitic zoospores were detected and quantified in the freshwater reaches of the lower Columbia River, as well as in the salt-influenced estuary and river plume. The coincidence between zoospore abundances and a prevalence of small zooplankton during blooms of large, colonial diatoms in the spring suggests that Columbia River zooplankton may be poised to benefit nutritionally from chytrid zoospores, thus providing a mechanism to retain organic carbon within the system and reduce losses to downstream export. We estimate that ∼15% of the carbon biomass tied up in blooms of the dominant diatom species is transformed into zoospores through the parasitic shunt during spring. IMPORTANCE The small size of the parasitic fungi that infect phytoplankton makes it difficult to identify and quantify them in natural systems. We developed and tested a method to quantify these organisms (chytrid zoospores) using a molecular technique that targets the internal transcribed spacer region within the rRNA gene cluster. Using this method, we quantified the abundance of the motile stage of a specific

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Small Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians

    Treesearch

    Bryce Rickel

    2005-01-01

    This chapter focuses on small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that inhabit the grasslands within the Southwestern Region of the USDA Forest Service. The chapter is not intended to be an all inclusive list of species, but rather to address the species that play important roles in grassland ecosystems and that often are associated with the management of grasslands....

  8. 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

  9. Multiple overseas dispersal in amphibians.

    PubMed

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

    2003-12-07

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Molecular and cultural assessment of chytrid and Spizellomyces populations in grassland soils.

    PubMed

    Lozupone, C A; Klein, D A

    2002-01-01

    We developed a molecular method for the detection and quantification of members of the genus Spizellomyces in the environment and used this technique, together with traditional cultural techniques, to measure the effects of cultivation and nitrogen availability on Spizellomyces populations in grassland soils. Primer sets specific for Spizellomyces acuminatus and S. kniepii were developed by sequencing internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) of the gene encoding ribosomal RNA for 9 isolates within the genus Spizellomyces, 5 representatives of different genera within the order Spizellomycetales and one member of the order Chytridiales. These primers were used with fungal-specific primers in a nested PCR approach to generate a specific molecular signal for S. acuminatus and S. kneipii in a soil from which S. acuminatus had previously been recovered. Using MPN-PCR (a quantitative molecular technique) and traditional cultural techniques, we found that chytridiomycetous fungi, including members of the genus Spizellomyces, are abundant in the grassland ecosystems studied. No significant differences in occurrence were observed between native and disturbed control soils but it appeared in 2 separate MPN assays and one MPN-PCR assay that chytrid populations increased in response to disturbance. No significant differences in chytrid or Spizellomyces populations were observed with variations in nitrogen availability. The primer sets and protocols developed in this study worked well to complement traditional cultural data to better assess Spizellomyces populations in the environment. These molecular approaches should provide a foundation for further work with these interesting and oft neglected fungi.

  15. 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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Amphibian (Xenopus sp.) iodothyronine deiodinase ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The U.S. EPA-MED amphibian thyroid group is currently screening chemicals for inhibition of human iodothyronine deiodinase activity as components of the thyroid system important in human development. Amphibians are a bellwether taxonomic group to gauge toxicity of chemicals in the environment. Amphibian thyroid function is not only important in development but also metamorphosis. Xenopus sp. have been used extensively as model organisms and are well characterized genetically. We propose to screen a list of chemicals (selected from the human DIO screening results) to test for inhibition of Xenopus deiodinases. Large quantities of the enzymes will be produced using an adenovirus system. Our preliminary results show that there may be catalytic differences between human and Xenopus deiodinases. The Twin Ports Early Career Scientists is a new group formed within the Duluth-Superior scientific community. This presentation will provide a basic introduction to my research and our mission at EPA, and help to establish networking and collaboration relationships across disciplines and institutions.

  18. Amphibian (Xenopus sp.) iodothyronine deiodinase ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The U.S. EPA-MED amphibian thyroid group is currently screening chemicals for inhibition of human iodothyronine deiodinase activity as components of the thyroid system important in human development. Amphibians are a bellwether taxonomic group to gauge toxicity of chemicals in the environment. Amphibian thyroid function is not only important in development but also metamorphosis. Xenopus sp. have been used extensively as model organisms and are well characterized genetically. We propose to screen a list of chemicals (selected from the human DIO screening results) to test for inhibition of Xenopus deiodinases. Large quantities of the enzymes will be produced using an adenovirus system. Our preliminary results show that there may be catalytic differences between human and Xenopus deiodinases. The Twin Ports Early Career Scientists is a new group formed within the Duluth-Superior scientific community. This presentation will provide a basic introduction to my research and our mission at EPA, and help to establish networking and collaboration relationships across disciplines and institutions.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

    Rising temperatures, a widespread consequence of climate change, have been implicated in enigmatic amphibian declines from habitats with little apparent human impact. The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), now widespread in Neotropical mountains, may act in synergy with climate change causing collapse in thermally stressed hosts. We measured the thermal tolerance of frogs along a wide elevational gradient in the Tropical Andes, where frog populations have collapsed. We used the difference between critical thermal maximum and the temperature a frog experiences in nature as a measure of tolerance to high temperatures. Temperature tolerance increased as elevation increased, suggesting that frogs at higher elevations may be less sensitive to rising temperatures. We tested the alternative pathogen optimal growth hypothesis that prevalence of the pathogen should decrease as temperatures fall outside the optimal range of pathogen growth. Our infection-prevalence data supported the pathogen optimal growth hypothesis because we found that prevalence of Bd increased when host temperatures matched its optimal growth range. These findings suggest that rising temperatures may not be the driver of amphibian declines in the eastern slopes of the Andes. Zoonotic outbreaks of Bd are the most parsimonious hypothesis to explain the collapse of montane amphibian faunas; but our results also reveal that lowland tropical amphibians, despite being shielded from Bd by higher temperatures, are vulnerable to climate-warming stress. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

  20. Cryptic chytridiomycosis linked to climate and genetic variation in amphibian populations of the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Horner, Ariel A; Hoffman, Eric A; Tye, Matthew R; Hether, Tyler D; Savage, Anna E

    2017-01-01

    North American amphibians have recently been impacted by two major emerging pathogens, the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus (Rv). Environmental factors and host genetics may play important roles in disease dynamics, but few studies incorporate both of these components into their analyses. Here, we investigated the role of environmental and genetic factors in driving Bd and Rv infection prevalence and severity in a biodiversity hot spot, the southeastern United States. We used quantitative PCR to characterize Bd and Rv dynamics in natural populations of three amphibian species: Notophthalmus perstriatus, Hyla squirella and Pseudacris ornata. We combined pathogen data, genetic diversity metrics generated from neutral markers, and environmental variables into general linear models to evaluate how these factors impact infectious disease dynamics. Occurrence, prevalence and intensity of Bd and Rv varied across species and populations, but only one species, Pseudacris ornata, harbored high Bd intensities in the majority of sampled populations. Genetic diversity and climate variables both predicted Bd prevalence, whereas climatic variables alone predicted infection intensity. We conclude that Bd is more abundant in the southeastern United States than previously thought and that genetic and environmental factors are both important for predicting amphibian pathogen dynamics. Incorporating both genetic and environmental information into conservation plans for amphibians is necessary for the development of more effective management strategies to mitigate the impact of emerging infectious diseases.

  1. Cryptic chytridiomycosis linked to climate and genetic variation in amphibian populations of the southeastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, Eric A.; Tye, Matthew R.; Hether, Tyler D.; Savage, Anna E.

    2017-01-01

    North American amphibians have recently been impacted by two major emerging pathogens, the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus (Rv). Environmental factors and host genetics may play important roles in disease dynamics, but few studies incorporate both of these components into their analyses. Here, we investigated the role of environmental and genetic factors in driving Bd and Rv infection prevalence and severity in a biodiversity hot spot, the southeastern United States. We used quantitative PCR to characterize Bd and Rv dynamics in natural populations of three amphibian species: Notophthalmus perstriatus, Hyla squirella and Pseudacris ornata. We combined pathogen data, genetic diversity metrics generated from neutral markers, and environmental variables into general linear models to evaluate how these factors impact infectious disease dynamics. Occurrence, prevalence and intensity of Bd and Rv varied across species and populations, but only one species, Pseudacris ornata, harbored high Bd intensities in the majority of sampled populations. Genetic diversity and climate variables both predicted Bd prevalence, whereas climatic variables alone predicted infection intensity. We conclude that Bd is more abundant in the southeastern United States than previously thought and that genetic and environmental factors are both important for predicting amphibian pathogen dynamics. Incorporating both genetic and environmental information into conservation plans for amphibians is necessary for the development of more effective management strategies to mitigate the impact of emerging infectious diseases. PMID:28448517

  2. Effects of corticosterone on infection and disease in salamanders exposed to the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Fonner, Chris W; Patel, Shreya A; Boord, Shelby M; Venesky, Matthew D; Woodley, Sarah K

    2017-03-06

    Although it is well established that glucocorticoid hormones (GCs) alter immune function and disease resistance in humans and laboratory animal models, fewer studies have linked elevated GCs to altered immune function and disease resistance in wild animals. The chytrid fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infects amphibians and can cause the disease chytridiomycosis, which is responsible for worldwide amphibian declines. It is hypothesized that long-term exposure to environmental stressors reduces host resistance to Bd by suppressing host immunity via stress-induced release of GCs such as corticosterone (CORT). We tested whether elevation of CORT would reduce resistance to Bd and chytridiomycosis development in the red-legged salamander Plethodon shermani. Plasma CORT was elevated daily in animals for 9 d, after which animals were inoculated with Bd and subsequently tested for infection loads and clinical signs of disease. On average, Bd-inoculated animals treated with CORT had higher infection abundance compared to Bd-inoculated animals not treated with CORT. However, salamanders that received CORT prior to Bd did not experience any increase in clinical signs of chytridiomycosis compared to salamanders not treated with CORT. The lack of congruence between CORT effects on infection abundance versus disease may be due to threshold effects. Nonetheless, our results show that elevation of plasma CORT prior to Bd inoculation decreases resistance to infection by Bd. More studies are needed to better understand the effects of CORT on animals exposed to Bd and whether CORT variation contributes to differential responses to Bd observed across amphibian species and populations.

  3. Impending conservation crisis for Southeast Asian amphibians

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Chironomidae bloodworms larvae as aquatic amphibian food.

    PubMed

    Fard, Mojdeh Sharifian; Pasmans, Frank; Adriaensen, Connie; Laing, Gijs Du; Janssens, Geert Paul Jules; Martel, An

    2014-01-01

    Different species of chironomids larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae) so-called bloodworms are widely distributed in the sediments of all types of freshwater habitats and considered as an important food source for amphibians. In our study, three species of Chironomidae (Baeotendipes noctivagus, Benthalia dissidens, and Chironomus riparius) were identified in 23 samples of larvae from Belgium, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine provided by a distributor in Belgium. We evaluated the suitability of these samples as amphibian food based on four different aspects: the likelihood of amphibian pathogens spreading, risk of heavy metal accumulation in amphibians, nutritive value, and risk of spreading of zoonotic bacteria (Salmonella, Campylobacter, and ESBL producing Enterobacteriaceae). We found neither zoonotic bacteria nor the amphibian pathogens Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in these samples. Our data showed that among the five heavy metals tested (Hg, Cu, Cd, Pb, and Zn), the excess level of Pb in two samples and low content of Zn in four samples implicated potential risk of Pb accumulation and Zn inadequacy. Proximate nutritional analysis revealed that, chironomidae larvae are consistently high in protein but more variable in lipid content. Accordingly, variations in the lipid: protein ratio can affect the amount and pathway of energy supply to the amphibians. Our study indicated although environmentally-collected chironomids larvae may not be vectors of specific pathogens, they can be associated with nutritional imbalances and may also result in Pb bioaccumulation and Zn inadequacy in amphibians. Chironomidae larvae may thus not be recommended as single diet item for amphibians.

  8. Amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park

    Treesearch

    Debra A. Patla; Charles R. Peterson; Paul Stephen Corn

    2009-01-01

    We conduct long-term amphibian monitoring in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) (1) and read McMenamin et al.'s article (2) with interest. This study documents decline in the extent of seasonal wetlands in the Lamar Valley of YNP during extended drought, but the conclusion, widely reported in the media, of "severe declines in 4 once-common amphibian species,...

  9. [Comparative morphology of the livers in amphibians].

    PubMed

    Inoue, Asuka; Akiyoshi, Hideo; Naitoh, Tomio; Yamashita, Masamichi

    2002-11-01

    Amphibians are divided into three orders: Gymnophiona, Urodela and Anura. We studied on the correlation between the liver structures in the three orders of amphibians by histological technique. Livers of thirty species of amphibian were fixed by perfusion with paraformaldehyde, and observed by light microscopy in special staining for elastic fibers. The cytoskeletal components of the hepatic stellate cells and myofibroblasts were identified by immunohistochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein and a-smooth muscle actin. Among the three orders of amphibians, Gymnophiona and Urodela were characterized the development of lymph vessels in liver capsules and Glisson's sheath. The present study indicates that there are differences in the pattern of hepatic histological components in the amphibians examined at this time. We discussed their diverged mode of living that can be categorized into three groups: aquatic, aqua-terrestrial and fully terrestrial group.

  10. 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.

  11. Ecology and pathology of amphibian ranaviruses.

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-03

    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

  12. A New Chytridiomycete Fungus Intermixed with Crustacean Resting Eggs in a 407-Million-Year-Old Continental Freshwater Environment

    PubMed Central

    Goral, Tomasz; Longcore, Joyce E.; Olesen, Jørgen; Kenrick, Paul; Edgecombe, Gregory D.

    2016-01-01

    The 407-million-year-old Rhynie Chert (Scotland) contains the most intact fossilised remains of an early land-based ecosystem including plants, arthropods, fungi and other microorganisms. Although most studies have focused on the terrestrial component, fossilised freshwater environments provide critical insights into fungal-algal interactions and the earliest continental branchiopod crustaceans. Here we report interactions between an enigmatic organism and an exquisitely preserved fungus. The fungal reproductive structures are intermixed with exceptionally well-preserved globular spiny structures interpreted as branchiopod resting eggs. Confocal laser scanning microscopy enabled us to reconstruct the fungus and its possible mode of nutrition, the affinity of the resting eggs, and their spatial associations. The new fungus (Cultoraquaticus trewini gen. et sp. nov) is attributed to Chytridiomycota based on its size, consistent formation of papillae, and the presence of an internal rhizoidal system. It is the most pristine fossil Chytridiomycota known, especially in terms of rhizoidal development and closely resembles living species in the Rhizophydiales. The spiny resting eggs are attributed to the crustacean Lepidocaris rhyniensis, dating branchiopod adaptation to life in ephemeral pools to the Early Devonian. The new fungal interaction suggests that, as in modern freshwater environments, chytrids were important to the mobilisation of nutrients in early aquatic foodwebs. PMID:27973602

  13. A New Chytridiomycete Fungus Intermixed with Crustacean Resting Eggs in a 407-Million-Year-Old Continental Freshwater Environment.

    PubMed

    Strullu-Derrien, Christine; Goral, Tomasz; Longcore, Joyce E; Olesen, Jørgen; Kenrick, Paul; Edgecombe, Gregory D

    2016-01-01

    The 407-million-year-old Rhynie Chert (Scotland) contains the most intact fossilised remains of an early land-based ecosystem including plants, arthropods, fungi and other microorganisms. Although most studies have focused on the terrestrial component, fossilised freshwater environments provide critical insights into fungal-algal interactions and the earliest continental branchiopod crustaceans. Here we report interactions between an enigmatic organism and an exquisitely preserved fungus. The fungal reproductive structures are intermixed with exceptionally well-preserved globular spiny structures interpreted as branchiopod resting eggs. Confocal laser scanning microscopy enabled us to reconstruct the fungus and its possible mode of nutrition, the affinity of the resting eggs, and their spatial associations. The new fungus (Cultoraquaticus trewini gen. et sp. nov) is attributed to Chytridiomycota based on its size, consistent formation of papillae, and the presence of an internal rhizoidal system. It is the most pristine fossil Chytridiomycota known, especially in terms of rhizoidal development and closely resembles living species in the Rhizophydiales. The spiny resting eggs are attributed to the crustacean Lepidocaris rhyniensis, dating branchiopod adaptation to life in ephemeral pools to the Early Devonian. The new fungal interaction suggests that, as in modern freshwater environments, chytrids were important to the mobilisation of nutrients in early aquatic foodwebs.

  14. Brain regeneration in anuran amphibians.

    PubMed

    Endo, Tetsuya; Yoshino, Jun; Kado, Koji; Tochinai, Shin

    2007-02-01

    Urodele amphibians are highly regenerative animals. After partial removal of the brain in urodeles, ependymal cells around the wound surface proliferate, differentiate into neurons and glias and finally regenerate the lost tissue. In contrast to urodeles, this type of brain regeneration is restricted only to the larval stages in anuran amphibians (frogs). In adult frogs, whereas ependymal cells proliferate in response to brain injury, they cannot migrate and close the wound surface, resulting in the failure of regeneration. Therefore frogs, in particular Xenopus, provide us with at least two modes to study brain regeneration. One is to study normal regeneration by using regenerative larvae. In this type of study, the requirement of reconnection between a regenerating brain and sensory neurons was demonstrated. Functional restoration of a regenerated telencephalon was also easily evaluated because Xenopus shows simple responses to the stimulus of a food odor. The other mode is to compare regenerative larvae and non-regenerative adults. By using this mode, it is suggested that there are regeneration-competent cells even in the non-regenerative adult brain, and that immobility of those cells might cause the failure of regeneration. Here we review studies that have led to these conclusions.

  15. Sperm storage in caecilian amphibians.

    PubMed

    Kuehnel, Susanne; Kupfer, Alexander

    2012-06-06

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

  16. Sperm storage in caecilian amphibians

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  17. The state of amphibians in the United States

    Treesearch

    E. Muths; M. J. Adams; E. H. C. Grant; D. Miller; P. S. Corn; L. C. Ball

    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...

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. [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.

  2. 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. © 2014 Wiley

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Amphibian resources on the internet.

    PubMed

    Nolan, Michael W; Smith, Stephen A

    2007-01-01

    The use of amphibians in classrooms and research laboratories has increased, along with a corresponding increase in the amount of information about these animals on the Internet. This review is intended to aid both novices and experts in the search of such information. The bibliography of Internet resources is organized by discipline and includes general and selected species information, taxonomy, natural history, anatomy and histology, physiology, ontogeny, genetics, conservation, toxicology, medicine and surgery, sources (for animals, housing, and research tools), listservs, databases, associations, educational sources, and husbandry. For each web site, descriptive titles, web addresses, and a brief review are provided. Note that the authors of this review cannot assure the accuracy of content in these web resources.

  8. 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. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Environmental refuge from disease-driven amphibian extinction.

    PubMed

    Puschendorf, Robert; Hoskin, Conrad J; Cashins, Scott D; McDonald, Keith; Skerratt, Lee F; Vanderwal, Jeremy; Alford, Ross A

    2011-10-01

    Species that are tolerant of broad environmental gradients may be less vulnerable to epizootic outbreaks of disease. Chytridriomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been linked to extirpations and extinctions of amphibian species in many regions. The pathogen thrives in cool, moist environments, and high amphibian mortality rates have commonly occurred during chytridiomycosis outbreaks in amphibian populations in high-elevation tropical rainforests. In Australia several high-elevation species, including the armored mist frog (Litoria lorica), which is designated as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), were believed to have gone extinct during chytridiomycosis outbreaks in the 1980s and early 1990s. Species with greater elevational ranges disappeared from higher elevations, but remained common in the lowlands. In June 2008, we surveyed a stream in a high-elevation dry sclerophyll forest and discovered a previously unknown population of L. lorica and a population of the waterfall frog (Litoria nannotis). We conducted 6 additional surveys in June 2008, September 2008, March 2009, and August 2009. Prevalences of B. dendrobatidis infection (number infected per total sampled) were consistently high in frogs (mean 82.5%, minimum 69%) of both species and in tadpoles (100%) during both winter (starting July) and summer (starting February). However, no individuals of either species showed clinical signs of disease, and they remained abundant (3.25 - 8.75 individuals of L. lorica and 6.5-12.5 individuals of L. nannotis found/person/100 m over 13 months). The high-elevation dry sclerophyll site had little canopy cover, low annual precipitation, and a more defined dry season than a nearby rainforest site, where L. nannotis was more negatively affected by chytridiomycosis. We hypothesize this lack of canopy cover allowed the rocks on which frogs perched to warm up, thereby slowing growth and

  10. Tracking the amphibian pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans using a highly specific monoclonal antibody and lateral-flow technology.

    PubMed

    Dillon, Michael J; Bowkett, Andrew E; Bungard, Michael J; Beckman, Katie M; O'Brien, Michelle F; Bates, Kieran; Fisher, Matthew C; Stevens, Jamie R; Thornton, Christopher R

    2017-03-01

    The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes chytridiomycosis, a lethal epizootic disease of amphibians. Rapid identification of the pathogen and biosecurity is essential to prevent its spread, but current laboratory-based tests are time-consuming and require specialist equipment. Here, we describe the generation of an IgM monoclonal antibody (mAb), 5C4, specific to Bd as well as the related salamander and newt pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). The mAb, which binds to a glycoprotein antigen present on the surface of zoospores, sporangia and zoosporangia, was used to develop a lateral-flow assay (LFA) for rapid (15 min) detection of the pathogens. The LFA detects known lineages of Bd and also Bsal, as well as the closely related fungus Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza, but does not detect a wide range of related and unrelated fungi and oomycetes likely to be present in amphibian habitats. When combined with a simple swabbing procedure, the LFA was 100% accurate in detecting the water-soluble 5C4 antigen present in skin, foot and pelvic samples from frogs, newts and salamanders naturally infected with Bd or Bsal. Our results demonstrate the potential of the portable LFA as a rapid qualitative assay for tracking these amphibian pathogens and as an adjunct test to nucleic acid-based detection methods.

  11. 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.

  12. Agents from amphibians with anticancer properties.

    PubMed

    Lu, Chuang-Xin; Nan, Ke-Jun; Lei, Yan

    2008-11-01

    Amphibians have been found to be a source of agents with anticancer properties. Bufalin, for example, is an anticancer agent that may induce apoptosis by its interaction with other genes and cellular components. Certain peptides with anticancer activities have been found in amphibian skin; they include magainins, aureins, citropin 1.1 and gaegurins. These peptides may exert a cytotoxic effect on human cancer cells through various mechanisms. Onconase, amphinase, cSBL (sialic acid-binding lectin purified from Rana catesbeiana eggs) and jSBL (sialic acid-binding lectin purified from Rana japonica eggs), which belong to the RNase A family, were purified from the oocyte cells and eggs of three amphibians, and they induce cytotoxicity by degrading cellular RNA. This paper discusses the medical and pharmaceutical significance of products derived from amphibians.

  13. Evolution of Life Cycles in Early Amphibians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoch, Rainer R.

    2009-05-01

    Many modern amphibians have biphasic life cycles with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. The central questions are how and when this complicated ontogeny was established, and what is known about the lives of amphibians in the Paleozoic. Fossil evidence has accumulated that sheds light on the life histories of early amphibians, the origin of metamorphosis, and the transition to a fully terrestrial existence. The majority of early amphibians were aquatic or amphibious and underwent only gradual ontogenetic changes. Developmental plasticity played a major role in some taxa but was restricted to minor modification of ontogeny. In the Permo-Carboniferous dissorophoids, a condensation of crucial ontogenetic steps into a short phase (metamorphosis) is observed. It is likely that the origin of both metamorphosis and neoteny falls within these taxa. Fossil evidence also reveals the sequence of evolutionary changes: apparently, the ontogenetic change in feeding, not the transition to a terrestrial existence per se, made a drastic metamorphosis necessary.

  14. 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.

  15. Amphibian macrophage development and antiviral defenses

    PubMed Central

    Grayfer, Leon; Robert, Jacques

    2015-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. Fungus Resistant XM205 Nonmetallic Cartridge Case,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    CARTRIDGE CASES, *FUNGICIDES, FUNGUS PROOFING, FUNGUS DETERIORATION, RESISTANCE, NITROCELLULOSE, POLYMERS, FIBERS, SYNTHETIC FIBERS, MATERIALS, ZINC COMPOUNDS, ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, ORGANIC SULFUR COMPOUNDS.

  18. 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.

  19. 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).

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Surveys of calling amphibians in North Dakota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, D.H.; Batie, R.D.

    2001-01-01

    Amphibians have received increased attention in recent years from the scientific community and general public alike. Many populations throughout the world have declined, or have been extirpated, often without an apparent cause. Concern about the status of amphibians has translated into a growing interest in systematic and statistically sound monitoring programs. Several extensive efforts to monitor populations of calling amphibians are in place, and more are under development. Necessary for the design of appropriate surveys is an understanding of the behavior, especially vocalization, of the various species, and how it varies by geographic location and environmental conditions. In 1995 we conducted roadside surveys of calling amphibians along 44 routes in North Dakota. We describe results of that survey, with special attention given to variables that influence detectability of calling amphibians. Unlike similar studies, we accounted for the amount of time observers spent listening for amphibians under different conditions. We found that the optimal conditions for a single survey for North Dakota in that year would be in early June, between the hours of 2300 and 0130, with ambient temperatures above 13 deg. C, and with no rain and little or no wind or moonlight. Multiple surveys in a year would yield better results, of course, especially for the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), which is most active earlier in the season. Studies such as ours should be replicated in space and time to ensure a well-designed survey.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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.

  10. Aquatic eutrophication promotes pathogenic infection in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Pieter T J; Chase, Jonathan M; Dosch, Katherine L; Hartson, Richard B; Gross, Jackson A; Larson, Don J; Sutherland, Daniel R; Carpenter, Stephen R

    2007-10-02

    The widespread emergence of human and wildlife diseases has challenged ecologists to understand how large-scale agents of environmental change affect host-pathogen interactions. Accelerated eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems owing to nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment is a pervasive form of environmental change that has been implicated in the emergence of diseases through direct and indirect pathways. We provide experimental evidence linking eutrophication and disease in a multihost parasite system. The trematode parasite Ribeiroia ondatrae sequentially infects birds, snails, and amphibian larvae, frequently causing severe limb deformities and mortality. Eutrophication has been implicated in the emergence of this parasite, but definitive evidence, as well as a mechanistic understanding, have been lacking until now. We show that the effects of eutrophication cascade through the parasite life cycle to promote algal production, the density of snail hosts, and, ultimately, the intensity of infection in amphibians. Infection also negatively affected the survival of developing amphibians. Mechanistically, eutrophication promoted amphibian disease through two distinctive pathways: by increasing the density of infected snail hosts and by enhancing per-snail production of infectious parasites. Given forecasted increases in global eutrophication, amphibian extinctions, and similarities between Ribeiroia and important human and wildlife pathogens, our results have broad epidemiological and ecological significance.

  11. 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.

  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 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...

  14. Sex-linked genes and linkage maps in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Sumida, M; Nishioka1, M

    2000-06-01

    This paper reviews sex-linked genes and linkage maps in amphibians. It appears that there is no common ancestral or conserved sex-linkage group in amphibians, whereas an important proportion of other linkage groups has been conserved in amphibians. Comparisons of amphibian linkage maps with those of fishes and mammals reveal several syntenic associations apparently conserved over a very long period of vertebrate divergence.

  15. When Is It Nail Fungus?

    MedlinePlus

    ... medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167455.html When Is It Nail Fungus? Dermatologist says only an expert can ... but you shouldn't be embarrassed to discuss it with a board-certified dermatologist, who can help ...

  16. 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. Copyright © 2016 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Emesis and space motion sickness in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Naitoh, T; Yamashita, M; Izumi-Kurotani, A; Takabatake, I; Wassersug, R J

    2000-01-01

    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.

  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. 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

  2. Estivation in South American amphibians and reptiles.

    PubMed

    Abe, A S

    1995-01-01

    A number of amphibians and reptiles have cyclic behavior, becoming inactive with the coming of the dry season. In South America this pattern of activity is common, particularly in savannah-like vegetation. During the dry season amphibians burrow into the mud or soil, and either form a cocoon or increase the osmotic concentration of body fluids to reduce evaporative water loss. Some phyllomedusid tree frogs coat their body surface with skin secretion and excrete uric acid to minimize water loss. Reptiles also retreat into shelter deep enough to avoid temperature fluctuation during estivation or reduce metabolic response to temperature. Reduction of temperature sensitivity of the metabolism seems to be a strategy common to estivating amphibians and reptiles. Despite seasonal change of the environment, some species of reptiles are active all year round.

  3. 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

  4. Vulnerability of amphibians to climate change: implications for rangeland management

    Treesearch

    Karen E. Bagne; Deborah M. Finch; Megan M. Friggens

    2011-01-01

    Many amphibian populations have declined drastically in recent years due to a large number of factors including the emerging threat of climate change (Wake 2007). Rangelands provide important habitat for amphibians. In addition to natural wetlands, stock tanks and other artificial water catchments provide habitat for many amphibian species (Euliss et al. 2004).

  5. Differential host susceptibility to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an emerging amphibian pathogen

    Treesearch

    C.L. Searle; S.S. Gervasi; J. Hua; J.I. Hammond; R.A. Relyea; D.H. Olson; A.R. Blaustein

    2011-01-01

    The amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has received considerable attention due to its role in amphibian population declines worldwide. Although many amphibian species appear to be affected by Bd, there is little information on species-specific differences in susceptibility to this pathogen. We used a comparative...

  6. Amphibians and wildfire in the U.S. Northwest

    Treesearch

    Blake R. Hossack

    2006-01-01

    Recent evidence of amphibian declines along with outbreaks of large wildfires in western North American conifer forests has underscored our lack of knowledge about effects of fire on amphibians in these ecosystems. Understanding the connection between amphibian declines and wildfire is proving complex in some areas because the past century of fire suppression and other...

  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. Common procedures in reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    de la Navarre, Byron J S

    2006-05-01

    Reptiles and amphibians continue to be popular as pets in the United States and throughout the world. It therefore behooves veterinarians interested in caring for these exotic species to continually gather knowledge concerning both their proper husbandry and the conditions that require medical and/or surgical intervention. This article covers husbandry, physical examination, and clinical and diagnostic techniques in an effort to present guidelines for the evaluation of the reptile or amphibian patient. Gathering clinical data will aid veterinarians in arriving at the proper diagnosis,increasing the chances of success with treatment protocols, and educating the clients in proper nutrition and husbandry for their pets.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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)

  14. Biogeography of amphibians and reptiles in Arizona

    Treesearch

    Eric W. Stitt; Theresa M. Mau-Crimmins; Don E. Swann

    2005-01-01

    We examined patterns of species richness for amphibians and reptiles in Arizona and evaluated patterns in species distribution between ecoregions based on species range size. In Arizona, the Sonoran Desert has the highest herpetofauna diversity, and the southern ecoregions are more similar than other regions. There appear to be distinct low- and mid-elevational...

  15. 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, ...

  16. 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.

  17. Amphibian Population Sensitivity to Environmental and ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Anticipating chronic effects of contaminant exposure on amphibian species is complicated both by toxicological and ecological uncertainty. Data for both chemical exposures and amphibian vital rates, including altered growth, are sparse. Developmental plasticity in amphibians further complicates evaluation of chemical impacts as metamorphosis is also influenced by other biotic and abiotic stressors, such as temperature, hydroperiod, predation, and conspecific density. Determining the effect of delayed tadpole development on survival through metamorphosis and subsequent recruitment must include possible effects of pond drying accelerating metamorphosis near the end of the larval stage. This model considers the combined influence of delayed onset of metamorphosis in a cohort as well as accelerated metamorphosis toward the end of the hydroperiod and determines the net influence of counteracting forces on tadpole development and survival. Amphibian populations with greater initial density dependence have less capacity for developmental plasticity and are therefore more vulnerable to delayed development and reduced hydroperiod. The consequential reduction in larval survival has a relatively greater impact on species with a shorter lifespan, allowing for fewer breeding seasons during which to successfully produce offspring. In response to risk assessment approaches that consider only survival and reproductive endpoints in population evaluation, we calculate conta

  18. 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)

  19. Relictual amphibians and old-growth forest

    Treesearch

    H.H. Welsh

    1990-01-01

    Terrestrial and aquatic herpetofauna were sampled by pitfall traps, time-constrained searches, and areaconstrained searches (stream sites only) over a three-year period to examine the importance of forest age to amphibians and reptiles. Fifty-four terrestrial and 39 aquatic sites in Douglas-fir-dominated, mixed evergreen forests were located in southwestern Oregon and...

  20. 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, ...

  1. Sampling methods for terrestrial amphibians and reptiles.

    Treesearch

    Paul Stephen Corn; R. Bruce. Bury

    1990-01-01

    Methods described for sampling amphibians and reptiles in Douglas-fir forests in the Pacific Northwest include pitfall trapping, time-constrained collecting, and surveys of coarse woody debris. The herpetofauna of this region differ in breeding and nonbreeding habitats and vagility, so that no single technique is sufficient for a community study. A combination of...

  2. 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)

  3. Amphibian pathogens in Southeast Asian frog trade.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Martin; Bickford, David; Clark, Leanne; Johnson, Arlyne; Joyner, Priscilla H; Ogg Keatts, Lucy; Khammavong, Kongsy; Nguyễn Văn, Long; Newton, Alisa; Seow, Tiffany P W; Roberton, Scott; Silithammavong, Soubanh; Singhalath, Sinpakhone; Yang, Angela; Seimon, Tracie A

    2012-12-01

    Amphibian trade is known to facilitate the geographic spread of pathogens. Here we assess the health of amphibians traded in Southeast Asia for food or as pets, focusing on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), ranavirus and general clinical condition. Samples were collected from 2,389 individual animals at 51 sites in Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore for Bd screening, and 74 animals in Cambodia and Vietnam for ranavirus screening. Bd was found in one frog (n = 347) in Cambodia and 13 in Singapore (n = 419). No Bd was found in Lao PDR (n = 1,126) or Vietnam (n = 497), and no ranavirus was found in Cambodia (n = 70) or Vietnam (n = 4). Mild to severe dermatological lesions were observed in all East Asian bullfrogs Hoplobatrachus rugolosus (n = 497) sampled in farms in Vietnam. Histologic lesions consistent with sepsis were found within the lesions of three frogs and bacterial sepsis in two (n = 4); one had Gram-negative bacilli and one had acid-fast organisms consistent with mycobacterium sp. These results confirm that Bd is currently rare in amphibian trade in Southeast Asia. The presence of Mycobacterium-associated disease in farmed H. rugolosus is a cause for concern, as it may have public health implications and indicates the need for improved biosecurity in amphibian farming and trade.

  4. Managing Amphibian Disease with Skin Microbiota.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Bletz, Molly; Kueneman, Jordan; McKenzie, Valerie

    2016-03-01

    The contribution of emerging amphibian diseases to the sixth mass extinction is driving innovative wildlife management strategies, including the use of probiotics. Bioaugmentation of the skin mucosome, a dynamic environment including host and microbial components, may not provide a generalized solution. Multi-omics technologies and ecological context underlie effective implementation.

  5. Managing Amphibian Disease with Skin Microbiota.

    PubMed

    Woodhams, Douglas C; Bletz, Molly; Kueneman, Jordan; McKenzie, Valerie

    2016-01-16

    The contribution of emerging amphibian diseases to the sixth mass extinction is driving innovative wildlife management strategies, including the use of probiotics. Bioaugmentation of the skin mucosome, a dynamic environment including host and microbial components, may not provide a generalized solution. Multi-omics technologies and ecological context underlie effective implementation.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Culture Media and Individual Hosts Affect the Recovery of Culturable Bacterial Diversity from Amphibian Skin.

    PubMed

    Medina, Daniel; Walke, Jenifer B; Gajewski, Zachary; Becker, Matthew H; Swartwout, Meredith C; Belden, Lisa K

    2017-01-01

    One current challenge in microbial ecology is elucidating the functional roles of the large diversity of free-living and host-associated bacteria identified by culture-independent molecular methods. Importantly, the characterization of this immense bacterial diversity will likely require merging data from culture-independent approaches with work on bacterial isolates in culture. Amphibian skin bacterial communities have become a recent focus of work in host-associated microbial systems due to the potential role of these skin bacteria in host defense against the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which is associated with global amphibian population declines and extinctions. As there is evidence that some skin bacteria may inhibit growth of Bd and prevent infection in some cases, there is interest in using these bacteria as probiotic therapy for conservation of at-risk amphibians. In this study, we used skin swabs from American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) to: (1) assess the diversity and community structure of culturable amphibian skin bacteria grown on high and low nutrient culture media, (2) determine which culture media recover the highest proportion of the total skin bacterial community of individual toads relative to culture-independent data, and (3) assess whether the plated communities from the distinct media types vary in their ability to inhibit Bd growth in in-vitro assays. Overall, we found that culture media with low nutrient concentrations facilitated the growth of more diverse bacterial taxa and grew distinct communities relative to media with higher nutrient concentrations. Use of low nutrient media also resulted in culturing proportionally more of the bacterial diversity on individual toads relative to the overall community defined using culture-independent methods. However, while there were differences in diversity among media types, the variation among individual hosts was greater than variation among media types, suggesting that

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. 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."

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    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%) were parasitized by 1 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 2 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Implementing Herpetofaunal Inventory and Monitoring Efforts on Corps of Engineers Project Lands

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-05-01

    Southwestern Pond TurtleS, Western Pond Turtle, Blunt- nosed Leopard LizardFED-E, San Joaquin CoachwhipS, California Red- legged FrogFED-T, Foothill...ups can have severe impacts on local snake populations. Finally, global amphibian populations have been impacted by the patho- genic chytrid fungus ...photo by John White ). Careful attention must be placed on a standardized number of seine sam- ples, or dipnet sweeps for long-term monitoring and

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. [Application of ND-FISH in amphibians].

    PubMed

    Chang, Xiao-Ai; Xia, Yun; Zeng, Xiao-Mao

    2013-12-01

    The recently popularized non-denaturing fluorescence in situ hybridization (ND-FISH) is a new technique that is both quick and efficient, in part because denaturing of both of the probes and the chromosomes is unnecessary. Synthetic simple sequence repeats (SSRs) labeled with fluorescein are used as probes to detect SSR-enriched chromosome regions and provide markers to identify the chromosomes. To date this method has not been applied to amphibians, even though the polymorphism of the distribution of SSRs may help to advance genetic polymorphism research. This paper also improved the double-colour FISH method by simultaneously using probes labelled with fluorescein and probes labelled with DIG to get double-color signals. This study found 5 SSRs markers that may be useful in the polymorphism research, and that the amphibian chromosomes must be denatured in ND-FISH.

  3. Neurosteroid Biosynthesis in the Brain of Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Vaudry, Hubert; Do Rego, Jean-Luc; Burel, Delphine; Luu-The, Van; Pelletier, Georges; Vaudry, David; Tsutsui, Kazuyoshi

    2011-01-01

    Amphibians have been widely used to investigate the synthesis of biologically active steroids in the brain and the regulation of neurosteroid production by neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. The aim of the present review is to summarize the current knowledge regarding the neuroanatomical distribution and biochemical activity of steroidogenic enzymes in the brain of anurans and urodeles. The data accumulated over the past two decades demonstrate that discrete populations of neurons and/or glial cells in the frog and newt brains express the major steroidogenic enzymes and are able to synthesize de novo a number of neurosteroids from cholesterol/pregnenolone. Since neurosteroidogenesis has been conserved during evolution from amphibians to mammals, it appears that neurosteroids must play important physiological functions in the central nervous system of vertebrates. PMID:22649387

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Reproduction and larval rearing of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Browne, Robert K; Zippel, Kevin

    2007-01-01

    Reproduction technologies for amphibians are increasingly used for the in vitro treatment of ovulation, spermiation, oocytes, eggs, sperm, and larvae. Recent advances in these reproduction technologies have been driven by (1) difficulties with achieving reliable reproduction of threatened species in captive breeding programs, (2) the need for the efficient reproduction of laboratory model species, and (3) the cost of maintaining increasing numbers of amphibian gene lines for both research and conservation. Many amphibians are particularly well suited to the use of reproduction technologies due to external fertilization and development. However, due to limitations in our knowledge of reproductive mechanisms, it is still necessary to reproduce many species in captivity by the simulation of natural reproductive cues. Recent advances in reproduction technologies for amphibians include improved hormonal induction of oocytes and sperm, storage of sperm and oocytes, artificial fertilization, and high-density rearing of larvae to metamorphosis. The storage of sperm in particular can both increase the security and reduce the cost of maintaining genetic diversity. It is possible to cryopreserve sperm for millennia, or store it unfrozen for weeks in refrigerators. The storage of sperm can enable multiple parentages of individual females' clutches of eggs and reduce the need to transport animals. Cryopreserved sperm can maintain the gene pool indefinitely, reduce the optimum number of males in captive breeding programs, and usher in new generations of Xenopus spp. germ lines for research. Improved in vitro fertilization using genetic diversity from stored sperm means that investigators need the oocytes from only a few females to produce genetically diverse progeny. In both research and captive breeding programs, it is necessary to provide suitable conditions for the rearing of large numbers of a diverse range of species. Compared with traditional systems, the raising of larvae

  9. Langerhans-like cells in amphibian epidermis.

    PubMed

    Carrillo-Farga, J; Castell, A; Pérez, A; Rondán, A

    1990-10-01

    Langerhans cells have been described in epidermis and other stratified epithelia of mammals. In other vertebrates equivalent cells have not been found. Am