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Sample records for amphibian population declines

  1. Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines.

    PubMed Central

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

    1999-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. AMPHIBIAN DECLINE, ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION AND LOCAL POPULATION ADAPTATION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  8. AMPHIBIAN DECLINE, ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION AND LOCAL POPULATION ADAPTATION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  9. Multiple stressor effects in relation to declining amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Linder, Greg L.; Krest, Sherry K.; Sparling, Donald; Little, E.

    2003-01-01

    Original research discusses the protocols and approaches to studying the effects of multiple environmental stressors on amphibian populations and gives new perspectives on this complicated subject. This new publication integrates a variety of stressors that can act in concert and may ultimately cause a decline in amphibian populations.Sixteen peer-reviewed papers cover:Toxicity Assessment examines methods, which range from long-established laboratory approaches for evaluating adverse chemical effects to amphibians, to methods that link chemicals in surface waters, sediments, and soils with adverse effects observed among amphibians in the field.Field and Laboratory Studies illustrates studies in the evaluation of multiple stressor effects that may lead to declining amphibian populations. A range of laboratory and field studies of chemicals, such as herbicides, insecticides, chlorinated organic compounds, metals, and complex mixtures are also included.Causal Analysis demonstrates the range of tools currently available for evaluating "cause-effect" relationships between environmental stressors and declining amphibian populations.Audience: This new publication is a must-have for scientists and resource management professionals from diverse fields, including ecotoxicology, chemistry, ecology, field biology, conservation biology, and natural resource management.

  10. Pesticides and amphibian population declines in California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, Donald W.; Fellers, Gary M.; McConnell, Laura L.

    2001-01-01

    Several species of anuran amphibians have undergone drastic population declines in the western United States over the last 10 to 15 years. In California, the most severe declines are in the Sierra Mountains east of the Central Valley and downwind of the intensely agricultural San Joaquin Valley. In contrast, coastal and more northern populations across from the less agrarian Sacramento Valley are stable or declining less precipitously. In this article, we provide evidence that pesticides are instrumental in declines of these species. Using Hyla regilla as a sentinel species, we found that cholinesterase (ChE) activity in tadpoles was depressed in mountainous areas east of the Central Valley compared with sites along the coast or north of the Valley. Cholinesterase was also lower in areas where ranid population status was poor or moderate compared with areas with good ranid status. Up to 50% of the sampled population in areas with reduced ChE had detectable organophosphorus residues, with concentrations as high as 190 ppb wet weight. In addition, up to 86% of some populations had measurable endosulfan concentrations and 40% had detectable 4,4'- dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, 4,4'-DDT, and 2,4'-DDT residues.

  11. FACTORS IMPLICATED IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES IN THE UNITED STATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study identified the factors responsible for the decline of native amphibians in the U.S. The type of land use, the introduction of exotic animal species, and chemical contamination were identified as the most likely causes of decline.

  12. UV-B Radiation Contributes to Amphibian Population Declines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blaustein, Andrew

    2007-05-01

    UV-B (280-315 nm) radiation is the most significant biologically damaging radiation at the terrestrial surface. At the organismal level, UV-B radiation can slow growth rates, cause immune dysfunction and result in sublethal damage. UV-B radiation can lead to mutations and cell death. Over evolutionary time, UV radiation has been an important stressor on living organisms. Natural events, including impacts from comets and asteroids, volcanic activity, supernova explosions and solar flares, can cause large-scale ozone depletion with accompanying increases in UV radiation. However, these natural events are transient. Moreover, the amount of ozone damage due to natural events depends upon a number of variables, including the magnitude of the event. This is different from modern-day human-induced production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals that deplete stratospheric ozone continuously, resulting in long-term increases in UV-B radiation at the surface of the earth. We will briefly review the effects of UV-B exposure in one group of aquatic organisms_amphibians. UV-B has been implicated as a possible factor contributing to global declines and range reductions in amphibian populations.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krest, S.K.; Linder, G.; Sparling, D.W.; Linder, Gregory L.; Krest, Sherry K.; Sparling, Donald W.; Little, Edward E.

    2003-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. FACTORS IMPLICATED IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES IN THE UNITED STATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Factors adversely affecting amphibian populations in the US were evaluated using information from species accounts written in a standardized format by multiple authors (Volume 2 of this book). For each species, factors implicated by the authors (i.e., known or suspected) as affec...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  18. Garter snakes distributions in high elevation aquatic ecosystems: Is there a link with declining amphibian populations and nonnative trout introductions?

    Treesearch

    K.R. Matthews; R.A. Knapp; K.L. Pope

    2002-01-01

    ABSTRACT.—The dramatic amphibian population declines reported worldwide likely have important effects on their predators. In the Sierra Nevada, where amphibian declines are well documented and some are closely tied to the introduction of nonnative trout, the mountain garter snake, Thamnophis elegans elegans, preys predominately on amphibians. We surveyed 2103 high-...

  19. Habitat split as a cause of local population declines of amphibians with aquatic larvae.

    PubMed

    Becker, C Guilherme; Fonseca, Carlos R; Haddad, Célio F B; Prado, Paulo I

    2010-02-01

    Most amphibian species have biphasic life histories and undergo an ontogenetic shift from aquatic to terrestrial habitats. In deforested landscapes, streams and forest fragments are frequently disjunct, jeopardizing the life cycle of forest-associated amphibians with aquatic larvae. We tested the impact of habitat split--defined as human-induced disconnection between habitats used by different life-history stages of a species--on four forest-associated amphibian species in a severely fragmented landscape of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. We surveyed amphibians in forest fragments with and without streams (referred to as wet and dry fragments, respectively), including the adjacent grass-field matrix. Our comparison of capture rates in dry fragments and nearby streams in the matrix allowed us to evaluate the number of individuals that engaged in high-risk migrations through nonforested habitats. Adult amphibians moved from dry fragments to matrix streams at the beginning of the rainy season, reproduced, and returned at the end of the breeding period. Juveniles of the year moved to dry fragments along with adults. These risky reproductive migrations through nonforested habitats that expose individuals to dehydration, predation, and other hazards may cause population declines in dry fragments. Indeed, capture rates were significantly lower in dry fragments compared with wet fragments. Declining amphibians would strongly benefit from investments in the conservation and restoration of riparian vegetation and corridors linking breeding and nonbreeding areas.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Carey, C

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Carey, C

    2000-03-01

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

  4. Toxicity of two insecticides to California, USA, anurans and its relevance to declining amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.; Fellers, G.M.

    2009-01-01

    Contaminants have been associated with population declines of several amphibian species in California (USA). Pesticides from the Central Valley of California are transported by winds into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and precipitate into wet meadows where amphibians breed. The present study examined the chronic toxicity of two of the insecticides most commonly used in the Central Valley and found in the mountains, chlorpyrifos and endosulfan, to larval Pacific treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla) and foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii) and discusses the implications of this toxicity to declining amphibian populations. Larvae were exposed to the pesticides from Gosner stages 25 to 26 through metamorphosis. The estimated median lethal concentration (LC50) for chlorpyrifos was 365 ??g/L in P. regilla and 66.5 ??g/L for R. boylii. Time to metamorphosis increased with concentration of chlorpyrifos in both species, and cholinesterase activity declined with exposure concentration in metamorphs of both species at Gosner stages 42 to 46. For endosulfan, the estimated LC50 was 15.6 ??g/L for P. regilla and 0.55 ??g/L for R. boylii. All R. boylii exposed to concentrations of greater than 0.8 ??g/L died before they entered metamorphosis. Pseudacris regilla remains relatively abundant and is broadly distributed throughout California. In contrast, R. boylii is among the species experiencing severe population declines. The present study adds to the increasing evidence that pesticides are very harmful to amphibians living in areas that are miles from sources of pesticide application. ?? 2009 SETAC.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-19

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

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

    Treesearch

    Hartwell H. Welsh Jr.; Gary M. Fellers; Amy J. Lind

    2007-01-01

    Amphibian declines have been documented worldwide; however the vast majority are species associated with aquatic habitats. Information on the status and trends of terrestrial amphibians is almost entirely lacking. Here we use data collected across a 12-yr period (sampling from 1984–86 and from 1993–95) to address the question of whether evidence exists for declines...

  7. Rapid Global Expansion of the Fungal Disease Chytridiomycosis into Declining and Healthy Amphibian Populations

    PubMed Central

    James, Timothy Y.; Litvintseva, Anastasia P.; Vilgalys, Rytas; Morgan, Jess A. T.; Taylor, John W.; Fisher, Matthew C.; Berger, Lee; Weldon, Ché; du Preez, Louis; Longcore, Joyce E.

    2009-01-01

    The fungal disease chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is enigmatic because it occurs globally in both declining and apparently healthy (non-declining) amphibian populations. This distribution has fueled debate concerning whether, in sites where it has recently been found, the pathogen was introduced or is endemic. In this study, we addressed the molecular population genetics of a global collection of fungal strains from both declining and healthy amphibian populations using DNA sequence variation from 17 nuclear loci and a large fragment from the mitochondrial genome. We found a low rate of DNA polymorphism, with only two sequence alleles detected at each locus, but a high diversity of diploid genotypes. Half of the loci displayed an excess of heterozygous genotypes, consistent with a primarily clonal mode of reproduction. Despite the absence of obvious sex, genotypic diversity was high (44 unique genotypes out of 59 strains). We provide evidence that the observed genotypic variation can be generated by loss of heterozygosity through mitotic recombination. One strain isolated from a bullfrog possessed as much allelic diversity as the entire global sample, suggesting the current epidemic can be traced back to the outbreak of a single clonal lineage. These data are consistent with the current chytridiomycosis epidemic resulting from a novel pathogen undergoing a rapid and recent range expansion. The widespread occurrence of the same lineage in both healthy and declining populations suggests that the outcome of the disease is contingent on environmental factors and host resistance. PMID:19478871

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. RENO, NV, JANUARY 15, 2004: FACTORS IMPLICATED IN AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES IN THE UNITED STATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Factors known or suspected to be adversely affecting native amphibian populations in the US were identified using information from 267 species accounts written in a standardized format by multiple authors in the forthcoming book, 'Status and Conservation of U.S. Amphibians'. Spec...

  13. Dramatic declines in neotropical salamander populations are an important part of the global amphibian crisis

    PubMed Central

    Rovito, Sean M.; Parra-Olea, Gabriela; Vásquez-Almazán, Carlos R.; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Wake, David B.

    2009-01-01

    We document major declines of many species of salamanders at several sites in Central America and Mexico, with emphasis on the San Marcos region of Guatemala, one of the best studied and most diverse salamander communities in the Neotropics. Profound declines of several formerly abundant species, including 2 apparent extinctions, are revealed. Terrestrial microhabitat specialists at mid- to high elevations have declined more than microhabitat generalists. These terrestrial microhabitat specialists have largely disappeared from multiple sites in western Guatemala, including in well-protected areas, suggesting that the phenomenon cannot be explained solely by localized habitat destruction. Major declines in southern Mexican plethodontid salamanders occurred in the late 1970s to early 1980s, concurrent with or preceding many reported frog declines. The species in decline comprise several major evolutionary lineages of tropical salamanders, underscoring that significant portions of the phylogenetic diversity of Neotropical salamanders are at risk. Our results highlight the urgent need to document and understand Neotropical salamander declines as part of the larger effort to conserve global amphibian diversity. PMID:19204286

  14. 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.

  15. Overcoming challenges to the recovery of declining amphibian populations in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, Susan; Ball, Lianne C.; Barichivich, William J.; Dodd, Kenneth; Enge, Kevin M; Gorman, Thomas A.; O'Donnell, Katherine; Palis, John G; Semlitsch, Raymond D.

    2016-01-01

    The US Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) affords many potential benefits to species threatened with extinction. However, most at-risk amphibians—one of the most imperiled vertebrate groups—remain unlisted under the provisions of the ESA, and many impediments to recovery exist for those species that have been listed. Of the 35 US amphibian species and distinct population segments (“taxa”) listed under the ESA, 40% currently lack a final (completed) recovery plan, 28.6% lack designated critical habitat, and 8.6% lack both. For taxa that have recovery plans, the time between their listing and the development of those plans was from 2 to 29 years, and the time between their listing and the designation of critical habitat ranged from 0 to 14 years. The underlying causes of such delays in protection are complex and constitute obstacles to recovery of imperiled species. We outline a series of strategic actions by which these challenges may be overcome.

  16. 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,...

  17. Hydroperiod and cattle use associated with lower recruitment in an r-selected amphibian with a declining population trend in the Klamath Mountains, California

    Treesearch

    Esther M. Cole; Rosemary Hartman; Malcolm P. North

    2016-01-01

    Recent population declines in amphibians associated with mortality in early life stages highlight the need for a better understanding of the environmental factors related to successful survival to metamorphosis. In our study, we closely examine the relative importance of environmental factors to three stages of recruitment for Cascade frogs (Rana cascadae...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-05-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. Non-native fish introductions and the reversibility of amphibian declines in the Sierra Nevada

    Treesearch

    Roland A. Knapp

    2004-01-01

    Amphibians are declining worldwide for a variety of reasons, including habitat alteration, introduction of non-native species, disease, climate change, and environmental contaminants. Amphibians often play important roles in structuring ecosystems, and, as a result, amphibian population declines or extinctions are likely to affect other trophic levels (Matthews and...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Amphibian decline: An integrated analysis of multiple stressor effects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

    Capturing the attention and imagination of the public and the scientific community alike, the mysterious decline in amphibian populations drew scientists and resource managers from ecotoxicology and chemistry, ecology and field biology, conservation biology, and natural resource policy to a SETAC–Johnson Foundation workshop. Facilitating environmental stewardship, increasing capacity of the sciences to explain complex stressors, and educating the public on relationships among communities of all types motivated these experts to address amphibian decline and the role of various stressors in these losses.

  9. Amphibian and reptile declines over 35 years at La Selva, Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Steven M; Bell, Kristen E; Philippi, Thomas; Sasa, Mahmood; Bolaños, Federico; Chaves, Gerardo; Savage, Jay M; Donnelly, Maureen A

    2007-05-15

    Amphibians stand at the forefront of a global biodiversity crisis. More than one-third of amphibian species are globally threatened, and over 120 species have likely suffered global extinction since 1980. Most alarmingly, many rapid declines and extinctions are occurring in pristine sites lacking obvious adverse effects of human activities. The causes of these "enigmatic" declines remain highly contested. Still, lack of long-term data on amphibian populations severely limits our understanding of the distribution of amphibian declines, and therefore the ultimate causes of these declines. Here, we identify a systematic community-wide decline in populations of terrestrial amphibians at La Selva Biological Station, a protected old-growth lowland rainforest in lower Central America. We use data collected over 35 years to show that population density of all species of terrestrial amphibians has declined by approximately 75% since 1970, and we show identical trends for all species of common reptiles. The trends we identify are neither consistent with recent emergence of chytridiomycosis nor the climate-linked epidemic hypothesis, two leading putative causes of enigmatic amphibian declines. Instead, our data suggest that declines are due to climate-driven reductions in the quantity of standing leaf litter, a critical microhabitat for amphibians and reptiles in this assemblage. Our results raise further concerns about the global persistence of amphibian populations by identifying widespread declines in species and habitats that are not currently recognized as susceptible to such risks.

  10. Amphibian and reptile declines over 35 years at La Selva, Costa Rica

    PubMed Central

    Whitfield, Steven M.; Bell, Kristen E.; Philippi, Thomas; Sasa, Mahmood; Bolaños, Federico; Chaves, Gerardo; Savage, Jay M.; Donnelly, Maureen A.

    2007-01-01

    Amphibians stand at the forefront of a global biodiversity crisis. More than one-third of amphibian species are globally threatened, and over 120 species have likely suffered global extinction since 1980. Most alarmingly, many rapid declines and extinctions are occurring in pristine sites lacking obvious adverse effects of human activities. The causes of these “enigmatic” declines remain highly contested. Still, lack of long-term data on amphibian populations severely limits our understanding of the distribution of amphibian declines, and therefore the ultimate causes of these declines. Here, we identify a systematic community-wide decline in populations of terrestrial amphibians at La Selva Biological Station, a protected old-growth lowland rainforest in lower Central America. We use data collected over 35 years to show that population density of all species of terrestrial amphibians has declined by ≈75% since 1970, and we show identical trends for all species of common reptiles. The trends we identify are neither consistent with recent emergence of chytridiomycosis nor the climate-linked epidemic hypothesis, two leading putative causes of enigmatic amphibian declines. Instead, our data suggest that declines are due to climate-driven reductions in the quantity of standing leaf litter, a critical microhabitat for amphibians and reptiles in this assemblage. Our results raise further concerns about the global persistence of amphibian populations by identifying widespread declines in species and habitats that are not currently recognized as susceptible to such risks. PMID:17449638

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.; Hoffman, David J.; Rattner, Barnett A.; Burton, G. Allen; Cairns, John=

    2003-01-01

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

  12. Neotropical Amphibian Declines Affect Stream Ecosystem Properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-05-01

    Global declines of amphibians are well documented, yet effects of these dramatic losses on ecosystem structure and function are poorly understood. As part of a larger collaborative project, we compared two upland Panamanian streams. Both streams are biologically and geologically similar; however, one stream (Fortuna) has recently experienced almost complete extirpation of stream-dwelling frogs, while the other (Cope) still has intact populations. We experimentally excluded tadpoles from localized areas in each stream. We then compared chlorophyll a, algal community composition, ash-free dry mass (AFDM), inorganic matter, and insect assemblages in control and exclusion areas. Additionally, we sampled the natural substrate of both streams monthly for chlorophyll a, algal community composition, AFDM, and inorganic matter. At Cope, chlorophyll a, AFDM, and inorganic matter were greater in areas where tadpoles were excluded than in their presence. Numbers of dominant algal species (e.g., Nupela praecipua and Eunotia siolii) were greater in the exclusion versus control treatments. Monthly sampling of natural substrate indicated higher chlorophyll a and AFDM at Cope compared to Fortuna. Our data suggest that stream-dwelling anuran larvae have significant impacts on algal communities. These results also have implications for predicting the relevance of short-term experimental manipulations to long-term, whole-stream processes.

  13. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide.

    PubMed

    Stuart, Simon N; Chanson, Janice S; Cox, Neil A; Young, Bruce E; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Fischman, Debra L; Waller, Robert W

    2004-12-03

    The first global assessment of amphibians provides new context for the well-publicized phenomenon of amphibian declines. Amphibians are more threatened and are declining more rapidly than either birds or mammals. Although many declines are due to habitat loss and overutilization, other, unidentified processes threaten 48% of rapidly declining species and are driving species most quickly to extinction. Declines are nonrandom in terms of species' ecological preferences, geographic ranges, and taxonomic associations and are most prevalent among Neotropical montane, stream-associated species. The lack of conservation remedies for these poorly understood declines means that hundreds of amphibian species now face extinction.

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

    PubMed Central

    KNAPP, Roland A.; BOIANO, Daniel M.; VREDENBURG, Vance T.

    2007-01-01

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

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, Louise A

    2009-08-01

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

  17. Habitat split and the global decline of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Becker, Carlos Guilherme; Fonseca, Carlos Roberto; Haddad, Célio Fernando Baptista; Batista, Rômulo Fernandes; Prado, Paulo Inácio

    2007-12-14

    The worldwide decline in amphibians has been attributed to several causes, especially habitat loss and disease. We identified a further factor, namely "habitat split"-defined as human-induced disconnection between habitats used by different life history stages of a species-which forces forest-associated amphibians with aquatic larvae to make risky breeding migrations between suitable aquatic and terrestrial habitats. In the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, we found that habitat split negatively affects the richness of species with aquatic larvae but not the richness of species with terrestrial development (the latter can complete their life cycle inside forest remnants). This mechanism helps to explain why species with aquatic larvae have the highest incidence of population decline. These findings reinforce the need for the conservation and restoration of riparian vegetation.

  18. Alien mink predation induces prolonged declines in archipelago amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Ahola, Markus; Nordström, Mikael; Banks, Peter B; Laanetu, Nikolai; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2006-01-01

    Amphibians are undergoing enigmatic global declines variously attributed to a complex web of anthropogenic forces. Alien predators pose a fundamental threat to biodiversity generally that is predicted to be most acute in island ecosystems. While amphibian eggs and tadpoles are vulnerable to aquatic predators, the effect of predators on adult, reproducing frogs, which most influence amphibian population processes, is unknown. Here, we report on the responses of amphibian populations in the outer Finnish Archipelago to a long-term, large-scale removal of American mink (Mustela vison Schreb.), an invasive predator linked to recent biodiversity loss across Europe. Removal increased both the densities and distribution of common frogs (Rana temporaria L.) but not those of common toads (Bufo bufo L.), which appear to escape mink predation because of their unpalatable skin. Importantly, the largest benefits of mink removal to frog recovery were slow to appear as frogs apparently have a delayed maturation in these harsh environments, which means we must be cautious about reliance upon short-term results. PMID:16720400

  19. What we know and don't know about amphibian declines in the West

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen

    1994-01-01

    The problem of declining amphibian species is thought to be particularly acute in western North America, but there are many gaps in our knowledge. Although several declines have been well-documented, other declines are anecdotal or hypothesized. Most documented declines are of ranid frogs or toads (Bufo). Species from montane habitats and those occurring in California have been best studied. Status of many desert species is unknown. Habitat destruction and introduced predators are the most common threats to amphibian populations. Some declines may represent natural variation in population size. Causes have not been determined for several cases where common species have declined over large areas. There are important considerations for ecosystem management, whether changes in amphibian populations are natural or caused by human activities. Causes for declines must be known so that management can be prescribed (or proscribed) to eliminate or minimize these causes. The natural variability of amphibian population numbers and the complexity of metapopulation structure emphasize the necessity of considering multiple temporal and spatial scales in ecosystem management. The decline of amphibian species throughout the world has received considerable recent attention (e.g., Blaustein and Wake 1990, Griffiths and Beebee 1992, Yoffe 1992). Much of this attention derives from a workshop held in February, 1990 on declining amphibians sponsored by the National Research Council Board (NRC) on Biology in Irvine, California (Barinaga 1990, Borchelt 1990). Because of media attention in the aftermath of this conference, it is a popular perception that amphibian declines are a new phenomenon that herpetologists have been slow to recognize (Griffiths and Beebee 1992, Quammen 1993). However, concern about amphibian populations in the United States dates back over 20 years. Beginning in the 1960s, a large, well-documented decline of northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) occurred in the

  20. Evaluation of episodic acidification and amphibian declines in the Rocky Mountains

    Treesearch

    Frank A. Vertucci; Paul Stephen Corn

    1996-01-01

    We define criteria for documenting episodic acidification of amphibian breeding habitats and examine whether episodic acidification is responsible for observed declines of amphibian populations in the Rocky Mountains. Anthropogenic episodic acidification, caused by atmospheric deposition of sulfate and nitrate, occurs when the concentration of acid anions increases...

  1. Count data, detection probabilities, and the demography, dynamics, distribution, and decline of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2003-08-01

    The evidence for amphibian population declines is based on count data that were not adjusted for detection probabilities. Such data are not reliable even when collected using standard methods. The formula C = Np (where C is a count, N the true parameter value, and p is a detection probability) relates count data to demography, population size, or distributions. With unadjusted count data, one assumes a linear relationship between C and N and that p is constant. These assumptions are unlikely to be met in studies of amphibian populations. Amphibian population data should be based on methods that account for detection probabilities.

  2. 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

  3. Relationship Between Landscape Character, UV Exposure, and Amphibian Decline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Reilly, C. M.; Brooks, P. D.; Corn, P. S.; Muths, E.; Campbell, D. H.; Diamond, S.; Tonnessen, K.

    2001-12-01

    Widespread reports of amphibian declines have been considered a warning of large-scale environmental degradation, yet the reasons for these declines remain unclear. This study suggests that exposure to ultraviolet radiation may act as an environmental stressor that affects population breeding success or susceptibility to disease. Ultraviolet radiation is attenuated by dissolved and particulate compounds in water, which may be of either terrestrial or aquatic origin. UV attenuation by dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is primarily due to compounds in the fulvic acid fraction, which originate in soil environments. These terrestrially-derived fulvic acids are transported to during hydrologic flushing events such as snowmelt and episodic precipitation and play an important role in controlling UV exposure in surface waters. As part of a previously published project, amphibian surveys were conducted at seventeen sites in Rocky Mountain National Park both during, and subsequent to, a three-year drought (1988 - 1990). During this period, ten sites lost one amphibian species, while only one site gained a previously unreported species. One possible explanation for these localized species losses is increased exposure to UV radiation, mediated by reduced terrestrial DOC inputs during dry periods. Several subsequent years of water chemistry data showed that the sites with documented species losses were characterized by a range of DOC concentrations, but tended to have a greater proportion of terrestrial DOC than sites that did not undergo species loss. This suggests that terrestrial inputs exert a strong control on DOC concentrations that may influence species success. We used physical environmental factors to develop a classification scheme for these sites. There are many physical factors that can influence terrestrial DOC inputs, including landscape position, geomorphology, soil type, and watershed vegetation. In addition, we considered the possible effects on internal aquatic

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-15

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  9. Amphibian decline and extinction: what we know and what we need to learn.

    PubMed

    Collins, James P

    2010-11-01

    For over 350 million yr, thousands of amphibian species have lived on Earth. Since the 1980s, amphibians have been disappearing at an alarming rate, in many cases quite suddenly. What is causing these declines and extinctions? In the modern era (post 1500) there are 6 leading causes of biodiversity loss in general, and all of these acting alone or together are responsible for modern amphibian declines: commercial use; introduced/exotic species that compete with, prey on, and parasitize native frogs and salamanders; land use change; contaminants; climate change; and infectious disease. The first 3 causes are historical in the sense that they have been operating for hundreds of years, although the rate of change due to each accelerated greatly after about the mid-20th century. Contaminants, climate change, and emerging infectious diseases are modern causes suspected of being responsible for the so-called 'enigmatic decline' of amphibians in protected areas. Introduced/exotic pathogens, land use change, and infectious disease are the 3 causes with a clear role in amphibian decline as well as extinction; thus far, the other 3 causes are only implicated in decline and not extinction. The present work is a review of the 6 causes with a focus on pathogens and suggested areas where new research is needed. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a chytrid fungus that is an emerging infectious disease causing amphibian population decline and species extinction. Historically, pathogens have not been seen as a major cause of extinction, but Bd is an exception, which is why it is such an interesting, important pathogen to understand. The late 20th and early 21st century global biodiversity loss is characterized as a sixth extinction event. Amphibians are a striking example of these losses as they disappear at a rate that greatly exceeds historical levels. Consequently, modern amphibian decline and extinction is a lens through which we can view the larger story of biodiversity

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Measuring the meltdown: drivers of global amphibian extinction and decline.

    PubMed

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

    2008-02-20

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-11

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

  16. 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)

  17. 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)

  18. Terrestrial pesticide exposure of amphibians: an underestimated cause of global decline?

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Phillips, Ben L; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-09-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ben L.; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-01-01

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

  1. Extinction debt as a driver of amphibian declines: An example with imperiled flatwoods salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Semiltsch, Raymond D; Walls, Susan; Barichivich, William J.; O'Donnell, Katherine

    2017-01-01

    A comprehensive view of population declines and their underlying causes is necessary to reverse species loss. Historically, in many cases, a narrow view may have allowed species declines to continue, virtually undetected, for long periods of time (perhaps even decades). We suggest that extinction debt is likely responsible for numerous (perhaps most) amphibian declines and that this perspective should be incorporated into the structure of amphibian research and management. Extinction debt, originally proposed to explain changes in species richness following environmental disturbance, also may refer to the proportion of populations of an individual species that is expected to eventually be lost because of habitat change. A conservation framework to address extinction debt focuses research on threats at the individual, population, and metapopulation levels. This approach will help enhance, restore, and protect specific processes and habitats at the proper scale by directing management to the most vulnerable level and stage of a species. We illustrate this approach using Flatwoods Salamanders, Ambystoma cingulatumand Ambystoma bishopi, which occurred historically throughout the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States but have experienced a greater than 85% loss of populations in recent years. Reversal of these losses is possible only if conservation and recovery efforts encompass individual, population, and metapopulation levels. We illustrate our framework by outlining actions that could be taken at each of these levels to help guide conservation and management of amphibians with complex life cycles and provide options for how to prioritize conservation actions in the face of logistical and budgetary shortfalls.

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

    PubMed

    Eskew, Evan A; Todd, Brian D

    2013-03-01

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

  3. Parallels in Amphibian and Bat Declines from Pathogenic Fungi

    PubMed Central

    Eskew, Evan A.

    2013-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

    Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought and wildfire. Aquatic and moisture-sensitive species, such as amphibians, may be particularly vulnerable to these modified disturbance regimes because large wildfires often occur during extended droughts and thus may compound environmental threats. However, understanding of the effects of wildfires on amphibians in forests with long fire-return intervals is limited. Numerous stand-replacing wildfires have occurred since 1988 in Glacier National Park (Montana, U.S.A.), where we have conducted long-term monitoring of amphibians. We measured responses of 3 amphibian species to fires of different sizes, severity, and age in a small geographic area with uniform management. We used data from wetlands associated with 6 wildfires that burned between 1988 and 2003 to evaluate whether burn extent and severity and interactions between wildfire and wetland isolation affected the distribution of breeding populations. We measured responses with models that accounted for imperfect detection to estimate occupancy during prefire (0-4 years) and different postfire recovery periods. For the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), occupancy was not affected for 6 years after wildfire. But 7-21 years after wildfire, occupancy for both species decreased ≥ 25% in areas where >50% of the forest within 500 m of wetlands burned. In contrast, occupancy of the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) tripled in the 3 years after low-elevation forests burned. This increase in occupancy was followed by a gradual decline. Our results show that accounting for magnitude of change and time lags is critical to understanding population dynamics of amphibians after large disturbances. Our results also inform understanding of the potential threat of increases in wildfire frequency or severity to amphibians in the region. ©2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-23

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Climate Variability, Dissolved Organic Carbon, UV Exposure, and Amphibian Decline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooks, P. D.; O'Reilly, C. M.; Diamond, S.; Corn, S.; Muths, E.; Tonnessen, K.; Campbell, D. H.

    2001-12-01

    Increasing levels of UV radiation represent a potential threat to aquatic organisms in a wide range of environments, yet controls on in situ variability on UV exposure are relatively unknown. The primary control on the penetration of UV radiation in surface water environments is the amount of photoreactive dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Consequently, biogeochemical processes that control the cycling of DOC also affect the exposure of aquatic organisms to UV radiation. Three years of monitoring UV extinction and DOC composition in Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Sequoia/ Kings Canyon, and Olympic National Parks demonstrate that the amount of fulvic acid DOC is much more important than the total DOC pool in controlling UV attenuation. This photoreactive component of DOC originates primarily in soil, and is subject both to biogeochemical controls (e.g. temperature, moisture, vegetation, soil type) on production, and hydrologic controls on transport to surface water and consequently UV exposure to aquatic organisms. Both of these controls are positively related to precipitation with greater production and transport associated with higher precipitation amounts. For example, an approximately 20 percent reduction in precipitation from 1999 to 2000 resulted in a 27% - 59% reduction in the amount of photoreactive DOC at three sites in Rocky Mountain National Park. These differences in the amount of hydrophobic DOC result in an increase in UV exposure in the aquatic environment by a factor of 2 or more. Implications of these findings for observed patterns of amphibian decline will be discussed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    Although many taxa have declined globally, conservation actions are inherently local. Ecosystems degrade even in protected areas, and maintaining natural systems in a desired condition may require active management. Implementing management decisions under uncertainty requires a logical and transparent process to identify objectives, develop management actions, formulate system models to link actions with objectives, monitor to reduce uncertainty and identify system state (i.e., resource condition), and determine an optimal management strategy. We applied one such structured decision-making approach that incorporates these critical elements to inform management of amphibian populations in a protected area managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Climate change is expected to affect amphibian occupancy of wetlands and to increase uncertainty in management decision making. We used the tools of structured decision making to identify short-term management solutions that incorporate our current understanding of the effect of climate change on amphibians, emphasizing how management can be undertaken even with incomplete information. Estrategia para Monitorear y Manejar Disminuciones en una Comunidad de Anfibios. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

  15. Variation in pesticide tolerance of tadpoles among and within species of ranidae and patterns of amphibian decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

    There is significant variation among and within amphibian species with respect to reports of population decline; declining species are often found in environments that are physiograpically similar to environments where the same species is thriving. Because variability exists among organisms in their sensitivity to environmental stressors, it is important to determine the degree of this variation when undertaking conservation efforts. We conducted both lethal (time-to-death) and sublethal (activity change) assays to determine the degree of variation in the sensitivity of tadpoles to a pesticide, carbaryl, at three hierarchical levels: among ranid species, among several populations of a single ranid species (Rana sphenocephala), and within populations of R. sphenocephala. We observed significant variation in time to death among the nine ranid species and among the 10 R. sphenocephala populations we tested. Four out of eight R. sphenocephala populations exhibited significantly different times to death among families. The magnitude of the activity change in response to exposure to sublethal carbaryl levels was significantly different among species and within R. sphenocephala populations. Chemical contamination, at lethal or sublethal levels, can alter natural regulatory processes such as juvenile recruitment in amphibian populations and should be considered a contributing cause of declines in amphibian populations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shaffer, H. Bradley; Fellers, Gary M.; Magee, Allison; Voss, S. Randal

    2000-01-01

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

  18. The genetics of amphibian declines: population substructure and molecular differentiation in the yosemite toad, Bufo canorus (Anura, bufonidae) based on single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP) and mitochondrial DNA sequence data.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, H B; Fellers, G M; Magee, A; Voss, S R

    2000-03-01

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

  19. Pesticides and Population Declines of California Alpine Frogs

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  20. Pesticides and Population Declines of California Alpine Frogs

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  1. Pesticide mixtures, endocrine disruption, and amphibian declines: are we underestimating the impact?

    PubMed

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

    2006-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Beebee, Trevor J C

    2013-08-01

    Road mortality is a widely recognized but rarely quantified threat to the viability of amphibian populations. The global extent of the problem is substantial and factors affecting the number of animals killed on highways include life-history traits and landscape features. Secondary effects include genetic isolation due to roads acting as barriers to migration. Long-term effects of roads on population dynamics are often severe and mitigation methods include volunteer rescues and under-road tunnels. Despite the development of methods that reduce road kill in specific locations, especially under-road tunnels and culverts, there is scant evidence that such measures will protect populations over the long term. There also seems little likelihood that funding will be forthcoming to ameliorate the problem at the scale necessary to prevent further population declines. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Comment on "Habitat split and the global decline of amphibians".

    PubMed

    Cannatella, David C

    2008-05-16

    Becker et al. (Reports, 14 December 2007, p. 1775) reported that forest amphibians with terrestrial development are less susceptible to the effects of habitat degradation than those with aquatic larvae. However, analysis with more appropriate statistical methods suggests there is no evidence for a difference between aquatic-reproducing and terrestrial-reproducing species.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stallard, R.F.

    2001-01-01

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

  8. Ranavirus outbreaks in amphibian populations of northern Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Treesearch

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

    2015-01-01

    Contributing to the worldwide biodiversity crisis are emerging infectious diseases, which can lead to extirpations and extinctions of hosts. For example, the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is associated with worldwide amphibian population declines and extinctions. Sensitivity to Bd varies with species, season, and life stage. However,...

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

    PubMed

    Reading, C J

    2007-02-01

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

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    Treesearch

    Jonah Piovia-Scott; Karen Pope; S. Joy Worth; Erica Bree Rosenblum; Dean Simon; Gordon Warburton; Louise A. Rollins-Smith; Laura K. Reinert; Heather L. Wells; Dan Rejmanek; Sharon Lawler; Janet Foley

    2015-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused declines and extinctions in amphibians worldwide, and there is increasing evidence that some strains of this pathogen are more virulent than others. While a number of putative virulence factors have been identified, few studies link these factors to specific epizootic events. We...

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

    SciTech Connect

    Jung, R.E.

    1996-12-31

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

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

    Treesearch

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

    2016-01-01

    Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a “smoking gun” was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers. While field observations and experiments have identified factors...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Scientific meeting raises awareness of amphibian decline in Asia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pope, Karen L

    2008-12-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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)

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Climatic change and wetland desiccation cause amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park

    PubMed Central

    McMenamin, Sarah K.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Wright, Christopher K.

    2008-01-01

    Amphibians are a bellwether for environmental degradation, even in natural ecosystems such as Yellowstone National Park in the western United States, where species have been actively protected longer than anywhere else on Earth. We document that recent climatic warming and resultant wetland desiccation are causing severe declines in 4 once-common amphibian species native to Yellowstone. Climate monitoring over 6 decades, remote sensing, and repeated surveys of 49 ponds indicate that decreasing annual precipitation and increasing temperatures during the warmest months of the year have significantly altered the landscape and the local biological communities. Drought is now more common and more severe than at any time in the past century. Compared with 16 years ago, the number of permanently dry ponds in northern Yellowstone has increased 4-fold. Of the ponds that remain, the proportion supporting amphibians has declined significantly, as has the number of species found in each location. Our results indicate that climatic warming already has disrupted one of the best-protected ecosystems on our planet and that current assessments of species' vulnerability do not adequately consider such impacts. PMID:18955700

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-03-25

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

  9. Climatic change and wetland desiccation cause amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    McMenamin, Sarah K; Hadly, Elizabeth A; Wright, Christopher K

    2008-11-04

    Amphibians are a bellwether for environmental degradation, even in natural ecosystems such as Yellowstone National Park in the western United States, where species have been actively protected longer than anywhere else on Earth. We document that recent climatic warming and resultant wetland desiccation are causing severe declines in 4 once-common amphibian species native to Yellowstone. Climate monitoring over 6 decades, remote sensing, and repeated surveys of 49 ponds indicate that decreasing annual precipitation and increasing temperatures during the warmest months of the year have significantly altered the landscape and the local biological communities. Drought is now more common and more severe than at any time in the past century. Compared with 16 years ago, the number of permanently dry ponds in northern Yellowstone has increased 4-fold. Of the ponds that remain, the proportion supporting amphibians has declined significantly, as has the number of species found in each location. Our results indicate that climatic warming already has disrupted one of the best-protected ecosystems on our planet and that current assessments of species' vulnerability do not adequately consider such impacts.

  10. Riding the Wave: Reconciling the Roles of Disease and Climate Change in Amphibian Declines

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Assessing Changes in Amphibian Population Dynamics Following Experimental Manipulations of Introduced Fish

    Treesearch

    Karen L. Pope

    2008-01-01

    Sport-fish introductions are now recognized as an important cause of amphibian decline, but few researchers have quantified the demographic responses of amphibians to current options in fisheries management designed to minimize effects on sensitive amphibians. Demographic analyses with mark–recapture data allow researchers to assess the relative importance of...

  16. FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECTING AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS IN THE US

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECTING AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS IN THE US

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  20. 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...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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

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

  3. Amphibian population genetics in agricultural landscapes: does viniculture drive the population structuring of the European common frog (Rana temporaria)?

    PubMed

    Lenhardt, Patrick P; Brühl, Carsten A; Leeb, Christoph; Theissinger, Kathrin

    2017-01-01

    Amphibian populations have been declining globally over the past decades. The intensification of agriculture, habitat loss, fragmentation of populations and toxic substances in the environment are considered as driving factors for this decline. Today, about 50% of the area of Germany is used for agriculture and is inhabited by a diverse variety of 20 amphibian species. Of these, 19 are exhibiting declining populations. Due to the protection status of native amphibian species, it is important to evaluate the effect of land use and associated stressors (such as road mortality and pesticide toxicity) on the genetic population structure of amphibians in agricultural landscapes. We investigated the effects of viniculture on the genetic differentiation of European common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in Southern Palatinate (Germany). We analyzed microsatellite data of ten loci from ten breeding pond populations located within viniculture landscape and in the adjacent forest block and compared these results with a previously developed landscape permeability model. We tested for significant correlation of genetic population differentiation and landscape elements, including land use as well as roads and their associated traffic intensity, to explain the genetic structure in the study area. Genetic differentiation among forest populations was significantly lower (median pairwise FST = 0.0041 at 5.39 km to 0.0159 at 9.40 km distance) than between viniculture populations (median pairwise FST = 0.0215 at 2.34 km to 0.0987 at 2.39 km distance). Our analyses rejected isolation by distance based on roads and associated traffic intensity as the sole explanation of the genetic differentiation and suggest that the viniculture landscape has to be considered as a limiting barrier for R. temporaria migration, partially confirming the isolation of breeding ponds predicted by the landscape permeability model. Therefore, arable land may act as a sink habitat, inhibiting genetic

  4. Survey and assessment of amphibian populations in Rocky Mountain National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen; Jennings, Michael L.; Muths, Erin L.

    1997-01-01

    We conducted surveys in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado for amphibians in 1987-1994. Four species, Ambystoma tigrinum, Bufo boreas, Pseudacris maculata, and Rana sylvatica, were recorded. Pseudacris maculata was the most widely distributed and abundant species in the Park. Two populations of E maculata were estimated to contain 161 and 136 breeding males in 1988. There was no evidence of a decline of A. tigrinum or R. sylvatica, but these species were found at relatively few locations. We did not detect Rana pipiens, which had been known previously from 3 locations in the Park. We found 7 breeding populations of B. boreas, which has declined recently elsewhere in the southern Rocky Mountains, but all but 2 of these populations were small and may not reproduce annually. At least one of these small populations is thought to have been extirpated. Estimated numbers of males in the 2 large populations, which are 6.4 km apart in the same drainage, were stable or increasing slightly from 1992 to 1995, averaging 189 and 239 individuals. Current and known locations of amphibians did not differ in elevation, size, lake type, presence of shallow water or emergent vegetation on the north shore, or presence of trout. Water chemistry at amphibian breeding sites was variable, but pH decreased significantly with increasing elevation. Causes of declines of B. boreas and R. pipiens are not known. Populations of B. boreas in the North Fork of the Big Thompson River are critically important to the conservation of this species in the Rocky Mountains.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Predatory leeches (Hirudinida) may contribute to amphibian declines in the Lassen, California.

    Treesearch

    Stead Jonathan; Karen Pope

    2010-01-01

    Researchers have documented precipitous declines in Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae) populations in the southern portion of the species' range, in the Lassen region of California. Reasons for the declines, however, have not been elucidated. In addition to common, widespread causes, an understanding of local community interactions may be necessary...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xu; Jin, Changnan; Camargo, Arley

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dufresnes, Christophe; Perrin, Nicolas

    2015-08-01

    The genetic diversity of populations, which contributes greatly to their adaptive potential, is negatively affected by anthropogenic habitat fragmentation and destruction. However, continental-scale losses of genetic diversity also resulted from the population expansions that followed the end of the last glaciation, an element that is rarely considered in a conservation context. We addressed this issue in a meta-analysis in which we compared the spatial patterns of vulnerability of 18 widespread European amphibians in light of phylogeographic histories (glacial refugia and postglacial routes) and anthropogenic disturbances. Conservation statuses significantly worsened with distances from refugia, particularly in the context of industrial agriculture; human population density also had a negative effect. These findings suggest that features associated with the loss of genetic diversity in post-glacial amphibian populations (such as enhanced fixation load or depressed adaptive potential) may increase their susceptibility to current threats (e.g., habitat fragmentation and pesticide use). We propose that the phylogeographic status of populations (i.e., refugial vs. post-glacial) should be considered in conservation assessments for regional and national red lists. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

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

  20. Predicting how populations decline to extinction

    PubMed Central

    Collen, Ben; McRae, Louise; Deinet, Stefanie; De Palma, Adriana; Carranza, Tharsila; Cooper, Natalie; Loh, Jonathan; Baillie, Jonathan E. M.

    2011-01-01

    Global species extinction typically represents the endpoint in a long sequence of population declines and local extinctions. In comparative studies of extinction risk of contemporary mammalian species, there appear to be some universal traits that may predispose taxa to an elevated risk of extinction. In local population-level studies, there are limited insights into the process of population decline and extinction. Moreover, there is still little appreciation of how local processes scale up to global patterns. Advancing the understanding of factors which predispose populations to rapid declines will benefit proactive conservation and may allow us to target at-risk populations as well as at-risk species. Here, we take mammalian population trend data from the largest repository of population abundance trends, and combine it with the PanTHERIA database on mammal traits to answer the question: what factors can be used to predict decline in mammalian abundance? We find in general that environmental variables are better determinants of cross-species population-level decline than intrinsic biological traits. For effective conservation, we must not only describe which species are at risk and why, but also prescribe ways to counteract this. PMID:21807738

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-22

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Introduced trout sever trophic connections in watersheds: consequences for a declining amphibian.

    PubMed

    Finlay, Jacques C; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2007-09-01

    Trophic linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are increasingly recognized as important yet poorly known features of food webs. Here we describe research to understand the dynamics of lake food webs in relation to a native riparian amphibian and its interaction with introduced trout. The mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa is endemic to alpine watersheds of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Transverse Ranges of California, but it has declined to a small fraction of its historical distribution and abundance. Although remaining frogs and introduced trout feed in different habitats of alpine lakes, our stable-isotope analyses clearly show that the same resource base of benthic invertebrates sustains their growth. During one period, insect emergence from naturally fishless lakes was nearly 20-fold higher compared to adjacent lakes with trout, showing that fish reduce availability of aquatic prey to amphibious and terrestrial consumers. Although trout cannot prey on adult frogs due to gape limitation, foraging post-metamorphic frogs are 10 times more abundant in the absence of trout, suggesting an important role for competition for prey by trout in highly unproductive alpine watersheds. Most Sierran lakes contain fish, and those that do not are usually small isolated ponds; in our study, these two lake types supported the lowest densities of post-metamorphic frogs, and these frogs were less reliant on local, benthic sources of productivity. Since Rana muscosa was formerly the most abundant vertebrate in the Sierra Nevada, the reduction in energy flow from lake benthos to this consumer due to fish introductions may have had negative consequences for its numerous terrestrial predators, many of which have also declined. We suggest that disruptions of trophic connections between aquatic and terrestrial food webs are an important but poorly understood consequence of fish introduction to many thousands of montane lakes and streams worldwide and may

  6. A new parameterization for integrated population models to document amphibian reintroductions.

    PubMed

    Duarte, Adam; Pearl, Christopher A; Adams, Michael J; Peterson, James T

    2017-09-01

    Managers are increasingly implementing reintroduction programs as part of a global effort to alleviate amphibian declines. Given uncertainty in factors affecting populations and a need to make recurring decisions to achieve objectives, adaptive management is a useful component of these efforts. A major impediment to the estimation of demographic rates often used to parameterize and refine decision-support models is that life-stage-specific monitoring data are frequently sparse for amphibians. We developed a new parameterization for integrated population models to match the ecology of amphibians and capitalize on relatively inexpensive monitoring data to document amphibian reintroductions. We evaluate the capability of this model by fitting it to Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) monitoring data collected from 2007 to 2014 following their reintroduction within the Klamath Basin, Oregon, USA. The number of egg masses encountered and the estimated adult and metamorph abundances generally increased following reintroduction. We found that survival probability from egg to metamorph ranged from 0.01 in 2008 to 0.09 in 2009 and was not related to minimum spring temperatures, metamorph survival probability ranged from 0.13 in 2010-2011 to 0.86 in 2012-2013 and was positively related to mean monthly temperatures (logit-scale slope = 2.37), adult survival probability was lower for founders (0.40) than individuals recruited after reintroduction (0.56), and the mean number of egg masses per adult female was 0.74. Our study is the first to test hypotheses concerning Oregon spotted frog egg-to-metamorph and metamorph-to-adult transition probabilities in the wild and document their response at multiple life stages following reintroduction. Furthermore, we provide an example to illustrate how the structure of our integrated population model serves as a useful foundation for amphibian decision-support models within adaptive management programs. The integration of multiple, but

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-11

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Dynamics of an emerging disease drive large-scale amphibian population extinctions.

    PubMed

    Vredenburg, Vance T; Knapp, Roland A; Tunstall, Tate S; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2010-05-25

    Epidemiological theory generally suggests that pathogens will not cause host extinctions because the pathogen should fade out when the host population is driven below some threshold density. An emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is directly linked to the recent extinction or serious decline of hundreds of amphibian species. Despite continued spread of this pathogen into uninfected areas, the dynamics of the host-pathogen interaction remain unknown. We use fine-scale spatiotemporal data to describe (i) the invasion and spread of Bd through three lake basins, each containing multiple populations of the mountain yellow-legged frog, and (ii) the accompanying host-pathogen dynamics. Despite intensive sampling, Bd was not detected on frogs in study basins until just before epidemics began. Following Bd arrival in a basin, the disease spread to neighboring populations at approximately 700 m/yr in a wave-like pattern until all populations were infected. Within a population, infection prevalence rapidly reached 100% and infection intensity on individual frogs increased in parallel. Frog mass mortality began only when infection intensity reached a critical threshold and repeatedly led to extinction of populations. Our results indicate that the high growth rate and virulence of Bd allow the near-simultaneous infection and buildup of high infection intensities in all host individuals; subsequent host population crashes therefore occur before Bd is limited by density-dependent factors. Preventing infection intensities in host populations from reaching this threshold could provide an effective strategy to avoid the extinction of susceptible amphibian species in the wild.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bank, M. S.

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-01

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

  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. Migratory diversity predicts population declines in birds.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Declines in migratory species are a pressing concern worldwide, but the mechanisms underpinning these declines are not fully understood. We hypothesised that species with greater within-population variability in migratory movements and destinations, here termed 'migratory diversity', might be more resilient to environmental change. To test this, we related map-based metrics of migratory diversity to recent population trends for 340 European breeding birds. Species that occupy larger non-breeding ranges relative to breeding, a characteristic we term 'migratory dispersion', were less likely to be declining than those with more restricted non-breeding ranges. Species with partial migration strategies (i.e. overlapping breeding and non-breeding ranges) were also less likely to be declining than full migrants or full residents, an effect that was independent of migration distance. Recent rates of advancement in Europe-wide spring arrival date were greater for partial migrants than full migrants, suggesting that migratory diversity may also help facilitate species responses to climate change. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  20. 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.

  1. 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).

  2. 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...

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-05-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. Decline of disjunct green salamander (Aneides aeneus) populations in the southern appalachians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corser, J.D.

    2001-01-01

    Coincident with other amphibians around the world Aneides aeneus, a terrestrial plethodontid salamander, suffered a population collapse in a disjunct portion of its range in the mid-late 1970s. Long-term monitoring of seven historical green salamander populations throughout the 1990s showed a 98% decline in relative abundance since 1970. Three out of six populations first discovered in 1991 also crashed in 1996-1997. The synchronized suddenness of the declines, their region-wide impact, and effects on both small and larger populations, suggest the role of a novel agent of mortality beginning in the mid-late 1970s. Acting alone, but more likely in concert, habitat loss, overcollecting, epidemic disease and climate change could account for this region-wide decline.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

    Amphibians constitute a diverse yet still incompletely characterized clade of vertebrates, in which new species are still being discovered and described at a high rate. Amphibians are also increasingly endangered, due in part to disease-driven threats of extinctions. As an emergency response, conservationists have begun ex situ assurance colonies for priority species. The abundance of cryptic amphibian diversity, however, may cause problems for ex situ conservation. In this study we used a DNA barcoding approach to survey mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in captive populations of 10 species of Neotropical amphibians maintained in an ex situ assurance programme at El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC) in the Republic of Panama. We combined these mtDNA sequences with genetic data from presumably conspecific wild populations sampled from across Panama, and applied genetic distance-based and character-based analyses to identify cryptic lineages. We found that three of ten species harboured substantial cryptic genetic diversity within EVACC, and an additional three species harboured cryptic diversity among wild populations, but not in captivity. Ex situ conservation efforts focused on amphibians are therefore vulnerable to an incomplete taxonomy leading to misidentification among cryptic species. DNA barcoding may therefore provide a simple, standardized protocol to identify cryptic diversity readily applicable to any amphibian community. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Treesearch

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

    2012-01-01

    Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought and wildfire. Aquatic and moisture-sensitive species, such as amphibians, may be particularly vulnerable to these modified disturbance regimes because large wildfires often occur during extended droughts and thus may compound environmental threats. However, understanding of the effects of...

  11. High Sierra Ecosystems: The Role of Fish Stocking in Amphibian Declines

    Treesearch

    Kathleen Matthews

    2003-01-01

    With a rich diversity of aquatic habitats, including deep lakes, shallow ponds, and rushing streams, Dusy Basinin Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks typifies the high Sierra ecosystem where mountain yellow-legged frogs usually thrive. Yet throughout the Sierra, aquatic ecologist Kathleen Matthews found entire water basins empty of these amphibians. Comprehensive...

  12. High Sierra ecosystems: the role of fish stocking in amphibian declines

    Treesearch

    Anne M. Rosenthal; Kathleen R. Featured: Matthews

    2003-01-01

    With a rich diversity of aquatic habitats, including deep lakes, shallow ponds, and rushing streams, Dusy Basin in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks typifies the high Sierra ecosystem where mountain yellow-legged frogs usually thrive. Yet throughout the Sierra, aquatic ecologist Kathleen Matthews found entire water basins empty of these amphibians. Comprehensive...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayes, T. B.

    2001-12-01

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

  14. Investigating potential for effects of environmental endocrine disrupters on wild populations of amphibians in UK and Japan: status of historical databases and review of methods.

    PubMed

    Pickford, Daniel B; Larroze, Severine; Takase, Minoru; Mitsui, Naoko; Tooi, Osamu; Santo, Noriaki

    2007-01-01

    Concern over global declines among amphibians has resulted in increased interest in the effects of environmental contaminants on amphibian populations, and more recently, this has stimulated research on the potential adverse effects of environmental endocrine disrupters in amphibians. Laboratory studies of the effects of single chemicals on endocrine-relevant endpoints in amphibian, mainly anuran, models are valuable in characterizing sensitivity at the individual level and may yield useful bioassays for screening chemicals for endocrine toxicity (for example, thyroid disrupting activity). Nevertheless, in the UK and Japan as in many other countries, it has yet to be demonstrated unequivocally that the exposure of native amphibians to endocrine disrupting environmental contaminants results in adverse effects at the population level. Assessing the potential of such effects is likely to require an ecoepidemiological approach to investigate associations between predicted or actual exposure of amphibians to (endocrine disrupting) environmental contaminants and biologically meaningful responses at the population level. In turn, this demands recent but relatively long-term population trend data. We review two potential sources of such data for widespread UK anurans that could be used in such investigations: records for common frogs and common toads in several databases maintained by the Biological Records Centre (UK Government Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), and adult toad count data from 'Toads on Roads' schemes registered with the UK wildlife charity 'Froglife'. There were little abundance data in the BRC databases that could be used for this purpose, while count data from the Toads on Roads schemes is potentially confounded by the effects of local topology on the detection probabilities and operation of nonchemical anthropogenic stressors. For Japan, local and regional surveys of amphibians and national ecological censuses gathering amphibian data were reviewed to

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. Physiological vagility: correlations with dispersal and population genetic structure of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Hillman, Stanley S; Drewes, Robert C; Hedrick, Michael S; Hancock, Thomas V

    2014-01-01

    Physiological vagility represents the capacity to move sustainably and is central to fully explaining the processes involved in creating fine-scale genetic structure of amphibian populations, because movement (vagility) and the duration of movement determine the dispersal distance individuals can move to interbreed. The tendency for amphibians to maintain genetic differentiation over relatively short distances (isolation by distance) has been attributed to their limited dispersal capacity (low vagility) compared with other vertebrates. Earlier studies analyzing genetic isolation and population differentiation with distance treat all amphibians as equally vagile and attempt to explain genetic differentiation only in terms of physical environmental characteristics. We introduce a new quantitative metric for vagility that incorporates aerobic capacity, body size, body temperature, and the cost of transport and is independent of the physical characteristics of the environment. We test our metric for vagility with data for dispersal distance and body mass in amphibians and correlate vagility with data for genetic differentiation (F'(ST)). Both dispersal distance and vagility increase with body size. Differentiation (F'(ST)) of neutral microsatellite markers with distance was inversely and significantly (R2=0.61) related to ln vagility. Genetic differentiation with distance was not significantly related to body mass alone. Generalized observations are validated with several specific amphibian studies. These results suggest that interspecific differences in physiological capacity for movement (vagility) can contribute to genetic differentiation and metapopulation structure in amphibians.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-05-01

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

  20. Volunteer Conservation Action Data Reveals Large-Scale and Long-Term Negative Population Trends of a Widespread Amphibian, the Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

    PubMed Central

    Petrovan, Silviu O.

    2016-01-01

    Rare and threatened species are the most frequent focus of conservation science and action. With the ongoing shift from single-species conservation towards the preservation of ecosystem services, there is a greater need to understand abundance trends of common species because declines in common species can disproportionately impact ecosystems function. We used volunteer-collected data in two European countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland, since the 1970s to assess national and regional trends for one of Europe’s most abundant amphibian species, the common toad (Bufo bufo). Millions of toads were moved by volunteers across roads during this period in an effort to protect them from road traffic. For Switzerland, we additionally estimated trends for the common frog (Rana temporaria), a similarly widespread and common amphibian species. We used state-space models to account for variability in detection and effort and included only populations with at least 5 years of data; 153 populations for the UK and 141 for Switzerland. Common toads declined continuously in each decade in both countries since the 1980s. Given the declines, this common species almost qualifies for International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listing over this period despite volunteer conservation efforts. Reasons for the declines and wider impacts remain unknown. By contrast, common frog populations were stable or increasing in Switzerland, although there was evidence of declines after 2003. “Toads on Roads” schemes are vital citizen conservation action projects, and the data from such projects can be used for large scale trend estimations of widespread amphibians. We highlight the need for increased research into the status of common amphibian species in addition to conservation efforts focusing on rare and threatened species. PMID:27706154

  1. Volunteer Conservation Action Data Reveals Large-Scale and Long-Term Negative Population Trends of a Widespread Amphibian, the Common Toad (Bufo bufo).

    PubMed

    Petrovan, Silviu O; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2016-01-01

    Rare and threatened species are the most frequent focus of conservation science and action. With the ongoing shift from single-species conservation towards the preservation of ecosystem services, there is a greater need to understand abundance trends of common species because declines in common species can disproportionately impact ecosystems function. We used volunteer-collected data in two European countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland, since the 1970s to assess national and regional trends for one of Europe's most abundant amphibian species, the common toad (Bufo bufo). Millions of toads were moved by volunteers across roads during this period in an effort to protect them from road traffic. For Switzerland, we additionally estimated trends for the common frog (Rana temporaria), a similarly widespread and common amphibian species. We used state-space models to account for variability in detection and effort and included only populations with at least 5 years of data; 153 populations for the UK and 141 for Switzerland. Common toads declined continuously in each decade in both countries since the 1980s. Given the declines, this common species almost qualifies for International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listing over this period despite volunteer conservation efforts. Reasons for the declines and wider impacts remain unknown. By contrast, common frog populations were stable or increasing in Switzerland, although there was evidence of declines after 2003. "Toads on Roads" schemes are vital citizen conservation action projects, and the data from such projects can be used for large scale trend estimations of widespread amphibians. We highlight the need for increased research into the status of common amphibian species in addition to conservation efforts focusing on rare and threatened species.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  3. How reliable are amphibian population metrics? A response to Kroll et al.

    Treesearch

    Hartwell H. Welsh; Karen L. Pope; Clara A. Wheeler

    2009-01-01

    Kroll et al. [Kroll, A.J., Runge, J.P., MacCracken, J.G., 2009. Unreliable amphibian population metrics may obfuscate more than they reveal. Biological Conservation] criticized our recent advocacy for combining readily attainable metrics of population status to gain insight about relationships between terrestrial plethodontid salamanders and forest succession [Welsh,...

  4. Reptiles, amphibians, and human Salmonella infection: a population-based, case-control study.

    PubMed

    Mermin, Jonathan; Hutwagner, Lori; Vugia, Duc; Shallow, Sue; Daily, Pamela; Bender, Jeffrey; Koehler, Jane; Marcus, Ruthanne; Angulo, Frederick J

    2004-04-15

    To estimate the burden of reptile- and amphibian-associated Salmonella infections, we conducted 2 case-control studies of human salmonellosis occurring during 1996-1997. The studies took place at 5 Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) surveillance areas: all of Minnesota and Oregon and selected counties in California, Connecticut, and Georgia. The first study included 463 patients with serogroup B or D Salmonella infection and 7618 population-based controls. The second study involved 38 patients with non-serogroup B or D Salmonella infection and 1429 controls from California only. Patients and controls were interviewed about contact with reptiles and amphibians. Reptile and amphibian contact was associated both with infection with serogroup B or D Salmonella (multivariable odds ratio [OR], 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.2; P<.009) and with infection with non-serogroup B or D Salmonella (OR, 4.2; CI, 1.8-9.7; P<.001). The population attributable fraction for reptile or amphibian contact was 6% for all sporadic Salmonella infections and 11% among persons <21 years old. These data suggest that reptile and amphibian exposure is associated with approximately 74,000 Salmonella infections annually in the United States.

  5. Quantifying population declines based on presence-only records for red-list assessments.

    PubMed

    Cruickshank, Sam S; Ozgul, Arpat; Zumbach, Silvia; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2016-10-01

    Accurate trend estimates are necessary for understanding which species are declining and which are most in need of conservation action. Imperfect species detection may result in unreliable trend estimates because this may lead to the overestimation of declines. Because many management decisions are based on population trend estimates, such biases could have severe consequences for conservation policy. We used an occupancy-modeling framework to estimate detectability and calculate nationwide population trends for 14 Swiss amphibian species both accounting for and ignoring imperfect detection. Through the application of International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List criteria to the different trend estimates, we assessed whether ignoring imperfect detection could affect conservation policy. Imperfect detection occurred for all species and detection varied substantially among species, which led to the overestimation of population declines when detectability was ignored. Consequently, accounting for imperfect detection lowered the red-list risk category for 5 of the 14 species assessed. We demonstrate that failing to consider species detectability can have serious consequences for species management and that occupancy modeling provides a flexible framework to account for observation bias and improve assessments of conservation status. A problem inherent to most historical records is that they contain presence-only data from which only relative declines can be estimated. A move toward the routine recording of nonobservation and absence data is essential if conservation practitioners are to move beyond this toward accurate population trend estimation.

  6. Evaluating effects of fish stocking on amphibian populations in wilderness lakes

    Treesearch

    David S. Pilliod; Charles R. Peterson

    2000-01-01

    To balance wilderness lake use between recreational fisheries and protected habitat for native species, managers need to understand how stocking non-native predaceous fish affects amphibian populations within a landscape. The goal of this paper is to help managers design and conduct studies that will provide such information. Desirable study characteristics include...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

    Because sustainable conservation of amphibians in nature is dependent on long-term population persistence and co-evolution with potentially lethal pathogens, we suggest that disease mitigation not focus exclusively on the elimination or containment of the pathogen, or on the captive breeding of amphibian hosts. Rather, successful disease mitigation must be context specific with epidemiologically informed strategies to manage already infected populations by decreasing pathogenicity and host susceptibility. We propose population level treatments based on three steps: first, identify mechanisms of disease suppression; second, parameterize epizootiological models of disease and population dynamics for testing under semi-natural conditions; and third, begin a process of adaptive management in field trials with natural populations.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Wetland management for amphibians in the Willamette Valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.; Pearl, Christopher A.; Bury, R. Bruce

    2004-01-01

    Introduction In the past two decades, scientists around the world have increasingly noted losses of amphibian populations. Many of these declines have occurred in protected areas like national parks, where the causes mostly remain mysterious. However, in multipleuse landscapes, resource managers frequently face more obvious conservation problems and must make decisions that will affect amphibians. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present recent findings pertinent to wetland management and amphibians in a multiple-use landscape.

  12. Estimation of population growth or decline in genetically monitored populations.

    PubMed Central

    Beaumont, Mark A

    2003-01-01

    This article introduces a new general method for genealogical inference that samples independent genealogical histories using importance sampling (IS) and then samples other parameters with Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). It is then possible to more easily utilize the advantages of importance sampling in a fully Bayesian framework. The method is applied to the problem of estimating recent changes in effective population size from temporally spaced gene frequency data. The method gives the posterior distribution of effective population size at the time of the oldest sample and at the time of the most recent sample, assuming a model of exponential growth or decline during the interval. The effect of changes in number of alleles, number of loci, and sample size on the accuracy of the method is described using test simulations, and it is concluded that these have an approximately equivalent effect. The method is used on three example data sets and problems in interpreting the posterior densities are highlighted and discussed. PMID:12871921

  13. When can the cause of a population decline be determined?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hefley, Trevor J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Drake, John M.; Russell, Robin E.; Walsh, Daniel P.

    2016-01-01

    Inferring the factors responsible for declines in abundance is a prerequisite to preventing the extinction of wild populations. Many of the policies and programmes intended to prevent extinctions operate on the assumption that the factors driving the decline of a population can be determined. Exogenous factors that cause declines in abundance can be statistically confounded with endogenous factors such as density dependence. To demonstrate the potential for confounding, we used an experiment where replicated populations were driven to extinction by gradually manipulating habitat quality. In many of the replicated populations, habitat quality and density dependence were confounded, which obscured causal inference. Our results show that confounding is likely to occur when the exogenous factors that are driving the decline change gradually over time. Our study has direct implications for wild populations, because many factors that could drive a population to extinction change gradually through time.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, Karen C.; Jung, Robin E.

    2004-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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.

  20. Association of coloration mode with population declines and endangerment in Australian frogs.

    PubMed

    Forsman, Anders; Hagman, Mattias

    2009-12-01

    Successful protection of biodiversity requires increased understanding of the ecological characteristics that predispose some species to endangerment. Theory posits that species with polymorphic or variable coloration should have larger distributions, use more diverse resources, and be less vulnerable to population declines and extinctions, compared with taxa that do not vary in color. We used information from literature on 194 species of Australian frogs to search for associations of coloration mode with ecological variables. In general, species with variable or polymorphic color patterns had larger ranges, used more habitats, were less prone to have a negative population trend, and were estimated as less vulnerable to extinction compared with nonvariable species. An association of variable coloration with lower endangerment was also evident when we controlled statistically for the effects of range size. Nonvariable coloration was not a strong predictor of endangerment, and information on several characteristics is needed to reliably identify and protect species that are prone to decline and may become threatened by extinction in the near future. Analyses based on phylogenetic-independent contrasts did not support the hypothesis that evolutionary transitions between nonvariable and variable or polymorphic coloration have been accompanied by changes in the ecological variables we examined. Irrefutable demonstration of a role of color pattern variation in amphibian decline and in the dynamics and persistence of populations in general will require a manipulative experimental approach.

  1. DECLINE IN LAKE ONTARIO POPULATIONS OF BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Surveys of benthic macroinvertebrates conducted in Lake Ontario during 1994 and 1997 revealed declines in populations of three major groups of organisms: oligochaetes, sphariids, and Diporeia spp. (Amphipoda), with the most drastic reductions occurring in the latter. Based on phy...

  2. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, Paul Stephen

    2001-01-01

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

  4. Cryptic invasion of Northern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens) across phylogeographic boundaries and a dilemma for conservation of a declining amphibian

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Donnell, Ryan P.; Drost, Charles A.; Mock, Karen E.

    2017-01-01

    Anthropogenic introduction of species is a major contributor to loss of biodiversity. Translocations within the range of a species are less frequently recognized, but have the potential for negative effects as well. Genetic mixing may lead to loss of local adaptations or further decline through outbreeding depression. These cryptic invasions may be quite difficult to recognize, but genetic tools can be used to recognize and monitor such intraspecific introductions. Conversely, translocations within species can be an important conservation tool to reduce inbreeding depression and replace lost genetic diversity. Thus, cryptic invasions can be either an aid or a hindrance to conservation efforts. We tested for the presence of non-native genotypes and assessed the extent and nature of introgression in populations of Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) in the southwestern US, where populations have declined to a few remnant populations. The most abundant and diverse complex of populations in the region contained a mitochondrial haplotype that was not native to the western US, probably resulting from the introduction of released pets, laboratory animals, or release during fish stocking. These non-native haplotypes were well integrated into a large complex of ponds and lakes, contributing to high genetic diversity in this area. Logistically, the geographic extent of non-native genetic influence within this population precludes eliminating or controlling the non-native component of this population. We recommend assessing the progress and fate of the introgression over time—along with population fitness parameters—to determine whether this introduction is beneficial or detrimental to population persistence. Meanwhile, translocations from nearby locations with similar environmental conditions have the best prospects for avoiding problems with outbreeding depression in other declining populations and will also most effectively preserve regional genetic diversity.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

  8. Amphibian Population Sensitivity to Environmental and Anthropogenic Impacts on Larval Development and Survival

    EPA Science Inventory

    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 fu...

  9. Minimal models of growth and decline of microbial populations.

    PubMed

    Juška, Alfonsas

    2011-01-21

    Dynamics of growth and decline of microbial populations were analysed and respective models were developed in this investigation. Analysis of the dynamics was based on general considerations concerning the main properties of microorganisms and their interactions with the environment which was supposed to be affected by the activity of the population. Those considerations were expressed mathematically by differential equations or systems of the equations containing minimal sets of parameters characterizing those properties. It has been found that: (1) the factors leading to the decline of the population have to be considered separately, namely, accumulation of metabolites (toxins) in the medium and the exhaustion of resources; the latter have to be separated again into renewable ('building materials') and non-renewable (sources of energy); (2) decline of the population is caused by the exhaustion of sources of energy but no decline is predicted by the model because of the exhaustion of renewable resources; (3) the model determined by the accumulation of metabolites (toxins) in the medium does not suggest the existence of a separate 'stationary phase'; (4) in the model determined by the exhaustion of energy resources the 'stationary' and 'decline' phases are quite discernible; and (5) there is no symmetry in microbial population dynamics, the decline being slower than the rise. Mathematical models are expected to be useful in getting insight into the process of control of the dynamics of microbial populations. The models are in agreement with the experimental data.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.

    2007-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Sea otter population declines in the Aleutian Archipelago

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Doroff, Angela; Estes, James A.; Tinker, M. Tim; Burn, Douglas M.; Evans, Thomas J.

    2003-01-01

    Sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations were exploited to near extinction and began to recover after the cessation of commercial hunting in 1911. Remnant colonies of sea otters in the Aleutian archipelago were among the first to recover; they continued to increase through the 1980s but declined abruptly during the 1990s. We conducted an aerial survey of the Aleutian archipelago in 2000 and compared results with similar surveys conducted in 1965 and 1992. The number of sea otters counted decreased by 75% between 1965 and 2000; 88% for islands at equilibrial density in 1965. The population decline likely began in the mid-1980s and declined at a rate of 17.5%/year in the 1990s. The minimal population estimate was 8,742 sea otters in 2000. The population declined to a uniformly low density in the archipelago, suggesting a common and geographically widespread cause. These data are in general agreement with the hypothesis of increased predation on sea otters. These data chronicle one of the most widespread and precipitous population declines for a mammalian carnivore in recorded history.

  15. 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.

  16. Looking for attitudes related to amphibian species decline: how are peer-reviewed publications of education activities compared to ecological research?

    PubMed

    Mormul, Roger P; Mormul, Tayla D S; Santos, Gustavo M B; Santana, Ana R A

    2017-05-01

    Biodiversity decline has been the focus of discussions in the last decade, especially on the amphibian species decline. After a scientometric analysis using international databases, we found that the number of peer-reviewed articles considering education practices related to the theme increased along with the number of ecological researches. However, the increase in ecological researches is much higher than the increase in publications of education practices. Studies suggest that conservation attitudes are important and that education practices are an important tool for improving human perceptions on this subject. In this sense, increase the publication of projects and programs results related to local education practices in international journals could help the dissemination of efficient methods for conservation, as well as facilitating access to information internationally, since species decline, especially for amphibians, is a global concern. Then, we suggest that educational practices, at least when related to conservation, should follow a more standardized protocol, and be published in international journals, as the efficiency of such practices should be evaluated and methods once published could help other nations to improve their ecological literacy.

  17. DEMOGRAPHY AND SPATIAL POPULATION STRUCTURE IN CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  18. DEMOGRAPHY AND SPATIAL POPULATION STRUCTURE IN CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  19. Population decline and plague in late medieval Norway.

    PubMed

    Brothen, J A

    1996-01-01

    Norwegian scholars have engaged in considerable research over the last half century in an attempt to assess the impact of the Black Plague of 1349 on population and society in Norway. Evidence has been put forward relating the incidence of plague to a continuance of population decline over the two centuries following its initial introduction. Estimates of population decline in Norway between 1350 and 1550 indicate a reduction by as much as 65%. Two directions of study have emerged, one concentrating on land abandonment known as the "Ødegard Project." The other is represented by the recent works of Ole Jørgen Benedictow presenting epidemiological and osteo-archaeological research. An examination of the available literature raises questions concerning the degree to which plague, and its recurrence, directly affected population decline in Norway during the Late Middle Ages. While evidence of the virulence of the plague and the degree of farm abandonment is compelling, a direct relationship to population decline may not be as great as implied by the research. Other explanatory factors, especially social and economic responses to plague, have been given limited attention.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  1. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Trends in amphibian occupancy in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Critical Decline of the Eastern Caribbean Sperm Whale Population

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Hal

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) populations were expected to rebuild following the end of commercial whaling. We document the decline of the population in the eastern Caribbean by tracing demographic changes of well-studied social units. We address hypotheses that, over a ten-year period of dedicated effort (2005–2015), unit size, numbers of calves and/or calving rates have each declined. Across 16 units, the number of adults decreased in 12 units, increased in two, and showed no change in two. The number of adults per unit decreased at -0.195 individuals/yr (95% CI: -0.080 to -0.310; P = 0.001). The number of calves also declined, but the decline was not significant. This negative trend of -4.5% per year in unit size started in about 2010, with numbers being fairly stable until then. There are several natural and anthropogenic threats, but no well-substantiated cause for the decline. PMID:27706153

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-12-01

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

  10. 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'.

  11. Climate change and amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.

    2005-01-01

    Amphibian life histories are exceedingly sensitive to temperature and precipitation, and there is good evidence that recent climate change has already resulted in a shift to breeding earlier in the year for some species. There are also suggestions that the recent increase in the occurrence of El Niño events has caused declines of anurans in Central America and is linked to elevated mortality of amphibian embryos in the northwestern United States. However, evidence linking amphibian declines in Central America to climate relies solely on correlations, and the mechanisms underlying the declines are not understood. Connections between embryo mortality and declines in abundance have not been demonstrated. Analyses of existing data have generally failed to find a link between climate and amphibian declines. It is likely, however, that future climate change will cause further declines of some amphibian species. Reduced soil moisture could reduce prey species and eliminate habitat. Reduced snowfall and increased summer evaporation could have dramatic effects on the duration or occurrence of seasonal wetlands, which are primary habitat for many species of amphibians. Climate change may be a relatively minor cause of current amphibian declines, but it may be the biggest future challenge to the persistence of many species

  12. Coin hoards speak of population declines in Ancient Rome

    PubMed Central

    Turchin, Peter; Scheidel, Walter

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Turchin, Peter; Scheidel, Walter

    2009-10-13

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

  14. Dynamic distributions and population declines of Golden-winged Warblers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosenberg, Kenneth V.; Will, Tom; Buehler, David A.; Barker Swarthout, Sara; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Chandler, Richard

    2016-01-01

    With an estimated breeding population in 2010 of 383,000 pairs, the Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is among the most vulnerable and steeply declining of North American passerines. This species also has exhibited among the most dynamic breeding distributions, with populations expanding and then contracting over the past 150 years in response to regional habitat changes, interactions with closely related Blue-winged Warblers (V. cyanoptera), and possibly climate change. Since 1966, the rangewide population has declined by >70% (-2.3% per year; latest North American Breeding Bird Survey data), with much steeper declines in the Appalachian Mountains bird conservation region (-8.3% per year, 98% overall decline). Despite apparently stable or increasing populations in the northwestern part of the range (Minnesota, Manitoba), population estimates for Golden-winged Warbler have continued to decline by 18% from the decade of the 1990s to the 2000s. Population modeling predicts a further decline to roughly 37,000 individuals by 2100, with the species likely to persist only in Manitoba, Minnesota, and possibly Ontario. To delineate the present-day distribution and to identify population concentrations that could serve as conservation focus areas, we compiled rangewide survey data collected in 2000-2006 in 21 states and 3 Canadian provinces, as part of the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project (GOWAP), supplemented by state and provincial Breeding Bird Atlas data and more recent observations in eBird. Based on >8,000 GOWAP surveys for Golden-winged and Blue-winged warblers and their hybrids, we mapped occurrence of phenotypically pure and mixed populations in a roughly 0.5-degree grid across the species’ ranges. Hybrids and mixed Golden-winged-Blue-winged populations occurred in a relatively narrow zone across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, southern Ontario, and northern New York. Phenotypically pure Golden-winged Warbler populations occurred north of this

  15. Responses of amphibian populations to water and soil factors in experimentally-treated aquatic macrocosms

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sparling, D.W.; Lowe, T.P.; Day, D.; Dolan, K.

    1995-01-01

    Survival of anuran embryos and tadpoles is reduced in acidic (pH < 5.0) waters under laboratory conditions. However, field data on the presence-absence of amphibian species and acidity are equivocal. This study attempts to reconcile some of this discrepancy by using macrocosms to examine the interaction of soil type and water acidification on free-ranging tadpole populations. Tadpoles were caught with activity traps in 24 aquatic macrocosms experimentally treated with H2SO4 and Al2(SO4)3 and lined with either comparatively high metal, Iow organic matter clay soils or lower metal, higher organic matter loams. Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) tadpole abundance was less in acidified macrocosms than in circumneutral ones (p < 0.05) and less in those with loam soils than in macrocosms with clay soils (p < 0.04). Gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) abundance was affected by an interaction between soil and acidification (p < 0.07) in that treatment effects were only observed in macrocosms with clay soils (p < 0.01). No differences were observed among treatments for green frog (Rana clamitans) or southern leopard frog (R. utricularia) tadpoles. The study shows that soil type may interact with water conditions to affect amphibian populations in acidified waters

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. The Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative in the Pacific Northwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

    Amphibians have been disappearing from many locations around the world with reports of declines increasing in recent decades. Some of the most dramatic declines have occurred in areas that were thought to be protected from human disturbance. For example, the once-common boreal toad has virtually disappeared from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Although there has been debate on whether these declines represent a short-term fluctuation in populations or major sustained losses, there is now general scientific consensus that something really is amiss with amphibian populations.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  20. Intersex in fishes and amphibians: population implications, prevalence, mechanisms and molecular biomarkers.

    PubMed

    Abdel-Moneim, Ahmed; Coulter, David P; Mahapatra, Cecon T; Sepúlveda, Maria S

    2015-11-01

    Intersex is defined as the abnormal presence of both testicular and ovarian cells in gonads of gonochoristic animals. Its occurrence is widespread and reports on its presence in the gonads of vertebrates continues to increase. In this review, we use standardized terminology to summarize the current knowledge of intersex in gonochoristic fishes and amphibians. We describe the different indices that have been used to assess the severity of intersex and synthesize reports discussing the prevalence of intersex in relation to different types of pollutants. In addition, we evaluate the geographic distribution and chronology of the reported cases of intersex in fishes and amphibians, their pathological descriptions and severity and discuss species sensitivities. We also summarize molecular biomarkers that have been tested for early detection of intersex in wild populations and highlight additional biomarkers that target molecular pathways involved in gonadal development that require further investigation for use in the diagnosis of intersex. Finally, we discuss the needs for future research in this field. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-27

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

  2. 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

  3. Amphibian breeding phenology and reproductive outcome: an examination using terrestrial and aquatic sampling

    Treesearch

    C.H. Greenberg; S.A. Johnson; R. Owen; A. Storfer

    2017-01-01

    Worldwide amphibian declines highlight the need for programs that monitor species presence and track population trends. We sampled larval amphibians with a box trap at 3-week intervals for 23 months in eight wetlands, and concurrently trapped adults and juveniles with drift fences, to examine spatiotemporal patterns of tadpole occurrence; explore relationships between...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  5. 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...

  6. 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)....

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1991-01-01

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

  10. Climate change and pollution speed declines in zebrafish populations.

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-17

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

  11. Climate change and pollution speed declines in zebrafish populations

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Pesticides in amphibian habitats of central and northern California

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

  13. Current and Future Effects of Climate Change on Montane Amphibians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corn, S.

    2002-05-01

    Breeding phenology of amphibians in inextricably linked to weather, and change in the timing of breeding resulting from climate change may have consequences for the fitness of individuals and may affect persistence of amphibian populations. Amphibians in some north temperate locations have been observed to breed earlier in recent years in response to warmer spring temperatures, but this is not a universal phenomenon. In mountain populations, phenology is influenced by snow deposition as much as temperature. A trend towards earlier breeding, associated with increasing El Niño frequency, may be occurring in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, but only at lower elevations. There is no evidence for changes in the dates of breeding activity by amphibians in the Rocky Mountains. Too few amphibian species have been studied, and those for which data exist have been studied for too brief a span of years to allow general conclusions about the effects of climate change. However, regardless of whether climate change has contributed to current amphibian declines, changes in temperature and the extent and duration of snow cover predicted for the next century will have increasingly severe consequences for the persistence of some species. Additional observations from amphibian populations, and spatial and temporal modeling of climate variables are needed to generate predictions of past and future breeding phenology, and the effects on amphibian population dynamics.

  14. Physiological, Behavioral and Maternal Factors That Contribute to Size Variation in Larval Amphibian Populations

    PubMed Central

    Warne, Robin W.; Kardon, Adam; Crespi, Erica J.

    2013-01-01

    Size variance among similarly aged individuals within populations is a pattern common to many organisms that is a result of interactions between intrinsic and extrinsic traits of individuals. While genetic and maternal effects, as well as physiological and behavioral traits have been shown to contribute to size variation in animal populations, teasing apart the influence of such factors on individual growth rates remain a challenge. Furthermore, tracing the effects of these interactions across life stages and in shaping adult phenotypes also requires further exploration. In this study we investigated the relationship between genetics, hatching patterns, behaviors, neuroendocrine stress axis activity and variance in growth and metamorphosis among same-aged larval amphibians. Through parallel experiments we found that in the absence of conspecific interactions, hatch time and to a lesser extent egg clutch identity (i.e. genetics and maternal effects) influenced the propensity for growth and development in individual tadpoles and determined metamorphic traits. Within experimental groups we found that variance in growth rates was associated with size-dependent foraging behaviors and responses to food restriction. We also found an inverse relationship between glucocorticoid (GC) hormone levels and body mass and developmental stage among group-reared tadpoles, which suggests that GC expression plays a role in regulating differing within-population growth trajectories in response to density-dependent conditions. Taken together these findings suggest that factors that influence hatching conditions can have long-term effects on growth and development. These results also raise compelling questions regarding the extent to which maternal and genetic factors influence physiological and behavioral profiles in amphibians. PMID:24143188

  15. Towards renewed fears of population and family decline?

    PubMed

    Gauthier, A H

    1993-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, J.A.; Patino, Reynaldo

    2011-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, J.A.; Patino, R.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Carr, James A; Patiño, Reynaldo

    2011-01-15

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

  20. 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.

  1. Qualitative risk analysis of introducing Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to the UK through the importation of live amphibians.

    PubMed

    Peel, Alison J; Hartley, Matt; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2012-03-20

    The international amphibian trade is implicated in the emergence and spread of the amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which has resulted in amphibian declines and extinctions globally. The establishment of the causal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), in the UK could negatively affect the survival of native amphibian populations. In recognition of the ongoing threat that it poses to amphibians, Bd was recently included in the World Organisation for Animal Health Aquatic Animal Health Code, and therefore is in the list of international notifiable diseases. Using standardised risk analysis guidelines, we investigated the likelihood that Bd would be introduced to and become established in wild amphibians in the UK through the importation of live amphibians. We obtained data on the volume and origin of the amphibian trade entering the UK and detected Bd infection in amphibians being imported for the pet and private collection trade and also in amphibians already held in captive pet, laboratory and zoological collections. We found that current systems for recording amphibian trade into the UK underestimate the volume of non-European Union trade by almost 10-fold. We identified high likelihoods of entry, establishment and spread of Bd in the UK and the resulting major overall impact. Despite uncertainties, we determined that the overall risk estimation for the introduction of Bd to the UK through the importation of live amphibians is high and that risk management measures are required, whilst ensuring that negative effects on legal trade are minimised.

  2. Population Size Influences Amphibian Detection Probability: Implications for Biodiversity Monitoring Programs

    PubMed Central

    Tanadini, Lorenzo G.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tanadini, Lorenzo G; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2011-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2001-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, Susan

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Divergent landscape effects on population connectivity in two co-occurring amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Richardson, Jonathan L

    2012-09-01

    The physical and environmental attributes of landscapes often shape patterns of population connectivity by influencing dispersal and gene flow. Landscape effects on movement are typically evaluated for single species. However, inferences from multiple species are required for multi-species management strategies increasingly being applied in conservation. In this study, I compared the spatial genetic patterns of two amphibian species across the northeastern United States and estimated the influence of specific landscape features on the observed genetic structure. The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and wood frog (Rana sylvatica) share many ecological attributes related to habitat use, phenology and site fidelity. However, I hypothesized that important differences in their movement patterns and life history would create distinct genetic patterns for each species. Using 14 microsatellite loci, I tested for differences in the level of genetic differentiation between the two species across 22 breeding ponds. The effects of eight landscape features were also estimated by evaluating 32 landscape resistance models. Spotted salamanders exhibited significantly higher genetic differentiation than wood frogs. Different landscape features were also identified as potential drivers of the genetic patterns in each species, with little overlap in model support between species. Collectively, these results provide strong evidence that these two amphibian species interact with the landscape in measurably different ways. The distinct genetic patterns observed are consistent with key differences in movement ability and life history between A. maculatum and R. sylvatica. These results highlight the importance of considering more than one species when assessing the impacts of the landscape matrix on population connectivity, even for ecologically similar species within the same habitats.

  8. 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.

  9. Early detection of population declines: high power of genetic monitoring using effective population size estimators

    PubMed Central

    Antao, Tiago; Pérez-Figueroa, Andrés; Luikart, Gordon

    2011-01-01

    Early detection of population declines is essential to prevent extinctions and to ensure sustainable harvest. We evaluated the performance of two Ne estimators to detect population declines: the two-sample temporal method and a one-sample method based on linkage disequilibrium (LD). We used simulated data representing a wide range of population sizes, sample sizes and number of loci. Both methods usually detect a population decline only one generation after it occurs if Ne drops to less than approximately 100, and 40 microsatellite loci and 50 individuals are sampled. However, the LD method often out performed the temporal method by allowing earlier detection of less severe population declines (Ne approximately 200). Power for early detection increased more rapidly with the number of individuals sampled than with the number of loci genotyped, primarily for the LD method. The number of samples available is therefore an important criterion when choosing between the LD and temporal methods. We provide guidelines regarding design of studies targeted at monitoring for population declines. We also report that 40 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers give slightly lower precision than 10 microsatellite markers. Our results suggest that conservation management and monitoring strategies can reliably use genetic based methods for early detection of population declines. PMID:25567959

  10. 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.

  11. Multiple stressors and complex life cycles: insights from a population-level assessment of breeding site contamination and terrestrial habitat loss in an amphibian.

    PubMed

    Salice, Christopher J; Rowe, Christopher L; Pechmann, Joseph H K; Hopkins, William A

    2011-12-01

    Understanding the effects of chemical contaminants on natural populations is challenging, as multiple anthropogenic and natural stressors may individually and interactively influence responses. Population models can be used to evaluate the impacts of multiple stressors and to provide insight into population-level effects and/or data gaps. For amphibians with complex life cycles, population models may be useful in understanding impacts of stressors that are unique to the habitat type (aquatic, terrestrial) and that operate at different times in the life cycle. We investigated the population-level effects of aquatic contaminants (coal combustion residues, CCR) and terrestrial habitat loss on the eastern narrowmouth toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis, using existing empirical data that demonstrated negative reproductive and developmental effects of CCR and a series of population models that incorporated density dependence and environmental stochasticity. Results of deterministic models indicated that when terrestrial habitat was abundant, CCR-exposed toads had a larger population size compared to the reference population as a result of reduced density-dependent effects on larval survival. However, when stochasticity in the form of catastrophic reproductive failure was included, CCR-exposed toads were more susceptible to decline and extinction compared to toads from the reference populations. The results highlight the complexities involved in assessing the effects of anthropogenic factors on natural populations, especially for species that are exposed to multiple biotic and abiotic stressors during different periods in the life cycle.

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Banguero, H

    1983-05-01

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

  14. Addressing wild turkey population declines using structured decision making

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Robinson, Kelly F.; Fuller, Angela K.; Schiavone, Michael V.; Swift, Bryan; Diefenbach, Duane R.; Siemer, William F.; Decker, Daniel J.

    2017-01-01

    We present a case study from New York, USA, of the use of structured decision making (SDM) to identify fall turkey harvest regulations that best meet stakeholder objectives, in light of recent apparent declines in abundance of wild turkeys in the northeastern United States. We used the SDM framework to incorporate the multiple objectives associated with turkey hunting, stakeholder desires, and region-specific ecological and environmental factors that could influence fall harvest. We identified a set of 4 fall harvest regulations, composed of different season lengths and bag limits, and evaluated their relative achievement of the objectives. We used a stochastic turkey population model, statistical modeling, and expert elicitation to evaluate the consequences of each harvest regulation on each of the objectives. We conducted a statewide mail survey of fall turkey hunters in New York to gather the necessary information to evaluate tradeoffs among multiple objectives associated with hunter satisfaction. The optimal fall harvest regulation was a 2-week season and allowed for the harvest of 1 bird/hunter. This regulation was the most conservative of those evaluated, reflecting the concerns about recent declines in turkey abundance among agency wildlife biologists and the hunting public. Depending on the region of the state, the 2-week, 1-bird regulation was predicted to result in 7–32% more turkeys on the landscape after 5 years. The SDM process provided a transparent framework for setting fall turkey harvest regulations and reduced potential stakeholder conflict by explicitly taking the multiple objectives of different stakeholder groups into account.

  15. Hyperstability masks declines in bumphead parrotfish ( Bolbometopon muricatum) populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, Richard J.; Almany, Glenn R.; Stevens, Don; Bode, Michael; Pita, John; Peterson, Nate A.; Choat, J. Howard

    2016-09-01

    Bolbometopon muricatum, the largest species of parrotfish, is a functionally important species that is characterised by the formation of aggregations for foraging, reproductive, and sleeping behaviours. Aggregations are restricted to shallow reef habitats, the locations of which are often known to local fishers. Bolbometopon muricatum fisheries are therefore vulnerable to overfishing and are likely to exhibit hyperstability, the maintenance of high catch per unit effort (CPUE) while population abundance declines. In this study, we provide a clear demonstration of hyperstable dynamics in a commercial B. muricatum fishery in Isabel Province, Solomon Islands. Initially, we used participatory mapping to demarcate the Kia fishing grounds into nine zones that had experienced different historic levels of fishing pressure. We then conducted comprehensive underwater visual census (UVC) and CPUE surveys across these zones over a 21-month period in 2012-2013. The individual sites for replicate UVC surveys were selected using a generalised random tessellation stratified variable probability design, while CPUE surveys involved trained provincial fisheries officers and local spearfishers. A comparison of fishery-independent abundance data and fishery-dependent CPUE data indicate extreme hyperstability, with CPUE maintained as B. muricatum abundance declines towards zero. Hyperstability may explain the sudden collapses of many B. muricatum spear fisheries across the Pacific and highlights the limitations of using data-poor fisheries assessment methods to evaluate the status of commercially valuable coral reef fishes that form predicable aggregations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Zhou, Haiming; Hanson, Timothy; Knapp, Roland

    2015-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Arctic greening from warming promotes declines in caribou populations

    PubMed Central

    Fauchald, Per; Park, Taejin; Tømmervik, Hans; Myneni, Ranga; Hausner, Vera Helene

    2017-01-01

    The migratory tundra caribou herds in North America follow decadal population cycles, and browsing from abundant caribou could be expected to counteract the current climate-driven expansion of shrubs in the circumpolar tundra biome. We demonstrate that the sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean has provided a strong signal for climate-induced changes on the adjacent caribou summer ranges, outperforming other climate indices in explaining the caribou-plant dynamics. We found no evidence of a negative effect of caribou abundance on vegetation biomass. On the contrary, we found a strong bottom-up effect in which a warmer climate related to diminishing sea ice has increased the plant biomass on the summer pastures, along with a paradoxical decline in caribou populations. This result suggests that this climate-induced greening has been accompanied by a deterioration of pasture quality. The shrub expansion in Arctic North America involves plant species with strong antibrowsing defenses. Our results might therefore be an early signal of a climate-driven shift in the caribou-plant interaction from a system with low plant biomass modulated by cyclic caribou populations to a system dominated by nonedible shrubs and diminishing herds of migratory caribou. PMID:28508037

  20. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  3. STAR Wildlife Risk Assessment Webinar: Temporally- and Spatially-Disparate Influences of Anthropogenic Stressors on Amphibian Populations: Aquatic Contaminants and Terrestrial Habitat Reduction

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    his Presentation comes out of research conducted under EPA STAR Grant R829087 entitled: Modeling the Individual and Interactive Risks to an Amphibian Population Resulting from Breeding Site Contamination and Terrestrial Habitat Loss.

  4. Modeling effects of conservation grassland losses on amphibian habitat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

  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. POPULATION DECLINES OF THE PUERTO RICAN VIREO IN GUANICA FOREST.

    Treesearch

    JOHN FAABORG; KATE M. DUGGER; WAYNE J. ARENDT; BETHANY L. WOODWORTH; MICHAEL E. BALTZ

    1997-01-01

    Abundance of the Puerto Rican Vireo (Vireo Zutimeri) in Guanica Forest, Puerto Rico, has declined gradually over the period 1973-1996 as determined by constant effort mist netting. Concurrent studies of breeding vireos show low nesting success, primarily due to parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis). This decline may reflect the rather recent entry of the...

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  16. Ultraviolet radiation and Vitamin D3 in amphibian health, behaviour, diet and conservation.

    PubMed

    Antwis, R E; Browne, R K

    2009-10-01

    Amphibians are currently suffering a period of mass extinction with approximately 20% of species under severe threat and more than 120 species already extinct. In light of this crisis there is an urgency to establish viable ex situ populations and also find the causes of in situ declines. The role of ultraviolet radiation and Vitamin D(3) in amphibian health directly influences both ex situ and in situ populations. Vitamin D(3) can be photosynthesised endogenously via UV-B radiation (UV-B), or acquired through the diet, and then metabolised to calcitriol the biologically active hormonal form. Although, there is a lack of literature concerning Vitamin D(3) requirements and calcitriol synthesis in amphibians, amphibians are likely to have similar Vitamin D(3) requirements and metabolic processes as other vertebrates due to the phylogenetically conservative nature of calcitriol biosynthesis. Deficiencies in calcitriol in amphibians result in nutritional metabolic bone disease (NMBD) and could compromise reproduction and immunity. However, excess biologically active UV radiation has also proven detrimental across all three amphibian life stages and therefore could impact both in situ and ex situ populations. Here we review the role and necessity of UV-B and calcitriol in amphibians and the potential for negative impacts due to excessive exposure to UV radiation. We also identify priorities for research that could provide critical information for maintaining healthy in ex situ and in situ populations of amphibians.

  17. Amphibians as a model for the study of endocrine disruptors.

    PubMed

    Kloas, Werner

    2002-01-01

    Evidence shows that environmental compounds can interfere with the endocrine systems of wildlife and humans. The main sink of such substances, called endocrine disruptors (EDs), which are mainly of anthropogenic origin, is surface water; thus, aquatic vertebrates such as fishes and amphibians are most endangered. Despite numerous reports on EDs in fishes, information about EDs in amphibians is scarce, and this paucity of information is of particular concern in view of the worldwide decline of amphibians. EDs could contribute to changes of amphibian populations via adverse effects on reproduction and the thyroid system. In amphibians, EDs can affect reproduction by (anti)estrogenic and (anti)androgenic modes of action that produce severe effects including abnormal sexual differentiation. ED actions on the thyroid system cause acceleration or retardation of metamorphosis, which may also affect population levels. Our broad knowledge of amphibian biology and endocrinology indicates that amphibians are very suitable models for the study of EDs. In particular, effects of EDs on the thyroid system triggering metamorphosis can be determined easily and most sensitively in amphibians compared to other vertebrates. A new classification of EDs according to their biological modes of action is proposed because EDs have quite heterogeneous chemical structures, which do not allow prediction of their biological effects. Methods and strategies are proposed for identification and risk assessment of EDs, whether as pure test substances or as mixtures from environmental samples. Effects of EDs on the thyroid system of amphibians can be assessed by a single animal model (Xenopus laevis), whereas the various types of reproduction need comparative studies to investigate whether general endocrine principles do exist among several species of anurans and urodeles. Thus, at least one anuran and one urodelean model are needed to determine ED interference with reproduction.

  18. 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, ...

  19. The effects of declining population growth on the demand for housing.

    Treesearch

    Thomas C. Marcin

    1974-01-01

    Declining population growth and unprecedented changes in the age structure of the population in the next several decades will profoundly affect housing demand in the next 50 years. A decline in housing demand and substantial change in the type of housing in demand are likely to occur by 1990.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Quenette, Pierre-Yves; Camarra, Jean-Jacques

    2009-01-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. India's fertility declines, but it still leads world in population growth.

    PubMed

    Visaria, L; Visaria, P

    1995-10-01

    Despite its fertility decline, India still has the world's second largest population size. Over the decades fertility declined to 3.6 in 1992 per woman. However great or rapid the decline, the population growth rate is an estimated 1.9% a year. Only three countries in the world have a higher rate of growth: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Fertility decline is attributed to increased literacy, urbanization, industrialization, modern communication and transportation, and women's status. The availability of government family planning services has also contributed to the fertility decline. Although female literacy has risen rapidly to 39% in 1991, male literacy is still higher at 64%. Girls lag behind in school attendance in both rural and urban areas. Fertility decline has occurred faster in urban areas, which are concentrated in cities of over 100,000 people. The childbearing period has declined, and childbearing is delayed. Contraceptive usage has grown dramatically since 1970 to around 40%, depending upon the data source. Population growth is attributed to improvements in health and mortality. Life expectancy has increased to 60 years, and infant mortality declined to 74 per 1000 live births. The age structure of the population is young due to demographic changes. Growth will continue for several decades due to population momentum. India is expected to surpass China as the most populous country in the world before 2050.

  8. Amphibians and plant-protection products: what research and action is needed?

    PubMed

    Aldrich, Annette; Junghans, Marion; Aeberli, Caroline; Brühl, Carsten A; Streissl, Franz; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2016-01-01

    The majority of Swiss amphibians are threatened. There is a range of factors which have been discussed as possible causes for their decline, including plant protection products (PPPs). The influence of PPPs on amphibian populations has not yet been studied to any great extent, neither for active ingredients nor for the wetting agents, breakdown products or tank mixtures. A further topic of discussion was how to better protect amphibians by reducing their exposure to PPPs in agricultural fields. Experts at a workshop concluded that further research is needed.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-19

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

  11. Genomic Consequences of Population Decline in the Endangered Florida Scrub-Jay.

    PubMed

    Chen, Nancy; Cosgrove, Elissa J; Bowman, Reed; Fitzpatrick, John W; Clark, Andrew G

    2016-11-07

    Understanding the population genetic consequences of declining population size is important for conserving the many species worldwide facing severe decline [1]. Thorough empirical studies on the impacts of population reduction at a genome-wide scale in the wild are scarce because they demand huge field and laboratory investments [1, 2]. Previous studies have demonstrated the importance of gene flow in introducing genetic variation to small populations [3], but few have documented both genetic and fitness consequences of decreased immigration through time in a natural population [4-6]. Here we assess temporal variation in gene flow, inbreeding, and fitness using longitudinal genomic, demographic, and phenotypic data from a long-studied population of federally Threatened Florida scrub-jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens). We exhaustively sampled and genotyped the study population over two decades, providing one of the most detailed longitudinal investigations of genetics in a wild animal population to date. Immigrants were less heterozygous than residents but still introduced genetic variation into our study population. Owing to regional population declines, immigration into the study population declined from 1995-2013, resulting in increased levels of inbreeding and reduced fitness via inbreeding depression, even as the population remained demographically stable. Our results show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, small peripheral populations that already have undergone a genetic bottleneck may play a vital role in preserving genetic diversity of larger and seemingly stable populations. These findings underscore the importance of investing in the persistence of small populations and maintaining population connectivity in conservation of fragmented species.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. Antifungal treatment of wild amphibian populations caused a transient reduction in the prevalence of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Geiger, Corina C; Bregnard, Cindy; Maluenda, Elodie; Voordouw, Maarten J; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2017-07-20

    Emerging infectious diseases can drive host populations to extinction and are a major driver of biodiversity loss. Controlling diseases and mitigating their impacts is therefore a priority for conservation science and practice. Chytridiomycosis is a devastating disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and for which there is an urgent need to develop mitigation methods. We treated tadpoles of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) with antifungal agents using a capture-treat-release approach in the field. Antifungal treatment during the spring reduced the prevalence of Bd in the cohort of tadpoles that had overwintered and reduced transmission of Bd from this cohort to the uninfected young-of-the-year cohort. Unfortunately, the mitigation was only transient, and the antifungal treatment was unable to prevent the rapid spread of Bd through the young-of-the year cohort. During the winter, Bd prevalence reached 100% in both the control and treated ponds. In the following spring, no effects of treatment were detectable anymore. We conclude that the sporadic application of antifungal agents in the present study was not sufficient for the long-term and large-scale control of Bd in this amphibian system.

  16. Invasive reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Moutou, F; Pastoret, P P

    2010-08-01

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

  17. Do artisanal fishers perceive declining migratory shorebird populations?

    PubMed

    Andrade, Luciano Pires; Silva-Andrade, Horasa Maria Lima; Lyra-Neves, Rachel Maria; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino; Telino-Júnior, Wallace Rodrigues

    2016-03-03

    This paper discusses the results of ethno-ornithological research conducted on the local ecological knowledge (LEK) of artisanal fishers in northeast Brazil between August 2013 and October 2014. The present study analyzed the LEK of 240 artisanal fishermen in relation to Nearctic shorebirds and the factors that may be affecting their populations. We examined whether differences occurred according to the gender and age of the local population. The research instruments included semi-structured and check-list interviews. We found that greater knowledge of migratory birds and the areas where they occur was retained by the local men compared with the local women. Half of the male respondents stated that the birds are always in the same locations, and most of the respondents believed that changes in certain populations were caused by factors related to habitat disturbance, particularly to increases in housing construction and visitors to the island. The main practices affecting the presence of migratory birds mentioned by the locals were boat traffic and noise from bars and vessels. According to the artisanal fishermen, the population of migratory birds that use the area for foraging and resting has been reduced over time. Changes in the local landscape related to urbanization and tourism are most likely the primary causes underlying the reduced migratory shorebird populations as reported by local inhabitants. Thus, managing and monitoring urbanization and tourism are fundamental to increasing the success of the migration process and improving the conservation of migratory shorebird species.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-23

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. Why amphibians are more sensitive than mammals to xenobiotics.

    PubMed

    Quaranta, Angelo; Bellantuono, Vito; Cassano, Giuseppe; Lippe, Claudio

    2009-11-04

    Dramatic declines in amphibian populations have been described all over the world since the 1980s. The evidence that the sensitivity to environmental threats is greater in amphibians than in mammals has been generally linked to the observation that amphibians are characterized by a rather permeable skin. Nevertheless, a numerical comparison of data of percutaneous (through the skin) passage between amphibians and mammals is lacking. Therefore, in this investigation we have measured the percutaneous passage of two test molecules (mannitol and antipyrine) and three heavily used herbicides (atrazine, paraquat and glyphosate) in the skin of the frog Rana esculenta (amphibians) and of the pig ear (mammals), by using the same experimental protocol and a simple apparatus which minimizes the edge effect, occurring when the tissue is clamped in the usually used experimental device.The percutaneous passage (P) of each substance is much greater in frog than in pig. LogP is linearly related to logKow (logarithm of the octanol-water partition coefficient). The measured P value of atrazine was about 134 times larger than that of glyphosate in frog skin, but only 12 times in pig ear skin. The FoD value (Pfrog/Ppig) was 302 for atrazine, 120 for antipyrine, 66 for mannitol, 29 for paraquat, and 26 for glyphosate.The differences in structure and composition of the skin between amphibians and mammals are discussed.

  4. A new method for identifying rapid decline dynamics in wild vertebrate populations

    PubMed Central

    Fonzo, Martina Di; Collen, Ben; Mace, Georgina M

    2013-01-01

    Tracking trends in the abundance of wildlife populations is a sensitive method for assessing biodiversity change due to the short time-lag between human pressures and corresponding shifts in population trends. This study tests for proposed associations between different types of human pressures and wildlife population abundance decline-curves and introduces a method to distinguish decline trajectories from natural fluctuations in population time-series. First, we simulated typical mammalian population time-series under different human pressure types and intensities and identified significant distinctions in population dynamics. Based on the concavity of the smoothed population trend and the algebraic function which was the closest fit to the data, we determined those differences in decline dynamics that were consistently attributable to each pressure type. We examined the robustness of the attribution of pressure type to population decline dynamics under more realistic conditions by simulating populations under different levels of environmental stochasticity and time-series data quality. Finally, we applied our newly developed method to 124 wildlife population time-series and investigated how those threat types diagnosed by our method compare to the specific threatening processes reported for those populations. We show how wildlife population decline curves can be used to discern between broad categories of pressure or threat types, but do not work for detailed threat attributions. More usefully, we find that differences in population decline curves can reliably identify populations where pressure is increasing over time, even when data quality is poor, and propose this method as a cost-effective technique for prioritizing conservation actions between populations. PMID:23919177

  5. 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...

  6. Forecasting changes in amphibian biodiversity: aiming at a moving target

    PubMed Central

    Collins, James P; Halliday, Tim

    2005-01-01

    Amphibian population declines and sudden species' extinctions began to be noted at the beginning of the 1980s. Understanding the causes of the losses is hampered by our poor knowledge of the amphibian fauna in many parts of the world. Amphibian taxa are still being described at a high rate, especially in the tropics, which means that even quantifying species lost as a percentage of the current fauna can be a misleading statistic in some parts of the globe. The number of species that have gone missing is only one measure of the loss of biodiversity. Long-term studies of single-species populations are needed, but this approach has its limits. Amphibian populations often show great annual variation in population size making it difficult, if not impossible, to use short-term studies as a basis for deciding if a population is increasing or decreasing in the long term. Aggregating single studies into databases and searching for patterns of variation is a way of overcoming this limitation. Several databases on species and population time series are available or in development. These records show that declines are continuing worldwide with some species and populations, especially in the tropics and at higher elevations, at greater risk of extinction than others. Unfortunately, amphibian databases with population time series have much less information for the tropics compared to the temperate zone, and less for Africa and Asia compared with Europe and North America. Focusing limited resources using comprehensive statistical designs is a way to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring efforts. It is clear that, in the first decades of the twenty-first century, the regions of the globe with the highest diversity of amphibian species will experience the greatest rates of decrease of forests and increase in human population size, fertilizer use, agricultural production, creation of new croplands and irrigation. Many of these changes are likely negatively to

  7. Forecasting changes in amphibian biodiversity: aiming at a moving target.

    PubMed

    Collins, James P; Halliday, Tim

    2005-02-28

    Amphibian population declines and sudden species' extinctions began to be noted at the beginning of the 1980s. Understanding the causes of the losses is hampered by our poor knowledge of the amphibian fauna in many parts of the world. Amphibian taxa are still being described at a high rate, especially in the tropics, which means that even quantifying species lost as a percentage of the current fauna can be a misleading statistic in some parts of the globe. The number of species that have gone missing is only one measure of the loss of biodiversity. Long-term studies of single-species populations are needed, but this approach has its limits. Amphibian populations often show great annual variation in population size making it difficult, if not impossible, to use short-term studies as a basis for deciding if a population is increasing or decreasing in the long term. Aggregating single studies into databases and searching for patterns of variation is a way of overcoming this limitation. Several databases on species and population time series are available or in development. These records show that declines are continuing worldwide with some species and populations, especially in the tropics and at higher elevations, at greater risk of extinction than others. Unfortunately, amphibian databases with population time series have much less information for the tropics compared to the temperate zone, and less for Africa and Asia compared with Europe and North America. Focusing limited resources using comprehensive statistical designs is a way to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring efforts. It is clear that, in the first decades of the twenty-first century, the regions of the globe with the highest diversity of amphibian species will experience the greatest rates of decrease of forests and increase in human population size, fertilizer use, agricultural production, creation of new croplands and irrigation. Many of these changes are likely negatively to

  8. Declining population immunity to mumps among Israeli military recruits.

    PubMed

    Huerta, Michael; Davidovitch, Nadav; Aboudy, Yair; Ankol, Omer E; Balicer, Ran D; Zarka, Salman; Grotto, Itamar

    2006-09-11

    Population-based seroepidemologic data on mumps have not been available in Israel since 1987, and the effects of mass immigration from the Commonwealth of Independent States during the 1990s have not been investigated. We conducted a seroprevalence study of mumps antibodies among 353 Israeli military recruits aged 18-19, based on a representative sample of sera collected in 1999. The overall seroprevalence rate was 83.3%, which was significantly lower than that measured in 1987 (94.1%, P<0.001). Foreign-born subjects had substantially lower seroporevalence rates than their native Israeli counterparts (68.5% versus 86.1%, P<0.001). Recent seroprevalence levels are below those required for herd immunity, and most likely contributed to an outbreak of mumps observed among young adults in Israel in 2005. Immigration appears to be a contributing factor to the decrease in population seroprevalence over time.

  9. Phage selection for bacterial cheats leads to population decline.

    PubMed

    Vasse, Marie; Torres-Barceló, Clara; Hochberg, Michael E

    2015-11-07

    While predators and parasites are known for their effects on bacterial population biology, their impact on the dynamics of bacterial social evolution remains largely unclear. Siderophores are iron-chelating molecules that are key to the survival of certain bacterial species in iron-limited environments, but their production can be subject to cheating by non-producing genotypes. In a selection experiment conducted over approximately 20 bacterial generations and involving 140 populations of the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, we assessed the impact of a lytic phage on competition between siderophore producers and non-producers. We show that the presence of lytic phages favours the non-producing genotype in competition, regardless of whether iron use relies on siderophores. Interestingly, phage pressure resulted in higher siderophore production, which constitutes a cost to the producers and may explain why they were outcompeted by non-producers. By the end of the experiment, however, cheating load reduced the fitness of mixed populations relative to producer monocultures, and only monocultures of producers managed to grow in the presence of phage in situations where siderophores were necessary to access iron. These results suggest that public goods production may be modulated in the presence of natural enemies with consequences for the evolution of social strategies. © 2015 The Author(s).

  10. Demographic drivers of decline and recovery in an Afro-Palaearctic migratory bird population.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Catriona A; Robinson, Robert A; Butler, Simon J; Clark, Jacquie A; Gill, Jennifer A

    2016-11-16

    Across Europe, rapid population declines are ongoing in many Afro-Palaearctic migratory bird species, but the development of appropriate conservation actions across such large migratory ranges is severely constrained by lack of understanding of the demographic drivers of these declines. By constructing regional integrated population models (IPMs) for one of the suite of migratory species that is declining in the southeast of Britain but increasing in the northwest, we show that, while annual population growth rates in both regions vary with adult survival, the divergent regional trajectories are primarily a consequence of differences in productivity. Between 1994 and 2012, annual survival and productivity rates ranged over similar levels in both regions, but high productivity rates were rarer in the declining southeast population and never coincided with high survival rates. By contrast, population growth in the northwest was fuelled by several years in which higher productivity coincided with high survival rates. Simulated population trajectories suggest that realistic improvements in productivity could have reversed the decline (i.e. recovery of the population index to more than or equal to 1) in the southeast. Consequently, actions to improve productivity on European breeding grounds are likely to be a more fruitful and achievable means of reversing migrant declines than actions to improve survival on breeding, passage or sub-Saharan wintering grounds. © 2016 The Authors.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-22

    Larger-bodied species in a wide range of taxonomic groups including mammals, fishes and birds tend to decline more steeply and are at greater risk of extinction. Yet, the diversity in life histories is governed not only by body size, but also by time-related traits. A key question is whether this size-dependency of vulnerability also holds, not just locally, but globally across a wider range of environments. We test the relative importance of size- and time-related life-history traits and fishing mortality in determining population declines and current exploitation status in tunas and their relatives. We use high-quality datasets of half a century of population trajectories combined with population-level fishing mortalities and life-history traits. Time-related traits (e.g. growth rate), rather than size-related traits (e.g. maximum size), better explain the extent and rate of declines and current exploitation status across tuna assemblages, after controlling for fishing mortality. Consequently, there is strong geographical patterning in population declines, such that populations with slower life histories (found at higher cooler latitudes) have declined most and more steeply and have a higher probability of being overfished than populations with faster life histories (found at tropical latitudes). Hence, the strong, temperature-driven, latitudinal gradients in life-history traits may underlie the global patterning of population declines, fisheries collapses and local extinctions. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  12. Demographic drivers of decline and recovery in an Afro-Palaearctic migratory bird population

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Robert A.; Butler, Simon J.; Clark, Jacquie A.; Gill, Jennifer A.

    2016-01-01

    Across Europe, rapid population declines are ongoing in many Afro-Palaearctic migratory bird species, but the development of appropriate conservation actions across such large migratory ranges is severely constrained by lack of understanding of the demographic drivers of these declines. By constructing regional integrated population models (IPMs) for one of the suite of migratory species that is declining in the southeast of Britain but increasing in the northwest, we show that, while annual population growth rates in both regions vary with adult survival, the divergent regional trajectories are primarily a consequence of differences in productivity. Between 1994 and 2012, annual survival and productivity rates ranged over similar levels in both regions, but high productivity rates were rarer in the declining southeast population and never coincided with high survival rates. By contrast, population growth in the northwest was fuelled by several years in which higher productivity coincided with high survival rates. Simulated population trajectories suggest that realistic improvements in productivity could have reversed the decline (i.e. recovery of the population index to more than or equal to 1) in the southeast. Consequently, actions to improve productivity on European breeding grounds are likely to be a more fruitful and achievable means of reversing migrant declines than actions to improve survival on breeding, passage or sub-Saharan wintering grounds. PMID:27807267

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

  16. Evaluating the effects of anthropogenic stressors on source-sink dynamics in pond-breeding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Willson, John D; Hopkins, William A

    2013-06-01

    Although interwetland dispersal is thought to play an important role in regional persistence of pond-breeding amphibians, few researchers have modeled amphibian metapopulation or source-sink dynamics. Results of recent modeling studies suggest anthropogenic stressors, such as pollution, can negatively affect density and population viability of amphibians breeding in isolated wetlands. Presumably population declines also result in reduced dispersal to surrounding (often uncontaminated) habitats, potentially affecting dynamics of nearby populations. We used our data on the effects of mercury (Hg) on the American toad ( Bufo americanus) as a case study in modeling the effects of anthropogenic stressors on landscape-scale amphibian dynamics. We created a structured metapopulation model to investigate regional dynamics of American toads and to evaluate the degree to which detrimental effects of Hg contamination on individual populations can disrupt interpopulation dynamics. Dispersal from typical American toad populations supported nearby populations that would otherwise have been extirpated over long time scales. Through support of such sink populations, dispersal between wetland-associated subpopulations substantially increased overall productivity of wetland networks, but this effect declined with increasing interwetland distance and decreasing wetland size. Contamination with Hg substantially reduced productivity of wetland-associated subpopulations and impaired the ability of populations to support nearby sinks within relevant spatial scales. Our results add to the understanding of regional dynamics of pond-breeding amphibians, the wide-reaching negative effects of environmental contaminants, and the potential for restoration or remediation of degraded habitats.

  17. Rapid population decline in migratory shorebirds relying on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats as stopover sites

    PubMed Central

    Studds, Colin E.; Kendall, Bruce E.; Murray, Nicholas J.; Wilson, Howard B.; Rogers, Danny I.; Clemens, Robert S.; Gosbell, Ken; Hassell, Chris J.; Jessop, Rosalind; Melville, David S.; Milton, David A.; Minton, Clive D. T.; Possingham, Hugh P.; Riegen, Adrian C.; Straw, Phil; Woehler, Eric J.; Fuller, Richard A.

    2017-01-01

    Migratory animals are threatened by human-induced global change. However, little is known about how stopover habitat, essential for refuelling during migration, affects the population dynamics of migratory species. Using 20 years of continent-wide citizen science data, we assess population trends of ten shorebird taxa that refuel on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats, a threatened ecosystem that has shrunk by >65% in recent decades. Seven of the taxa declined at rates of up to 8% per year. Taxa with the greatest reliance on the Yellow Sea as a stopover site showed the greatest declines, whereas those that stop primarily in other regions had slowly declining or stable populations. Decline rate was unaffected by shared evolutionary history among taxa and was not predicted by migration distance, breeding range size, non-breeding location, generation time or body size. These results suggest that changes in stopover habitat can severely limit migratory populations. PMID:28406155

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Karraker, Nancy E; Ruthig, Gregory R

    2009-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that socioeconomic shocks strongly affect wildlife populations, but quantitative evidence is sparse. The collapse of socialism in Russia in 1991 caused a major socioeconomic shock, including a sharp increase in poverty. We analyzed population trends of 8 large mammals in Russia from 1981 to 2010 (i.e., before and after the collapse). We hypothesized that the collapse would first cause population declines, primarily due to overexploitation, and then population increases due to adaptation of wildlife to new environments following the collapse. The long-term Database of the Russian Federal Agency of Game Mammal Monitoring, consisting of up to 50,000 transects that are monitored annually, provided an exceptional data set for investigating these population trends. Three species showed strong declines in population growth rates in the decade following the collapse, while grey wolf (Canis lupus) increased by more than 150%. After 2000 some trends reversed. For example, roe deer (Capreolus spp.) abundance in 2010 was the highest of any period in our study. Likely reasons for the population declines in the 1990s include poaching and the erosion of wildlife protection enforcement. The rapid increase of the grey wolf populations is likely due to the cessation of governmental population control. In general, the widespread declines in wildlife populations after the collapse of the Soviet Union highlight the magnitude of the effects that socioeconomic shocks can have on wildlife populations and the possible need for special conservation efforts during such times. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Amphibian research and monitoring initiative: Concepts and implementation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Many long-distance migrating shorebird (i.e., sandpipers, plovers, flamingos, oystercatchers) populations are declining. Although regular shorebird monitoring programs exist worldwide, most estimates of shorebird population trends and sizes are poor or nonexistent. We built a state-space model to estimate shorebird population trends. Compared with more commonly used methods of trend estimation, state-space models are more mechanistic, allow for the separation of observation and state process, and can easily accommodate multivariate time series and nonlinear trends. We fitted the model to count data collected from 1990 to 2013 on 18 common shorebirds at the 2 largest coastal wetlands in southern Africa, Sandwich Harbour (a relatively pristine bay) and Walvis Bay (an international harbor), Namibia. Four of the 12 long-distance migrant species declined since 1990: Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and Red Knot (Calidris canutus). Populations of resident species and short-distance migrants increased or were stable. Similar patterns at a key South African wetland suggest that shorebird populations migrating to southern Africa are declining in line with the global decline, but local conditions in southern Africa's largest wetlands are not contributing to these declines. State-space models provide estimates of population levels and trends and could be used widely to improve the current state of water bird estimates. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  12. Adaptive colouration in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Rudh, Andreas; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

  13. Decline of the Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) population in the Klamath Basin, Oregon, 2001-2010

    Treesearch

    Jaime L. Stephens; Sarah M. Rockwell; C. John Ralph; John D Alexander

    2015-01-01

    We monitored the Black Tern (Childonias niger) population at Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes, in the Klamath Basin, Oregon, from 2001–2010. We estimated that the population of adult Black Terns declined at these 2 joined waterbodies by 8.4% annually. In contrast, our analysis of Breeding Bird Survey data for the Bird...

  14. Growing hickories (Carya spp.) for roost trees: A method to support conservation of declining bat populations

    Treesearch

    Tara Luna; Daniel L. Lindner; R. Kasten Dumroese

    2014-01-01

    Bats (Vespertilionidae and Phyllostomidae) are a critically important component of North American ecosystems. These insectivorous mammals provide largely unrecognized ecosystem services to agriculture and forest health and sustain bat-dependent native plant populations. The decline of North American bat populations reflects the recent emergence of the fungal disease...

  15. 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.

  16. Questions concerning the potential impact of glyphosate-based herbicides on amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Norman; Reichenbecher, Wolfram; Teichmann, Hanka; Tappeser, Beatrix; Lötters, Stefan

    2013-08-01

    Use of glyphosate-based herbicides is increasing worldwide. The authors review the available data related to potential impacts of these herbicides on amphibians and conduct a qualitative meta-analysis. Because little is known about environmental concentrations of glyphosate in amphibian habitats and virtually nothing is known about environmental concentrations of the substances added to the herbicide formulations that mainly contribute to adverse effects, glyphosate levels can only be seen as approximations for contamination with glyphosate-based herbicides. The impact on amphibians depends on the herbicide formulation, with different sensitivity of taxa and life stages. Effects on development of larvae apparently are the most sensitive endpoints to study. As with other contaminants, costressors mainly increase adverse effects. If and how glyphosate-based herbicides and other pesticides contribute to amphibian decline is not answerable yet due to missing data on how natural populations are affected. Amphibian risk assessment can only be conducted case-specifically, with consideration of the particular herbicide formulation. The authors recommend better monitoring of both amphibian populations and contamination of habitats with glyphosate-based herbicides, not just glyphosate, and suggest including amphibians in standardized test batteries to study at least dermal administration. Copyright © 2013 SETAC.

  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. Climate and ecosystem linkages explain widespread declines in North American Atlantic salmon populations.

    PubMed

    Mills, Katherine E; Pershing, Andrew J; Sheehan, Timothy F; Mountain, David

    2013-10-01

    North American Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations experienced substantial declines in the early 1990s, and many populations have persisted at low abundances in recent years. Abundance and productivity declined in a coherent manner across major regions of North America, and this coherence points toward a potential shift in marine survivorship, rather than local, river-specific factors. The major declines in Atlantic salmon populations occurred against a backdrop of physical and biological shifts in Northwest Atlantic ecosystems. Analyses of changes in climate, physical, and lower trophic level biological factors provide substantial evidence that climate conditions directly and indirectly influence the abundance and productivity of North American Atlantic salmon populations. A major decline in salmon abundance after 1990 was preceded by a series of changes across multiple levels of the ecosystem, and a subsequent population change in 1997, primarily related to salmon productivity, followed an unusually low NAO event. Pairwise correlations further demonstrate that climate and physical conditions are associated with changes in plankton communities and prey availability, which are ultimately linked to Atlantic salmon populations. Results suggest that poor trophic conditions, likely due to climate-driven environmental factors, and warmer ocean temperatures throughout their marine habitat area are constraining the productivity and recovery of North American Atlantic salmon populations. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Distribution-wide effects of climate on population densities of a declining migratory landbird.

    PubMed

    Anders, Angela D; Post, Eric

    2006-01-01

    1. Increases in global temperatures have created concern about effects of climatic variability on populations, and climate has been shown to affect population dynamics in an increasing number of species. Testing for effects of climate on population densities across a species' distribution allows for elucidation of effects of climate that would not be apparent at smaller spatial scales. 2. Using autoregressive population models, we tested for effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on annual population densities of a North American migratory landbird, the yellow-billed cuckoo Coccyzus americanus, across the species' breeding distribution over a 37-year period (1966-2002). 3. Our results indicate that both the NAO and ENSO have affected population densities of C. americanus across much of the species' breeding range, with the strongest effects of climate in regions in which these climate systems have the strongest effects on local temperatures. Analyses also indicate that the strength of the effect of local temperatures on C. americanus populations was predictive of long-term population decline, with populations that were more negatively affected by warm temperatures experiencing steeper declines. 4. Results of this study highlight the importance of distribution-wide analyses of climatic effects and demonstrate that increases in global temperatures have the potential to lead to additional population declines.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-10

    Mountain gorillas are an endangered great ape subspecies and a prominent focus for conservation, yet we know little about their genomic diversity and evolutionary past. We sequenced whole genomes from multiple wild individuals and compared the genomes of all four Gorilla subspecies. We found that the two eastern subspecies have experienced a prolonged population decline over the past 100,000 years, resulting in very low genetic diversity and an increased overall burden of deleterious variation. A further recent decline in the mountain gorilla population has led to extensive inbreeding, such that individuals are typically homozygous at 34% of their sequence, leading to the purging of severely deleterious recessive mutations from the population. We discuss the causes of their decline and the consequences for their future survival. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1989-01-01

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

  3. 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...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  5. The biology of amphibians and reptiles in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

    Treesearch

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

    1995-01-01

    The amphibian and reptile fauna of older forest ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest includes several endemic species, species with unique behavioral and ecological characteristics, and species whose populations have been in decline in recent years. We review the biology of these species and include information on their distinguishing characteristics, behavior, and...

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

    PubMed

    Ficetola, Gentile Francesco; Maiorano, Luigi

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Frog virus 3-like infections in aquatic amphibian communities.

    PubMed

    Duffus, A L J; Pauli, B D; Wozney, K; Brunetti, C R; Berrill, M

    2008-01-01

    Frog virus 3 (FV3) and FV3-like viruses, are members of the genus Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae), and they have been associated with infectious diseases that may be contributing to amphibian population declines. We examined the mode of transmission of an FV3-like virus, and potential hosts and reservoirs of the virus in a local amphibian community. Using the polymerase chain reaction to detect infected animals, we found an FV3-like virus in south-central Ontario, Canada, amphibian communities, where it infects sympatric amphibian species, including ranid and hylid tadpoles (Rana sylvatica, Hyla versicolor, and Pseudacris spp.), larval salamanders (Ambystoma spp.), and adult eastern-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens). The high prevalence of FV3-like infections in caudate larvae suggests that salamanders are likely to be both hosts and reservoirs. In laboratory FV3 challenges of R. sylvatica, the rate of infection was dependent on the amount of virus to which the animals were exposed. In addition, although vertical transmission was suspected, horizontal transmission through exposure to infected pond water is the most likely route of infection in tadpoles. Based on our observations, a simple model of FV3/FV3-like virus transmission postulates that, in aquatic amphibian communities, transmission of the virus occurs between anuran and urodele species, with ambystomatid salamanders the most likely reservoir for the ranavirus in our study.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  11. Genomic signatures of population decline in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

    PubMed

    O'Loughlin, Samantha M; Magesa, Stephen M; Mbogo, Charles; Mosha, Franklin; Midega, Janet; Burt, Austin

    2016-03-24

    Population genomic features such as nucleotide diversity and linkage disequilibrium are expected to be strongly shaped by changes in population size, and might therefore be useful for monitoring the success of a control campaign. In the Kilifi district of Kenya, there has been a marked decline in the abundance of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae subsequent to the rollout of insecticide-treated bed nets. To investigate whether this decline left a detectable population genomic signature, simulations were performed to compare the effect of population crashes on nucleotide diversity, Tajima's D, and linkage disequilibrium (as measured by the population recombination parameter ρ). Linkage disequilibrium and ρ were estimated for An. gambiae from Kilifi, and compared them to values for Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles merus at the same location, and for An. gambiae in a location 200 km from Kilifi. In the first simulations ρ changed more rapidly after a population crash than the other statistics, and therefore is a more sensitive indicator of recent population decline. In the empirical data, linkage disequilibrium extends 100-1000 times further, and ρ is 100-1000 times smaller, for the Kilifi population of An. gambiae than for any of the other populations. There were also significant runs of homozygosity in many of the individual An. gambiae mosquitoes from Kilifi. These results support the hypothesis that the recent decline in An. gambiae was driven by the rollout of bed nets. Measuring population genomic parameters in a small sample of individuals before, during and after vector or pest control may be a valuable method of tracking the effectiveness of interventions.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  13. Deciphering amphibian diversity through DNA barcoding: chances and challenges.

    PubMed

    Vences, Miguel; Thomas, Meike; Bonett, Ronald M; Vieites, David R

    2005-10-29

    Amphibians globally are in decline, yet there is still a tremendous amount of unrecognized diversity, calling for an acceleration of taxonomic exploration. This process will be greatly facilitated by a DNA barcoding system; however, the mitochondrial population structure of many amphibian species presents numerous challenges to such a standardized, single locus, approach. Here we analyse intra- and interspecific patterns of mitochondrial variation in two distantly related groups of amphibians, mantellid frogs and salamanders, to determine the promise of DNA barcoding with cytochrome oxidase subunit I (cox1) sequences in this taxon. High intraspecific cox1 divergences of 7-14% were observed (18% in one case) within the whole set of amphibian sequences analysed. These high values are not caused by particularly high substitution rates of this gene but by generally deep mitochondrial divergences within and among amphibian species. Despite these high divergences, cox1 sequences were able to correctly identify species including disparate geographic variants. The main problems with cox1 barcoding of amphibians are (i) the high variability of priming sites that hinder the application of universal primers to all species and (ii) the observed distinct overlap of intraspecific and interspecific divergence values, which implies difficulties in the definition of threshold values to identify candidate species. Common discordances between geographical signatures of mitochondrial and nuclear markers in amphibians indicate that a single-locus approach can be problematic when high accuracy of DNA barcoding is required. We suggest that a number of mitochondrial and nuclear genes may be used as DNA barcoding markers to complement cox1.

  14. Amphibian occurrence is influenced by current and historic landscape characteristics.

    PubMed

    Piha, Henna; Luoto, Miska; Merilä, Juha

    2007-12-01

    Human-induced habitat loss and degradation are major threats to wetland species as reflected in the fact that wetlands have declined by more than 50% in Europe and North America during the last century. Both current and historic land-use patterns are likely to be significant determinants of wetland species' distributions; however their relative importance is often unknown. We studied the importance of local (study pond) and landscape (current and 18th-century landscape) characteristics in explaining the occurrence and species richness of amphibians (Rana arvalis, Bufo bufo, and Triturus vulgaris) on the Swedish island of Gotland, where more than 40% of wetlands have been lost since the 18th century. Current local habitat characteristics were the strongest determinants of occurrence for all study species. Additionally, species occurrence was related to current and historic landscape characteristics, which generally explained equal amounts of the variation in species-occurrence data. The proportions of both current and historic arable land were negative determinants of amphibian occurrence and species richness, indicating that agricultural land use may have an overall negative impact on amphibians, and that amphibians may occur less frequently in areas with a long agricultural history. Likewise, historic forest area was positively related to B. bufo occurrence and species richness, whereas current forests had no significant effects, suggesting that there may be a lag in the response of amphibians to agriculture-mediated habitat loss. Our results suggest that historic land-use patterns may influence current amphibian populations and that inclusion of historic land-use information could be a valuable tool in future studies on amphibian-habitat relations.

  15. Terminal decline of episodic memory and perceptual speed in a biracial population.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Robert S; Rajan, Kumar B; Barnes, Lisa L; Jansen, Willemijn; Amofa, Priscilla; Weuve, Jennifer; Evans, Denis A

    2017-03-23

    We compared trajectories of terminal cognitive decline in older Black (n = 3372) and White (n = 1756) persons from a defined population who completed tests of episodic memory and perceptual speed at 3-year intervals for up to 18 years. During a mean of 9.9 years of observation, 1608 Black persons and 902 White persons died. Preterminal decline of episodic memory did not differ by race. Terminal episodic memory decline began earlier in Black persons (mean of 4.3 years before death) than in White persons (mean = 3.9 years) and progressed more slowly. By contrast, terminal decline of perceptual speed began earlier in White persons (mean = 5.0 years) than in Black persons (mean = 4.5 years). Rate of perceptual speed decline was more rapid in White persons than in Black persons in both the preterminal and terminal periods. The results indicate that terminal cognitive decline occurs in Black persons but suggest that the rate of cognitive decline during the terminal period is less rapid in Black persons than in White persons.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1992-01-01

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

  19. Risk factors for FEV1 decline in mild COPD and high-risk populations

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Shujing; Wang, Changhui; Li, Bing; Shi, Guochao; Li, Huiping; Zhang, Jing; Gu, Yutong; Zhou, Jian; Song, Yuanlin; Bai, Chunxue

    2017-01-01

    Background Early diagnosis of COPD is often not achieved due to limited recognition and limited access to the pulmonary function test. Our hypothesis was that lung function decline may be different between populations with mild COPD and those who are at high risk and do not receive treatment. Patients and methods Subjects with mild COPD and those from a high-risk COPD population were recruited from a community-based COPD epidemiological study after obtaining consent. Baseline clinical characteristics, symptom questionnaire, spirometry, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) chest scan, and blood plasma biomarker data were collected initially and then 1 year later. Results A total of 617 participants were recruited, and 438 eventually completed the first-year follow-up visit; 72 participants (46 males) were in the mild COPD group, and 225 participants (165 males) were in the high-risk group. The mean forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration (FEV1) decline in the mild COPD group was 129 mL, which was significantly higher than the 30 mL decline in the high-risk population group (P=0.005). Group category (odds ratio [OR] =0.230) and COPD Assessment Test (CAT) score (OR =9.912) were independent risk factors for an FEV1% predicted decline of >15% for all participants. In the mild COPD group, patients with a higher CAT (OR =5.310) and Emphysema Index (OR =5.681) were associated with a FEV1% predicted decline of >15% at the first-year follow-up. No factor showed a significantly predictive effect on FEV1 decline in the high-risk COPD group. Conclusion Group category was an independent influential factor associated with FEV1 decline. PMID:28184155

  20. Diclofenac poisoning is widespread in declining vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent.

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Baral, Hem Sagar; Charman, Sheonaidh; Cunningham, Andrew A; Das, Devojit; Ghalsasi, G R; Goudar, Mallikarjun S; Green, Rhys E; Jones, Ainsley; Nighot, Prashant; Pain, Deborah J; Prakash, Vibhu

    2004-01-01

    Recent declines in the populations of three species of vultures in the Indian subcontinent are among the most rapid ever recorded in any bird species. Evidence from a previous study of one of these species, Gyps bengalensis, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, strongly implicates mortality caused by ingestion of residues of the veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac as the major cause of the decline. We show that a high proportion of Gyps bengalensis and G. indicus found dead or dying in a much larger area of India and Nepal also have residues of diclofenac and visceral gout, a post-mortem finding that is strongly associated with diclofenac contamination in both species. Hence, veterinary use of diclofenac is likely to have been the major cause of the rapid vulture population declines across the subcontinent. PMID:15801603

  1. Investigating Rates of Hunting and Survival in Declining European Lapwing Populations

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Understanding effects of harvest on population dynamics is of major interest, especially for declining species. European lapwing Vanellus vanellus populations increased from the 1960s until the 1980s and declined strongly thereafter. About 400,000 lapwings are harvested annually and it is thus of high conservation relevance to assess whether hunting was a main cause for the observed changes in lapwing population trends. We developed a multi-event cause-specific mortality model which we applied to a long-term ring-recovery data set (1960–2010) of > 360,000 records to estimate survival and cause-specific mortalities. We found no temporal change in survival over the last 50 years for first-year (FY) and older birds (after first-year; AFY) originating from different ringing areas. Mean survival was high, around 0.60 and 0.80 for FY and AFY individuals, respectively. The proportion of total mortality due to hunting was <0.10 over the study period and the estimated proportion of harvested individuals (kill rate) was <0.05 in each year. Our result of constant survival indicates that demographic processes other than survival were responsible for the pronounced change in lapwing population trends in the 1980s. Our findings lend support to the hypothesis that hunting was not a significant contributor to the large-scale decline of lapwing populations. To halt the ongoing decline of European lapwing populations management should focus on life history stages other than survival (e.g. productivity). Further analyses are required to investigate the contribution of other demographic rates to the decline of lapwings and to identify the most efficient conservation actions. PMID:27685660

  2. Decline of recent seabirds inferred from a composite 1000-year record of population dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Liqiang; Liu, Xiaodong; Wu, Libin; Sun, Liguang; Zhao, Jinjun; Chen, Lin

    2016-01-01

    Based on three ornithogenic sediment profiles and seabird subfossils therein from the Xisha Islands, South China Sea, the relative population size of seabirds over the past 1000 years was reconstructed using reflectance spectrum. Here we present an apparent increase and subsequent decline of seabirds on these islands in the South China Sea. Seabird populations peaked during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400–1850 AD), implying that the cool climate during the LIA appears to have been more favorable to seabirds on the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Climate change partly explains the recent decrease in seabird populations over the past 150 years, but the significant decline and almost complete disappearance thereof on most of the Xisha Islands is probably attributable to human disturbance. Our study reveals the increasing impact of anthropogenic activities on seabird population in recent times. PMID:27748366

  3. Decline of recent seabirds inferred from a composite 1000-year record of population dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Liqiang; Liu, Xiaodong; Wu, Libin; Sun, Liguang; Zhao, Jinjun; Chen, Lin

    2016-10-01

    Based on three ornithogenic sediment profiles and seabird subfossils therein from the Xisha Islands, South China Sea, the relative population size of seabirds over the past 1000 years was reconstructed using reflectance spectrum. Here we present an apparent increase and subsequent decline of seabirds on these islands in the South China Sea. Seabird populations peaked during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400–1850 AD), implying that the cool climate during the LIA appears to have been more favorable to seabirds on the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Climate change partly explains the recent decrease in seabird populations over the past 150 years, but the significant decline and almost complete disappearance thereof on most of the Xisha Islands is probably attributable to human disturbance. Our study reveals the increasing impact of anthropogenic activities on seabird population in recent times.

  4. Declines in low-elevation subalpine tree populations outpace growth in high-elevation populations with warming

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conlisk, Erin; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew J.; Veblen, Thomas T; Smith, Jeremy M.; Kueppers, Lara M.

    2017-01-01

    Species distribution shifts in response to climate change require that recruitment increase beyond current range boundaries. For trees with long life spans, the importance of climate-sensitive seedling establishment to the pace of range shifts has not been demonstrated quantitatively.Using spatially explicit, stochastic population models combined with data from long-term forest surveys, we explored whether the climate-sensitivity of recruitment observed in climate manipulation experiments was sufficient to alter populations and elevation ranges of two widely distributed, high-elevation North American conifers.Empirically observed, warming-driven declines in recruitment led to rapid modelled population declines at the low-elevation, ‘warm edge’ of subalpine forest and slow emergence of populations beyond the high-elevation, ‘cool edge’. Because population declines in the forest occurred much faster than population emergence in the alpine, we observed range contraction for both species. For Engelmann spruce, this contraction was permanent over the modelled time horizon, even in the presence of increased moisture. For limber pine, lower sensitivity to warming may facilitate persistence at low elevations – especially in the presence of increased moisture – and rapid establishment above tree line, and, ultimately, expansion into the alpine.Synthesis. Assuming 21st century warming and no additional moisture, population dynamics in high-elevation forests led to transient range contractions for limber pine and potentially permanent range contractions for Engelmann spruce. Thus, limitations to seedling recruitment with warming can constrain the pace of subalpine tree range shifts.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

  6. Recent population decline of the Marbled Murrelet in the Pacific Northwest

    Treesearch

    Sherri L. Miller; Martin G. Raphael; Gary A. Falxa; Craig Strong; Jim Baldwin; Thomas Bloxton; Beth M. Galleher; Monique Lance; Deanna Lynch; Scott F. Pearson; C. John Ralph; Richard D. Young

    2012-01-01

    We document here a decline of nearly 30% in the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) population of Washington, Oregon, and northern California between 2000 and 2010. The Northwest Forest Plan is an ecosystem-management plan for federal forest lands in the Pacific Northwest of the United States that incorporates monitoring to determine if...

  7. Population growth and the decline of natural Southern yellow pine forests

    Treesearch

    David B. South; Edward R. Buckner

    2004-01-01

    Population growth has created social and economic pressures that affect the sustainability of naturally regenerated southern yellow pine forests. Major causes of this decline include (1) a shift in public attitudes regarding woods burning (from one favoring it to one that favors fire suppression) and (2) an increase in land values (especially near urban centers). The...

  8. Monarch butterfly population decline in North America: identifying the threatening processes.

    PubMed

    Thogmartin, Wayne E; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Oberhauser, Karen; Drum, Ryan G; Diffendorfer, Jay E; Altizer, Sonia; Taylor, Orley R; Pleasants, John; Semmens, Darius; Semmens, Brice; Erickson, Richard; Libby, Kaitlin; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura

    2017-09-01

    The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population in North America has sharply declined over the last two decades. Despite rising concern over the monarch butterfly's status, no comprehensive study of the factors driving this decline has been conducted. Using partial least-squares regressions and time-series analysis, we investigated climatic and habitat-related factors influencing monarch population size from 1993 to 2014. Potential threats included climatic factors, habitat loss (milkweed and overwinter forest), disease and agricultural insecticide use (neonicotinoids). While climatic factors, principally breeding season temperature, were important determinants of annual variation in abundance, our results indicated strong negative relationships between population size and habitat loss variables, principally glyphosate use, but also weaker negative effects from the loss of overwinter forest and breeding season use of neonicotinoids. Further declines in population size because of glyphosate application are not expected. Thus, if remaining threats to habitat are mitigated we expect climate-induced stochastic variation of the eastern migratory population of monarch butterfly around a relatively stationary population size.

  9. Monarch butterfly population decline in North America: identifying the threatening processes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Oberhauser, Karen; Drum, Ryan G.; Diffendorfer, Jay E.; Altizer, Sonia; Taylor, Orley R.; Pleasants, John M.; Semmens, Darius J.; Semmens, Brice X.; Erickson, Richard A.; Libby, Kaitlin; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura

    2017-01-01

    The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population in North America has sharply declined over the last two decades. Despite rising concern over the monarch butterfly's status, no comprehensive study of the factors driving this decline has been conducted. Using partial least-squares regressions and time-series analysis, we investigated climatic and habitat-related factors influencing monarch population size from 1993 to 2014. Potential threats included climatic factors, habitat loss (milkweed and overwinter forest), disease and agricultural insecticide use (neonicotinoids). While climatic factors, principally breeding season temperature, were important determinants of annual variation in abundance, our results indicated strong negative relationships between population size and habitat loss variables, principally glyphosate use, but also weaker negative effects from the loss of overwinter forest and breeding season use of neonicotinoids. Further declines in population size because of glyphosate application are not expected. Thus, if remaining threats to habitat are mitigated we expect climate-induced stochastic variation of the eastern migratory population of monarch butterfly around a relatively stationary population size.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  13. [Factors Associated with Cognitive Decline in a Population Less than 65 Years Old. A Systematic Review].

    PubMed

    Aguirre-Acevedo, Daniel Camilo; Henao, Eliana; Tirado, Victoria; Muñoz, Claudia; Giraldo Arango, Diana; Lopera Restrepo, Francisco; Jaimes Barragán, Fabián

    2014-01-01

    Cognitive decline could begin 20 years before the diagnosis of dementia. Besides age, several factors related to medical, socioeconomic, and behavioral and genetic condition may be associated with cognitive decline. The aim of this systematic review was to summarize evidence on the risk and protective factors for cognitive decline in people under 65 years old. A systematic review was conducted using a search strategy in MEDLINE and Embase, including longitudinal studies to analyze the effect of protective or risk factors on cognitive decline in a population under 65 years old. A total of 22 studies were included in this review. Factors such as diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, overweight or obesity, metabolic syndrome, education, physical activity, cognitive stimulation, marital status and diet, could be related to cognitive decline before 65 years of age. Cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle conditions may be associated with cognitive decline before 65 years of age. However, the quality of the evidence was low. Copyright © 2013 Asociación Colombiana de Psiquiatría. Publicado por Elsevier España. All rights reserved.

  14. Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2017-01-01

    The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event. PMID:28696295

  15. Hypercholesterolemia in elders is associated with slower cognitive decline: a prospective, population-based study (NEDICES).

    PubMed

    Benito-León, Julián; Vega-Quiroga, Saturio; Villarejo-Galende, Alberto; Bermejo-Pareja, Félix

    2015-03-15

    Studies investigating the association between hypercholesterolemia in the elderly and cognitive decline report discrepant outcomes. We determined in a prospective population-based cohort (NEDICES) in elders whether hypercholesterolemia was associated with slower cognitive decline. Participants were evaluated at baseline and 3 years later. Baseline demographic variables were recorded. Hypercholesterolemia was defined by total cholesterol of >200mg/dl or current use of lipid-lowering drugs. At baseline and at follow-up, a 37-item version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (37-MMSE) was administered. The final sample, 2015 participants (72.9 ± 6.1 years), comprised 1166 (57.9%) hypercholesterolemic and 849 (42.1%) non-hypercholesterolemic participants (reference category). The mean follow-up was 3.4 ± 0.5 years. During the three year follow-up period, the 37-MMSE declined by 0.7 ± 4.3 points (median=0 point) in non-hypercholesterolemic participants vs. 0.3 ± 3.9 points in hypercholesterolemic participants (median=0 points) (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.007). In analyses adjusted for baseline age and other potential confounders, this difference remained robust. We also assessed the cognitive decline per unit time (i.e., the rate of cognitive decline). The rate of cognitive decline was 0.2 ± 1.3 (median=0.0) points/year for non-hypercholesterolemic participants and 0.1 ± 1.2 (median=0.0) points/year for hypercholesterolemic participants (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.028). In this prospective population-based cohort study, cognitive test scores among hypercholesterolemic elders declined more slowly than observed in their non-hypercholesterolemic counterparts. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  18. Achieving population-level violence declines: implications of the international crime drop for prevention programming.

    PubMed

    Eisner, Manuel; Nivette, Amy; Murray, Aja Louise; Krisch, Maria

    2016-09-01

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations for the period 2016-2030 aim to achieve a substantial reduction of interpersonal violence. An increasing body of evidence of what works, emerging from randomized controlled trials, can inform public health policy decisions. However, there is very limited evidence on the kinds of mechanisms that lead to sustained declines in interpersonal violence at the population level. We discuss the implications of what is known about recent major declines in violence to guide violence-reduction policies.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.; Little, E.E.; Linder, Gregory L.; Krest, S.; Sparling, Don; Little, Edward

    2003-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  5. Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: implications for wetland conservation.

    PubMed

    Gibbons, J Whitfield; Winne, Christopher T; Scott, David E; Willson, John D; Glaudas, Xavier; Andrews, Kimberly M; Todd, Brian D; Fedewa, Luke A; Wilkinson, Lucas; Tsaliagos, Ria N; Harper, Steven J; Greene, Judith L; Tuberville, Tracey D; Metts, Brian S; Dorcas, Michael E; Nestor, John P; Young, Cameron A; Akre, Tom; Reed, Robert N; Buhlmann, Kurt A; Norman, Jason; Croshaw, Dean A; Hagen, Cris; Rothermel, Betsie B

    2006-10-01

    Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4% of individual captures. Most (95.9%) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog[Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20% in 1951 to >60% in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation.

  6. Bioaccumulation and maternal transfer of mercury and selenium in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Bergeron, Christine M; Bodinof, Catherine M; Unrine, Jason M; Hopkins, William A

    2010-04-01

    Amphibian population declines have been documented worldwide and environmental contaminants are believed to contribute to some declines. Maternal transfer of bioaccumulated contaminants to offspring may be an important and overlooked mechanism of impaired reproductive success that affects amphibian populations. Mercury (Hg) is of particular concern due to its ubiquity in the environment, known toxicity to other wildlife, and complex relationships with other elements, such as selenium (Se). The objectives of the present study were to describe the relationships between total Hg (THg), methlymercury (MMHg), and Se in three amphibian species (Plethodon cinereus, Eurycea bislineata cirrigera, and Bufo americanus) along a Hg-polluted river and floodplain, and to determine if B. americanus maternally transfers Hg and Se to its eggs in a tissue residue-dependent manner. Total Hg and MMHg concentrations in all species spanned two orders of magnitude between the reference and contaminated areas, while Se concentrations were generally low in all species at both sites. Strong positive relationships between THg and MMHg in tissues of all species were observed throughout. Both Hg and Se were maternally transferred from females to eggs in B. americanus, but the percentage of the females' Hg body burden transferred to eggs was low compared with Se. In addition, Hg concentrations appeared to positively influence the amount of Se transferred from female to eggs. The present study is the first to confirm a correlation between Hg concentrations in female carcass and eggs in amphibians and among the first to describe co-transference of Se and Hg in an anamniotic vertebrate. The results suggest future work is needed to determine whether maternal transfer of Hg has transgenerational implications for amphibian progeny.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  8. Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds

    PubMed Central

    Toms, Mike P.; Peck, Kirsi M.; Kirkwood, James K.; Chantrey, Julian; Clatworthy, Innes R.; Evans, Andy D.; Hughes, Laura A.; Hutchinson, Oliver C.; John, Shinto K.; Pennycott, Tom W.; Perkins, Matthew W.; Rowley, Peter S.; Simpson, Vic R.; Tyler, Kevin M.; Cunningham, Andrew A.

    2010-01-01

    Emerging infectious diseases are increasingly cited as threats to wildlife, livestock and humans alike. They can threaten geographically isolated or critically endangered wildlife populations; however, relatively few studies have clearly demonstrated the extent to which emerging diseases can impact populations of common wildlife species. Here, we report the impact of an emerging protozoal disease on British populations of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, two of the most common birds in Britain. Morphological and molecular analyses showed this to be due to Trichomonas gallinae. Trichomonosis emerged as a novel fatal disease of finches in Britain in 2005 and rapidly became epidemic within greenfinch, and to a lesser extent chaffinch, populations in 2006. By 2007, breeding populations of greenfinches and chaffinches in the geographic region of highest disease incidence had decreased by 35% and 21% respectively, representing mortality in excess of half a million birds. In contrast, declines were less pronounced or absent in these species in regions where the disease was found in intermediate or low incidence. Also, populations of dunnock Prunella modularis, which similarly feeds in gardens, but in which T. gallinae was rarely recorded, did not decline. This is the first trichomonosis epidemic reported in the scientific literature to negatively impact populations of free-ranging non-columbiform species, and such levels of mortality and decline due to an emerging infectious disease are unprecedented in British wild bird populations. This disease emergence event demonstrates the potential for a protozoan parasite to jump avian host taxonomic groups with dramatic effect over a short time period. PMID:20805869

  9. Large-scale recovery of an endangered amphibian despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knapp, Roland A.; Fellers, Gary M.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Miller, David A. W.; Vrendenburg, Vance T.; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Briggs, Cheryl J.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians are one of the most threatened animal groups, with 32% of species at risk for extinction. Given this imperiled status, is the disappearance of a large fraction of the Earth’s amphibians inevitable, or are some declining species more resilient than is generally assumed? We address this question in a species that is emblematic of many declining amphibians, the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Based on >7,000 frog surveys conducted across Yosemite National Park over a 20-y period, we show that, after decades of decline and despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors, including introduced fish, the recently emerged disease chytridiomycosis, and pesticides, R. sierrae abundance increased sevenfold during the study and at a rate of 11% per year. These increases occurred in hundreds of populations throughout Yosemite, providing a rare example of amphibian recovery at an ecologically relevant spatial scale. Results from a laboratory experiment indicate that these increases may be in part because of reduced frog susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. The disappearance of nonnative fish from numerous water bodies after cessation of stocking also contributed to the recovery. The large-scale increases in R. sierrae abundance that we document suggest that, when habitats are relatively intact and stressors are reduced in their importance by active management or species’ adaptive responses, declines of some amphibians may be partially reversible, at least at a regional scale. Other studies conducted over similarly large temporal and spatial scales are critically needed to provide insight and generality about the reversibility of amphibian declines at a global scale.

  10. Large-scale recovery of an endangered amphibian despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors.

    PubMed

    Knapp, Roland A; Fellers, Gary M; Kleeman, Patrick M; Miller, David A W; Vredenburg, Vance T; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2016-10-18

    Amphibians are one of the most threatened animal groups, with 32% of species at risk for extinction. Given this imperiled status, is the disappearance of a large fraction of the Earth's amphibians inevitable, or are some declining species more resilient than is generally assumed? We address this question in a species that is emblematic of many declining amphibians, the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Based on >7,000 frog surveys conducted across Yosemite National Park over a 20-y period, we show that, after decades of decline and despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors, including introduced fish, the recently emerged disease chytridiomycosis, and pesticides, R. sierrae abundance increased sevenfold during the study and at a rate of 11% per year. These increases occurred in hundreds of populations throughout Yosemite, providing a rare example of amphibian recovery at an ecologically relevant spatial scale. Results from a laboratory experiment indicate that these increases may be in part because of reduced frog susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. The disappearance of nonnative fish from numerous water bodies after cessation of stocking also contributed to the recovery. The large-scale increases in R. sierrae abundance that we document suggest that, when habitats are relatively intact and stressors are reduced in their importance by active management or species' adaptive responses, declines of some amphibians may be partially reversible, at least at a regional scale. Other studies conducted over similarly large temporal and spatial scales are critically needed to provide insight and generality about the reversibility of amphibian declines at a global scale.

  11. Large-scale recovery of an endangered amphibian despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors

    PubMed Central

    Knapp, Roland A.; Fellers, Gary M.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Miller, David A. W.; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Briggs, Cheryl J.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians are one of the most threatened animal groups, with 32% of species at risk for extinction. Given this imperiled status, is the disappearance of a large fraction of the Earth’s amphibians inevitable, or are some declining species more resilient than is generally assumed? We address this question in a species that is emblematic of many declining amphibians, the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Based on >7,000 frog surveys conducted across Yosemite National Park over a 20-y period, we show that, after decades of decline and despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors, including introduced fish, the recently emerged disease chytridiomycosis, and pesticides, R. sierrae abundance increased sevenfold during the study and at a rate of 11% per year. These increases occurred in hundreds of populations throughout Yosemite, providing a rare example of amphibian recovery at an ecologically relevant spatial scale. Results from a laboratory experiment indicate that these increases may be in part because of reduced frog susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. The disappearance of nonnative fish from numerous water bodies after cessation of stocking also contributed to the recovery. The large-scale increases in R. sierrae abundance that we document suggest that, when habitats are relatively intact and stressors are reduced in their importance by active management or species’ adaptive responses, declines of some amphibians may be partially reversible, at least at a regional scale. Other studies conducted over similarly large temporal and spatial scales are critically needed to provide insight and generality about the reversibility of amphibian declines at a global scale. PMID:27698128

  12. Survival and population size of a resident bird species are declining as temperature increases.

    PubMed

    Santisteban, Leonard; Benkman, Craig W; Fetz, Trevor; Smith, Julie W

    2012-03-01

    1. A large number of migratory bird species appear to be declining as the result of climate change, but whether resident bird species have or will be adversely affected by climate change is less clear. We focus on the South Hills crossbill (Loxia curvirostra complex), which is endemic to about 70 km(2) of Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta latifolia) forest in southern Idaho, USA. 2. Our results indicate that the South Hills crossbill has declined by over 60% between 2003 and 2008, and that decreasing adult survival drives this population decline. 3. We evaluated the relative support for multiple hypotheses linking crossbill survival to climate, an ectoparasitic mite (scaly-leg mites Knemidokoptes jamaicensis), and the recent emergence of West Nile virus. Changes in adult apparent survival rate were closely associated with average spring and annual temperatures, and with high temperatures (≥32 °C) during summer, which have increased during the last decade. In contrast, there was little evidence that scaly-leg mites or West Nile virus contributed to recent declines in adult survival. 4. The most probable mechanism causing the decline in adult survival and population size is a decrease in the availability of their primary food resource, seeds in serotinous pine cones. Cone production has declined with increasing annual temperatures, and these cones appear to be prematurely opening owing to increasingly hot summer conditions releasing their seeds and reducing the carrying capacity for crossbills later in the year. 5. In light of regional climate change forecasts, which include an increase in both annual temperature and hot days (>32 °C), and the likely disappearance of lodgepole pine from southern Idaho by the end of this century, additional research is needed to determine how to maintain lodgepole pine forests and their supply of seeds to conserve one of the few bird species endemic to the continental United States.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Large numbers of vertebrates began rapid population decline in the late 19th century

    PubMed Central

    Li, Haipeng; Xiang-Yu, Jinggong; Dai, Guangyi; Gu, Zhili; Ming, Chen; Yang, Zongfeng; Ryder, Oliver A.; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Fu, Yun-Xin; Zhang, Ya-Ping

    2016-01-01

    Accelerated losses of biodiversity are a hallmark of the current era. Large declines of population size have been widely observed and currently 22,176 species are threatened by extinction. The time at which a threatened species began rapid population decline (RPD) and the rate of RPD provide important clues about the driving forces of population decline and anticipated extinction time. However, these parameters remain unknown for the vast majority of threatened species. Here we analyzed the genetic diversity data of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 2,764 vertebrate species and found that the mean genetic diversity is lower in threatened species than in related nonthreatened species. Our coalescence-based modeling suggests that in many threatened species the RPD began ∼123 y ago (a 95% confidence interval of 20–260 y). This estimated date coincides with widespread industrialization and a profound change in global living ecosystems over the past two centuries. On average the population size declined by ∼25% every 10 y in a threatened species, and the population size was reduced to ∼5% of its ancestral size. Moreover, the ancestral size of threatened species was, on average, ∼22% smaller than that of nonthreatened species. Because the time period of RPD is short, the cumulative effect of RPD on genetic diversity is still not strong, so that the smaller ancestral size of threatened species may be the major cause of their reduced genetic diversity; RPD explains 24.1–37.5% of the difference in genetic diversity between threatened and nonthreatened species. PMID:27872315

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

    PubMed

    Hill, Jason M; Diefenbach, Duane R

    2014-06-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hill, Jason M.; Diefenbach, Duane R.

    2014-01-01

    Organisms can be affected by processes in the surrounding landscape outside the boundary of habitat areas and by local vegetation characteristics. There is substantial interest in understanding how these processes affect populations of grassland birds, which have experienced substantial population declines. Much of our knowledge regarding patterns of occupancy and density stem from prairie systems, whereas relatively little is known regarding how occurrence and abundance of grassland birds vary in reclaimed surface mine grasslands. Using distance sampling and single-season occupancy models, we investigated how the occupancy probability of Grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum) and Henslow's Sparrows (A. henslowii) on 61 surface mine grasslands (1591 ha) in Pennsylvania changed from 2002 through 2011 in response to landscape, grassland, and local vegetation characteristics . A subset (n = 23; 784 ha) of those grasslands were surveyed in 2002, and we estimated changes in sparrow density and vegetation across 10 years. Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrow populations declined 72% and 49%, respectively from 2002 to 2011, whereas overall woody vegetation density increased 2.6 fold. Henslow's Sparrows avoided grasslands with perimeter–area ratios ≥0.141 km/ha and woody shrub densities ≥0.04 shrubs/m2. Both species occupied grasslands ≤13 ha, but occupancy probability declined with increasing grassland perimeter–area ratio and woody shrub density. Grassland size, proximity to nearest neighboring grassland ( = 0.2 km), and surrounding landscape composition at 0.5, 1.5, and 3.0 km were not parsimonious predictors of occupancy probability for either species. Our results suggest that reclaimed surface mine grasslands, without management intervention, are ephemeral habitats for Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. Given the forecasted decline in surface coal production for Pennsylvania, it is likely that both species will continue to decline in our study region for the

  18. Attributing mortality among drivers of population decline in Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys (USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, D. E.; Miller, M. W.

    2012-06-01

    Acropora palmata populations have experienced steep declines over the past 30 years. Although numerous culprits are recognized, their relative contributions to the decline are poorly quantified, making it difficult to prioritize effective conservation measures. In 2004, a demographic monitoring program was implemented in the Florida Keys (USA), aimed at determining the relative importance of various stressors affecting A. palmata. A subset of randomly selected A. palmata colonies within 15 fore-reef plots was tagged and surveyed three to four times per year over 7 years. Colony size, live tissue, prevalence of disease, snail ( Coralliophila abbreviata) predation, physical damage and other conditions were assessed at each survey. The estimated effect of each condition causing recent mortality was ranked, and together, these parameters were used to attribute the population-level tissue loss associated with each condition. In addition, all new colonies in the study plots were counted and assessed annually in order to track trends in total colony count and live tissue abundance. Between 2004 and 2010, the study population has shown more than 50% decline in live area from three main conditions: fragmentation, disease and snail predation. Approximately half of this decline occurred during the catastrophic 2005 hurricane season from which recovery has been minimal. Meanwhile, colony abundance has shown gradual decline throughout the study. Snail predation was the most prevalent condition. However, it ranked third in attributed tissue loss, behind breakage that occurred during the 2005 hurricane season, and disease. Thermal bleaching of A. palmata was not observed during this study. Because mortality continues to outpace recruitment and growth, intervention to ameliorate losses to the more manageable threats including predation and breakage could result in substantial conservation of live tissue, buying time for the abatement of less tractable threats to A. palmata

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

    PubMed

    Oaks, J Lindsay; Gilbert, Martin; Virani, Munir Z; Watson, Richard T; Meteyer, Carol U; Rideout, Bruce A; Shivaprasad, H L; Ahmed, Shakeel; Chaudhry, Muhammad Jamshed Iqbal; Arshad, Muhammad; Mahmood, Shahid; Ali, Ahmad; Khan, Aleem Ahmed

    2004-02-12

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  1. Reservoir-host amplification of disease impact in an endangered amphibian.

    PubMed

    Scheele, Ben C; Hunter, David A; Brannelly, Laura A; Skerratt, Lee F; Driscoll, Don A

    2017-06-01

    Emerging wildlife pathogens are an increasing threat to biodiversity. One of the most serious wildlife diseases is chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been documented in over 500 amphibian species. Amphibians vary greatly in their susceptibility to Bd; some species tolerate infection, whereas others experience rapid mortality. Reservoir hosts-species that carry infection while maintaining high abundance but are rarely killed by disease-can increase extinction risk in highly susceptible, sympatric species. However, whether reservoir hosts amplify Bd in declining amphibian species has not been examined. We investigated the role of reservoir hosts in the decline of the threatened northern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) in an amphibian community in southeastern Australia. In the laboratory, we characterized the response of a potential reservoir host, the (nondeclining) common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera), to Bd infection. In the field, we conducted frog abundance surveys and Bd sampling for both P. pengilleyi and C. signifera. We built multinomial logistic regression models to test whether Crinia signifera and environmental factors were associated with P. pengilleyi decline. C. signifera was a reservoir host for Bd. In the laboratory, many individuals maintained intense infections (>1000 zoospore equivalents) over 12 weeks without mortality, and 79% of individuals sampled in the wild also carried infections. The presence of C. signifera at a site was strongly associated with increased Bd prevalence in sympatric P. pengilleyi. Consistent with disease amplification by a reservoir host, P. pengilleyi declined at sites with high C. signifera abundance. Our results suggest that when reservoir hosts are present, population declines of susceptible species may continue long after the initial emergence of Bd, highlighting an urgent need to assess extinction risk in remnant populations of other declined

  2. Can myxosporean parasites compromise fish and amphibian reproduction?

    PubMed

    Sitjà-Bobadilla, Ariadna

    2009-08-22

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

  3. Artificial fertilization for amphibian conservation: current knowledge and future considerations.

    PubMed

    Kouba, A J; Vance, C K; Willis, E L

    2009-01-01

    Amphibian populations in the wild are experiencing massive die-offs that have led to the extinction of an estimated 168 species in the last several decades. To address these declines, zoological institutions are playing an important role in establishing captive assurance colonies to protect species in imminent danger of extinction. Many of the threatened species recently placed into captivity are failing to reproduce before they expire, and maintaining founder populations is becoming a formidable challenge. Assisted reproductive technologies, such as hormone synchronization, gamete storage and artificial fertilization, are valuable tools for addressing reproductive failure of amphibians in captive facilities. Artificial fertilization has been commonly employed for over 60 years in several keystone laboratory species for basic studies in developmental biology and embryology. However, there are few instances of applied studies for the conservation of threatened or endangered amphibian species. In this review, we summarize valuable technological achievements in amphibian artificial fertilization, identify specific processes that need to be considered when developing artificial fertilization techniques for species conservation, and address future concerns that should be priorities for the next decade.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Population-specific demographic estimates provide insights into declines of Lark Buntings (Calamospiza melanocorys)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yackel Adams, A.A.; Skagen, S.K.; Savidge, J.A.

    2007-01-01

    Many North American prairie bird populations have recently declined, and the causes of these declines remain largely unknown. To determine whether population limitation occurs during breeding, we evaluated the stability of a population of prairie birds using population-specific values for fecundity and postfledging survival. During 2001-2003, we radiomarked 67 female Lark Buntings (Calamospiza melanocorys) to determine annual fecundity and evaluate contributing factors such as nest survival and breeding response (number of breeding attempts and dispersal). Collectively, 67 females built 112 nests (1.67 ?? 0.07 nests female-1 season-1; range: 1-3); 34 were second nests and 11 were third nests. Daily nest survival estimates were similar for initial and later nests with overall nest survival (DSR 19) of 30.7% and 31.7%, respectively. Nest predation was the most common cause of failure (92%). Capture and radiomarking of females did not affect nest survival. Lark Bunting dispersal probabilities increased among females that fledged young from initial nests and females that lost their original nests late in the season. Conservative and liberal estimates of mean annual fecundity were 0.96 ?? 0.11 and 1.24 ?? 0.09 female offspring per female, respectively. Given the fecundity and juvenile-survival estimates for this population, annual adult survival values of 71-77% are necessary to achieve a stable population. Because adult survival of prairie passerines ranges between 55% and 65%, this study area may not be capable of sustaining a stable population in the absence of immigration. We contrast our population assessment with one that assumes indirect values of fecundity and juvenile survival. To elucidate limiting factors, estimation of population-specific demographic parameters is desirable. We present an approach for selecting species and areas for evaluation of population stability. ?? The American Ornithologists' Union, 2007.

  7. Declines in low-elevation subalpine tree populations outpace growth in high-elevation populations with warming

    DOE PAGES

    Conlisk, Erin; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew J.; ...

    2017-02-08

    Species distribution shifts in response to climate change require that recruitment increase beyond current range boundaries. For trees with long life spans, the importance of climate-sensitive seedling establishment to the pace of range shifts has not been demonstrated quantitatively. Using spatially explicit, stochastic population models combined with data from long-term forest surveys, we explored whether the climate-sensitivity of recruitment observed in climate manipulation experiments was sufficient to alter populations and elevation ranges of two widely distributed, high-elevation North American conifers. Empirically observed, warming-driven declines in recruitment led to rapid modelled population declines at the low-elevation, ‘warm edge’ of subalpine forestmore » and slow emergence of populations beyond the high-elevation, ‘cool edge’. Because population declines in the forest occurred much faster than population emergence in the alpine, we observed range contraction for both species. For Engelmann spruce, this contraction was permanent over the modelled time horizon, even in the presence of increased moisture. For limber pine, lower sensitivity to warming may facilitate persistence at low elevations – especially in the presence of increased moisture – and rapid establishment above tree line, and, ultimately, expansion into the alpine. Synthesis. Assuming 21st century warming and no additional moisture, population dynamics in high-elevation forests led to transient range contractions for limber pine and potentially permanent range contractions for Engelmann spruce. Thus, limitations to seedling recruitment with warming can constrain the pace of subalpine tree range shifts.« less

  8. Estimating Herd Immunity to Amphibian Chytridiomycosis in Madagascar Based on the Defensive Function of Amphibian Skin Bacteria.

    PubMed

    Bletz, Molly C; Myers, Jillian; Woodhams, Douglas C; Rabemananjara, Falitiana C E; Rakotonirina, Angela; Weldon, Che; Edmonds, Devin; Vences, Miguel; Harris, Reid N

    2017-01-01

    For decades, Amphibians have been globally threatened by the still expanding infectious disease, chytridiomycosis. Madagascar is an amphibian biodiversity hotspot where Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has only recently been detected. While no Bd-associated population declines have been reported, the risk of declines is high when invasive virulent lineages become involved. Cutaneous bacteria contribute to host innate immunity by providing defense against pathogens for numerous animals, including amphibians. Little is known, however, about the cutaneous bacterial residents of Malagasy amphibians and the functional capacity they have against Bd. We cultured 3179 skin bacterial isolates from over 90 frog species across Madagascar, identified them via Sanger sequencing of approximately 700 bp of the 16S rRNA gene, and characterized their functional capacity against Bd. A subset of isolates was also tested against multiple Bd genotypes. In addition, we applied the concept of herd immunity to estimate Bd-associated risk for amphibian communities across Madagascar based on bacterial antifungal activity. We found that multiple bacterial isolates (39% of all isolates) cultured from the skin of Malagasy frogs were able to inhibit Bd. Mean inhibition was weakly correlated with bacterial phylogeny, and certain taxonomic groups appear to have a high proportion of inhibitory isolates, such as the Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonadaceae, and Xanthamonadaceae (84, 80, and 75% respectively). Functional capacity of bacteria against Bd varied among Bd genotypes; however, there were some bacteria that showed broad spectrum inhibition against all tested Bd genotypes, suggesting that these bacteria would be good candidates for probiotic therapies. We estimated Bd-associated risk for sampled amphibian communities based on the concept of herd immunity. Multiple amphibian communities, including those in the amphibian diversity hotspots, Andasibe and Ranomafana, were estimated to be below

  9. Role of egg predation by haddock in the decline of an Atlantic herring population.

    PubMed

    Richardson, David E; Hare, Jonathan A; Fogarty, Michael J; Link, Jason S

    2011-08-16

    Theoretical studies suggest that the abrupt and substantial changes in the productivity of some fisheries species may be explained by predation-driven alternate stable states in their population levels. With this hypothesis, an increase in fishing or a natural perturbation can drive a population from an upper to a lower stable-equilibrium population level. After fishing is reduced or the perturbation ended, this low population level can persist due to the regulatory effect of the predator. Although established in theoretical studies, there is limited empirical support for predation-driven alternate stable states in exploited marine fish populations. We present evidence that egg predation by haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) can cause alternate stable population levels in Georges Bank Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus). Egg predation by haddock explains a substantial decoupling of herring spawning stock biomass (an index of egg production) from observed larval herring abundance (an index of egg hatching). Estimated egg survival rates ranged from <2-70% from 1971 to 2005. A population model incorporating egg predation and herring fishing explains the major population trends of Georges Bank herring over four decades and predicts that, when the haddock population is high, seemingly conservative levels of fishing can still precipitate a severe decline in the herring population. These findings illustrate how efforts to rebuild fisheries can be undermined by not incorporating ecological interactions into fisheries models and management plans.

  10. Role of egg predation by haddock in the decline of an Atlantic herring population

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, David E.; Hare, Jonathan A.; Fogarty, Michael J.; Link, Jason S.

    2011-01-01

    Theoretical studies suggest that the abrupt and substantial changes in the productivity of some fisheries species may be explained by predation-driven alternate stable states in their population levels. With this hypothesis, an increase in fishing or a natural perturbation can drive a population from an upper to a lower stable-equilibrium population level. After fishing is reduced or the perturbation ended, this low population level can persist due to the regulatory effect of the predator. Although established in theoretical studies, there is limited empirical support for predation-driven alternate stable states in exploited marine fish populations. We present evidence that egg predation by haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) can cause alternate stable population levels in Georges Bank Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus). Egg predation by haddock explains a substantial decoupling of herring spawning stock biomass (an index of egg production) from observed larval herring abundance (an index of egg hatching). Estimated egg survival rates ranged from <2–70% from 1971 to 2005. A population model incorporating egg predation and herring fishing explains the major population trends of Georges Bank herring over four decades and predicts that, when the haddock population is high, seemingly conservative levels of fishing can still precipitate a severe decline in the herring population. These findings illustrate how efforts to rebuild fisheries can be undermined by not incorporating ecological interactions into fisheries models and management plans. PMID:21825166

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-01

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

  12. Blood Pressure, Proteinuria, and Renal Function Decline: Associations in a Large Community-Based Population.

    PubMed

    Hirayama, Atsushi; Konta, Tsuneo; Kamei, Keita; Suzuki, Kazuko; Ichikawa, Kazunobu; Fujimoto, Shouichi; Iseki, Kunitoshi; Moriyama, Toshiki; Yamagata, Kunihiro; Tsuruya, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Kenjiro; Narita, Ichiei; Kondo, Masahide; Asahi, Koichi; Kurahashi, Issei; Ohashi, Yasuo; Watanabe, Tsuyoshi

    2015-09-01

    Hypertension and proteinuria are risk factors for adverse renal outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease. This study investigated the associations of blood pressure and proteinuria on renal function in a community-based population. We analyzed data from a nationwide database of 141,514 subjects who participated in the annual "Specific Health Check and Guidance in Japan" checkup in 2008 and 2010. The study subjects were aged between 29 and 74 years, and the cohort comprised 40% men. We examined relationships between blood pressure levels, proteinuria at baseline, and the 2-year change in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which was determined using the Japanese equation. After adjusting for possible confounders, the change in the eGFR was inversely correlated with systolic blood pressure (SBP), but not diastolic blood pressure (DBP), at baseline, irrespective of the presence of proteinuria. Compared with the lowest SBP sixtile (≤118mm Hg), eGFRs declined significantly at SBPs ≥ 134mm Hg in subjects with proteinuria, while eGFRs declined significantly at SBPs ≥ 141mm Hg in those without proteinuria. At the same SBPs, renal function decline was faster and the risk for incident renal insufficiency was higher in subjects with proteinuria compared with those without proteinuria. This study showed that a difference in SBP, but not DBP, is independently associated with a rapid eGFR decline in the general Japanese population, and that the association of SBP on the decline of renal function was greater in subjects with proteinuria compared with those without proteinuria. © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd 2015. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Demographic models and IPCC climate projections predict the decline of an emperor penguin population

    PubMed Central

    Jenouvrier, Stéphanie; Caswell, Hal; Barbraud, Christophe; Holland, Marika; Strœve, Julienne; Weimerskirch, Henri

    2009-01-01

    Studies have reported important effects of recent climate change on Antarctic species, but there has been to our knowledge no attempt to explicitly link those results to forecasted population responses to climate change. Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) is projected to shrink as concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) increase, and emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are extremely sensitive to these changes because they use sea ice as a breeding, foraging and molting habitat. We project emperor penguin population responses to future sea ice changes, using a stochastic population model that combines a unique long-term demographic dataset (1962–2005) from a colony in Terre Adélie, Antarctica and projections of SIE from General Circulation Models (GCM) of Earth's climate included in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report. We show that the increased frequency of warm events associated with projected decreases in SIE will reduce the population viability. The probability of quasi-extinction (a decline of 95% or more) is at least 36% by 2100. The median population size is projected to decline from ≈6,000 to ≈400 breeding pairs over this period. To avoid extinction, emperor penguins will have to adapt, migrate or change the timing of their growth stages. However, given the future projected increases in GHGs and its effect on Antarctic climate, evolution or migration seem unlikely for such long lived species at the remote southern end of the Earth. PMID:19171908

  14. Estimating freshwater turtle mortality rates and population declines following hook ingestion.

    PubMed

    Steen, David A; Robinson, Orin J

    2017-03-15

    Freshwater turtle populations are susceptible to declines following small increases in the mortality of adults, making it essential to identify and understand potential threats. Freshwater turtles ingest fish hooks associated with recreational angling, and this is likely a problem because hook ingestion is a source of additive mortality for sea turtles. We used a Bayesian-modeling framework, observed