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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. Complex causes of amphibian population declines.

    PubMed

    Kiesecker, J M; Blaustein, A R; Belden, L K

    2001-04-01

    Amphibian populations have suffered widespread declines and extinctions in recent decades. Although climatic changes, increased exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation and increased prevalence of disease have all been implicated at particular localities, the importance of global environmental change remains unclear. Here we report that pathogen outbreaks in amphibian populations in the western USA are linked to climate-induced changes in UV-B exposure. Using long-term observational data and a field experiment, we examine patterns among interannual variability in precipitation, UV-B exposure and infection by a pathogenic oomycete, Saprolegnia ferax. Our findings indicate that climate-induced reductions in water depth at oviposition sites have caused high mortality of embryos by increasing their exposure to UV-B radiation and, consequently, their vulnerability to infection. Precipitation, and thus water depth/UV-B exposure, is strongly linked to El Niño/Southern Oscillation cycles, underscoring the role of large-scale climatic patterns involving the tropical Pacific. Elevated sea-surface temperatures in this region since the mid-1970s, which have affected the climate over much of the world, could be the precursor for pathogen-mediated amphibian declines in many regions. PMID:11287952

  3. 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.

  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. 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...

  7. Multiple stressor effects in relation to declining amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2003-01-01

    This book represents the work of several authors who participated in the symposium entitled 'Multiple Stressor Effects in Relation to Declining Amphibian Populations' convened 16-17 April, 2002, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Declines of amphibian populations of varying severity have been observed for many years, and in the last 8 to 10 years considerable progress has been made in documenting the status and distribution of a range of amphibian species. Habitat alteration and destruction are likely linked to many amphibian declines, but a variety of other factors, both anthropogenic and natural, have been observed or proposed to have caused declines or extinctions of amphibian populations. Unfortunately, determining the environmental causes for the decline of many species has proven difficult. The goals of this symposium were three-fold. First, highlight ASTM's historic role in providing a forum for the standardization of amphibian toxicity test methods and the characterization of adverse effects potentially associated with chemical stressors. Second, demonstrate through case studies the current state of technical 'tools' available to biologists, ecologists, environmental scientists and natural resource professionals for assessing amphibian populations exposed to various environmental stressors. And third, characterize a process that brings a range of interdisciplinary technical and management tools to the tasks of causal analysis, especially as those relate to a multiple stressor risk assessment 'mind-set.' As part of the symposium, scientists and resource management professionals from diverse fields including ecotoxicology and chemistry, ecology and field biology, conservation biology, and natural resource management and policy contributed oral presentations and posters that addressed topics related to declining amphibian populations and the role that various stressors have in those losses. The papers contained in this publication reflect the commitment of ASTM

  8. Possible interrelations among environmental toxicants, amphibian development, and decline of amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Carey, C; Bryant, C J

    1995-05-01

    Many amphibian populations are declining in a number of geographical locations throughout the world. In most cases, the cause or causes are unknown, but are assumed to result from man-made alterations in the environment. We review existing evidence concerning how environmental xenobiotics could contribute to declines of amphibian populations by impacting growth and development of the young. This paper examines the potential roles of toxicants in: a) affecting the susceptibility of young to disease; b) retarding growth and development of amphibian young; c) affecting the ability of larvae to avoid predation; d) affecting the development of physiological, morphological, or behavioral processes in a manner that subsequently impairs the ability of the young for future reproduction; and e) directly causing mortality of young. These issues are not well studied, and more studies are needed before the roles of environmental xenobiotics in amphibian declines are fully understood. PMID:7556018

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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.; ,

    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. 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...

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sparling, Donald W; Fellers, Gary M

    2009-08-01

    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 microg/L in P. regilla and 66.5 microg/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 microg/L for P. regilla and 0.55 microg/L for R. boylii. All R. boylii exposed to concentrations of greater than 0.8 microg/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.

  17. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-01

    Chytridiomycosis is a globally emerging disease of amphibians and the leading cause of population declines and extirpations at species-diverse montane sites in Central America. We continued long-term monitoring efforts for the presence of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and for amphibian populations at two sites in western Panama, and we began monitoring at three new sites to the east. Population declines associated with chytridiomycosis emergence were detected at Altos de Campana National Park. We also detected Bd in three species east of the Panama Canal at Soberanía National Park, and prevalence data suggests that Bd may be enzootic in the lowlands of the park. However, no infected frogs were found further east at Tortí (prevalence <7.5% with 95% confidence). Our results suggest that Panama's diverse and not fully described amphibian communities east of the canal are at risk. Precise predictions of future disease emergence events are not possible until factors underlying disease emergence, such as dispersal, are understood. However, if the fungal pathogen spreads in a pattern consistent with previous disease events in Panama, then detection of Bd at Tortí and other areas east of the Panama Canal is imminent. Therefore, development of new management strategies and increased precautions for tourism, recreation, and biology are urgently needed. PMID:18807089

  7. 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

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. UV repair and resistance to solar UV-B in amphibian eggs: a link to population declines?

    PubMed

    Blaustein, A R; Hoffman, P D; Hokit, D G; Kiesecker, J M; Walls, S C; Hays, J B

    1994-03-01

    The populations of many amphibian species, in widely scattered habitats, appear to be in severe decline; other amphibians show no such declines. There is no known single cause for the declines, but their widespread distribution suggests involvement of global agents--increased UV-B radiation, for example. We addressed the hypothesis that differential sensitivity among species to UV radiation contributes to these population declines. We focused on species-specific differences in the abilities of eggs to repair UV radiation damage to DNA and differential hatching success of embryos exposed to solar radiation at natural oviposition sites. Quantitative comparisons of activities of a key UV-damage-specific repair enzyme, photolyase, among oocytes and eggs from 10 amphibian species were reproducibly characteristic for a given species but varied > 80-fold among the species. Levels of photolyase generally correlated with expected exposure of eggs to sunlight. Among the frog and toad species studied, the highest activity was shown by the Pacific treefrog (Hyla regilla), whose populations are not known to be in decline. The Western toad (Bufo boreas) and the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae), whose populations have declined markedly, showed significantly lower photolyase levels. In field experiments, the hatching success of embryos exposed to UV radiation was significantly greater in H. regilla than in R. cascadae and B. boreas. Moreover, in R. cascadae and B. boreas, hatching success was greater in regimes shielded from UV radiation compared with regimes that allowed UV radiation. These observations are thus consistent with the UV-sensitivity hypothesis. PMID:8127883

  11. 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

  12. Understanding Amphibian Declines Through Geographic Approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gallant, Alisa

    2006-01-01

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

  13. Amphibian Decline: An Integrated Analysis of Multiple Stressor Effects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

    Although the effects of contaminants on amphibians have been studied for decades, relatively little is known about these effects compared to the more intensively studied mammals. and birds. Science has advanced its understanding of the complexities linked to declining amphibian populations; however, there are many remaining questions whose answers would directly benefit amphibians and adaptive management plans ministering to them. In an effort to answer those questions and focus on ecological risk assessment of amphibians, scientists, researchers, and resource management professionals from diverse fields participated in a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)-Johnson Foundation Wingspread conference with three goals: characterize a process that would bring a range of interdisciplinary technical and management tools to the tasks of causal analysis; demonstrate the current state of available technical tools to assess amphibian populations exposed to various environmental stressors; and focus on identifying research that would likely benefit sustainable populations through adaptive management programs. A result of the Wingspread conference, Amphibian Decline examines the ecotoxicology and stressors of amphibians in an attempt to address issues related to declining amphibian populations and the role that various stressors might have in those losses. It identifies gaps in current data, interprets information into an existing framework, and points toward critical areas for future research. Through the combined efforts of research and resource management communities, recommendations can be developed to change current policies and management actions to address the problem of amphibian decline.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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 ...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Establishing causality in the decline and deformity of amphibians: The amphibian research and monitoring initiative model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Little, E.E.; Bridges, C.M.; Linder, G.; Boone, M.; ,

    2003-01-01

    Research to date has indicated that a range of environmental variables such as disease, parasitism, predation, competition, environmental contamination, solar ultraviolet radiation, climate change, or habitat alteration may be responsible for declining amphibian populations and the appearance of deformed organisms, yet in many cases no definitive environmental variable stands out as a causal factor. Multiple Stressors are often present in the habitat, and interactions among these can magnify injury to biota. This raises the possibility that the additive or synergistic impact of these Stressors may be the underlying cause of amphibian declines. Effective management for the restoration of amphibian populations requires the identification of causal factors contributing to their declines. A systematic approach to determine causality is especially important because initial impressions may be misleading or ambiguous. In addition, the evaluation of amphibian populations requires consideration of a broader spatial scale than commonly used in regulatory monitoring. We describe a systematic three-tiered approach to determine causality in amphibian declines and deformities. Tier 1 includes an evaluation of historic databases and extant data and would involve a desktop synopsis of the status of various stressors as well as site visits. Tier 2 studies are iterative, hypothesis driven studies beginning with general tests and continuing with analyses of increasing complexity as certain stressors are identified for further investigation. Tier 3 applies information developed in Tier 2 as predictive indicators of habitats and species at risk over broad landscape scales and provides decision support for the adaptive management of amphibian recovery. This comprehensive, tiered program could provide a mechanistic approach to identifying and addressing specific stressors responsible for amphibian declines across various landscapes.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Knapp, Roland A; Boiano, Daniel M; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2007-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Rollins-Smith, L A

    2001-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

    Ohmer, Michel E; Bishop, Phillip J

    2011-02-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Agrochemicals increase trematode infections in a declining amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Schotthoefer, Anna M; Raffel, Thomas R; Carrick, Hunter J; Halstead, Neal; Hoverman, Jason T; Johnson, Catherine M; Johnson, Lucinda B; Lieske, Camilla; Piwoni, Marvin D; Schoff, Patrick K; Beasley, Val R

    2008-10-30

    Global amphibian declines have often been attributed to disease, but ignorance of the relative importance and mode of action of potential drivers of infection has made it difficult to develop effective remediation. In a field study, here we show that the widely used herbicide, atrazine, was the best predictor (out of more than 240 plausible candidates) of the abundance of larval trematodes (parasitic flatworms) in the declining northern leopard frog Rana pipiens. The effects of atrazine were consistent across trematode taxa. The combination of atrazine and phosphate--principal agrochemicals in global corn and sorghum production--accounted for 74% of the variation in the abundance of these often debilitating larval trematodes (atrazine alone accounted for 51%). Analysis of field data supported a causal mechanism whereby both agrochemicals increase exposure and susceptibility to larval trematodes by augmenting snail intermediate hosts and suppressing amphibian immunity. A mesocosm experiment demonstrated that, relative to control tanks, atrazine tanks had immunosuppressed tadpoles, had significantly more attached algae and snails, and had tadpoles with elevated trematode loads, further supporting a causal relationship between atrazine and elevated trematode infections in amphibians. These results raise concerns about the role of atrazine and phosphate in amphibian declines, and illustrate the value of quantifying the relative importance of several possible drivers of disease risk while determining the mechanisms by which they facilitate disease emergence.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Analysis of three amphibian populations with quarter-century long time-series.

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, A H; Schimidt, B R; Grossenbacher, K

    1998-01-01

    Amphibians are in decline in many parts of the world. Long tme-series of amphibian populations are necessary to distinguish declines from the often strong fluctuations observed in natural populations. Time-series may also help to understand the causes of these declines. We analysed 23-28-year long time-series of the frog Rana temporaria. Only one of the three studied populations showed a negative trend which was probably caused by the introduction of fish. Two populations appeared to be density regulated. Rainfall had no obvious effect on the population fluctuations. Whereas long-term studies of amphibian populations are valuable to document population declines, most are too short to reveal those factors that govern population dynamics or cause amphibian populations to decline. PMID:9606133

  9. Analysis of three amphibian populations with quarter-century long time-series.

    PubMed

    Meyer, A H; Schimidt, B R; Grossenbacher, K

    1998-03-22

    Amphibians are in decline in many parts of the world. Long tme-series of amphibian populations are necessary to distinguish declines from the often strong fluctuations observed in natural populations. Time-series may also help to understand the causes of these declines. We analysed 23-28-year long time-series of the frog Rana temporaria. Only one of the three studied populations showed a negative trend which was probably caused by the introduction of fish. Two populations appeared to be density regulated. Rainfall had no obvious effect on the population fluctuations. Whereas long-term studies of amphibian populations are valuable to document population declines, most are too short to reveal those factors that govern population dynamics or cause amphibian populations to decline. PMID:9606133

  10. Biogeographic biases in research and their consequences for linking amphibian declines to pollution.

    PubMed

    Schiesari, Luis; Grillitsch, Britta; Grillitsch, Heinz

    2007-04-01

    The collapse of amphibian populations within pristine reserves worldwide suggests that diffuse, globally distributed factors such as pollution may be a cause of these declines. Nevertheless, cause-effect relationships between pollution and declines have proven difficult to establish at all scales, from local to global. We therefore aimed to quantitatively evaluate the weight of evidence for the role of pollution in global amphibian declines by first quantifying the published research on the effects of pollutants for all amphibian species in the world and then cross-referencing this information with species' biogeographic distribution, range area, and conservation status and with threats to species as summarized in the Global Amphibian Assessment. We found strong biogeographic and related taxonomic research biases, with a few, common, widely distributed generalist species from the northern hemisphere accounting for the majority of studies. Tropical regions, where more species and declines occur, were severely underrepresented in ecotoxicological research; therefore, current knowledge does not permit assessment of the significance of pollution in amphibian declines at a global scale or in regions where most declines occur. Moreover, if broader distributional ranges and occurrence at higher latitudes are correlated with broader environmental tolerances, current knowledge may considerably underestimate the sensitivity of the majority of amphibian species to pollutants. Finally, because species studied represent only a narrow subset of traits that mediate exposure and susceptibility to pollution, the current potential for extrapolation among species, guilds, ontogenetic phases, levels of complexity, habitat types, sites, and regions is weak. Ultimately, to mitigate these research biases and thus improve the basis for risk management, research policy must balance the spatial scale of the problem (global) and the distribution of knowledge (regional) so that biodiversity

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Terrestrial pesticide exposure of amphibians: An underestimated cause of global decline?

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians, a class of animals in global decline, are present in agricultural landscapes characterized by agrochemical inputs. Effects of pesticides on terrestrial life stages of amphibians such as juvenile and adult frogs, toads and newts are little understood and a specific risk assessment for pesticide exposure, mandatory for other vertebrate groups, is currently not conducted. We studied the effects of seven pesticide products on juvenile European common frogs (Rana temporaria) in an agricultural overspray scenario. Mortality ranged from 100% after one hour to 40% after seven days at the recommended label rate of currently registered products. The demonstrated toxicity is alarming and a large-scale negative effect of terrestrial pesticide exposure on amphibian populations seems likely. Terrestrial pesticide exposure might be underestimated as a driver of their decline calling for more attention in conservation efforts and the risk assessment procedures in place do not protect this vanishing animal group. PMID:23350038

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

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

    PubMed

    Phillips, Ben L; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-09-01

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ben L.; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Eskew, Evan A; Todd, Brian D

    2013-03-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

    Rising temperatures, a widespread consequence of climate change, have been implicated in enigmatic amphibian declines from habitats with little apparent human impact. The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), now widespread in Neotropical mountains, may act in synergy with climate change causing collapse in thermally stressed hosts. We measured the thermal tolerance of frogs along a wide elevational gradient in the Tropical Andes, where frog populations have collapsed. We used the difference between critical thermal maximum and the temperature a frog experiences in nature as a measure of tolerance to high temperatures. Temperature tolerance increased as elevation increased, suggesting that frogs at higher elevations may be less sensitive to rising temperatures. We tested the alternative pathogen optimal growth hypothesis that prevalence of the pathogen should decrease as temperatures fall outside the optimal range of pathogen growth. Our infection-prevalence data supported the pathogen optimal growth hypothesis because we found that prevalence of Bd increased when host temperatures matched its optimal growth range. These findings suggest that rising temperatures may not be the driver of amphibian declines in the eastern slopes of the Andes. Zoonotic outbreaks of Bd are the most parsimonious hypothesis to explain the collapse of montane amphibian faunas; but our results also reveal that lowland tropical amphibians, despite being shielded from Bd by higher temperatures, are vulnerable to climate-warming stress. PMID:24372791

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bradley, Shaffer H.; Fellers, G.M.; Magee, A.; Randal, Voss S.

    2000-01-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    Although many taxa have declined globally, conservation actions are inherently local. Ecosystems degrade even in protected areas, and maintaining natural systems in a desired condition may require active management. Implementing management decisions under uncertainty requires a logical and transparent process to identify objectives, develop management actions, formulate system models to link actions with objectives, monitor to reduce uncertainty and identify system state (i.e., resource condition), and determine an optimal management strategy. We applied one such structured decision-making approach that incorporates these critical elements to inform management of amphibian populations in a protected area managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Climate change is expected to affect amphibian occupancy of wetlands and to increase uncertainty in management decision making. We used the tools of structured decision making to identify short-term management solutions that incorporate our current understanding of the effect of climate change on amphibians, emphasizing how management can be undertaken even with incomplete information. Estrategia para Monitorear y Manejar Disminuciones en una Comunidad de Anfibios. PMID:24001175

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Cool Temperatures Reduce Antifungal Activity of Symbiotic Bacteria of Threatened Amphibians – Implications for Disease Management and Patterns of Decline

    PubMed Central

    Daskin, Joshua H.; Bell, Sara C.; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A.

    2014-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a widespread disease of amphibians responsible for population declines and extinctions. Some bacteria from amphibians’ skins produce antimicrobial substances active against Bd. Supplementing populations of these cutaneous antifungal bacteria might help manage chytridiomycosis in wild amphibians. However, the activity of protective bacteria may depend upon environmental conditions. Biocontrol of Bd in nature thus requires knowledge of how environmental conditions affect their anti-Bd activity. For example, Bd-driven amphibian declines have often occurred at temperatures below Bd’s optimum range. It is possible these declines occurred due to reduced anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts at cool temperatures. Better understanding of the effects of temperature on chytridiomycosis development could also improve risk evaluation for amphibian populations yet to encounter Bd. We characterized, at a range of temperatures approximating natural seasonal variation, the anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts from the skins of three species of rainforest tree frogs (Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola, and Litoria serrata). All three species declined during chytridiomycosis outbreaks in the late 1980s and early 1990s and have subsequently recovered to differing extents. We collected anti-Bd bacterial symbionts from frogs and cultured the bacteria at constant temperatures from 8°C to 33°C. Using a spectrophotometric assay, we monitored Bd growth in cell-free supernatants (CFSs) from each temperature treatment. CFSs from 11 of 24 bacteria showed reduced anti-Bd activity in vitro when they were produced at cool temperatures similar to those encountered by the host species during population declines. Reduced anti-Bd activity of metabolites produced at low temperatures may, therefore, partially explain the association between Bd-driven declines and cool temperatures. We show that to avoid

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Populations of a Susceptible Amphibian Species Can Grow despite the Presence of a Pathogenic Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Tobler, Ursina; Borgula, Adrian; Schmidt, Benedikt R.

    2012-01-01

    Disease can be an important driver of host population dynamics and epizootics can cause severe host population declines. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the pathogen causing amphibian chytridiomycosis, may occur epizootically or enzootically and can harm amphibian populations in many ways. While effects of Bd epizootics are well documented, the effects of enzootic Bd have rarely been described. We used a state-space model that accounts for observation error to test whether population trends of a species highly susceptible to Bd, the midwife toad Alytes obstetricans, are negatively affected by the enzootic presence of the pathogen. Unexpectedly, Bd had no negative effect on population growth rates from 2002–2008. This suggests that negative effects of disease on individuals do not necessarily translate into negative effects at the population level. Populations of amphibian species that are susceptible to the emerging disease chytridiomycosis can persist despite the enzootic presence of the pathogen under current environmental conditions. PMID:22496836

  11. 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).

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Reading, C J

    2007-02-01

    There is general consensus that climate change has contributed to the observed decline, and extinction, of many amphibian species throughout the world. However, the mechanisms of its effects remain unclear. A laboratory study in 1980-1981 in which temperate zone amphibians that were prevented from hibernating had decreased growth rates, matured at a smaller size and had increased mortality compared with those that hibernated suggested one possible mechanism. I used data from a field study of common toads (Bufo bufo) in the UK, between 1983 and 2005, to determine whether this also occurs in the field. The results demonstrated two pathways by which global warming may cause amphibian declines. First, there was a clear relationship between a decline in the body condition of female common toads and the occurrence of warmer than average years since 1983. This was paralleled by a decline in their annual survival rates with the relationship between these two declines being highly correlated. Second, there was a significant relationship between the occurrence of mild winters and a reduction in female body size, resulting in fewer eggs being laid annually. Climate warming can, therefore, act on wild temperate zone amphibians by deleteriously affecting their physiology, during and after hibernation, causing increased female mortality rates and decreased fecundity in survivors. PMID:17024381

  15. Population differentiation of temperate amphibians in unpredictable environments.

    PubMed

    Chan, Lauren M; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2009-08-01

    Amphibians are a globally distributed and diverse lineage, but much of our current understanding of their population genetic structure comes from studies in mesic temperate habitats. We characterize the population genetic structure of two sympatric explosive breeding amphibians in the southwestern deserts of the United States: the Great Plains toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) and Couch's spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus couchii). For both species, we find limited genetic differentiation even between populations in adjacent valleys separated by dispersal barriers such as mountainous habitats. To understand how population genetic patterns in these two arid-adapted species compare to taxa in more mesic environments, we computed a standardized measure of population differentiation for A. cognatus, S. couchii, and for pond-breeding amphibians that inhabit mesic temperate environments. Our results indicate that the arid-adapted species have lower population genetic structure at fine and moderate scales than most other amphibian species we surveyed. We hypothesize that stochasticity in the availability of appropriate breeding sites as well as landscape homogeneity may result in increased population connectivity in desert-adapted frogs. Future work examining fine-scale population structure in amphibians from a diversity of habitats will test the generality of our findings. Intraspecific comparisons among localities with varied seasonality and habitats will be particularly useful for investigating the interaction between species-typical population dynamics and environmental characteristics as determinants of population connectivity in pond-breeding amphibians.

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

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R

    2010-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Raffel, Thomas R

    2010-05-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Making leaps in amphibian ecotoxicology: translating individual-level effects of contaminants to population viability.

    PubMed

    Willson, J D; Hopkins, W A; Bergeron, C M; Todd, B D

    2012-09-01

    Concern that environmental contaminants contribute to global amphibian population declines has prompted extensive experimental investigation, but individual-level experimental results have seldom been translated to population-level processes. We used our research on the effects of mercury (Hg) on American toads (Bufo americanus) as a model for bridging the gap between individual-level contaminant effects and amphibian population viability. We synthesized the results of previous field and laboratory studies examining effects of Hg throughout the life cycle of B. americanus and constructed a comprehensive demographic population model to evaluate the consequences of Hg exposure on population dynamics. Our model explicitly considered density-dependent larval survival, which is known to be an important driver of amphibian population dynamics, and incorporated two important factors that have seldom been considered in previous amphibian modeling studies: environmental stochasticity and sublethal effects. We demonstrated that decreases in embryonic survival and sublethal effects (e.g., reduced body size) that delay maturation have minor effects on population dynamics, whereas contaminant effects that reduce late-larval or post-metamorphic survival have important population-level consequences. We found that excessive Hg exposure through maternal transfer or larval diet, alone, had minor effects on B. americanus populations. Simultaneous maternal and dietary exposure resulted in reduced population size and a dramatic increase in extinction probability, but explicit prediction of population-level effects was dependent on the strength of larval density dependence. Our results suggest that environmental contaminants can influence amphibian population viability, but that highly integrative approaches are needed to translate individual-level effects to populations.

  4. 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.

  5. Amphibian declines in the twenty-first century: why we need assisted reproductive technologies.

    PubMed

    Clulow, John; Trudeau, Vance L; Kouba, Andrew J

    2014-01-01

    Each amphibian species is evolutionarily distinct, having developed highly specialized and diverse reproductive strategies in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. These unique reproductive patterns and mechanisms, key to species propagation, have only been explored in a limited number of laboratory models. Although the development of applied reproductive technologies for amphibians has proven useful for a few threatened species, the real benefit of this technology has been new insights into the reproductive adaptations, behavior, endocrinology, and physiological mechanisms that have evolved over millions of years. As the basic fundamental database on amphibian reproductive physiology has grown, so has the applied benefit for species conservation. In particular, technologies such as non-invasive fecal and urinary hormone assays, hormone treatments for induced breeding or gamete collection, in vitro fertilization, and the ability to establish genome resource banks have all played important roles in monitoring or managing small populations of captive species. Amphibians have the ability to produce a large excess of germplasm (up to 10,000 ovulated eggs in a single reproductive event) that if not collected and preserved, would represent a wasted valuable resource. We discuss the current state of knowledge in assisted reproductive technologies for amphibians and why their extinction crisis means these available tools can no longer be implemented as small-scale, last-ditch efforts. The reproductive technologies must be established early as a key component of large-scale species recovery.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-03-25

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

  10. 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.

  11. Multiple stressors and amphibian declines: dual impacts of pesticides and fish on yellow-legged frogs.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Carlos; Knapp, Roland A

    2007-03-01

    More than 40% of Earth's 5700+ amphibian species have undergone recent declines. Despite the likely involvement of multiple factors in driving these declines, most studies continue to focus on single stressors. In California (USA), separate studies have implicated either introduced fish or pesticides as causal agents. To date, however, no study has simultaneously evaluated the respective roles of these two potential stressors nor attempted to assess their relative importance, information critical for the development of effective conservation efforts and environmental policies. We examined the role and relative effect of fish and pesticides on the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) using unusually detailed data sets for a large portion of R. muscosa's historic range in California's Sierra Nevada. Habitat characteristics and presence/absence of R. muscosa and fish were quantified at each of 6831 sites during field surveys. Pesticide use upwind of each site was calculated from pesticide application records and predominant wind directions. Using generalized additive models, we found that, after accounting for habitat effects, the probability of R. muscosa presence was significantly reduced by both fish and pesticides, with the landscape-scale effect of pesticides much stronger than that of fish. The degree to which a site was sheltered from the predominant wind (and associated pesticides) was also a significant predictor of R. muscosa presence. Taken together, these results represent the strongest evidence to date that windborne pesticides are contributing to amphibian declines in pristine locations. Our results suggest that amphibian declines may have complex multi-factorial causes, and caution that single-factor studies that demonstrate the importance of one factor should not be used as evidence against the importance of other factors.

  12. Amphibians.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1987

    1987-01-01

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

  13. 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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. 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...

  17. Perioperative Cognitive Decline in the Aging Population

    PubMed Central

    Terrando, Niccolò; Brzezinski, Marek; Degos, Vincent; Eriksson, Lars I.; Kramer, Joel H.; Leung, Jacqueline M.; Miller, Bruce L.; Seeley, William W.; Vacas, Susana; Weiner, Michael W.; Yaffe, Kristine; Young, William L.; Xie, Zhongcong; Maze, Mervyn

    2011-01-01

    Elderly patients who have an acute illness or who undergo surgery often experience cognitive decline. The pathophysiologic mechanisms that cause neurodegeneration resulting in cognitive decline, including protein deposition and neuroinflammation, also play a role in animal models of surgery-induced cognitive decline. With the aging of the population, surgical candidates of advanced age with underlying neurodegeneration are encountered more often, raising concerns that, in patients with this combination, cognitive function will precipitously decline postoperatively. This special article is based on a symposium that the University of California, San Francisco, convened to explore the contributions of surgery and anesthesia to the development of cognitive decline in the aged patient. A road map to further elucidate the mechanisms, diagnosis, risk factors, mitigation, and treatment of postoperative cognitive decline in the elderly is provided. PMID:21878601

  18. 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

  19. Widespread occurrence of ranavirus in pond-breeding amphibian populations.

    PubMed

    Hoverman, Jason T; Gray, Matthew J; Miller, Debra L; Haislip, Nathan A

    2012-03-01

    Ranaviruses are an emerging threat for many amphibian populations, yet their distribution in amphibian communities and the association of infection with possible stressors and species is not fully understood due to historically sparse surveillance. Agricultural practices that reduce the water quality of amphibian breeding habitats (e.g., cattle access to wetlands) and environmental stressors (e.g., lower temperatures) may contribute to ranavirus emergence. We tested larval amphibians for ranavirus infection across four seasons in farm ponds (n = 40) located in Tennessee, USA. Cattle at various densities were allowed access to half of the sampled ponds. Ranavirus infections were detected in nine species and in 33 of the sampled ponds (83%), illustrating widespread occurrence of the pathogen. Species within the family Ranidae were the most frequently infected. In 13 of the ponds containing infected individuals, prevalence exceeded 40% during at least one season. Infections were detected in multiple seasons in 20 of the sampled ponds containing infections, suggesting that ranaviruses are relatively persistent in these systems. Cattle had negative effects on water quality (turbidity and ammonia) and there was a positive association between cattle abundance and ranavirus prevalence in the summer. Counter to previous field studies in North America, we found a significant positive association between water temperature and ranavirus prevalence in the fall sampling events. Despite these findings, the influences of cattle and temperature on ranavirus prevalence were not consistent across seasons. As such, the mechanisms driving high ranavirus prevalence across the landscape and over time remain unclear. Given the widespread occurrence of ranaviruses in wild amphibians, we encourage the implementation of surveillance programs to help identify potential drivers of emergence. Sites with high ranavirus prevalence should be monitored annually for outbreaks, and the long

  20. Amphibian-killing chytrid in Brazil comprises both locally endemic and globally expanding populations.

    PubMed

    Jenkinson, T S; Betancourt Román, C M; Lambertini, C; Valencia-Aguilar, A; Rodriguez, D; Nunes-de-Almeida, C H L; Ruggeri, J; Belasen, A M; da Silva Leite, D; Zamudio, K R; Longcore, J E; Toledo, F L; James, T Y

    2016-07-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is the emerging infectious disease implicated in recent population declines and extinctions of amphibian species worldwide. Bd strains from regions of disease-associated amphibian decline to date have all belonged to a single, hypervirulent clonal genotype (Bd-GPL). However, earlier studies in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil detected a novel, putatively enzootic lineage (Bd-Brazil), and indicated hybridization between Bd-GPL and Bd-Brazil. Here, we characterize the spatial distribution and population history of these sympatric lineages in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. To investigate the genetic structure of Bd in this region, we collected and genotyped Bd strains along a 2400-km transect of the Atlantic Forest. Bd-Brazil genotypes were restricted to a narrow geographic range in the southern Atlantic Forest, while Bd-GPL strains were widespread and largely geographically unstructured. Bd population genetics in this region support the hypothesis that the recently discovered Brazilian lineage is enzootic in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and that Bd-GPL is a more recently expanded invasive. We collected additional hybrid isolates that demonstrate the recurrence of hybridization between panzootic and enzootic lineages, thereby confirming the existence of a hybrid zone in the Serra da Graciosa mountain range of Paraná State. Our field observations suggest that Bd-GPL may be more infective towards native Brazilian amphibians, and potentially more effective at dispersing across a fragmented landscape. We also provide further evidence of pathogen translocations mediated by the Brazilian ranaculture industry with implications for regulations and policies on global amphibian trade. PMID:26939017

  1. 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.

  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. 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

  4. 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. PMID:26083349

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-09-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-09-22

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

  9. 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...

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Dufresnes, Christophe; Perrin, Nicolas

    2015-08-01

    The genetic diversity of populations, which contributes greatly to their adaptive potential, is negatively affected by anthropogenic habitat fragmentation and destruction. However, continental-scale losses of genetic diversity also resulted from the population expansions that followed the end of the last glaciation, an element that is rarely considered in a conservation context. We addressed this issue in a meta-analysis in which we compared the spatial patterns of vulnerability of 18 widespread European amphibians in light of phylogeographic histories (glacial refugia and postglacial routes) and anthropogenic disturbances. Conservation statuses significantly worsened with distances from refugia, particularly in the context of industrial agriculture; human population density also had a negative effect. These findings suggest that features associated with the loss of genetic diversity in post-glacial amphibian populations (such as enhanced fixation load or depressed adaptive potential) may increase their susceptibility to current threats (e.g., habitat fragmentation and pesticide use). We propose that the phylogeographic status of populations (i.e., refugial vs. post-glacial) should be considered in conservation assessments for regional and national red lists. PMID:25833793

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

    PubMed

    Krynak, Katherine L; Burke, David J; Benard, Michael F

    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

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

    Krynak, Katherine L; Burke, David J; Benard, Michael F

    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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-22

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

  20. Migratory diversity predicts population declines in birds.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Declines in migratory species are a pressing concern worldwide, but the mechanisms underpinning these declines are not fully understood. We hypothesised that species with greater within-population variability in migratory movements and destinations, here termed 'migratory diversity', might be more resilient to environmental change. To test this, we related map-based metrics of migratory diversity to recent population trends for 340 European breeding birds. Species that occupy larger non-breeding ranges relative to breeding, a characteristic we term 'migratory dispersion', were less likely to be declining than those with more restricted non-breeding ranges. Species with partial migration strategies (i.e. overlapping breeding and non-breeding ranges) were also less likely to be declining than full migrants or full residents, an effect that was independent of migration distance. Recent rates of advancement in Europe-wide spring arrival date were greater for partial migrants than full migrants, suggesting that migratory diversity may also help facilitate species responses to climate change. PMID:26807694

  1. 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

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-09-01

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

  6. Population Recovery following Decline in an Endangered Stream-Breeding Frog (Mixophyes fleayi) from Subtropical Australia

    PubMed Central

    Newell, David Alan; Goldingay, Ross Lindsay; Brooks, Lyndon Owen

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians have undergone dramatic declines and extinctions worldwide. Prominent among these have been the stream-breeding frogs in the rainforests of eastern Australia. The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been postulated as the primary cause of these declines. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture study over a 7-year period on the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) at two independent streams (30 km apart) in order to assess the stability of these populations. This species had undergone a severe decline across its narrow geographic range. Mark-recapture modelling showed that the number of individuals increased 3–10 fold along stream transects over this period. Frog detection probabilities were frequently above 50% but declined as the populations increased. Adult survival was important to overall population persistence in light of low recruitment events, suggesting that longevity may be a key factor in this recovery. One male and female were present in the capture record for >6 years. This study provides an unambiguous example of population recovery in the presence of Bd. PMID:23516509

  7. ASSESSMENT OF THE RISK OF SOLAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION TO AMPHIBIANS. II: IN SITU CHARACTERIZATION OF SOLAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION IN AMPHIBIAN HABITATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation has been hypothesized as a potential cause of amphibian population declines and increased incidences of malformations. Realistic studies documenting UV irradiance or dose have rarely been conducted in wetlands used by amphibians. We demonstrate that ...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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 ≈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. PMID:20457913

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Endemic Infection of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in a Frog Community Post-Decline

    PubMed Central

    2004-01-01

    The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline and extinction of numerous frog species worldwide. In Queensland, Australia, it has been proposed as the cause of the decline or apparent extinction of at least 14 high-elevation rainforest frog species. One of these, Taudactylus eungellensis, disappeared from rainforest streams in Eungella National Park in 1985–1986, but a few remnant populations were subsequently discovered. Here, we report the analysis of B. dendrobatidis infections in toe tips of T. eungellensis and sympatric species collected in a mark-recapture study between 1994 and 1998. This longitudinal study of the fungus in individually marked frogs sheds new light on the effect of this threatening infectious process in field, as distinct from laboratory, conditions. We found a seasonal peak of infection in the cooler months, with no evidence of interannual variation. The overall prevalence of infection was 18% in T. eungellensis and 28% in Litoria wilcoxii/jungguy, a sympatric frog that appeared not to decline in 1985–1986. No infection was found in any of the other sympatric species. Most importantly, we found no consistent evidence of lower survival in T. eungellensis that were infected at the time of first capture, compared with uninfected individuals. These results refute the hypothesis that remnant populations of T. eungellensis recovered after a B. dendrobatidis epidemic because the pathogen had disappeared. They show that populations of T. eungellensis now persist with stable, endemic infections of B. dendrobatidis. PMID:15502873

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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. PMID:21036180

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. VASCULAR RISK FACTORS AND COGNITIVE DECLINE IN A POPULATION SAMPLE

    PubMed Central

    Ganguli, Mary; Fu, Bo; Snitz, Beth E.; Unverzagt, Frederick W.; Loewenstein, David A.; Hughes, Tiffany F.; Chang, Chung-Chou H.

    2014-01-01

    We examined several vascular factors in relation to rates of decline in five cognitive domains in a population-based cohort. In an age-stratified random sample (N=1982) aged 65+ years, we assessed at baseline the cognitive domains of attention, executive function, memory, language, and visuospatial function, and also vascular, inflammatory, and metabolic indices. Random effects models generated slopes of cognitive decline over the next four years; linear models identified vascular factors associated with these slopes, adjusting for demographics, baseline cognition, and potential interactions. Several vascular risk factors (history of stroke, diabetes, central obesity, C-Reactive Protein), although associated with lower baseline cognitive performance, did not predict rate of subsequent decline. APOE*4 genotype was associated with accelerated decline in language, memory, and executive functions. Homocysteine elevation was associated with faster decline in executive function. Hypertension (history or systolic blood pressure >140 mm) was associated with slower decline in memory. Baseline alcohol consumption was associated with slower decline in attention, language, and memory. Different indices of vascular risk are associated with low performance and with rates of decline in different cognitive domains. Cardiovascular mechanisms explain at least some of the variance in cognitive decline. Selective survival may also play a role. PMID:24126216

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Bradford, David F; Knapp, Roland A; Sparling, Donald W; Nash, Maliha S; Stanley, Kerri A; Tallent-Halsell, Nita G; McConnell, Laura L; Simonich, Staci M

    2011-03-01

    Atmospherically deposited pesticides from the intensively cultivated Central Valley of California, USA, 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 mountains. Previous studies on these species have relied on correlations between frog population status and either a metric for amount of upwind pesticide use or limited measurements of pesticide concentrations in the field. The present study tested the hypothesis that pesticide concentrations are negatively correlated with frog population status (i.e., fraction of suitable water bodies occupied within 2 km of a site) by measuring pesticide concentrations in multiple media twice at 28 sites at high elevation in the southern Sierra Nevada. Media represented were air, sediment, and Pseudacris sierra tadpoles. Total cholinesterase (ChE), which has been used as an indicator for organophosphorus and carbamate pesticide exposure, was also measured in P. sierra tadpoles. Results do not support the pesticide-site occupancy hypothesis. Among 46 pesticide compounds analyzed, nine were detected with ≥ 30% frequency, representing both historically and currently used pesticides. In stepwise regressions with a chemical metric and linear distance from the Central Valley as predictor variables, no negative association was found between frog population status and the concentration of any pesticide or tadpole ChE activity level. By contrast, frog population status showed a strong positive relationship with linear distance from the Valley, a pattern that is consistent with a general west-to-east spread across central California of the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis observed by other researchers.

  18. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, K.C.; Jung, R.E.

    2004-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Pathogens can drive host population dynamics. Chytridiomycosis is a fungal disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). This pathogen has caused declines and extinctions in some host species whereas other host species coexist with Bd without suffering declines. In the early 1990s, Bd extirpated populations of the endangered common mistfrog, Litoria rheocola, at high-elevation sites, while populations of the species persisted at low-elevation sites. Today, populations have reappeared at many high-elevation sites where they presently co-exist with the fungus. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture (CMR) study of six populations of L. rheocola over 1 year, at high and low elevations. We used multistate CMR models to determine which factors (Bd infection status, site type, and season) influenced rates of frog survival, recapture, infection, and recovery from infection. We observed Bd-induced mortality of individual frogs, but did not find any significant effect of Bd infection on the survival rate of L. rheocola at the population level. Survival and recapture rates depended on site type and season. Infection rate was highest in winter when temperatures were favourable for pathogen growth, and differed among site types. The recovery rate was high (75.7-85.8%) across seasons, and did not differ among site types. The coexistence of L. rheocola with Bd suggests that (1) frog populations are becoming resistant to the fungus, (2) Bd may have evolved lower virulence, or (3) current environmental conditions may be inhibiting outbreaks of the fatal disease. PMID:26293680

  6. 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.

  7. Mitigating amphibian chytridiomycosis in nature

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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).

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    Turchin, Peter; Scheidel, Walter

    2009-10-13

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-20

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

  19. West Nile virus emergence and large-scale declines of North American bird populations.

    PubMed

    LaDeau, Shannon L; Kilpatrick, A Marm; Marra, Peter P

    2007-06-01

    Emerging infectious diseases present a formidable challenge to the conservation of native species in the twenty-first century. Diseases caused by introduced pathogens have had large impacts on species abundances, including the American chestnut, Hawaiian bird species and many amphibians. Changes in host population sizes can lead to marked shifts in community composition and ecosystem functioning. However, identifying the impacts of an introduced disease and distinguishing it from other forces that influence population dynamics (for example, climate) is challenging and requires abundance data that extend before and after the introduction. Here we use 26 yr of Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to determine the impact of West Nile virus (WNV) on 20 potential avian hosts across North America. We demonstrate significant changes in population trajectories for seven species from four families that concur with a priori predictions and the spatio-temporal intensity of pathogen transmission. The American crow population declined by up to 45% since WNV arrival, and only two of the seven species with documented impact recovered to pre-WNV levels by 2005. Our findings demonstrate the potential impacts of an invasive species on a diverse faunal assemblage across broad geographical scales, and underscore the complexity of subsequent community response.

  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.

  1. Population genetic correlates of declining transmission in a human pathogen

    PubMed Central

    Nkhoma, Standwell C; Nair, Shalini; Al-Saai, Salma; Ashley, Elizabeth; McGready, Rose; Phyo, Aung P; Nosten, François; Anderson, Tim J C

    2013-01-01

    Pathogen control programs provide a valuable, but rarely exploited, opportunity to directly examine the relationship between population decline and population genetics. We investigated the impact of an ∼12-fold decline in transmission on the population genetics of Plasmodium falciparum infections (n = 1731) sampled from four clinics on the Thai–Burma border over 10 years and genotyped using 96 genome-wide SNPs. The most striking associated genetic change was a reduction in the frequency of infections containing multiple parasite genotypes from 63% in 2001 to 14% in 2010 (P = 3 × 10−15). Two measures of the clonal composition of populations (genotypic richness and the β-parameter of the Pareto distribution) declined over time as more people were infected by parasites with identical multilocus genotypes, consistent with increased selfing and a reduction in the rate at which multilocus genotypes are broken apart by recombination. We predicted that the reduction in transmission, multiple clone carriage and outbreeding would be mirrored by an increased influence of genetic drift. However, geographical differentiation and expected heterozygosity remained stable across the sampling period. Furthermore, Ne estimates derived from allele frequencies fluctuation between years remained high (582 to ∞) and showed no downward trend. These results demonstrate how genetic data can compliment epidemiological assessments of infectious disease control programs. The temporal changes in a single declining population parallel to those seen in comparisons of parasite genetics in regions of differing endemicity, strongly supporting the notion that reduced opportunity for outbreeding is the key driver of these patterns. PMID:23121253

  2. 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...

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    Kiesecker, J M; Blaustein, A R

    1995-11-21

    Previous research has shown that amphibians have differential sensitivity to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. In some species, ambient levels of UV-B radiation cause embryonic mortality in nature. The detrimental effects of UV-B alone or with other agents may ultimately affect amphibians at the population level. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a synergistic effect between UV-B radiation and a pathogenic fungus in the field that increases the mortality of amphibian embryos compared with either factor alone. Studies investigating single factors for causes of amphibian egg mortality or population declines may not reveal the complex factors involved in declines. PMID:7479934

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Hydrologic variability governs population dynamics of a vulnerable amphibian in an arid environment.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Hydrologic variability governs population dynamics of a vulnerable amphibian in an arid environment.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Trends in amphibian occupancy in the United States.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Islamic Republic of Iran population growth rate declines.

    PubMed

    1996-01-01

    In April 1996, at the 52nd Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the delegate from the Islamic Republic of Iran announced that social indicators indicate acceptable improvement. The average population growth rate fell from 3.9% (1981-1991) to less than 2% (1995). High birth rates and an influx of refugees during 1981-1991 accounted for the high population growth rate. The marked decline in the birth rate, brought about mainly by effective family planning and health programs, has contributed greatly to the reduced population growth rate. The government has focused on rural areas. 86% of rural households now have access to piped water. More than 60% have electricity. The overall literacy rate in Iran has reached 79%. The entire population has access to free or subsidized primary health care services. The Second Development Plan of Iran centers on the significance of the role that mothers have in shaping society and individuals by their child raising abilities, particularly in the early years. The Iranian delegate endorsed the secretariat's plan for helping members and associate members to reach their development goals and objectives.

  1. [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

  2. [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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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. PMID:26211897

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. Pesticides in amphibian habitats of central and northern California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Amphibians of the northern Great Plains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.; Euliss, Ned H.; Lannoo, Michael J.; Mushet, David M.; Mac, M.J.; Opler, P.A.; Puckett Haecker, C. E.; Doran, P.D.

    1998-01-01

    No cry of alarm has been sounded over the fate of amphibian populations in the northern grasslands of North America, yet huge percentages of prairie wetland habitat have been lost, and the destruction continues. Scarcely 30% of the original mixedgrass prairie remains in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota (See Table 1 in this chapter). If amphibian populations haven’t declined, why haven’t they? Or, have we simply failed to notice? Amphibians in the northern grasslands evolved in a boom-or-bust environment: species that were unable to survive droughts lasting for years died out long before humans were around to count them. Species we find today are expert at seizing the rare, wet moment to rebuild their populations in preparation for the next dry season. When numbers can change so rapidly, who can say if a species is rare or common? A lot depends on when you look.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Zhou, Haiming; Hanson, Timothy; Knapp, Roland

    2015-12-01

    The global emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused the extinction of hundreds of amphibian species worldwide. It has become increasingly important to be able to precisely predict time to Bd arrival in a population. The data analyzed herein present a unique challenge in terms of modeling because there is a strong spatial component to Bd arrival time and the traditional proportional hazards assumption is grossly violated. To address these concerns, we develop a novel marginal Bayesian nonparametric survival model for spatially correlated right-censored data. This class of models assumes that the logarithm of survival times marginally follow a mixture of normal densities with a linear-dependent Dirichlet process prior as the random mixing measure, and their joint distribution is induced by a Gaussian copula model with a spatial correlation structure. To invert high-dimensional spatial correlation matrices, we adopt a full-scale approximation that can capture both large- and small-scale spatial dependence. An efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm with delayed rejection is proposed for posterior computation, and an R package spBayesSurv is provided to fit the model. This approach is first evaluated through simulations, then applied to threatened frog populations in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. PMID:26148536

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. Amphibian defenses against ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Blaustein, Andrew R; Belden, Lisa K

    2003-01-01

    As part of an overall decline in biodiversity, amphibian populations throughout the world are disappearing. There are a number of potential causes for these declines, including those related to environmental changes such as increasing ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion. UV-B radiation can kill amphibian embryos or can cause sublethal effects that can harm amphibians in later life stages. However, amphibians have defenses against UV-B damage that can limit damage or repair it after exposure to UV-B radiation. These include behavioral, physiological, and molecular defenses. These defenses differ interspecifically, with some species more able to cope with exposure to UV-B than others. Unfortunately, the defense mechanisms of many species may not be effective against increasing persistent levels of UV-B radiation that have only been present for the past several decades due to human-induced environmental damage. Moreover, we predict that persistent UV-B-induced mortality and sublethal damage in species without adequate defenses could lead to changes in community structure. In this article we review the effects of UV-B radiation on amphibians and the defenses they use to avoid solar radiation and make some predictions regarding community structure in light of interspecific differences in UV-B tolerance. PMID:12492415

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    The role of plasticity in shaping adaptations is important to understanding the expression of traits within individuals and the evolution of populations. With increasing human impacts on the environment, one challenge is to consider how plasticity shapes responses to anthropogenic stressors such as contaminants. To our knowledge, only one study (using mosquitoes) has considered the possibility of induced insecticide tolerance. Using populations of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) located close to and far from agricultural fields, we discovered that exposing some populations of embryos and hatchlings to sublethal concentrations of the insecticide carbaryl induced higher tolerance to a subsequent lethal concentration later in life. Interestingly, the inducible populations were located >800 m from agricultural areas and were the most susceptible to the insecticide. In contrast, the noninducible populations were located close to agricultural areas and were the least susceptible. We also found that sublethal concentrations of carbaryl induced higher tadpole AChE concentrations in several cases. This is the first study to demonstrate inducible tolerance in a vertebrate species and the pattern of inducible and constitutive tolerance among populations suggests the process of genetic assimilation. PMID:24187585

  13. 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

  14. Origin of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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…

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. ESTIMATION OF UV-B EXPOSURE IN AMPHIBIAN AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Estimation of ultraviolet radiation B (UV-B; 280 to 320 nm wavelenghts) dose is essential for determining whether UV-B contributes to amphibian population declines and malformations. UV-B dose in wetlands is effected by location, time of day and year, atmospheric levels of ozone,...

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Although all plant and animal species harbor microbial symbionts, we know surprisingly little about the specificity of microbial communities to their hosts. Few studies have compared the microbiomes of different species of animals, and fewer still have examined animals in the wild. We sampled four pond habitats in Colorado, USA, where multiple amphibian species were present. In total, 32 amphibian individuals were sampled from three different species including northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens), western chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) and tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). We compared the diversity and composition of the bacterial communities on the skin of the collected individuals via barcoded pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Dominant bacterial phyla included Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. In total, we found members of 18 bacterial phyla, comparable to the taxonomic diversity typically found on human skin. Levels of bacterial diversity varied strongly across species: L. pipiens had the highest diversity; A. tigrinum the lowest. Host species was a highly significant predictor of bacterial community similarity, and co-habitation within the same pond was not significant, highlighting that the skin-associated bacterial communities do not simply reflect those bacterial communities found in their surrounding environments. Innate species differences thus appear to regulate the structure of skin bacterial communities on amphibians. In light of recent discoveries that some bacteria on amphibian skin have antifungal activity, our finding suggests that host-specific bacteria may have a role in the species-specific resistance to fungal pathogens. PMID:21955991

  4. An alternative framework for responding to the amphibian crisis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin L.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2015-01-01

    Volumes of data illustrate the severity of the crisis affecting amphibians, where > 32% of amphibians worldwide are threatened with declining populations. Although there have been isolated victories, the current approach to the issue is unsuccessful. We suggest that a radically different approach, something akin to human emergency response management (i.e. the Incident Command System), is one alternative to addressing the inertia and lack of cohesion in responding to amphibian issues. We acknowledge existing efforts and the useful research that has been conducted, but we suggest that a change is warranted and that the identification of a new amphibian chytrid provides the impetus for such a change. Our goal is to recognize that without a centralized effort we (collectively) are likely to fail in responding to this challenge.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    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. PMID:26538598

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:19555772

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that socioeconomic shocks strongly affect wildlife populations, but quantitative evidence is sparse. The collapse of socialism in Russia in 1991 caused a major socioeconomic shock, including a sharp increase in poverty. We analyzed population trends of 8 large mammals in Russia from 1981 to 2010 (i.e., before and after the collapse). We hypothesized that the collapse would first cause population declines, primarily due to overexploitation, and then population increases due to adaptation of wildlife to new environments following the collapse. The long-term Database of the Russian Federal Agency of Game Mammal Monitoring, consisting of up to 50,000 transects that are monitored annually, provided an exceptional data set for investigating these population trends. Three species showed strong declines in population growth rates in the decade following the collapse, while grey wolf (Canis lupus) increased by more than 150%. After 2000 some trends reversed. For example, roe deer (Capreolus spp.) abundance in 2010 was the highest of any period in our study. Likely reasons for the population declines in the 1990s include poaching and the erosion of wildlife protection enforcement. The rapid increase of the grey wolf populations is likely due to the cessation of governmental population control. In general, the widespread declines in wildlife populations after the collapse of the Soviet Union highlight the magnitude of the effects that socioeconomic shocks can have on wildlife populations and the possible need for special conservation efforts during such times. PMID:25581070

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-29

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

  19. 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

  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. Disease patterns in the Detroit Zoo: a study of reptilian and amphibian populations from 1973 through 1983.

    PubMed

    Kaneene, J B; Taylor, R F; Sikarskie, J G; Meyer, T J; Richter, N A

    1985-12-01

    A retrospective study was conducted to determine disease patterns in reptilian and amphibian populations at the Detroit Zoo from 1973 through 1983. In the reptilian population (mean +/- SD = 285.2 +/- 28), overall annual mortality rates were 1% to 40%. Mortality rates were highest in the fall months (20%) and lowest in the winter months (6%). The most frequently affected reptiles were iguana (Iguana iguana), reticulated python (Python reticulatus), rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp), common boa (Constrictor constrictor), and lizards (various genera of suborder Lacertilia). Of the 1,300 reptilian deaths from 1973 through 1983, 36.6% were caused by microbial agents, 12% by parasites, 11.6% by trauma, and 9.3% by nutritional deficiencies. The main microbial organisms that caused death were Aeromonas spp, Salmonella spp, Pseudomonas spp, Proteus spp, and Edwardsiella spp. The main parasites that caused death were Entamoeba spp and lungworms. Among amphibians, frogs and toads were the most frequently affected, and starvation and trauma were the most frequent causes of death.

  2. 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

  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.; 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.

  4. Ecology: global warming and amphibian losses.

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-31

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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Many long-distance migrating shorebird (i.e., sandpipers, plovers, flamingos, oystercatchers) populations are declining. Although regular shorebird monitoring programs exist worldwide, most estimates of shorebird population trends and sizes are poor or nonexistent. We built a state-space model to estimate shorebird population trends. Compared with more commonly used methods of trend estimation, state-space models are more mechanistic, allow for the separation of observation and state process, and can easily accommodate multivariate time series and nonlinear trends. We fitted the model to count data collected from 1990 to 2013 on 18 common shorebirds at the 2 largest coastal wetlands in southern Africa, Sandwich Harbour (a relatively pristine bay) and Walvis Bay (an international harbor), Namibia. Four of the 12 long-distance migrant species declined since 1990: Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and Red Knot (Calidris canutus). Populations of resident species and short-distance migrants increased or were stable. Similar patterns at a key South African wetland suggest that shorebird populations migrating to southern Africa are declining in line with the global decline, but local conditions in southern Africa's largest wetlands are not contributing to these declines. State-space models provide estimates of population levels and trends and could be used widely to improve the current state of water bird estimates. PMID:25858334

  7. 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.

  8. Local extinction in a small and declining population: wild dogs in the Serengeti.

    PubMed

    Ginsberg, J R; Mace, G M; Albon, S

    1995-11-22

    Altered assumptions about how different ecological factors limit population numbers may lead to different conclusions about the causes of decline and ultimate extinction of a small population. Here, alternative hypotheses for the local disappearance of the Serengeti plains study population of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are examined in light of observations of density dependence, deterministic decline and frequent rapid fluctuations in population number. After a population crash from 60 individuals in 1975 to 30 individuals in 1976, the Serengeti plains population fluctuated around a mean value of 22 individuals for 16 years before local extinction occurred. Variation in population numbers was extreme, with inter-annual reductions in population size of at least 40% occurring three times. Several explanations are consistent with the observed trends in population size including outbreaks of various epizootics and competition with other predators. Monte Carlo simulation, with parameters set to reflect observed fluctuations, demonstrate that population extinction was likely from chance factors alone. In small and declining populations, for which precise data and controls are unavailable, determining the cause(s) of extinction usually will be impossible.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Pup Mortality in a Rapidly Declining Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) Population

    PubMed Central

    Hanson, Nora; Thompson, Dave; Duck, Callan; Moss, Simon; Lonergan, Mike

    2013-01-01

    The harbour seal population in Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, has reduced by 65% between 2001 and 2010. The cause(s) of this decline are unknown but must affect the demographic parameters of the population. Here, satellite telemetry data were used to test the hypothesis that increased pup mortality could be a primary driver of the decline in Orkney. Pup mortality and tag failure parameters were estimated from the duration of operation of satellite tags deployed on harbour seal pups from the Orkney population (n = 24) and from another population on the west coast of Scotland (n = 24) where abundance was stable. Survival probabilities from both populations were best represented by a common gamma distribution and were not different from one another, suggesting that increased pup mortality is unlikely to be the primary agent in the Orkney population decline. The estimated probability of surviving to 6 months was 0.390 (95% CI 0.297 – 0.648) and tag failure was represented by a Gaussian distribution, with estimated mean 270 (95% CI = 198 – 288) and s.d. 21 (95% CI = 1 – 66) days. These results suggest that adult survival is the most likely proximate cause of the decline. They also demonstrate a novel technique for attaining age-specific mortality rates from telemetry data. PMID:24312239

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:2798430

  19. Genetic attributes of midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) populations do not correlate with degree of species decline

    PubMed Central

    Tobler, Ursina; Garner, Trenton W J; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2013-01-01

    Genetic diversity is crucial for long-term population persistence. Population loss and subsequent reduction in migration rate among the most important processes that are expected to lead to a reduction in genetic diversity and an increase in genetic differentiation. While the theory behind this is well-developed, empirical evidence from wild populations is inconsistent. Using microsatellite markers, we compared the genetic structure of populations of an amphibian species, the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), in four Swiss regions where the species has suffered variable levels of subpopulation extirpation. We also quantified the effects of several geographic factors on genetic structure and used a model selection approach to ascertain which of the variables were important for explaining genetic variation. Although subpopulation pairwise FST-values were highly significant even over small geographic scales, neither any of the geographic variables nor loss of subpopulations were important factors for predicting spatial genetic structure. The absence of a signature of subpopulation loss on genetic differentiation may suggest that midwife toad subpopulations function as relatively independent units. PMID:24101974

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  2. 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

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Antiviral Immunity in Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Guangchun; Robert, Jacques

    2011-01-01

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

  11. Electrolyte depletion and osmotic imbalance in amphibians with chytridiomycosis.

    PubMed

    Voyles, Jamie; Berger, Lee; Young, Sam; Speare, Rick; Webb, Rebecca; Warner, Jeffrey; Rudd, Donna; Campbell, Ruth; Skerratt, Lee F

    2007-09-14

    Mounting evidence implicates the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in global amphibian declines and extinctions. While the virulence of this disease has been clearly demonstrated, there is, as yet, no mechanistic explanation for how B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians. To investigate the pathology of chytridiomycosis, blood samples were collected from uninfected, aclinically infected and clinically diseased amphibians and analyzed for a wide range of biochemical and hematological parameters. Here, we show that green tree frogs Litoria caerulea with severe chytridiomycosis had reduced plasma osmolality, sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride concentrations. Stable plasma albumin, hematocrit and urea levels indicated that hydration status was unaffected, signifying depletion of electrolytes from circulation rather than dilution due to increased water uptake. We suggest that B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians by disrupting normal epidermal functioning, leading to osmotic imbalance through loss of electrolytes. Determining how B. dendrobatidis kills amphibians is fundamental to understanding the host-pathogen relationship and thus the population declines attributed to B. dendrobatidis. Understanding the mechanisms of mortality may also explain interspecific variation in susceptibility to chytridiomycosis.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Chytridiomycosis, amphibian extinctions, and lessons for the prevention of future panzootics.

    PubMed

    Kriger, Kerry M; Hero, Jean-Marc

    2009-03-01

    The human-mediated transport of infected amphibians is the most plausible driver for the intercontinental spread of chytridiomycosis, a recently emerged infectious disease responsible for amphibian population declines and extinctions on multiple continents. Chytridiomycosis is now globally ubiquitous, and it cannot be eradicated from affected sites. Its rapid spread both within and between continents provides a valuable lesson on preventing future panzootics and subsequent erosion of biodiversity, not only of amphibians, but of a wide array of taxa: the continued inter-continental trade and transport of animals will inevitably lead to the spread of novel pathogens, followed by numerous extinctions. Herein, we define and discuss three levels of amphibian disease management: (1) post-exposure prophylactic measures that are curative in nature and applicable only in a small number of situations; (2) pre-exposure prophylactic measures that reduce disease threat in the short-term; and (3) preventive measures that remove the threat altogether. Preventive measures include a virtually complete ban on all unnecessary long-distance trade and transport of amphibians, and are the only method of protecting amphibians from disease-induced declines and extinctions over the long-term. Legislation to prevent the emergence of new diseases is urgently required to protect global amphibian biodiversity.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    Strauss, Alex; Smith, Kevin G

    2013-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a globally emerging pathogen that has caused widespread amphibian population declines, extirpations, and extinctions. However, Bd does not occur in all apparently suitable amphibian populations, even within regions where it is widespread, and it is often unclear why Bd occurs in some habitats but not others. In this study, we rigorously surveyed the amphibian and invertebrate biodiversity of 29 ponds in Missouri, screened resident amphibian larvae (Rana (Lithobates) sp.) for Bd infection, and characterized the aquatic physiochemical environment of each pond (temperature pH, conductivity, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a). Our goal was to generate hypotheses toward answering the question, "Why does Bd not occur in all apparently suitable habitats?" Bd occurred in assayed amphibians in 11 of the 29 ponds in our study area (38% of ponds). We found no significant relationship between any single biotic or abiotic variable and presence of Bd. However, multivariate analyses (nonmetric multidimensional scaling and permutational tests of dispersion) revealed that ponds in which Bd occurred were a restricted subset of all ponds in terms of amphibian community structure, macroinvertebrate community structure, and pond physiochemistry. In other words, Bd ponds from 6 different conservation areas were more similar to each other than would be expected based on chance. The results of a structural equation model suggest that patterns in the occurrence of Bd among ponds are primarily attributable to variation in macroinvertebrate community structure. When combined with recent results showing that Bd can infect invertebrates as well as amphibians, we suggest that additional research should focus on the role played by non-amphibian biota in determining the presence, prevalence, and pathogenicity of Bd in amphibian populations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Severe recent decrease of adult body mass in a declining insectivorous bird population

    PubMed Central

    Rioux Paquette, Sébastien; Pelletier, Fanie; Garant, Dany; Bélisle, Marc

    2014-01-01

    Migratory bird species that feed on air-borne insects are experiencing widespread regional declines, but these remain poorly understood. Agricultural intensification in the breeding range is often regarded as one of the main drivers of these declines. Here, we tested the hypothesis that body mass in breeding individuals should reflect habitat quality in an aerial insectivore, the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), along a gradient of agricultural intensity. Our dataset was collected over 7 years (2005–2011) and included 2918 swallow captures and 1483 broods. Analyses revealed a substantial decline of the population over the course of the study (−19% occupancy rate), mirrored by decreasing body mass. This trend was especially severe in females, representing a total loss of 8% of their mass. Reproductive success was negatively influenced by intensive agriculture, but did not decrease over time. Interestingly, variation in body mass was independent of breeding habitat quality, leading us to suggest that this decline in body mass may result from carry-over effects from non-breeding areas and affect population dynamics through reduced survival. This work contributes to the growing body of evidence suggesting that declines in migratory aerial insectivores are driven by multiple, complex factors requiring better knowledge of year-round habitat use. PMID:24850929

  3. 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.

  4. Epizootiology of sixty-four amphibian morbidity and mortality events in the USA, 1996-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, D.E.; Converse, K.A.; Schrader, A.K.

    2002-01-01

    A total of 44 amphibian mortality events and 20 morbidity events were reviewed retrospectively. The most common cause of amphibian mortality events was infection by ranaviruses (Family: Iridoviridae). Ranavirus epizootics have abrupt onset and affect late-stage larvae and recent metamorphs. Mortality events due to ranavirus infections affected only widespread and abundant amphibian species, and there was a clear association with high population densities. Chytrid fungal infections accounted for seven mortality events in postmetamorphic anurans only. Chytrid epizootics are insidious and easily overlooked in the field. While both ranavirus and chytrid fungal epizootics were associated with >90% mortality rates at affected sites, only the chytrid fungal infections were linked to multiple amphibian population declines. Three primitive fungal organisms in the newly erected clade, Mesomycetozoa, caused morbidities and mortalities in anurans and salamanders.

  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. Heterogeneity in ALSFRS-R decline and survival: a population-based study in Italy.

    PubMed

    Mandrioli, Jessica; Biguzzi, Sara; Guidi, Carlo; Sette, Elisabetta; Terlizzi, Emilio; Ravasio, Alessandro; Casmiro, Mario; Salvi, Fabrizio; Liguori, Rocco; Rizzi, Romana; Pietrini, Vladimiro; Borghi, Annamaria; Rinaldi, Rita; Fini, Nicola; Chierici, Elisabetta; Santangelo, Mario; Granieri, Enrico; Mussuto, Vittoria; De Pasqua, Silvia; Georgoulopoulou, Eleni; Fasano, Antonio; Ferro, Salvatore; D'Alessandro, Roberto

    2015-12-01

    Very few studies examined trend over time of the revised Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R) and factors influencing it; previous studies, then, included only patients attending tertiary ALS Centres. We studied ALSFRS-R decline, factors influencing this trend and survival in a population-based setting. From 2009 onwards, a prospective registry records all incident ALS cases among residents in Emilia Romagna (population: 4.4 million). For each patient, demographic and clinical details (including ALSFRS-R) are collected by caring physicians at each follow-up. Analysis was performed on 402 incident cases (1279 ALSFRS-R assessments). The average decline of the ALSFRS-R was 0.60 points/month during the first year after diagnosis and 0.34 points/month in the second year. ALSFRS-R decline was heterogeneous among subgroups. Repeated measures mixed model showed that ALSFRS-R score decline was influenced by age at onset (p < 0.01), phenotype (p = 0.01), body mass index (BMI) (p < 0.01), progression rate at diagnosis (ΔFS) (p < 0.01), El Escorial Criteria-Revised (p < 0.01), and FVC% at diagnosis (p < 0.01). Among these factors, at multivariate analysis, only age, site of onset and ΔFS independently influenced survival. In this first population-based study on ALSFRS-R trend, we confirm that ALSFRS-R decline is not homogeneous among ALS patients and during the disease. Factors influencing ALSFRS-R decline may not match with those affecting survival. These disease modifiers should be taken into consideration for trials design and in clinical practice during discussions with patients on prognosis.

  7. Physical stature decline and the health status of the elderly population in England.

    PubMed

    Fernihough, Alan; McGovern, Mark E

    2015-01-01

    Few research papers in economics have examined the extent, causes or consequences of physical stature decline in aging populations. Using repeated observations on objectively measured data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), we document that reduction in height is an important phenomenon among respondents aged 50 and over. On average, physical stature decline occurs at an annual rate of between 0.08% and 0.10% for males, and 0.12% and 0.14% for females-which approximately translates into a 2-4 cm reduction in height over the life course. Since height is commonly used as a measure of long-run health, our results demonstrate that failing to take age-related height loss into account substantially overstates the health advantage of older birth cohorts relative to their younger counterparts. We also show that there is an absence of consistent predictors of physical stature decline at the individual level. However, we demonstrate how deteriorating health and reductions in height occur simultaneously. We document that declines in muscle mass and bone density are likely to be the mechanism through which these effects are operating. If this physical stature decline is determined by deteriorating health in adulthood, the coefficient on measured height when used as an input in a typical empirical health production function will be affected by reverse causality. While our analysis details the inherent difficulties associated with measuring height in older populations, we do not find that significant bias arises in typical empirical health production functions from the use of height which has not been adjusted for physical stature decline. Therefore, our results validate the use of height among the population aged over 50. PMID:24508050

  8. 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. PMID:27638243

  9. 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.

  10. Cancer resistance in amphibians.

    PubMed

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

    2007-10-01

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

  11. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline.

    PubMed

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Mcdonald, Trent L; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan S; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George M; Atwood, Todd; Amstrup, Steven C

    2015-04-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark-recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25-50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606-1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies. PMID:26214910

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. PMID:22010811

  3. A scaled-up system to evaluate zooplankton spatial avoidance and the population immediate decline concentration.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Rita; Materatski, Patrick; Moreira-Santos, Matilde; Sousa, José Paulo; Ribeiro, Rui

    2012-06-01

    Most laboratory tests may underestimate adverse effects in real scenarios of contamination because they imply the forced exposure of organisms to contaminants, thus overlooking the possibility of emigration. Avoidance from contaminants has been observed in several aquatic organisms, and avoidance-based tests have been recommended to be included in risk assessment studies. To reduce uncertainty in the extrapolation of laboratory derived results, the first aim of the present study was to compare both the median avoidance concentration and the lowest-observed-effect gradient (LOEG) values of atrazine for the cladoceran Daphnia magna, between an already developed 1.1-m-long system and a scaled-up system, three times longer. Second, the present study aimed at evaluating the population immediate decline--the proportion of the population that disappears (avoids and, if not, dies)--through the integration of the relationships between lethality and avoidance versus contaminant concentration. Daphnia magna significantly avoided atrazine, during 12-h exposures, with similar results in the original and scaled-up systems. The population immediate decline at the 48-h median lethal concentration would be 94%. Even at a concentration eliciting only 5% mortality, the population immediate decline would be over 50%. Achieving a higher pertinence of avoidance results and a better understanding of the LOEG values and their time dependence, scaling up the system further both spatially and temporally, and modeling explicit spatial dynamics in exposure and organism movement in space and time are needed.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Disentangling the cause of a catastrophic population decline in a large marine mammal.

    PubMed

    Baylis, Alastair M M; Orben, Rachael A; Arnould, John P Y; Christiansen, Fredrik; Hays, Graeme C; Staniland, Iain J

    2015-10-01

    Considerable uncertainties often surround the causes of long-term changes in population abundance. One striking example is the precipitous decline of southern sea lions (SSL; Otariaflavescens) at the Falkland Islands, from 80 555 pups in the mid 1930s to just 5506 pups in 1965. Despite an increase in SSL abundance over the past two decades, the population has not recovered, with the number of pups born in 2014 (minimum 4443 pups) less than 6% of the 1930s estimate. The order-of-magnitude decline is primarily attributed to commercial sealing in Argentina. Here, we test this established paradigm and alternative hypotheses by assessing (1) commercial sealing at the Falkland Islands, (2) winter migration of SSL from the Falkland Islands to Argentina, (3) whether the number of SSL in Argentina could have sustained the reported level of exploitation, and (4) environmental change. The most parsimonious hypothesis explaining the SSL population decline was environmental change. Specifically, analysis of 160 years of winter sea surface temperatures revealed marked changes, including a period of warming between 1930 and 1950 that was consistent with the period of SSL decline. Sea surface temperature changes likely influenced the distribution or availability of SSL prey and impacted its population dynamics. We suggest that historical harvesting may not always be the "smoking gun" as is often purported. Rather, our conclusions support the growing evidence for bottom-up forcing on the abundance of species at lower trophic levels (e.g., plankton and fish) and resulting impacts on higher trophic levels across a broad range of ecosystems.

  12. Disentangling the cause of a catastrophic population decline in a large marine mammal.

    PubMed

    Baylis, Alastair M M; Orben, Rachael A; Arnould, John P Y; Christiansen, Fredrik; Hays, Graeme C; Staniland, Iain J

    2015-10-01

    Considerable uncertainties often surround the causes of long-term changes in population abundance. One striking example is the precipitous decline of southern sea lions (SSL; Otariaflavescens) at the Falkland Islands, from 80 555 pups in the mid 1930s to just 5506 pups in 1965. Despite an increase in SSL abundance over the past two decades, the population has not recovered, with the number of pups born in 2014 (minimum 4443 pups) less than 6% of the 1930s estimate. The order-of-magnitude decline is primarily attributed to commercial sealing in Argentina. Here, we test this established paradigm and alternative hypotheses by assessing (1) commercial sealing at the Falkland Islands, (2) winter migration of SSL from the Falkland Islands to Argentina, (3) whether the number of SSL in Argentina could have sustained the reported level of exploitation, and (4) environmental change. The most parsimonious hypothesis explaining the SSL population decline was environmental change. Specifically, analysis of 160 years of winter sea surface temperatures revealed marked changes, including a period of warming between 1930 and 1950 that was consistent with the period of SSL decline. Sea surface temperature changes likely influenced the distribution or availability of SSL prey and impacted its population dynamics. We suggest that historical harvesting may not always be the "smoking gun" as is often purported. Rather, our conclusions support the growing evidence for bottom-up forcing on the abundance of species at lower trophic levels (e.g., plankton and fish) and resulting impacts on higher trophic levels across a broad range of ecosystems. PMID:26649403

  13. 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.

  14. Adaptive colouration in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Rudh, Andreas; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Amphibians, i.e. salamanders, frogs and caecilians show a wide range of bright colours in combination with contrasting patterns. There is variation among species, populations and also within species and populations. Furthermore, individuals often change colours during developmental stages or in response to environmental factors. This extraordinary variation means that there are excellent opportunities to test hypotheses of the adaptive significance of colours using amphibian species as models. We review the present view of functions of colouration in amphibians with the main focus on relatively unexplored topics. Variation in colouration has been found to play a role in thermoregulation, UV protection, predator avoidance and sexual signalling. However, many proposed cases of adaptive functions of colouration in amphibians remain virtually scientifically unexplored and surprisingly few genes influencing pigmentation or patterning have been detected. We would like to especially encourage more studies that take advantage of recent developments in measurement of visual properties of several possible signalling receivers (e.g. predators, competitors or mates). Future investigations on interactions between behaviour, ecology and vision have the potential to challenge our current view of the adaptive function of colouration in amphibians. PMID:23664831

  15. 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 ...

  16. Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population.

    PubMed

    Forcada, Jaume; Hoffman, Joseph Ivan

    2014-07-24

    Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. Here, climate change has reduced prey availability and caused a significant decline in seal birth weight. However, the mean age and size of females recruiting into the breeding population are increasing. We show that such females have significantly higher heterozygosity (a measure of within-individual genetic variation) than their non-recruiting siblings and their own mothers. Thus, breeding female heterozygosity has increased by 8.5% per generation over the last two decades. Nonetheless, as heterozygosity is not inherited from mothers to daughters, substantial heterozygote advantage is not transmitted from one generation to the next and the decreasing viability of homozygous individuals causes the population to decline. Our results provide compelling evidence that selection due to climate change is intensifying, with far-reaching consequences for demography as well as phenotypic and genetic variation. PMID:25056064

  17. Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population.

    PubMed

    Forcada, Jaume; Hoffman, Joseph Ivan

    2014-07-24

    Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. Here, climate change has reduced prey availability and caused a significant decline in seal birth weight. However, the mean age and size of females recruiting into the breeding population are increasing. We show that such females have significantly higher heterozygosity (a measure of within-individual genetic variation) than their non-recruiting siblings and their own mothers. Thus, breeding female heterozygosity has increased by 8.5% per generation over the last two decades. Nonetheless, as heterozygosity is not inherited from mothers to daughters, substantial heterozygote advantage is not transmitted from one generation to the next and the decreasing viability of homozygous individuals causes the population to decline. Our results provide compelling evidence that selection due to climate change is intensifying, with far-reaching consequences for demography as well as phenotypic and genetic variation.

  18. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. Demographic models and IPCC climate projections predict the decline of an emperor penguin population.

    PubMed

    Jenouvrier, Stéphanie; Caswell, Hal; Barbraud, Christophe; Holland, Marika; Stroeve, Julienne; Weimerskirch, Henri

    2009-02-10

    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 approximately 6,000 to approximately 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.

  2. Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, David D.; Brecke, Peter; Lee, Harry F.; He, Yuan-Qing; Zhang, Jane

    2007-01-01

    Although scientists have warned of possible social perils resulting from climate change, the impacts of long-term climate change on social unrest and population collapse have not been quantitatively investigated. In this study, high-resolution paleo-climatic data have been used to explore at a macroscale the effects of climate change on the outbreak of war and population decline in the preindustrial era. We show that long-term fluctuations of war frequency and population changes followed the cycles of temperature change. Further analyses show that cooling impeded agricultural production, which brought about a series of serious social problems, including price inflation, then successively war outbreak, famine, and population decline successively. The findings suggest that worldwide and synchronistic war–peace, population, and price cycles in recent centuries have been driven mainly by long-term climate change. The findings also imply that social mechanisms that might mitigate the impact of climate change were not significantly effective during the study period. Climate change may thus have played a more important role and imposed a wider ranging effect on human civilization than has so far been suggested. Findings of this research may lend an additional dimension to the classic concepts of Malthusianism and Darwinism. PMID:18048343

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Emissions from smelting not only contaminate water and soil with metals, but also induce extensive forest dieback and changes in resource availability and microclimate. The relative effects of such co-occurring stressors are often unknown, but this information is imperative in developing targeted restoration strategies. We assessed the role and relative effects of structural alterations of terrestrial habitat and metal pollution caused by century-long smelting operations on amphibian and reptile communities by collecting environmental and time- and area-standardized multivariate abundance data along three spatially replicated impact gradients. Overall, species richness, diversity, and abundance declined progressively with increasing levels of metals (As, Cu, and Ni) and soil temperature (T(s)) and decreasing canopy cover, amount of coarse woody debris (CWD), and relative humidity (RH). The composite habitat variable (which included canopy cover, CWD, T(s), and RH) was more strongly associated with most response metrics than the composite metal variable (As, Cu, and Ni), and canopy cover alone explained 19-74% of the variance. Moreover, species that use terrestrial habitat for specific behaviors (e.g., hibernation, dispersal), especially forest-dependent species, were more severely affected than largely aquatic species. These results suggest that structural alterations of terrestrial habitat and concomitant changes in the resource availability and microclimate have stronger effects than metal pollution per se. Furthermore, much of the variation in response metrics was explained by the joint action of several environmental variables, implying synergistic effects (e.g., exacerbation of metal toxicity by elevated temperatures in sites with reduced canopy cover). We thus argue that the restoration of terrestrial habitat conditions is a key to successful recovery of herpetofauna communities in smelting-altered landscapes. PMID:26910952

  4. 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.

  5. Declines of greater and lesser scaup populations: issues, hypotheses, and research needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

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

  6. Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective.

    PubMed

    Estes, J A; Doak, D F; Springer, A M; Williams, T M

    2009-06-27

    Populations of sea otters, seals and sea lions have collapsed across much of southwest Alaska over the past several decades. The sea otter decline set off a trophic cascade in which the coastal marine ecosystem underwent a phase shift from kelp forests to deforested sea urchin barrens. This interaction in turn affected the distribution, abundance and productivity of numerous other species. Ecological consequences of the pinniped declines are largely unknown. Increased predation by transient (marine mammal-eating) killer whales probably caused the sea otter declines and may have caused the pinniped declines as well. Springer et al. proposed that killer whales, which purportedly fed extensively on great whales, expanded their diets to include a higher percentage of sea otters and pinnipeds following a sharp reduction in great whale numbers from post World War II industrial whaling. Critics of this hypothesis claim that great whales are not now and probably never were an important nutritional resource for killer whales. We used demographic/energetic analyses to evaluate whether or not a predator-prey system involving killer whales and the smaller marine mammals would be sustainable without some nutritional contribution from the great whales. Our results indicate that while such a system is possible, it could only exist under a narrow range of extreme conditions and is therefore highly unlikely. PMID:19451116

  7. Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective

    PubMed Central

    Estes, J.A.; Doak, D.F.; Springer, A.M.; Williams, T.M.

    2009-01-01

    Populations of sea otters, seals and sea lions have collapsed across much of southwest Alaska over the past several decades. The sea otter decline set off a trophic cascade in which the coastal marine ecosystem underwent a phase shift from kelp forests to deforested sea urchin barrens. This interaction in turn affected the distribution, abundance and productivity of numerous other species. Ecological consequences of the pinniped declines are largely unknown. Increased predation by transient (marine mammal-eating) killer whales probably caused the sea otter declines and may have caused the pinniped declines as well. Springer et al. proposed that killer whales, which purportedly fed extensively on great whales, expanded their diets to include a higher percentage of sea otters and pinnipeds following a sharp reduction in great whale numbers from post World War II industrial whaling. Critics of this hypothesis claim that great whales are not now and probably never were an important nutritional resource for killer whales. We used demographic/energetic analyses to evaluate whether or not a predator–prey system involving killer whales and the smaller marine mammals would be sustainable without some nutritional contribution from the great whales. Our results indicate that while such a system is possible, it could only exist under a narrow range of extreme conditions and is therefore highly unlikely. PMID:19451116

  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. A plant toxin mediated mechanism for the lag in snowshoe hare population recovery following cyclic declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Bryant, John P.; Liu, Rongsong; Gourley, Stephen A.; Krebs, Charles J; Reichardt, Paul B

    2015-01-01

    A necessary condition for a snowshoe hare population to cycle is reduced reproduction after the population declines. But the cause of a cyclic snowshoe hare population's reduced reproduction during the low phase of the cycle, when predator density collapses, is not completely understood. We propose that moderate-severe browsing by snowshoe hares upon preferred winter-foods could increase the toxicity of some of the hare's best winter-foods during the following hare low, with the result being a decline in hare nutrition that could reduce hare reproduction. We used a combination of modeling and experiments to explore this hypothesis. Using the shrub birch Betula glandulosa as the plant of interest, the model predicted that browsing by hares during a hare cycle peak, by increasing the toxicity B. glandulosa twigs during the following hare low, could cause a hare population to cycle. The model's assumptions were verified with assays of dammarane triterpenes in segments of B. glandulosa twigs and captive hare feeding experiments conducted in Alaska during February and March 1986. The model's predictions were tested with estimates of hare density and measurements of B. glandulosa twig growth made at Kluane, Yukon from 1988–2008. The empirical tests supported the model's predictions. Thus, we have concluded that a browsing-caused increase in twig toxicity that occurs during the hare cycle's low phase could reduce hare reproduction during the low phase of the hare cycle.

  10. Quantifying behavioral changes in territorial animals caused by sudden population declines.

    PubMed

    Potts, Jonathan R; Harris, Stephen; Giuggioli, Luca

    2013-09-01

    Although territorial animals are able to maintain exclusive use of certain regions of space, movement data from neighboring individuals often suggest overlapping home ranges. To explain and unify these two aspects of animal space use, we use recently developed mechanistic models of collective animal movement. We apply our approach to a natural experiment on an urban red fox (Vulpes vulpes) population that underwent a rapid decline in population density due to a sarcoptic mange epizooty. By extracting details of movement and interaction strategies from location data, we show how foxes alter their behavior, taking advantage of sudden population-level changes by acquiring areas vacated due to neighbor mortality, while ensuring territory boundaries remain contiguous. The rate of territory border movement increased eightfold as the population declined and the foxes' response time to neighboring scent reduced by a third. By demonstrating how observed, fluctuating territorial patterns emerge from movements and interactions of individual animals, our results give the first data-validated, mechanistic explanation of the elastic disc hypothesis, proposed nearly 80 years ago. PMID:23933730

  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. PMID:20412086

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  15. Life-history traits and population decline of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrusin the Adriatic Sea.

    PubMed

    Meneghesso, C; Riginella, E; La Mesa, M; Donato, F; Mazzoldi, C

    2013-11-01

    This study investigated demographic structure and reproductive characteristics of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus, in relation to landing trends in the northern-central Adriatic Sea. Results highlighted the occurrence of only small-sized and young-age individuals, and a marked decline from the 1990s to the present in maximum age (from 8 to 3 years) and total length (L(T); from 420 to 360 mm). Fecundity ranged between 40,000 and 190,000 eggs, and was related to female L(T). High levels of atresia implied lower values of actual fecundity. Sexual maturity was attained by 72·8% of individuals in their first year of life at 200 mm. The reduction in maximum L(T) resulted in a marked decline in the population egg production, while the reduction in maximum age implied that females participated in fewer spawning events.

  16. Mammoth tracks indicate a declining Late Pleistocene population in southwestern Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNeil, Paul; Hills, L. V.; Kooyman, B.; Tolman, Shayne M.

    2005-05-01

    Much debate has raged over the role that early humans played in this most recent large extinction. Fossil mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius) footprints were discovered at the St. Mary Reservoir in southwestern Canada (Wally's Beach DhPg-8). They are located in aeolian sediment dated at 11,300-11,000 years BP. By comparing the size distribution of these tracks with those of modern African elephants ( Loxodonta africana), the age distribution of this mammoth population was determined. Containing far fewer juveniles than would be expected for an expanding or stable population, these tracks provide the first evidence that a living mammoth population, coexisting with human inhabitants, was in decline. Additionally, the same site provides corroborating evidence of humans hunting megafauna (horse and bovids). This suggests that humans, in addition to climate change, played a role in the end Pleistocene extinctions in North America.

  17. Declining wild salmon populations in relation to parasites from farm salmon.

    PubMed

    Krkosek, Martin; Ford, Jennifer S; Morton, Alexandra; Lele, Subhash; Myers, Ransom A; Lewis, Mark A

    2007-12-14

    Rather than benefiting wild fish, industrial aquaculture may contribute to declines in ocean fisheries and ecosystems. Farm salmon are commonly infected with salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis), which are native ectoparasitic copepods. We show that recurrent louse infestations of wild juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), all associated with salmon farms, have depressed wild pink salmon populations and placed them on a trajectory toward rapid local extinction. The louse-induced mortality of pink salmon is commonly over 80% and exceeds previous fishing mortality. If outbreaks continue, then local extinction is certain, and a 99% collapse in pink salmon population abundance is expected in four salmon generations. These results suggest that salmon farms can cause parasite outbreaks that erode the capacity of a coastal ecosystem to support wild salmon populations.

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

    PubMed

    Rachowicz, Lara J; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2004-10-21

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

  19. 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...

  20. Population Declines of Mountain Coqui (Eleutherodactylus portoricensis) in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Brittany S.; Ríos-Franceschi, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    The Mountain Coqui (Eleutherodactylus portoricensis) is a frog endemic to montane rainforests in the Cordillera Central and Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List and as vulnerable by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico, this species has undergone considerable decline in the Luquillo Mountains. To evaluate the population status of E. portoricensis across its entire range, we conducted ~87 hours of surveys at 18 historical localities and 25 additional localities that we considered suitable for this species. We generated occupancy models to estimate the probability of occurrence at surveyed sites and to identify geographic and climatic factors affecting site occupancy. We also constructed a suitability map to visualize population status in relation to the presence of land cover at elevations where the species has been documented, and determined the dates when populations were last detected at historical localities. Eleutherodactylus portoricensis was detected at 14 of 43 localities, including 10 of 18 historical localities, but it was not detected at any localities west of Aibonito (western Cordillera Central). Occupancy models estimated the probability of occurrence for localities in the western Cordillera Central as zero. Site occupancy was positively associated with montane cloud forest, and negatively associated with the western Cordillera Central, maximum temperature, and precipitation seasonality. The suitability map suggests that declines have occurred despite the presence of suitable habitat. We suggest upgrading the extinction risk of E. portoricensis and potentially developing a captive breeding program for this species. PMID:25685250

  1. Physiological condition of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of the population cycle.

    PubMed

    Nieminen, Petteri; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Finnilä, Mikko A J; Voutilainen, Liina; Itämies, Juhani; Kärjä, Vesa; Saarela, Seppo; Halonen, Toivo; Aho, Jari; Mustonen, Anne-Mari

    2015-09-01

    The dynamics of animal populations are greatly influenced by interactions with their natural enemies and food resources. However, quantifying the relative effects of these factors on demographic rates remains a perpetual challenge for animal population ecology. Food scarcity is assumed to limit the growth and to initiate the decline of cyclic herbivore populations, but this has not been verified with physiological health indices. We hypothesized that individuals in declining populations would exhibit signs of malnutrition-induced deterioration of physiological condition. We evaluated the association of body condition with population cycle phase in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of a population cycle. The bank voles had lower body masses, condition indices and absolute masses of particular organs during the decline. Simultaneously, they had lower femoral masses, mineral contents and densities. Hemoglobin and hematocrit values and several parameters known to respond to food deprivation were unaffected by the population phase. There were no signs of lymphopenia, eosinophilia, granulocytosis or monocytosis. Erythrocyte counts were higher and plasma total protein levels and tissue proportions of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids lower in the population decline. Ectoparasite load was lower and adrenal gland masses or catecholamine concentrations did not suggest higher stress levels. Food availability seems to limit the size of voles during the decline but they can adapt to the prevailing conditions without clear deleterious health effects. This highlights the importance of quantifying individual health state when evaluating the effects of complex trophic interactions on the dynamics of wild animal populations.

  2. Declines in fertility levels evident in Africa, notes UN Population Fund.

    PubMed

    Ofosu-amaah, V

    1998-01-01

    This article reports on the UN Population Fund's (UNFPA) African regional meeting that was held in November 1997. The meeting was attended by an assortment of UNFPA representatives and program staff. This meeting followed up the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and 1995 regional meetings on the 1994 Plan of Action. These prior meetings emphasized the link between population and development and the urgency of meeting the needs of individual women and men in a people-centered approach to development, rather than a target oriented one. The 1997 meeting reviewed the progress made toward achieving the goals of the 1994 plan of action by the UNFPA. UNFPA aims to decentralize operations, to play a role in emergency situations, to encourage South-to-South cooperation, to advocate for reproductive rights, and to promote gender equity and women's empowerment. The meeting discussed UNFPA's role in reproductive health, population and development strategies, and advocacy in detail. Participants agreed that there were signs of fertility decline in Africa. Countries are beginning to adopt a reproductive health and rights approach and to address female genital mutilation as a human and reproductive right's issue. Population policies are being changed to include ICPD goals. 32 countries adopted new programs in 1996 and 1997, that integrated the 1994 strategies and selectively focused on issues of concern. Partnerships confirm that population issues are becoming an agenda for all. The major challenge ahead is the mobilization of resources, while dealing with civil strife and political instability.

  3. Employment problems under declining population growth rates and structural change: the case of Yugoslavia.

    PubMed

    Macura, M

    1974-01-01

    The case of Yugoslavia since World War 2 generally confirms the find ings of Coale and Hoover some 15 years ago that a declining population gives a developing society a chance to grow at a more rapid rate because less of the gross national product is devoted to merely maintaining the status quo. However, until recently insufficient attention was paid to the long-term effects of rapid population growth plus underdevelopment, namely, surplus labor and unemployment. Yugoslavia is currently suffereing the aftereffects of a history of labor surplus caused by high birthrates, especially in the southern Moslem regions. The birthrate was as high as 35/1000 until 1927, took a downward turn during the depression, falling to 26/1000 in 1939, became even more depressed during World War 2, then reached 26-30/1000 in the postwar years. After 1957 a steady decline set in. The rate was around 18/1000 in the early 1970s. Because of the underdeveloped, highly agrarian economy, Yugoslavia has traditionally been a source of abundant labor and emigration. Statistical data has been either nonexistent or unreliable, but there have been self-evident differences in the size of individual cohorts which have had definite bearing on the working-age population. Following World War 2 the country changed from a predominantly peasant, subsistence economy to an industrial socialist society. There has been a steady decline in the participation rate in the work force, from an estimated 46.5% in 1948 to 43.3% in 1971, primarily due to increased education, declining child labor, and greater retirement among older workers. However, the growth of the working-age group was faster than that of the total population because of the high postwar birthrates. Th ere was significant increase in employment from 1,517,000 in 1948 to 4,034,000 in 1971. At the same time the agricultural labor force decrea sed from 70% of total employment to 48%. Despite the industrial growth, in 1971 there were over 290

  4. Extensive population decline in the Tasmanian devil predates European settlement and devil facial tumour disease

    PubMed Central

    Brüniche-Olsen, Anna; Jones, Menna E.; Austin, Jeremy J.; Burridge, Christopher P.; Holland, Barbara R.

    2014-01-01

    The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was widespread in Australia during the Late Pleistocene but is now endemic to the island of Tasmania. Low genetic diversity combined with the spread of devil facial tumour disease have raised concerns for the species’ long-term survival. Here, we investigate the origin of low genetic diversity by inferring the species' demographic history using temporal sampling with summary statistics, full-likelihood and approximate Bayesian computation methods. Our results show extensive population declines across Tasmania correlating with environmental changes around the last glacial maximum and following unstable climate related to increased ‘El Niño–Southern Oscillation’ activity. PMID:25376800

  5. Using latent selection difference to model persistence in a declining population.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Mara E; Found-Jackson, Christine; Boyce, Mark S

    2014-01-01

    Population persistence is a direct measure of the viability of a population. Monitoring the distribution of declining populations or subpopulations over time can yield estimates of persistence, which we show can be modeled as a latent selection difference (LSD) contrasting attributes of sites where populations have persisted versus those that have not. Predicted persistence can be modeled with predictor covariates to identify factors correlated with species persistence. We demonstrate how to model persistence based on changes in occupancy that can include adjustments for detection probability. Using a known historical distribution of the western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), we adapted methods originally developed for occupancy modeling to evaluate how environmental covariates including emergent vegetation and human developments have affected western grebe persistence in Alberta. The relative probability of persistence was correlated with the extent of shoreline bulrush (Scirpus lacustris), which is important vegetation for nesting cover. We also documented that western grebe populations were less likely to persist on lakes in the boreal forest, primarily located on the northern boundary of the species' range. Factors influencing occupancy were different than those determining persistence by western grebes; persistence and occupancy were not correlated. Persistence was more likely on lakes with recreational development, reflecting reliance by grebes on the larger, fish-bearing waterbodies that also are attractive for lakeshore development. Unfortunately, the correlation with recreational development on Alberta's lakes puts grebes at risk for loss of brood-rearing habitats--primary threats to altricial birds--if steps are not taken to prevent disturbance to bulrush stands. Identifying factors related to the persistence of a species--especially one in decline--is a fundamental step in conservation management.

  6. Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, David R; Kauffman, Matthew J; Schumaker, Brant A; Lindzey, Frederick G; Cook, Walter E; Kreeger, Terry J; Grogan, Ronald G; Cornish, Todd E

    2016-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Despite a 100% fatality rate, areas of high prevalence, and increasingly expanding geographic endemic areas, little is known about the population-level effects of CWD in deer. To investigate these effects, we tested the null hypothesis that high prevalence CWD did not negatively impact white-tailed deer population sustainability. The specific objectives of the study were to monitor CWD-positive and CWD-negative white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD area longitudinally via radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars. For the two populations, we determined the following: a) demographic and disease indices, b) annual survival, and c) finite rate of population growth (λ). The CWD prevalence was higher in females (42%) than males (28.8%) and hunter harvest and clinical CWD were the most frequent causes of mortality, with CWD-positive deer over-represented in harvest and total mortalities. Survival was significantly lower for CWD-positive deer and separately by sex; CWD-positive deer were 4.5 times more likely to die annually than CWD-negative deer while bucks were 1.7 times more likely to die than does. Population λ was 0.896 (0.859-0.980), which indicated a 10.4% annual decline. We show that a chronic disease that becomes endemic in wildlife populations has the potential to be population-limiting and the strong population-level effects of CWD suggest affected populations are not sustainable at high disease prevalence under current harvest levels. PMID:27575545

  7. Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, David R; Kauffman, Matthew J; Schumaker, Brant A; Lindzey, Frederick G; Cook, Walter E; Kreeger, Terry J; Grogan, Ronald G; Cornish, Todd E

    2016-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Despite a 100% fatality rate, areas of high prevalence, and increasingly expanding geographic endemic areas, little is known about the population-level effects of CWD in deer. To investigate these effects, we tested the null hypothesis that high prevalence CWD did not negatively impact white-tailed deer population sustainability. The specific objectives of the study were to monitor CWD-positive and CWD-negative white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD area longitudinally via radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars. For the two populations, we determined the following: a) demographic and disease indices, b) annual survival, and c) finite rate of population growth (λ). The CWD prevalence was higher in females (42%) than males (28.8%) and hunter harvest and clinical CWD were the most frequent causes of mortality, with CWD-positive deer over-represented in harvest and total mortalities. Survival was significantly lower for CWD-positive deer and separately by sex; CWD-positive deer were 4.5 times more likely to die annually than CWD-negative deer while bucks were 1.7 times more likely to die than does. Population λ was 0.896 (0.859-0.980), which indicated a 10.4% annual decline. We show that a chronic disease that becomes endemic in wildlife populations has the potential to be population-limiting and the strong population-level effects of CWD suggest affected populations are not sustainable at high disease prevalence under current harvest levels.

  8. Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer

    PubMed Central

    Kauffman, Matthew J.; Schumaker, Brant A.; Lindzey, Frederick G.; Cook, Walter E.; Kreeger, Terry J.; Grogan, Ronald G.; Cornish, Todd E.

    2016-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Despite a 100% fatality rate, areas of high prevalence, and increasingly expanding geographic endemic areas, little is known about the population-level effects of CWD in deer. To investigate these effects, we tested the null hypothesis that high prevalence CWD did not negatively impact white-tailed deer population sustainability. The specific objectives of the study were to monitor CWD-positive and CWD-negative white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD area longitudinally via radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars. For the two populations, we determined the following: a) demographic and disease indices, b) annual survival, and c) finite rate of population growth (λ). The CWD prevalence was higher in females (42%) than males (28.8%) and hunter harvest and clinical CWD were the most frequent causes of mortality, with CWD-positive deer over-represented in harvest and total mortalities. Survival was significantly lower for CWD-positive deer and separately by sex; CWD-positive deer were 4.5 times more likely to die annually than CWD-negative deer while bucks were 1.7 times more likely to die than does. Population λ was 0.896 (0.859–0.980), which indicated a 10.4% annual decline. We show that a chronic disease that becomes endemic in wildlife populations has the potential to be population-limiting and the strong population-level effects of CWD suggest affected populations are not sustainable at high disease prevalence under current harvest levels. PMID:27575545

  9. Using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to assess the toxicity and teratogenicity of aquatic amphibian habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.; Little, E.E.; ,

    2003-01-01

    Environmental contamination has been suspected of being partially responsible for recent declines in amphibian populations. It is often not feasible to identify all of the compounds in an environment, nor the concentrations in which they are present. SPMDs are passive sampling devices that uptake lipophilic compounds from the environment in a manner similar to aquatic organisms. The extracts from the SPMDs, therefore, contain a composite sample of the compounds that are present in the environment. In this paper, we outline the methods from studies in which we have used extracts from SPMDs in toxicity tests on amphibian larvae. Using SPMD extracts makes it possible to establish potential links between amphibian deformities and declines and environmental contamination by lipophilic compounds.

  10. 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.

  11. A meta-analysis of the effects of ultraviolet B radiation and its synergistic interactions with pH, contaminants, and disease on amphibian survival.

    PubMed

    Bancroft, Betsy A; Baker, Nick J; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2008-08-01

    Human alterations to natural systems have resulted in a loss of biological diversity around the world. Amphibian population losses have been more severe than those of birds and mammals. Amphibian population declines are likely due to many factors including habitat loss, disease, contaminants, introduced species and ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation. The effect of UVB, however, varies widely among species and can vary within populations of the same species or at different life-history stages. This variation has often led to opposing conclusions about how UVB affects amphibians. We used meta-analysis techniques to explore the overall effects of UVB radiation on survival in amphibians. We also used recently developed factorial meta-analytic techniques to quantify potential interactions between UVB radiation and other stressors on amphibians. Ultraviolet-B radiation reduced survival of amphibians by 1.9-fold compared with shielded controls. Larvae were more susceptible to damage from UVB radiation compared with embryos, and salamanders were more susceptible compared with frogs and toads. Furthermore, UVB radiation interacted synergistically with other environmental stressors and resulted in greater than additive effects on survival when 2 stressors were present. Our results suggest that UVB radiation is an important stressor in amphibians, particularly in light of potential synergisms between UVB and other stressors in amphibian habitats.

  12. Cognitive decline in short and long sleepers: A prospective population-based study (NEDICES)

    PubMed Central

    Benito-León, Julián; Louis, Elan D.; Bermejo-Pareja, Félix

    2013-01-01

    Background It is not clear whether cognitive decline progresses more quickly in long sleepers than in short sleepers or than in participants with usual sleep duration. We assessed cognitive decline as a function of self-reported sleep duration in a prospective population-based cohort (NEDICES). Methods Participants were evaluated at baseline and 3 years later. Baseline demographic variables were recorded and participants indicated their daily sleep usual duration as the sum of nighttime sleep and daytime napping. The average daily total usual sleep duration was grouped into three categories: ≤5 hours (short sleepers), 6 to 8 hours (reference category), and ≥9 hours (long sleepers). At baseline and at follow-up, a 37-item version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (37-MMSE) was administered. Results The final sample, 2,715 participants (72.9±6.1 years), comprised 298 (11%) short sleepers, 1,086 (40%) long sleepers, and 1,331 (49%) in the reference group (6 to 8 hours). During the three year follow-up period, the 37-MMSE declined by 0.5±4.0 points in short sleepers, 0.6±4.3 points in long sleepers, and 0.2±3.8 points in the reference group (p=0.08). The difference between short sleepers and the reference group was not significant (p=0.142); however, the difference between long sleepers and the reference group was significant (p=0.040). In analyses adjusted for baseline age and other potential confounders, this difference remained robust. Conclusions In this study, cognitive test scores among long sleepers declined more rapidly than observed in a reference group. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results. PMID:24094933

  13. Evidence for declines in human population densities during the early Upper Paleolithic in western Europe

    PubMed Central

    Morin, Eugène

    2008-01-01

    In western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic (M/UP) transition, dated between ≈35,000 and ≈40,000 radiocarbon years, corresponded to a period of major human biological and cultural changes. However, information on human population densities is scarce for that period. New faunal data from the high-resolution record of Saint-Césaire, France, indicate an episode of significant climatic deterioration during the early Upper Paleolithic (EUP), which also was associated with a reduction in mammalian species diversity. High correlations between ethnographic data and mammalian species diversity suggest that this shift decreased human population densities. Reliance on reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), a highly fluctuating resource, would also have promoted declines in human population densities. These data suggest that the EUP represented for humans a period of significant niche contraction in western Europe. In this context, the possibility that a modern human expansion occurred in this region seems low. Instead, it is suggested that population bottlenecks, genetic drift, and gene flow prevailed over human population replacement as mechanisms of evolution in humans during the EUP. PMID:18172204

  14. Tarangire revisited: Consequences of declining connectivity in a tropical ungulate population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morrison, Thomas A.; Link, William; Newmark, William D.; Foley, Charles A.H.; Bolger, Douglas T.

    2016-01-01

    The hyper-abundance of migratory wildlife in many ecosystems depends on maintaining access to seasonally available resources. In Eastern and Southern Africa, land-use change and a loss of connectivity have coincided with widespread declines in the abundance and geographic range of ungulate populations. Using photographic capture-mark-recapture, we examine the historical pattern of loss of connectivity and its impact on population trends in a partially migratory wildebeest population in northern Tanzania. To estimate abundance, we use a novel modeling approach that overcomes bias associated with photo misidentifications. Our data indicate (1) diminished connectivity within and between seasonal areas as a result of human activities, (2) a reduction in the overall population size compared to historical numbers, with high variability over time, (3) the continued use of highly constrained movement corridors between the three main seasonal ranges, (4) higher recruitment in the non-migratory subpopulation (Lake Manyara National Park) than in other areas of the ecosystem, and (5) an increase in the relative abundance of resident to migrant wildebeest. Recent conservation efforts to protect seasonal habitat and to enforce anti-poaching policies outside protected areas have likely helped stabilize the population, at least temporarily, but we caution that several key vulnerabilities remain.

  15. Agriculture modifies the seasonal decline of breeding success in a tropical wild bird population

    PubMed Central

    Cartwright, Samantha J; Nicoll, Malcolm A C; Jones, Carl G; Tatayah, Vikash; Norris, Ken

    2014-01-01

    Habitat conversion for agriculture is a major driver of biodiversity loss, but our understanding of the demographic processes involved remains poor. We typically investigate the impacts of agriculture in isolation even though populations are likely to experience multiple, concurrent changes in the environment (e.g. land and climate change). Drivers of environmental change may interact to affect demography, but the mechanisms have yet to be explored fully in wild populations. Here, we investigate the mechanisms linking agricultural land use with breeding success using long-term data for the formerly Critically Endangered Mauritius kestrel Falco punctatus, a tropical forest specialist that also occupies agricultural habitats. We specifically focused on the relationship between breeding success, agriculture and the timing of breeding because the latter is sensitive to changes in climatic conditions (spring rainfall) and enables us to explore the interactive effects of different (land and climate) drivers of environmental change. Breeding success, measured as egg survival to fledging, declines seasonally in this population, but we found that the rate of this decline became increasingly rapid as the area of agriculture around a nest site increased. If the relationship between breeding success and agriculture was used in isolation to estimate the demographic impact of agriculture, it would significantly under-estimate breeding success in dry (early) springs and over-estimate breeding success in wet (late) springs. Analysis of prey delivered to nests suggests that the relationship between breeding success and agriculture might be due, in part, to spatial variation in the availability of native, arboreal geckos. Synthesis and applications. Agriculture modifies the seasonal decline in breeding success in this population. As springs are becoming wetter in our study area and since the kestrels breed later in wetter springs, the impact of agriculture on breeding success will

  16. Assay dependence of Brucella antibody prevalence in a declining Alaskan harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) population

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Brucella is a group of bacteria that causes brucellosis, which can affect population health and reproductive success in many marine mammals. We investigated the serological prevalence of antibodies against Brucella bacteria in a declining harbor seal population in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Results Prevalence ranged from 16 to 74 percent for those tests detecting antibodies, indicating that harbor seals in Glacier Bay have been exposed to Brucella bacteria. However, the actual level of serological prevalence could not be determined because results were strongly assay-dependent. Conclusions This study reinforces the need to carefully consider assay choice when comparing different studies on the prevalence of anti–Brucella antibodies in pinnipeds and further highlights the need for species- or taxon-specific assay validation for both pathogen and host species. PMID:23324565

  17. 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

  18. Modeling routes of chronic wasting disease transmission: Environmental prion persistence promotes deer population decline and extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Almberg, Emily S.; Cross, Paul C.; Johnson, Christopher J.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Richards, Bryan J.

    2011-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose transmitted through direct, animal-to-animal contact, and indirectly, via environmental contamination. Considerable attention has been paid to modeling direct transmission, but despite the fact that CWD prions can remain infectious in the environment for years, relatively little information exists about the potential effects of indirect transmission on CWD dynamics. In the present study, we use simulation models to demonstrate how indirect transmission and the duration of environmental prion persistence may affect epidemics of CWD and populations of North American deer. Existing data from Colorado, Wyoming, and Wisconsin's CWD epidemics were used to define plausible short-term outcomes and associated parameter spaces. Resulting long-term outcomes range from relatively low disease prevalence and limited host-population decline to host-population collapse and extinction. Our models suggest that disease prevalence and the severity of population decline is driven by the duration that prions remain infectious in the environment. Despite relatively low epidemic growth rates, the basic reproductive number, R0, may be much larger than expected under the direct-transmission paradigm because the infectious period can vastly exceed the host's life span. High prion persistence is expected to lead to an increasing environmental pool of prions during the early phases (i.e. approximately during the first 50 years) of the epidemic. As a consequence, over this period of time, disease dynamics will become more heavily influenced by indirect transmission, which may explain some of the observed regional differences in age and sex-specific disease patterns. This suggests management interventions, such as culling or vaccination, will become increasingly less effective as CWD epidemics progress.

  19. Vitamin D as a marker of cognitive decline in elderly Indian population

    PubMed Central

    Vedak, Tejal Kanhaiya; Ganwir, Vaishali; Shah, Arun B.; Pinto, Charles; Lele, Vikram R.; Subramanyam, Alka; Shah, Hina; Deo, Sudha Shrikant

    2015-01-01

    Objectives: Very few studies in India have addressed the role of vitamin D in cognitive function. The present study was conducted to assess the serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and its association with markers of cognitive impairment and homocysteine levels in the elderly Indian population. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of patients with dementia (Group A, n = 32), mild cognitive impairment (MCI; Group B, n = 24), and elderly age-matched controls (Group C, n = 30). Measurement of serum levels of 25(OH)D and total homocysteine were done. Results: Significant decreased concentration of 25(OH)D and increased concentration of homocysteine was observed. Association of serum levels of vitamin D with markers of cognitive decline as well as serum homocysteine levels was observed in patients with dementia and MCI when compared to controls. Conclusion: Correlation of vitamin D with markers of cognitive decline and homocysteine opens a new door for early diagnosis of cognitive impairment. PMID:26425010

  20. 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.

  1. Amphibian chemical defense: antifungal metabolites of the microsymbiont Janthinobacterium lividum on the salamander Plethodon cinereus.

    PubMed

    Brucker, Robert M; Harris, Reid N; Schwantes, Christian R; Gallaher, Thomas N; Flaherty, Devon C; Lam, Brianna A; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2008-11-01

    Disease has spurred declines in global amphibian populations. In particular, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has decimated amphibian diversity in some areas unaffected by habitat loss. However, there is little evidence to explain how some amphibian species persist despite infection or even clear the pathogen beyond detection. One hypothesis is that certain bacterial symbionts on the skin of amphibians inhibit the growth of the pathogen. An antifungal strain of Janthinobacterium lividum, isolated from the skin of the red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus, produces antifungal metabolites at concentrations lethal to B. dendrobatidis. Antifungal metabolites were identified by using reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography, high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and UV-Vis spectroscopy and tested for efficacy of inhibiting the pathogen. Two metabolites, indole-3-carboxaldehyde and violacein, inhibited the pathogen's growth at relatively low concentrations (68.9 and 1.82 microM, respectively). Analysis of fresh salamander skin confirmed the presence of J. lividum and its metabolites on the skin of host salamanders in concentrations high enough to hinder or kill the pathogen (51 and 207 microM, respectively). These results support the hypothesis that cutaneous, mutualistic bacteria play a role in amphibian resistance to fungal disease. Exploitation of this biological process may provide long-term resistance to B. dendrobatidis for vulnerable amphibians and serve as a model for managing future emerging diseases in wildlife populations. PMID:18949519

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Activity patterns and time budgets of the declining sea otter population at Amchitka Island, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gelatt, Thomas S.; Siniff, Donald B.; Estes, James A.

    2002-01-01

    Time budgets of predators may reflect population status if time spent foraging varies with local prey abun- dance. We assumed that the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) population at Amchitka Island, Alaska, USA, had been at equilibrium since the early 1960s and collected time budgets of otters to be used to represent future conditions of currently expanding sea otter populations. We used radiotelemetry to monitor activity-time budgets of otters from August 1992 to March 1994. Sea otter activity was directly linked to sex, age, weather condition, season, and time of day. Sea otters differed in percent time foraging among cohorts but not within cohorts. Percent time foraging ranged from 21% for females with very young (≤ 3weeks of age) dependent pups to 52% for females with old (≥10 weeks of age) pups. Otters foraged more and hauled out more as local sea conditions worsened. Adult males spent less time foraging during winter and spring, consistent with seasonal changes in prey selection. Time spent for- aging was similar to that reported for otters in California and an established population in Prince William Sound, Alaska, but greater than that of otters in recently established populations in Oregon and Alaska. Despite current evidence indicating that the population was in decline during our study, we were unable to recognize this change using time budgets. Our results illustrate the importance of stratifying analyses of activity patterns by age and sex cohorts and the complexity inherent in comparisons of behavioral data between different populations relying on distinct prey bases.

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-06-20

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

  7. Can Myxosporean parasites compromise fish and amphibian reproduction?

    PubMed Central

    Sitjà-Bobadilla, Ariadna

    2009-01-01

    Research into fish and amphibian reproduction has increased exponentially in recent years owing to the expansion of the aquaculture industry, the need to recover fishery populations, the impact of endocrine disruptors on the aquatic environment and the global decline of amphibian populations. This review focuses on a group of parasites, the Myxozoa, that affect fish and amphibian reproduction. Lists of the myxosporeans that specifically infect gonads are provided. Most of these are parasitic of freshwater hosts, and most amphibian cases are reported from testes. Sex specificity and sex reversal are discussed in relation to gonadal parasitism. The immune response of the fish to the infection is described, and the contribution of the immunoprivilege of gonads to host invasion is emphasized. The pathological effect of these parasites can be significant, especially in aquacultured broodstocks, on some occasions, leading to parasitic castration. Although myxosporean parasites are currently not very frequent in gonads, their impact could increase in the future owing to the transactions in the global market. Their easy release into the aquatic environment with spawning could make their spreading even more feasible. In the absence of commercial drugs or vaccines to treat and prevent these infections, there is an urgent need to develop specific, rapid and reliable diagnostic tools to control and manage animal movements. In addition, much effort is still to be made on deciphering the life cycle of these organisms, their invasion strategies and their immune evasion mechanisms. PMID:19474043

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Can Individual and Social Patterns of Resource Use Buffer Animal Populations against Resource Decline?

    PubMed Central

    Banks, Sam C.; Lindenmayer, David B.; Wood, Jeff T.; McBurney, Lachlan; Blair, David; Blyton, Michaela D. J.

    2013-01-01

    Species in many ecosystems are facing declines of key resources. If we are to understand and predict the effects of resource loss on natural populations, we need to understand whether and how the way animals use resources changes under resource decline. We investigated how the abundance of arboreal marsupials varies in response to a critical resource, hollow-bearing trees. Principally, we asked what mechanisms mediate the relationship between resources and abundance? Do animals use a greater or smaller proportion of the remaining resource, and is there a change in cooperative resource use (den sharing), as the availability of hollow trees declines? Analyses of data from 160 sites surveyed from 1997 to 2007 showed that hollow tree availability was positively associated with abundance of the mountain brushtail possum, the agile antechinus and the greater glider. The abundance of Leadbeater’s possum was primarily influenced by forest age. Notably, the relationship between abundance and hollow tree availability was significantly less than 1∶1 for all species. This was due primarily to a significant increase by all species in the proportional use of hollow-bearing trees where the abundance of this resource was low. The resource-sharing response was weaker and inconsistent among species. Two species, the mountain brushtail possum and the agile antechinus, showed significant but contrasting relationships between the number of animals per occupied tree and hollow tree abundance. The discrepancies between the species can be explained partly by differences in several aspects of the species’ biology, including body size, types of hollows used and social behaviour as it relates to hollow use. Our results show that individual and social aspects of resource use are not always static in response to resource availability and support the need to account for dynamic resource use patterns in predictive models of animal distribution and abundance. PMID:23320100

  12. [A determinant study on population increasing and declining in Chinese feudal society].

    PubMed

    Zhai, Z

    1991-02-01

    The population change in China in feudal times did not follow a continuous curve of growth, instead, it featured steady increases and sharp declines in the population size. The following mechanism caused the growth in population. 1st, the traditional farming system stimulated the reproduction of children to meet the needs for labor power, especially male. 2nd, in the feudal society, land and people were important resources for tax collection and for expansion of territory. And the government often followed a pronatal population policy. 3rd, the cultural tradition and social values of the country have been in favor of large families. Carrying on family lineage and improving family status through many children were important social values. Households with 3 or 4 generations living together were a major form of family structure. These were the factors that contributed to high fertility and population growth. In terms of causes of reduction of population size, it was principally wars and famine. In the feudal history of China, land ownership was always the key issue in the government policy and regulations and in the change of dynasty. Land was the most important and reliable means of production and form of wealth. Polarization of wealth from ownership of land intensified the conflicts between social classes, which caused instability in economics and in the society. War was a manifestation of social instability. In all the dynasties, incessant wars because of struggles within power structures and rebellion from peasants to fight against oppression resulted in massive killings, devastated the economy, and caused drastic reductions in the population numbers. Similar to wars, famine and natural calamities in the imperial dynasties often reversed the population growth trend. In a peasant economy, production was individualized, and the social structure was loose. The minimal means of rural farming families were unable to resist natural disasters. Under severe exploitation

  13. Microbial infections in a declining wild turkey population in Texas (USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, T.E.; Yuill, Thomas M.

    1987-01-01

    A survey was conducted at 5 locations in Texas for avian pathogens that might adversely affect wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) productivity and survival. At 1 site, the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Refuge (WWR), turkeys have declined precipitously in recent years. During the winters of 1983-85, 442 wild turkeys were caught with cannon and drop nets, 161 of these on WWR. Blood samples were drawn for serologic evaluation, and cloacal and tracheal swabs were collected for isolation attempts. Salmonella spp. bacteria, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and avian influenza virus (AIV) were not detected in any samples tested. Serologic tests for antibodies to NDV and AIV also were negative. Many mycoplasma isolates were recovered from turkeys from every location. Characterization of these isolates indicated that several species were present. None were species typically associated with mycoplasmosis in domestic turkeys, such as Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), M. meleagridis (MM), or M. synoviae (MS), although antibodies to these pathogens were detected in turkeys at every location sampled. There was no evidence to link any of these disease causing agents to the decline observed in the population of wild turkeys on the WWR.

  14. Using Latent Selection Difference to Model Persistence in a Declining Population

    PubMed Central

    Erickson, Mara E.; Found-Jackson, Christine; Boyce, Mark S.

    2014-01-01

    Population persistence is a direct measure of the viability of a population. Monitoring the distribution of declining populations or subpopulations over time can yield estimates of persistence, which we show can be modeled as a latent selection difference (LSD) contrasting attributes of sites where populations have persisted versus those that have not. Predicted persistence can be modeled with predictor covariates to identify factors correlated with species persistence. We demonstrate how to model persistence based on changes in occupancy that can include adjustments for detection probability. Using a known historical distribution of the western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), we adapted methods originally developed for occupancy modeling to evaluate how environmental covariates including emergent vegetation and human developments have affected western grebe persistence in Alberta. The relative probability of persistence was correlated with the extent of shoreline bulrush (Scirpus lacustris), which is important vegetation for nesting cover. We also documented that western grebe populations were less likely to persist on lakes in the boreal forest, primarily located on the northern boundary of the species' range. Factors influencing occupancy were different than those determining persistence by western grebes; persistence and occupancy were not correlated. Persistence was more likely on lakes with recreational development, reflecting reliance by grebes on the larger, fish-bearing waterbodies that also are attractive for lakeshore development. Unfortunately, the correlation with recreational development on Alberta's lakes puts grebes at risk for loss of brood-rearing habitats—primary threats to altricial birds—if steps are not taken to prevent disturbance to bulrush stands. Identifying factors related to the persistence of a species—especially one in decline—is a fundamental step in conservation management. PMID:24866172

  15. COST ESTIMATION FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS FOCUSING ON POPULATION DECLINING IN SANITATION COVE RAGE AREA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidoura, Shigezane; Takahashi, Masahiro

    In Japan, sanitation coverage is exceeded 70% and sanitary conditions have improved. However in the future, these facilities need to be rebuilt. For that, much money will be needed. On the other hand, prolonged population decrease is predicted in Japan, so it is feared that unsound management caused by the declining of sewerage charge. In this study, costs required for the future were calculated by targeting Asahikawa, Hokkaido Prefecture which is already served by sewerage treatment system. As a result, it was found that maintaining of current sewage treatment system would be cheaper than introduction of novel individual treatment system in Asahikawa. In addition, it was turned out that cost reduction is possible in the case of rebuilding sewage pipe efficiently than maintaining the status quo.

  16. Dynamics and genetics of a disease-driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation

    PubMed Central

    Hudson, M. A.; Young, R. P.; D’Urban Jackson, J.; Orozco-terWengel, P.; Martin, L.; James, A.; Sulton, M.; Garcia, G.; Griffiths, R. A.; Thomas, R.; Magin, C.; Bruford, M. W.; Cunningham, A. A.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis has caused precipitous declines in hundreds of species worldwide. By tracking mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) populations before, during and after the emergence of chytridiomycosis, we quantified the real-time species level impacts of this disease. We report a range-wide species decline amongst the fastest ever recorded, with a loss of over 85% of the population in fewer than 18 months on Dominica and near extinction on Montserrat. Genetic diversity declined in the wild, but emergency measures to establish a captive assurance population captured a representative sample of genetic diversity from Montserrat. If the Convention on Biological Diversity’s targets are to be met, it is important to evaluate the reasons why they appear consistently unattainable. The emergence of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken was predictable, but the decline could not be prevented. There is an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis. PMID:27485994

  17. Dynamics and genetics of a disease-driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation.

    PubMed

    Hudson, M A; Young, R P; D'Urban Jackson, J; Orozco-terWengel, P; Martin, L; James, A; Sulton, M; Garcia, G; Griffiths, R A; Thomas, R; Magin, C; Bruford, M W; Cunningham, A A

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian chytridiomycosis has caused precipitous declines in hundreds of species worldwide. By tracking mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) populations before, during and after the emergence of chytridiomycosis, we quantified the real-time species level impacts of this disease. We report a range-wide species decline amongst the fastest ever recorded, with a loss of over 85% of the population in fewer than 18 months on Dominica and near extinction on Montserrat. Genetic diversity declined in the wild, but emergency measures to establish a captive assurance population captured a representative sample of genetic diversity from Montserrat. If the Convention on Biological Diversity's targets are to be met, it is important to evaluate the reasons why they appear consistently unattainable. The emergence of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken was predictable, but the decline could not be prevented. There is an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis. PMID:27485994

  18. Susceptibility to acidification of groundwater-dependent wetlands affected by water level declines, and potential risk to an early-breeding amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Serrano, L; Díaz-Paniagua, C; Gómez-Rodríguez, C; Florencio, M; Marchand, M-A; Roelofs, J G M; Lucassen, E C H E T

    2016-11-15

    Eggs of the Western spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) reached a 100% mortality in all 29 clutches deposited at a pH below 5.0 in a temporary pond of the Doñana National Park (SW Spain) throughout the wet season of 2006-2007. A similar trend was detected in a neighbouring pond. The proximity of these two ponds to a groundwater pumping area (<1.5km), prompted us to elucidate the possible links between the reduction in pond hydroperiod over past decades (1989-2008) and the decrease of groundwater pH-buffering capacity. The average hydroperiod had decreased by 4months since 1998-99 in the pond where the extensive egg mortality had occurred. The total alkalinity, and the Mg(2+)concentration had also significantly declined in the shallow water-table since 1998-99, from an average of 8.56 to 0.32meql(-1), and of 3.57 to 1.15meql(-1), respectively. This decline of the shallow groundwater buffering capacity could turn this pond more susceptible to the inorganic acidity associated with pyrite oxidation as the sediment S content was often above 0.03%. The initial ratio of S/Ca+Mg in the summer dry sediment was a good predictor of pore-water pH on re-wetting after desiccation (r(2)=0.802, p<0.01). Therefore, this ratio can give some anticipation to mitigate the impact of acidity on toad hatching before these temporary ponds are reflooded on the next wet season. Our results suggest that the long-term damage to pond water levels can trigger a potential risk of soil acidification in the presence of iron-sulphide minerals. PMID:27476729

  19. Applied reproductive technologies and genetic resource banking for amphibian conservation.

    PubMed

    Kouba, Andrew J; Vance, Carrie K

    2009-01-01

    As amphibian populations continue to decline, both government and non-government organisations are establishing captive assurance colonies to secure populations deemed at risk of extinction if left in the wild. For the most part, little is known about the nutritional ecology, reproductive biology or husbandry needs of the animals placed into captive breeding programs. Because of this lack of knowledge, conservation biologists are currently facing the difficult task of maintaining and reproducing these species. Academic and zoo scientists are beginning to examine different technologies for maintaining the genetic diversity of founder populations brought out of the wild before the animals become extinct from rapidly spreading epizootic diseases. One such technology is genetic resource banking and applied reproductive technologies for species that are difficult to reproduce reliably in captivity. Significant advances have been made in the last decade for amphibian assisted reproduction including the use of exogenous hormones for induction of spermiation and ovulation, in vitro fertilisation, short-term cold storage of gametes and long-term cryopreservation of spermatozoa. These scientific breakthroughs for a select few species will no doubt serve as models for future assisted breeding protocols and the increasing number of amphibians requiring conservation intervention. However, the development of specialised assisted breeding protocols that can be applied to many different families of amphibians will likely require species-specific modifications considering their wide range of reproductive modes. The purpose of this review is to summarise the current state of knowledge in the area of assisted reproduction technologies and gene banking for the conservation of amphibians.

  20. Susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis is associated with MHC class II conformation

    PubMed Central

    Bataille, Arnaud; Cashins, Scott D.; Grogan, Laura; Skerratt, Lee F.; Hunter, David; McFadden, Michael; Scheele, Benjamin; Brannelly, Laura A.; Macris, Amy; Harlow, Peter S.; Bell, Sara; Berger, Lee; Waldman, Bruce

    2015-01-01

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) alleles encoding molecules that foster the survival of Bd-infected amphibians. We found that Bd-resistant amphibians across four continents share common amino acids in three binding pockets of the MHC-II antigen-binding groove. Moreover, strong signals of selection acting on these specific sites were evident among all species co-existing with the pathogen. In the laboratory, we experimentally inoculated Australian tree frogs with Bd to test how each binding pocket conformation influences disease resistance. Only the conformation of MHC-II pocket 9 of surviving subjects matched those of Bd-resistant species. This MHC-II conformation thus may determine amphibian resistance to Bd, although other MHC-II binding pockets also may contribute to resistance. Rescuing amphibian biodiversity will depend on our understanding of amphibian immune defence mechanisms against Bd. The identification of adaptive genetic markers for Bd resistance represents an important step forward towards that goal. PMID:25808889

  1. Susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis is associated with MHC class II conformation.

    PubMed

    Bataille, Arnaud; Cashins, Scott D; Grogan, Laura; Skerratt, Lee F; Hunter, David; McFadden, Michael; Scheele, Benjamin; Brannelly, Laura A; Macris, Amy; Harlow, Peter S; Bell, Sara; Berger, Lee; Waldman, Bruce

    2015-04-22

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) alleles encoding molecules that foster the survival of Bd-infected amphibians. We found that Bd-resistant amphibians across four continents share common amino acids in three binding pockets of the MHC-II antigen-binding groove. Moreover, strong signals of selection acting on these specific sites were evident among all species co-existing with the pathogen. In the laboratory, we experimentally inoculated Australian tree frogs with Bd to test how each binding pocket conformation influences disease resistance. Only the conformation of MHC-II pocket 9 of surviving subjects matched those of Bd-resistant species. This MHC-II conformation thus may determine amphibian resistance to Bd, although other MHC-II binding pockets also may contribute to resistance. Rescuing amphibian biodiversity will depend on our understanding of amphibian immune defence mechanisms against Bd. The identification of adaptive genetic markers for Bd resistance represents an important step forward towards that goal. PMID:25808889

  2. Susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis is associated with MHC class II conformation.

    PubMed

    Bataille, Arnaud; Cashins, Scott D; Grogan, Laura; Skerratt, Lee F; Hunter, David; McFadden, Michael; Scheele, Benjamin; Brannelly, Laura A; Macris, Amy; Harlow, Peter S; Bell, Sara; Berger, Lee; Waldman, Bruce

    2015-04-22

    The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) alleles encoding molecules that foster the survival of Bd-infected amphibians. We found that Bd-resistant amphibians across four continents share common amino acids in three binding pockets of the MHC-II antigen-binding groove. Moreover, strong signals of selection acting on these specific sites were evident among all species co-existing with the pathogen. In the laboratory, we experimentally inoculated Australian tree frogs with Bd to test how each binding pocket conformation influences disease resistance. Only the conformation of MHC-II pocket 9 of surviving subjects matched those of Bd-resistant species. This MHC-II conformation thus may determine amphibian resistance to Bd, although other MHC-II binding pockets also may contribute to resistance. Rescuing amphibian biodiversity will depend on our understanding of amphibian immune defence mechanisms against Bd. The identification of adaptive genetic markers for Bd resistance represents an important step forward towards that goal.

  3. Estrogens Can Disrupt Amphibian Mating Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Frauke; Kloas, Werner

    2012-01-01

    The main component of classical contraceptives, 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), has high estrogenic activity even at environmentally relevant concentrations. Although estrogenic endocrine disrupting compounds are assumed to contribute to the worldwide decline of amphibian populations by adverse effects on sexual differentiation, evidence for EE2 affecting amphibian mating behaviour is lacking. In this study, we demonstrate that EE2 exposure at five different concentrations (0.296 ng/L, 2.96 ng/L, 29.64 ng/L, 2.96 µg/L and 296.4 µg/L) can disrupt the mating behavior of adult male Xenopus laevis. EE2 exposure at all concentrations lowered male sexual arousal, indicated by decreased proportions of advertisement calls and increased proportions of the call type rasping, which characterizes a sexually unaroused state of a male. Additionally, EE2 at all tested concentrations affected temporal and spectral parameters of the advertisement calls, respectively. The classical and highly sensitive biomarker vitellogenin, on the other hand, was only induced at concentrations equal or higher than 2.96 µg/L. If kept under control conditions after a 96 h EE2 exposure (2.96 µg/L), alterations of male advertisement calls vanish gradually within 6 weeks and result in a lower sexual attractiveness of EE2 exposed males toward females as demonstrated by female choice experiments. These findings indicate that exposure to environmentally relevant EE2 concentrations can directly disrupt male mate calling behavior of X. laevis and can indirectly affect the mating behavior of females. The results suggest the possibility that EE2 exposure could reduce the reproductive success of EE2 exposed animals and these effects might contribute to the global problem of amphibian decline. PMID:22355410

  4. Linking genetic and environmental factors in amphibian disease risk

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anna E; Becker, Carlos G; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-01-01

    A central question in evolutionary biology is how interactions between organisms and the environment shape genetic differentiation. The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused variable population declines in the lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); thus, disease has potentially shaped, or been shaped by, host genetic diversity. Environmental factors can also influence both amphibian immunity and Bd virulence, confounding our ability to assess the genetic effects on disease dynamics. Here, we used genetics, pathogen dynamics, and environmental data to characterize L. yavapaiensis populations, estimate migration, and determine relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors in predicting Bd dynamics. We found that the two uninfected populations belonged to a single genetic deme, whereas each infected population was genetically unique. We detected an outlier locus that deviated from neutral expectations and was significantly correlated with mortality within populations. Across populations, only environmental variables predicted infection intensity, whereas environment and genetics predicted infection prevalence, and genetic diversity alone predicted mortality. At one locality with geothermally elevated water temperatures, migration estimates revealed source–sink dynamics that have likely prevented local adaptation. We conclude that integrating genetic and environmental variation among populations provides a better understanding of Bd spatial epidemiology, generating more effective conservation management strategies for mitigating am