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Sample records for amphibian population declines

  1. Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines.

    PubMed Central

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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...

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Agricultural ponds support amphibian populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knutson, M.G.; Richardson, W.B.; Reineke, D.M.; Gray, B.R.; Parmelee, J.R.; Weick, S.E.

    2004-01-01

    In some agricultural regions, natural wetlands are scarce, and constructed agricultural ponds may represent important alternative breeding habitats for amphibians. Properly managed, these agricultural ponds may effectively increase the total amount of breeding habitat and help to sustain populations. We studied small, constructed agricultural ponds in southeastern Minnesota to assess their value as amphibian breeding sites. Our study examined habitat factors associated with amphibian reproduction at two spatial scales: the pond and the landscape surrounding the pond. We found that small agricultural ponds in southeastern Minnesota provided breeding habitat for at least 10 species of amphibians. Species richness and multispecies reproductive success were more closely associated with characteristics of the pond (water quality, vegetation, and predators) compared with characteristics of the surrounding landscape, but individual species were associated with both pond and landscape variables. Ponds surrounded by row crops had similar species richness and reproductive success compared with natural wetlands and ponds surrounded by nongrazed pasture. Ponds used for watering livestock had elevated concentrations of phosphorus, higher turbidity, and a trend toward reduced amphibian reproductive success. Species richness was highest in small ponds, ponds with lower total nitrogen concentrations, tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) present, and lacking fish. Multispecies reproductive success was best in ponds with lower total nitrogen concentrations, less emergent vegetation, and lacking fish. Habitat factors associated with higher reproductive success varied among individual species. We conclude that small, constructed farm ponds, properly managed, may help sustain amphibian populations in landscapes where natural wetland habitat is rare. We recommend management actions such as limiting livestock access to the pond to improve water quality, reducing nitrogen input, and

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. Evidence of disease-related amphibian decline in Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin; Corn, Paul Stephen; Pessier, Allan P.; Green, D. Earl

    2003-01-01

    The recent discovery of a pathogenic fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) associated with declines of frogs in the American and Australian tropics, suggests that at least the proximate cause, may be known for many previously unexplained amphibian declines. We have monitored boreal toads in Colorado since 1991 at four sites using capturea??recapture of adults and counts of egg masses to examine the dynamics of this metapopulation. Numbers of male toads declined in 1996 and 1999 with annual survival rate averaging 78% from 1991 to 1994, 45% in 1995 and 3% between 1998 and 1999. Numbers of egg masses also declined. An etiological diagnosis of chytridiomycosis consistent with infections by the genus Batrachochytrium was made in six wild adult toads. Characteristic histomorphological features (i.e. intracellular location, shape of thalli, presence of discharge tubes and rhizoids) of chytrid organisms, and host tissue response (acanthosis and hyperkeratosis) were observed in individual toads. These characteristics were indistinguishable from previously reported mortality events associated with chytrid fungus. We also observed epizootiological features consistent with mortality events associated with chytrid fungus: an increase in the ratio of female:male toads captured, an apparent spread of mortalities within the metapopulation and mortalities restricted to post metamorphic animals. Eleven years of population data suggest that this metapopulation of toads is in danger of extinction, pathological and epizootiological evidence indicates that B. dendrobatidis has played a proximate role in this process

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-11

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

  3. 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)

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

    PubMed

    Phillips, Ben L; Puschendorf, Robert

    2013-09-07

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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 ...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Rohr, Jason R.; Raffel, Thomas R.

    2010-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-04

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. 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)

  16. FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECTING AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS IN THE US

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1997-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Predicting how populations decline to extinction

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  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.

  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. 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...

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  8. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayes, T. B.

    2001-12-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    Petrovan, Silviu O; Schmidt, Benedikt R

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-05-01

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

  16. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Beaumont, Mark A

    2003-01-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-04-15

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

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

    PubMed

    Forsman, Anders; Hagman, Mattias

    2009-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

  4. Amphibians as models for studying environmental change.

    PubMed

    Hopkins, William A

    2007-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, Karen C.; Jung, Robin E.

    2004-01-01

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

  6. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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).

  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. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  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. 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...

  7. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Adaptive tolerance to a pathogenic fungus drives major histocompatibility complex evolution in natural amphibian populations

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anna E.; Zamudio, Kelly R.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians have been affected globally by the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and we are just now beginning to understand how immunogenetic variability contributes to disease susceptibility. Lineages of an expressed major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II locus involved in acquired immunity are associated with chytridiomycosis susceptibility in controlled laboratory challenge assays. Here, we extend these findings to natural populations that vary both in exposure and response to Bd. We find that MHC alleles and supertypes associated with Bd survival in the field show a molecular signal of positive selection, while those associated with susceptibility do not, supporting the hypothesis that heritable Bd tolerance is rapidly evolving. We compare MHC supertypes to neutral loci to demonstrate where selection versus demography is shaping MHC variability. One population with Bd tolerance in nature shows a significant signal of directional selection for the same allele (allele Q) that was significantly associated with survival in an earlier laboratory study. Our findings indicate that selective pressure for Bd survival drives rapid immunogenetic adaptation in some natural populations, despite differences in environment and demography. Our field-based analysis of immunogenetic variation confirms that natural amphibian populations have the evolutionary potential to adapt to chytridiomycosis. PMID:27009220

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Overview of chytrid emergence and impacts on amphibians.

    PubMed

    Lips, Karen R

    2016-12-05

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

  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. Climate change and amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corn, P.S.

    2005-01-01

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

  1. Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2000-01-01

    For many years, ecological research on amphibians and reptiles has lagged behind that of other vertebrates such as fishes, birds, and mammals, despite the known importance of these animals in their environments. The lack of study has been particularly acute in the he area of ecotoxicology where the number of published scientific papers is a fraction of that found for the other vertebrate classes. Recently, scientists have become aware of severe crises among amphibian populations, including unexplained and sudden extinctions, worldwide declines, and hideous malformations. In many of these instances, contaminants have been listed as probable contributors. Data on the effects of contaminants on reptiles are so depauperate that even the most elementary interpretations are difficult. This state-of-the-science review and synthesis of amphibian and reptile ecotoxicology demonstrates the inter-relationships among distribution, ecology, physiology, and contaminant exposure, and interprets these topics as they pertain to comparative toxicity, population declines, malformations, and risk assessment . In this way, the book identifies and serves as a basis for the most pressing research needs in the coming years. The editors have invited 27 other internationally respected experts to examine the state of existing data in specific areas, interpret it in light of current problems, and identify research gaps and needs. Through its emphasis on recent research, extensive reviews and synthesis, Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles will remain a definitive reference work well into the new century.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

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

  3. [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

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Carr, James A; Patiño, Reynaldo

    2011-01-15

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

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Richardson, Jonathan L

    2012-09-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Surveys of calling amphibians in North Dakota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

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

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

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

  6. Diseases of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Densmore, Christine L; Green, David Earl

    2007-01-01

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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

    Visaria, L; Visaria, P

    1995-10-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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…

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-07

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

  17. An alternative framework for responding to the amphibian crisis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muths, Erin L.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2017-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-09-11

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-16

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Collins, James P; Halliday, Tim

    2005-02-28

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    Willson, John D; Hopkins, William A

    2013-06-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-23

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

  13. 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

  14. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis prevalence and haplotypes in domestic and imported pet amphibians in Japan.

    PubMed

    Tamukai, Kenichi; Une, Yumi; Tominaga, Atsushi; Suzuki, Kazutaka; Goka, Koichi

    2014-05-13

    The international trade in amphibians is believed to have increased the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis, which has caused a rapid decline in amphibian populations worldwide. We surveyed amphibians imported into Japan and those held in captivity for a long period or bred in Japan to clarify the Bd infection status. Samples were taken from 820 individuals of 109 amphibian species between 2008 and 2011 and were analyzed by a nested-PCR assay. Bd prevalence in imported amphibians was 10.3% (58/561), while it was 6.9% (18/259) in those in private collections and commercially bred amphibians in Japan. We identified the genotypes of this fungus using partial DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Sequencing of PCR products of all 76 Bd-positive samples revealed 11 haplotypes of the Bd ITS region. Haplotype A (DNA Data Bank of Japan accession number AB435211) was found in 90% (52/58) of imported amphibians. The results show that Bd is currently entering Japan via the international trade in exotic amphibians as pets, suggesting that the trade has indeed played a major role in the spread of Bd.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  20. 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The invasive chytrid fungus of amphibians paralyzes lymphocyte responses

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2013-01-01

    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 supernantants 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. PMID:24136969

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-28

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Adaptive colouration in amphibians.

    PubMed

    Rudh, Andreas; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Large numbers of vertebrates began rapid population decline in the late 19th century

    PubMed Central

    Li, Haipeng; Xiang-Yu, Jinggong; Dai, Guangyi; Gu, Zhili; Ming, Chen; Yang, Zongfeng; Ryder, Oliver A.; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Fu, Yun-Xin; Zhang, Ya-Ping

    2016-01-01

    Accelerated losses of biodiversity are a hallmark of the current era. Large declines of population size have been widely observed and currently 22,176 species are threatened by extinction. The time at which a threatened species began rapid population decline (RPD) and the rate of RPD provide important clues about the driving forces of population decline and anticipated extinction time. However, these parameters remain unknown for the vast majority of threatened species. Here we analyzed the genetic diversity data of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 2,764 vertebrate species and found that the mean genetic diversity is lower in threatened species than in related nonthreatened species. Our coalescence-based modeling suggests that in many threatened species the RPD began ∼123 y ago (a 95% confidence interval of 20–260 y). This estimated date coincides with widespread industrialization and a profound change in global living ecosystems over the past two centuries. On average the population size declined by ∼25% every 10 y in a threatened species, and the population size was reduced to ∼5% of its ancestral size. Moreover, the ancestral size of threatened species was, on average, ∼22% smaller than that of nonthreatened species. Because the time period of RPD is short, the cumulative effect of RPD on genetic diversity is still not strong, so that the smaller ancestral size of threatened species may be the major cause of their reduced genetic diversity; RPD explains 24.1–37.5% of the difference in genetic diversity between threatened and nonthreatened species. PMID:27872315

  15. 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

  16. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan.

    PubMed

    Oaks, J Lindsay; Gilbert, Martin; Virani, Munir Z; Watson, Richard T; Meteyer, Carol U; Rideout, Bruce A; Shivaprasad, H L; Ahmed, Shakeel; Chaudhry, Muhammad Jamshed Iqbal; Arshad, Muhammad; Mahmood, Shahid; Ali, Ahmad; Khan, Aleem Ahmed

    2004-02-12

    The Oriental white-backed vulture (OWBV; Gyps bengalensis) was once one of the most common raptors in the Indian subcontinent. A population decline of >95%, starting in the 1990s, was first noted at Keoladeo National Park, India. Since then, catastrophic declines, also involving Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris, have continued to be reported across the subcontinent. Consequently these vultures are now listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International. In 2000, the Peregrine Fund initiated its Asian Vulture Crisis Project with the Ornithological Society of Pakistan, establishing study sites at 16 OWBV colonies in the Kasur, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh-Layyah Districts of Pakistan to measure mortality at over 2,400 active nest sites. Between 2000 and 2003, high annual adult and subadult mortality (5-86%) and resulting population declines (34-95%) (ref. 5 and M.G., manuscript in preparation) were associated with renal failure and visceral gout. Here, we provide results that directly correlate residues of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac with renal failure. Diclofenac residues and renal disease were reproduced experimentally in OWBVs by direct oral exposure and through feeding vultures diclofenac-treated livestock. We propose that residues of veterinary diclofenac are responsible for the OWBV decline.

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Role of egg predation by haddock in the decline of an Atlantic herring population

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, David E.; Hare, Jonathan A.; Fogarty, Michael J.; Link, Jason S.

    2011-01-01

    Theoretical studies suggest that the abrupt and substantial changes in the productivity of some fisheries species may be explained by predation-driven alternate stable states in their population levels. With this hypothesis, an increase in fishing or a natural perturbation can drive a population from an upper to a lower stable-equilibrium population level. After fishing is reduced or the perturbation ended, this low population level can persist due to the regulatory effect of the predator. Although established in theoretical studies, there is limited empirical support for predation-driven alternate stable states in exploited marine fish populations. We present evidence that egg predation by haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) can cause alternate stable population levels in Georges Bank Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus). Egg predation by haddock explains a substantial decoupling of herring spawning stock biomass (an index of egg production) from observed larval herring abundance (an index of egg hatching). Estimated egg survival rates ranged from <2–70% from 1971 to 2005. A population model incorporating egg predation and herring fishing explains the major population trends of Georges Bank herring over four decades and predicts that, when the haddock population is high, seemingly conservative levels of fishing can still precipitate a severe decline in the herring population. These findings illustrate how efforts to rebuild fisheries can be undermined by not incorporating ecological interactions into fisheries models and management plans. PMID:21825166

  3. 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.

  4. Changes in landscape composition influence the decline of a threatened woodland caribou population.

    PubMed

    Wittmer, Heiko U; McLellan, Bruce N; Serrouya, Robert; Apps, Clayton D

    2007-05-01

    1. Large-scale habitat loss is frequently identified with loss of biodiversity, but examples of the direct effect of habitat alterations on changes in vital rates remain rare. Quantifying and understanding the relationship between habitat composition and changes in vital rates, however, is essential for the development of effective conservation strategies. 2. It has been suggested that the decline of woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou populations in North America is precipitated by timber harvesting that creates landscapes of early seral forests. Such habitat changes have altered the predator-prey system resulting in asymmetric predation, where predators are maintained by alternative prey (i.e. apparent competition). However, a direct link between habitat condition and caribou population declines has not been documented. 3. We estimated survival probabilities for the threatened arboreal lichen-feeding ecotype of woodland caribou in British Columbia, Canada, at two different spatial scales. At the broader scale, observed variation in adult female survival rates among 10 distinct populations (range = 0.67-0.93) was best explained by variation in the amount of early seral stands within population ranges and population density. At the finer scale, home ranges of caribou killed by predators had lower proportions of old forest and more mid-aged forest as compared with multi-annual home ranges where caribou were alive. 4. These results are consistent with predictions from the apparent competition hypothesis and quantify direct fitness consequences for caribou following habitat alterations. We conclude that apparent competition can cause rapid population declines and even extinction where changes in species composition occur following large scale habitat change.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-01-01

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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-12-04

    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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Population genetic analysis reveals a long-term decline of a threatened endemic Australian marsupial.

    PubMed

    Hansen, Birgita D; Harley, Daniel K P; Lindenmayer, David B; Taylor, Andrea C

    2009-08-01

    Since European colonization, Leadbeater's possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) has declined across its range to the point where it is now only patchily distributed within the montane ash forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria. The loss of large hollow-bearing trees coupled with inadequate recruitment of mature ash forest has been predicted to result in a reduction in population size of up to 90% by 2020. Furthermore, bioclimatic analyses have suggested additional reductions in the species' distribution under a variety of climate change scenarios. Using a panel of 15 highly resolving microsatellite markers and mitochondrial control region sequence data, we infer past and present gene flow. Populations in the northern part of the core range were highly admixed, and showed no signs of either current or historical barriers to gene flow. A marginal, isolated and inbred population at Yellingbo was highly genetically differentiated, both in terms of current and historic genetic structure. Sequence data confirmed the conclusions from earlier genetic simulation studies that the Yellingbo population has been isolated from the rest of the species range since before European-induced changes to the montane landscape, and formed part of a larger genetic unit that is now otherwise extinct. Historic loss of maternal lineages in the Central Highlands of Victoria was detected despite signals of immigration, indicating population declines that most probably coincided with changes in climate at the end of the Pleistocene. Given ongoing habitat loss and the recent (February 2009) wildfire in the Central Highlands, we forecast (potentially extensive) demographic declines, in line with predicted range reductions under climate change scenarios.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  18. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.; Little, E.E.; Linder, Gregory L.; Krest, S.; Sparling, Don; Little, Edward

    2003-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Local divergence of thermal reaction norms among amphibian populations is affected by pond temperature variation.

    PubMed

    Richter-Boix, Alex; Katzenberger, Marco; Duarte, Helder; Quintela, María; Tejedo, Miguel; Laurila, Anssi

    2015-08-01

    Although temperature variation is known to cause large-scale adaptive divergence, its potential role as a selective factor over microgeographic scales is less well-understood. Here, we investigated how variation in breeding pond temperature affects divergence in multiple physiological (thermal performance curve and critical thermal maximum [CTmax]) and life-history (thermal developmental reaction norms) traits in a network of Rana arvalis populations. The results supported adaptive responses to face two main constraints limiting the evolution of thermal adaptation. First, we found support for the faster-slower model, indicating an adaptive response to compensate for the thermodynamic constraint of low temperatures in colder environments. Second, we found evidence for the generalist-specialist trade-off with populations from colder and less thermally variable environments exhibiting a specialist phenotype performing at higher rates but over a narrower range of temperatures. By contrast, the local optimal temperature for locomotor performance and CTmax did not match either mean or maximum pond temperatures. These results highlight the complexity of the adaptive multiple-trait thermal responses in natural populations, and the role of local thermal variation as a selective force driving diversity in life-history and physiological traits in the presence of gene flow.

  2. 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

  3. What caused the population decline of the Bridled White-eye on Rota, Mariana Islands?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fancy, Steven G.; Snetsinger, Thomas J.

    2001-01-01

    The Bridled White-eye (Zosterops conspicillatus rotensis) was Once thought to be common and widespread on Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, but is now restricted to several patches of native limestone forest in and adjacent to the Sabana region. Surveys conducted in 1990 indicated that the population had declined by 87% between 1982 and 1990 for unknown reasons. The low density and restricted habitat association of the Bridled White-eye on Rota contrasts with the situation on Saipan, Tinian, Agiguan, and formerly on Guam, where the Bridled White-eye is the most common forest bird and occurs at all elevations and in all habitat types. We surveyed the entire range of the Rota Bridled White-eye in 1996 to estimate its current numbers and distribution. We also reviewed existing information on the white-eye and evaluated potential causes of its decline, including predation by Black Drongos (Dicrurus macrocercus), rats (Rattus spp.), and the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis); pesticides; avian disease; and habitat loss and alteration. We found that 94% of the extant population of 1,165 white-eyes on Rota was restricted to four patches of old-growth, native limestone forest covering only 259 ha. We believe that the population decline and current localized distribution is primarily a result of habitat changes due to agricultural development and typhoons, but the absence of white-eyes from several stands of native forest above 200 m remains unexplained. The Rota white-eye may be a different species from white-eyes found on Saipan, Tinian, Agiguan, and Guam, with different habitat preferences.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Chronic wasting disease drives population decline of white-tailed deer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Large-scale recovery of an endangered amphibian despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors.

    PubMed

    Knapp, Roland A; Fellers, Gary M; Kleeman, Patrick M; Miller, David A W; Vredenburg, Vance T; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2016-10-18

    Amphibians are one of the most threatened animal groups, with 32% of species at risk for extinction. Given this imperiled status, is the disappearance of a large fraction of the Earth's amphibians inevitable, or are some declining species more resilient than is generally assumed? We address this question in a species that is emblematic of many declining amphibians, the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Based on >7,000 frog surveys conducted across Yosemite National Park over a 20-y period, we show that, after decades of decline and despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors, including introduced fish, the recently emerged disease chytridiomycosis, and pesticides, R. sierrae abundance increased sevenfold during the study and at a rate of 11% per year. These increases occurred in hundreds of populations throughout Yosemite, providing a rare example of amphibian recovery at an ecologically relevant spatial scale. Results from a laboratory experiment indicate that these increases may be in part because of reduced frog susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. The disappearance of nonnative fish from numerous water bodies after cessation of stocking also contributed to the recovery. The large-scale increases in R. sierrae abundance that we document suggest that, when habitats are relatively intact and stressors are reduced in their importance by active management or species' adaptive responses, declines of some amphibians may be partially reversible, at least at a regional scale. Other studies conducted over similarly large temporal and spatial scales are critically needed to provide insight and generality about the reversibility of amphibian declines at a global scale.

  12. Large-scale recovery of an endangered amphibian despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knapp, Roland A.; Fellers, Gary M.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Miller, David A. W.; Vrendenburg, Vance T.; Rosenblum, Erica Bree; Briggs, Cheryl J.

    2016-01-01

    Amphibians are one of the most threatened animal groups, with 32% of species at risk for extinction. Given this imperiled status, is the disappearance of a large fraction of the Earth’s amphibians inevitable, or are some declining species more resilient than is generally assumed? We address this question in a species that is emblematic of many declining amphibians, the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Based on >7,000 frog surveys conducted across Yosemite National Park over a 20-y period, we show that, after decades of decline and despite ongoing exposure to multiple stressors, including introduced fish, the recently emerged disease chytridiomycosis, and pesticides, R. sierrae abundance increased sevenfold during the study and at a rate of 11% per year. These increases occurred in hundreds of populations throughout Yosemite, providing a rare example of amphibian recovery at an ecologically relevant spatial scale. Results from a laboratory experiment indicate that these increases may be in part because of reduced frog susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. The disappearance of nonnative fish from numerous water bodies after cessation of stocking also contributed to the recovery. The large-scale increases in R. sierrae abundance that we document suggest that, when habitats are relatively intact and stressors are reduced in their importance by active management or species’ adaptive responses, declines of some amphibians may be partially reversible, at least at a regional scale. Other studies conducted over similarly large temporal and spatial scales are critically needed to provide insight and generality about the reversibility of amphibian declines at a global scale.

  13. 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.

  14. Reservoir-host amplification of disease impact in an endangered amphibian.

    PubMed

    Scheele, Ben C; Hunter, David A; Brannelly, Laura A; Skerratt, Lee F; Driscoll, Don A

    2016-09-05

    Emerging wildlife pathogens are an increasing threat to biodiversity. One of the most serious wildlife diseases is chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been documented in over 500 amphibian species. Amphibians vary greatly in their susceptibility to Bd; some species tolerate infection, whereas others experience rapid mortality. Reservoir hosts-species that carry infection while maintaining high abundance but are rarely killed by disease-can increase extinction risk in highly susceptible, sympatric species. However, whether reservoir hosts amplify Bd in declining amphibian species has not been examined. We investigated the role of reservoir hosts in the decline of the threatened northern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) in an amphibian community in southeastern Australia. In the laboratory, we characterized the response of a potential reservoir host, the (nondeclining) common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera), to Bd infection. In the field, we conducted frog abundance surveys and Bd sampling for both P. pengilleyi and C. signifera. We built multinomial logistic regression models to test whether Crinia signifera and environmental factors were associated with P. pengilleyi decline. C. signifera was a reservoir host for Bd. In the laboratory, many individuals maintained intense infections (>1000 zoospore equivalents) over 12 weeks without mortality, and 79% of individuals sampled in the wild also carried infections. The presence of C. signifera at a site was strongly associated with increased Bd prevalence in sympatric P. pengilleyi. Consistent with disease amplification by a reservoir host, P. pengilleyi declined at sites with high C. signifera abundance. Our results suggest that when reservoir hosts are present, population declines of susceptible species may continue long after the initial emergence of Bd, highlighting an urgent need to assess extinction risk in remnant populations of other declined

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Climate warming, ecological mismatch at arrival and population decline in migratory birds.

    PubMed

    Saino, Nicola; Ambrosini, Roberto; Rubolini, Diego; von Hardenberg, Jost; Provenzale, Antonello; Hüppop, Kathrin; Hüppop, Ommo; Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Lehikoinen, Esa; Rainio, Kalle; Romano, Maria; Sokolov, Leonid

    2011-03-22

    Climate is changing at a fast pace, causing widespread, profound consequences for living organisms. Failure to adjust the timing of life-cycle events to climate may jeopardize populations by causing ecological mismatches to the life cycle of other species and abiotic factors. Population declines of some migratory birds breeding in Europe have been suggested to depend on their inability to adjust migration phenology so as to keep track of advancement of spring events at their breeding grounds. In fact, several migrants have advanced their spring arrival date, but whether such advancement has been sufficient to compensate for temporal shift in spring phenophases or, conversely, birds have become ecologically mismatched, is still an unanswered question, with very few exceptions. We used a novel approach based on accumulated winter and spring temperatures (degree-days) as a proxy for timing of spring biological events to test if the progress of spring at arrival to the breeding areas by 117 European migratory bird species has changed over the past five decades. Migrants, and particularly those wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, now arrive at higher degree-days and may have therefore accumulated a 'thermal delay', thus possibly becoming increasingly mismatched to spring phenology. Species with greater 'thermal delay' have shown larger population decline, and this evidence was not confounded by concomitant ecological factors or by phylogenetic effects. These findings provide general support to the largely untested hypotheses that migratory birds are becoming ecologically mismatched and that failure to respond to climate change can have severe negative impacts on their populations. The novel approach we adopted can be extended to the analysis of ecological consequences of phenological response to climate change by other taxa.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  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. Population persistence in Florida torreya: Comparing modeled projections of a declining coniferous tree

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Mark W.; Hermann, Sharon M.; van Mantgem, Phillip J.

    2000-01-01

    The Florida torreya (  Torreya taxifolia) is a coniferous tree endemic to a 35-km stretch of bluffs and ravines along the east side of the Apalachicola River in northern Florida and southern Georgia. This formerly locally abundant tree has declined as a result of disease during the 1950s and is on the U.S. endangered species list. With no seed production in the wild, this species is headed toward extinction. We conducted a survey on roughly 200 trees from 1988 to 1996 and used these data to estimate the likelihood of population persistence during the next several decades. We compared a stage-class transition matrix model ( RAMAS) and an individual-based stochastic model ( TORSIM) of growth and mortality to project future populations. Given the current lack of seed production in the wild, all models predict extinction. The question of concern is the imminence of this predicted extinction. Differing predicted times to extinction would suggest different immediate management recommendations. Both models predicted an over 90% likelihood of persistence during the next 50 years. Predictions differed in that the transition matrix model was less optimistic than the individual-based model regarding persistence. Model sensitivity analysis showed that the results were robust to significant decreases in growth and sprouting probabilities. Submodels identified different persistence likelihoods in different populations. Nonetheless, unless management of the population can facilitate maturation and seed production, extinction of this species in the wild is inevitable.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Can individual and social patterns of resource use buffer animal populations against resource decline?

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

  10. [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

  11. Reproduction and microhabitat selection in a sharply declining Northern Bobwhite population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Collins, B.M.; Williams, C.K.; Castelli, Paul M.

    2009-01-01

    Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have been declining throughout their range, but some of the sharpest declines have been documented in the Mid-Atlantic states. We conducted a 2 year (2006-2007) breeding season (1 May-30 Sep) telemetry study in southern New Jersey to collect baseline data on Northern Bobwhite reproductive rates, and nest and brood microhabitat selection. We located 23 Northern Bobwhite nests, of which 21 were usable for survival analyses. Incubation-period nest survival rate was 0.454 ?? 0.010 (95 CI =0.2800.727). Mean clutch size was 14.2 ?? 0.58 (range 10-19, n = 20) and hatching success was 96.1 ?? 2.0 (range 86-100%, n = 10). The estimated probability that an individual that entered the breeding season would initiate incubation of ???1 nest was 0.687 for females and 0.202 for males. Nest microhabitat selection was positively related to visual obstruction and percentage of litter. Brood microhabitat selection was positively related to visual obstruction, vegetation height, and percentage of forbs but negatively related to percentage of cool season grass and litter. Fecundity metrics for Northern Bobwhites in southern New Jersey appear similar to those reported elsewhere in the species' range. Conservation efforts to increase Northern Bobwhite reproductive success in southern New Jersey should focus on increasing the quantity of available breeding habitat. ?? 2009 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Are orchid bees at risk? First comparative survey suggests declining populations of forest-dependent species.

    PubMed

    Nemésio, A

    2013-05-01

    The two largest Atlantic Forest remnants in the state of Espírito Santo, eastern Brazil, namely 'Reserva Biológica de Sooretama' (REBIO Sooretama) and 'Reserva Natural Vale' (RNV), were surveyed for their orchid-bee faunas. Seventeen scent baits were used to attract orchid-bee males. Three-thousand, two hundred and twenty-five males belonging to 24 species were actively collected with insect nets during 100 hours in March, April and December, 2009. In comparison with a previous study in the same area twelve years before, it is evident that the abundance of all forest-dependent orchid bees analysed declined around 50%, and it was statistically significant (P = 0.022) for Euglossa marianae Nemésio, 2011, the most sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances of all Atlantic Forest orchid bees. On the other hand, the abundance of populations of species tolerant to open or disturbed areas rose. Possible explanations are discussed.

  18. Population decline in Polish and Czech cities during post-socialism? Looking behind the official statistics.

    PubMed

    Steinführer, Annett; Bierzynski, Adam; Grossmann, Katrin; Haase, Annegret; Kabisch, Sigrun; Klusácek, Petr

    2010-01-01

    The evolving debate on "urban shrinkage" mirrors an increasing interest in demographic phenomena on the part of urban scholars. This paper discusses ambiguous evidence about recent population decline in the large cities of Poland and the Czech Republic, with a particular focus on Łódz and Brno in general and their inner cities more specifically. By applying a mixed-method approach, the paper identifies indications of inner-city repopulation and socio-demographic diversification which are not yet apparent in register or census data. It is argued that there are indications of a silent transformation of traditional residential patterns and neighbourhoods in east central Europe. In the inner cities, this is reflected, amongst other things, by the presence of new households that may be called "transitory urbanites".

  19. Additive threats from pathogens, climate and land-use change for global amphibian diversity.

    PubMed

    Hof, Christian; Araújo, Miguel B; Jetz, Walter; Rahbek, Carsten

    2011-11-16

    Amphibian population declines far exceed those of other vertebrate groups, with 30% of all species listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The causes of these declines are a matter of continued research, but probably include climate change, land-use change and spread of the pathogenic fungal disease chytridiomycosis. Here we assess the spatial distribution and interactions of these primary threats in relation to the global distribution of amphibian species. We show that the greatest proportions of species negatively affected by climate change are projected to be found in Africa, parts of northern South America and the Andes. Regions with the highest projected impact of land-use and climate change coincide, but there is little spatial overlap with regions highly threatened by the fungal disease. Overall, the areas harbouring the richest amphibian faunas are disproportionately more affected by one or multiple threat factors than areas with low richness. Amphibian declines are likely to accelerate in the twenty-first century, because multiple drivers of extinction could jeopardize their populations more than previous, mono-causal, assessments have suggested.

  20. Multiple stressors in amphibian communities: Effects of chemical contamination, bullfrogs, and fish

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boone, M.D.; Semlitsch, R.D.; Little, E.E.; Doyle, M.C.

    2007-01-01

    A leading hypothesis of amphibian population declines is that combinations of multiple stressors contribute to declines. We examined the role that chemical contamination, competition, and predation play singly and in combination in aquatic amphibian communities. We exposed larvae of American toads (Bufo americanus), southern leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala), and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) to overwintered bullfrog tadpoles (R. catesbeiana), bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus), the insecticide carbaryl, and ammonium nitrate fertilizer in 1000-L mesocosms. Most significantly, our study demonstrated that the presence of multiple factors reduced survival of B. americanus and A. maculatum and lengthened larval periods of R. sphenocephala. The presence of bluegill had the largest impact on the community; it eliminated B. americanus and A. maculatum and reduced the abundance of R. sphenocephala. Chemical contaminants had the second strongest effect on the community with the insecticide, reducing A. maculatum abundance by 50% and increasing the mass of anurans (frogs and toads) at metamorphosis; the fertilizer positively influenced time and mass at metamorphosis for both anurans and A. maculatum. Presence of overwintered bullfrogs reduced mass and increased time to metamorphosis of anurans. While both bluegill and overwintered bullfrog tadpoles had negative effects on the amphibian community, they performed better in the presence of one another and in contaminated habitats. Our results indicate that predicting deleterious combinations from single-factor effects may not be straightforward. Our research supports the hypothesis that combinations of factors can negatively impact some amphibian species and could contribute to population declines. ?? 2007 by the Ecological Society of America.

  1. Acute toxicity tests and meta-analysis identify gaps in tropical ecotoxicology for amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ghose, Sonia L; Donnelly, Maureen A; Kerby, Jacob; Whitfield, Steven M

    2014-09-01

    Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, particularly in tropical regions where amphibian diversity is highest. Pollutants, including agricultural pesticides, have been identified as a potential contributor to decline, yet toxicological studies of tropical amphibians are very rare. The present study assesses toxic effects on amphibians of 10 commonly used commercial pesticides in tropical agriculture using 2 approaches. First, the authors conducted 8-d toxicity assays with formulations of each pesticide using individually reared red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) tadpoles. Second, they conducted a review of available data for the lethal concentration to kill 50% of test animals from the US Environmental Protection Agency's ECOTOX database to allow comparison with their findings. Lethal concentration estimates from the assays ranged over several orders of magnitude. The nematicides terbufos and ethoprophos and the fungicide chlorothalonil were very highly toxic, with evident effects within an order of magnitude of environmental concentrations. Acute toxicity assays and meta-analysis show that nematicides and fungicides are generally more toxic than herbicides yet receive far less research attention than less toxic herbicides. Given that the tropics have a high diversity of amphibians, the findings emphasize the need for research into the effects of commonly used pesticides in tropical countries and should help guide future ecotoxicological research in tropical regions.

  2. [The decline in the population growth rate--a priority issue in international politics].

    PubMed

    Rhein, E

    1994-08-25

    The Third International UN Conference on Population and Development took place in Cairo in early September 1994 with the participation of 200 governments and 1000 nongovernmental organizations to discuss ways of stabilizing world population at the possible lowest level and how industrialized countries could contribute to this effort. As a consequence of the advances in reproductive medicine the use of contraceptives skyrocketed: in 1994 more than half of men and women were using contraception compared to only 5% in 1950. However, the demographic momentum would still increase world population for another 100 years, even if fertility would drop to 2.2 children per couple (compared to 4 children in 1990). Nevertheless, the present generation could be instrumental in deciding whether the world's population will remain around 8 billion or reach 12 billion between 2050 and 2150. Poor countries can no longer afford an annual growth rate of 2-4% while also trying to improve living standards; this would require an economic growth rate of 6-8%. For the control of population growth both a sustainable environmental policy in the North, with rapid transition to renewable energy and recycling, and a more effective population policy in the South are needed. Family planning (FP) is the precondition of stabilization. The global FP outlays are envisioned to double from the 1994 figure of $5 billion to over $10 billion in the year 2000, with donor contributions to increase from 20% to 40% of the total. The US contribution is to double from $500 million by 2000, while the European Commission decided to boost expenditures for FP from DM 30 million in 1994 to DM 600 million by 2000. Japan is also expending $3 billion during this period. Recent promising developments have emerged: national pronatalist policies have diminished sharply and the pronatalist influence of religions has also declined. Political commitment at the highest level is central to a successful population policy as

  3. Assessment of the risk of solar ultraviolet radiation to amphibians. II. In situ characterzation of exposure in amphibian habitats.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Gregory S; Johnson, Lucinda B; Axler, Richard P; Diamond, Stephen A

    2002-07-01

    Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation has been hypothesized as a potential cause of amphibian population declines and increased incidence of malformations. Realistic studies documenting UV irradiance or dose have rarely been conducted in wetlands used by amphibians. Our data indicates that 99% of UVB is attenuated in the top 5-20 cm of wetlands in our study region (northern Minnesota and Wisconsin). Furthermore, vegetation and other habitat features have substantial impacts on local UVB irradiance levels and dose. UVB attenuation in the water columns of our wetlands is controlled by the specific absorption of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and consequently, UVB attenuation is best predicted by simple laboratory absorbance measurements such as bulk water color (absorbance at 440 nm) or wavelength-specific absorbance coefficients. Seasonal data indicate thatthe UVB absorption by early and mid-season DOC is higher than that of late summer and fall DOC, suggesting increased protection from UVB during the potentially sensitive stages of amphibian development. In addition to dissolved components, our model indicates that suspended solids play a small role in UVB attenuation in our wetlands but apparently only at high concentrations. Models predicting UV attenuation in wetlands should be used cautiously and should consider temporal variability, given the volatility and dynamic nature of water column characteristics in wetlands. Organism behavior is a critical but poorly understood phenomenon that must be addressed for development of an accurate UV exposure risk model for amphibians.

  4. Evaluating the performance of methods for estimating the abundance of rapidly declining coastal shark populations.

    PubMed

    McCauley, Douglas J; McLean, Kevin A; Bauer, John; Young, Hillary S; Micheli, Fiorenza

    2012-03-01

    Accurately surveying shark populations is critical to monitoring precipitous ongoing declines in shark abundance and interpreting the effects that these reductions are having on ecosystems. To evaluate the effectiveness of existing survey tools, we used field trials and computer simulations to critically examine the operation of four common methods for counting coastal sharks: stationary point counts, belt transects, video surveys, and mark and recapture abundance estimators. Empirical and theoretical results suggest that (1) survey method selection has a strong impact on the estimates of shark density that are produced, (2) standardizations by survey duration are needed to properly interpret and compare survey outputs, (3) increasing survey size does not necessarily increase survey precision, and (4) methods that yield the highest density estimates are not always the most accurate. These findings challenge some of the assumptions traditionally associated with surveying mobile marine animals. Of the methods we trialed, 8 x 50 m belt transects and a 20 m radius point count produced the most accurate estimates of shark density. These findings can help to improve the ways we monitor, manage, and understand the ecology of globally imperiled coastal shark populations.

  5. Impending conservation crisis for Southeast Asian amphibians

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  6. Use of multiple dispersal pathways facilitates amphibian persistence in stream networks.

    PubMed

    Campbell Grant, Evan H; Nichols, James D; Lowe, Winsor H; Fagan, William F

    2010-04-13

    Although populations of amphibians are declining worldwide, there is no evidence that salamanders occupying small streams are experiencing enigmatic declines, and populations of these species seem stable. Theory predicts that dispersal through multiple pathways can stabilize populations, preventing extinction in habitat networks. However, empirical data to support this prediction are absent for most species, especially those at risk of decline. Our mark-recapture study of stream salamanders reveals both a strong upstream bias in dispersal and a surprisingly high rate of overland dispersal to adjacent headwater streams. This evidence of route-dependent variation in dispersal rates suggests a spatial mechanism for population stability in headwater-stream salamanders. Our results link the movement behavior of stream salamanders to network topology, and they underscore the importance of identifying and protecting critical dispersal pathways when addressing region-wide population declines.

  7. Use of multiple dispersal pathways facilitates amphibian persistence in stream networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell, Grant E.H.; Nichols, J.D.; Lowe, W.H.; Fagan, W.F.

    2010-01-01

    Although populations of amphibians are declining worldwide, there is no evidence that salamanders occupying small streams are experiencing enigmatic declines, and populations of these species seem stable. Theory predicts that dispersal through multiple pathways can stabilize populations, preventing extinction in habitat networks. However, empirical data to support this prediction are absent for most species, especially those at risk of decline. Our mark-recapture study of stream salamanders reveals both a strong upstream bias in dispersal and a surprisingly high rate of overland dispersal to adjacent headwater streams. This evidence of route-dependent variation in dispersal rates suggests a spatial mechanism for population stability in headwater-stream salamanders. Our results link the movement behavior of stream salamanders to network topology, and they underscore the importance of identifying and protecting critical dispersal pathways when addressing region-wide population declines.

  8. Unravelling the annual cycle in a migratory animal: breeding-season habitat loss drives population declines of monarch butterflies.

    PubMed

    Flockhart, D T Tyler; Pichancourt, Jean-Baptiste; Norris, D Ryan; Martin, Tara G

    2015-01-01

    Threats to migratory animals can occur at multiple periods of the annual cycle that are separated by thousands of kilometres and span international borders. Populations of the iconic monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) of eastern North America have declined over the last 21 years. Three hypotheses have been posed to explain the decline: habitat loss on the overwintering grounds in Mexico, habitat loss on the breeding grounds in the United States and Canada, and extreme weather events. Our objectives were to assess population viability, determine which life stage, season and geographical region are contributing the most to population dynamics and test the three hypotheses that explain the observed population decline. We developed a spatially structured, stochastic and density-dependent periodic projection matrix model that integrates patterns of migratory connectivity and demographic vital rates across the annual cycle. We used perturbation analysis to determine the sensitivity of population abundance to changes in vital rate among life stages, seasons and geographical regions. Next, we compared the singular effects of each threat to the full model where all factors operate concurrently. Finally, we generated predictions to assess the risk of host plant loss as a result of genetically modified crops on current and future monarch butterfly population size and extinction probability. Our year-round population model predicted population declines of 14% and a quasi-extinction probability (<1000 individuals) >5% within a century. Monarch abundance was more than four times more sensitive to perturbations of vital rates on the breeding grounds than on the wintering grounds. Simulations that considered only forest loss or climate change in Mexico predicted higher population sizes compared to milkweed declines on the breeding grounds. Our model predictions also suggest that mitigating the negative effects of genetically modified crops results in higher population size and

  9. Amphibian Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob

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

  10. Association of Lifetime Intellectual Enrichment with Cognitive Decline in the Older Population

    PubMed Central

    Vemuri, Prashanthi; Lesnick, Timothy G.; Przybelski, Scott A.; Machulda, Mary; Knopman, David S.; Mielke, Michelle M.; Roberts, Rosebud O.; Geda, Yonas E.; Rocca, Walter A.; Petersen, Ronald C.; Jack, Clifford R.

    2014-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Intellectual lifestyle enrichment throughout life is increasingly viewed as a protective strategy against commonly observed cognitive decline in the elderly. OBJECTIVE To investigate the association of lifetime intellectual enrichment with baseline cognitive performance and rate of cognitive decline in a non-demented elderly population and to estimate difference (in years) associated with lifetime intellectual enrichment to the onset of cognitive impairment. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS Prospective analysis of subjects enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA), a longitudinal population-based study of cognitive aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota. We studied 1995 non-demented (1718 cognitively normal, 277 MCI) participants in MCSA who completed intellectual lifestyle measures at baseline and underwent at least one follow-up visit. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES We studied the effect of lifetime intellectual enrichment by separating the variables into two non-overlapping principal components: education/occupation-score and mid/late-life cognitive activity measure based on self-report questionnaires. A global cognitive Z-score served as our summary cognition measure. We used linear mixed-effects models to investigate the associations of demographic and intellectual enrichment measures with global cognitive Z-score trajectories. RESULTS Baseline cognitive performance was lower in older subjects and in those with lower education/occupation, lower mid/late-life cognitive activity, apolipoprotein E4 (APOE) genotype, and in men. The interaction between the two intellectual enrichment measures was significant such that the beneficial effect of mid/late-life cognitive activity on baseline cognitive performance was reduced with increasing education/occupation. Only baseline age, mid/late-life cognitive activity, and APOE4 genotype were significantly associated with longitudinal change in cognitive performance from baseline. For APOE4 carriers with high

  11. Minimising exposure of amphibians to pathogens during field studies.

    PubMed

    Phillott, A D; Speare, R; Hines, H B; Skerratt, L F; Meyer, E; McDonald, K R; Cashins, S D; Mendez, D; Berger, L

    2010-11-01

    Many of the recent global amphibian mass mortalities, declines and extinctions have been attributed to the emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis. There have been mass mortalities due to ranaviral disease but no major declines or extinctions. Controlling the transmission and spread of disease is of utmost importance, especially where there is the potential for human involvement. We have reviewed current hygiene guidelines for working with wild frogs, identified potential flaws and recommended those most suitable and effective for the field environment. Our within-site hygiene measures aim to reduce the risk of transmission among individuals. These measures encompass the capture, handling and holding of amphibians, skin disinfection before and after invasive procedures, marking frogs, sealing open wounds and treatment of accessory equipment. Our between-site hygiene measures aim to mitigate the risk of pathogen spread among populations. We have designed a risk calculator to help simplify and standardise the decision-making process for determining the level of risk and appropriate risk mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of increasing pathogen spread above background levels. Calculation of an overall risk score for pathogen spread takes into account the prior activity of field workers, the proposed activity, remoteness of the site, presence of known pathogens and the consequences of increased pathogen spread for amphibians in a given area.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. Chytridiomycosis: a global threat to amphibians.

    PubMed

    Pereira, P L L; Torres, A M C; Soares, D F M; Hijosa-Valsero, M; Bécares, E

    2013-12-01

    Chytridiomycosis, which is caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is an emerging infectious disease of amphibians. The disease is one of the main causes of the global decline in amphibians. The aetiological agent is ubiquitous, with worldwide distribution, and affects a large number of amphibian species in several biomes. In the last decade, scientific research has substantially increased knowledge of the aetiological agent and the associated infection. However, important epidemiological aspects of the environment-mediated interactions between the aetiological agent and the host are not yet clear. The objective of the present review is to describe chytridiomycosis with regard to the major features of the aetiological agent, the host and the environment.

  15. Pathogens, nutritional deficiency, and climate influences on a declining moose population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Murray, D.L.; Cox, E.W.; Ballard, W.B.; Whitlaw, H.A.; Lenarz, M.S.; Custer, T.W.; Barnett, T.; Fuller, T.K.

    2006-01-01

    Several potential proximate causes may be implicated in a recent (post-1984) decline in moose (Alces alces andersoni) numbers at their southern range periphery in northwest Minnesota, USA. These causes include deleterious effects of infectious pathogens, some of which are associated with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), negative effects of climate change, increased food competition with deer or moose, legal or illegal hunting, and increased predation by gray wolves (Canis lupus) and black bears (Ursus americanus). Long-standing factors that may have contributed to the moose decline include those typically associated with marginal habitat such as nutritional deficiencies. We examined survival and productivity among radiocollared (n = 152) adult female and juvenile moose in northwest Minnesota during 1995–2000, and assessed cause of death and pathology through carcass necropsy of radiocollared and non-radiocollared animals.Aerial moose surveys suggested that hunting was an unlikely source of the numerical decline because the level of harvest was relatively low (i.e., approx. 15% / 2 yr) and the population usually grew in years following a hunt. The majority of moose mortalities (up to 87% of radiocollared moose [n = 76] and up to 65% of non-radiocollared moose [n = 84]) were proximally related to pathology associated with parasites and infectious disease. Liver fluke (Fascioloides magna) infections apparently constituted the greatest single source of mortality and caused significant pathology in the liver, thoracic and peritoneal cavities, pericardial sac, and lungs. Mortality due to meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) was less prevalent and was manifested through characteristic neurological disease. Several mortalities apparently were associated with unidentified infectious disease, probably acting in close association with malnutrition. Bone-marrow fat was lower for moose dying of natural causes than those dying of anthropogenic factors or

  16. Monitoring Strategy for Eight Amphibian Species in French Guiana, South America

    PubMed Central

    Dewynter, Maël; Pineau, Kévin; Gaucher, Philippe; Chave, Jérôme

    2013-01-01

    Although dramatic amphibian declines have been documented worldwide, only few of such events have been quantitatively documented for the tropical forests of South America. This is due partly to the fact that tropical amphibians are patchily distributed and difficult to detect. We tested three methods often used to monitor population trends in amphibian species in a remote lowland tropical forest of French Guiana. These methods are capture-mark-recapture (CMR), estimation of the number of calling males with repeated counts data and distance sampling, and rates of occupancy inferred by presence/absence data. We monitored eight diurnal, terrestrial amphibian species including five Dendrobatidae and three Bufonidae. We found that CMR, the most precise way of estimating population size, can be used only with two species in high density patches where the recapture rate is high enough. Only for one of the species (Dendrobates tinctorius), a low coefficient of variation (CV = 0.19) can be achieved with 15 to 20 capture events. For dendrobatid species with day-calling males, audio surveys yield a better probability of detection with only 8 audio surveys needed; quantitative estimates can be achieved by computing the number of calling males inferred from audio counts or distance sampling analysis. We therefore suggest that an efficient monitoring protocol for Neotropical amphibian species should include a combination of sighting and audio techniques, and we discuss the need of implementing a large-scale monitoring in order to provide a baseline for comparison with future changes. PMID:23840717

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

    PubMed

    Kolby, Jonathan E; Skerratt, Lee F

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Local and global influences on population declines of coastal waders: Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima numbers in the Moray Firth, Scotland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Summers, Ron W.; Foster, Simon; Swann, Bob; Etheridge, Brian

    2012-05-01

    Declines in numbers by several wader species in Britain have been linked to climate change, but the mechanism for the declines has rarely been explored. Britain lies at the northern end of the East Atlantic Flyway, and supports 1.3 million out of the Flyway's 8.5 million coastal waders (Charadrii) in winter and the Purple Sandpiper is one of the species whose numbers have declined. Here, we examine the dynamics of the decline as observed in the Moray Firth, northeast Scotland, investigating whether the decline was due to poorer apparent survival (return rate) or poorer recruitment of young birds. The maximum number in the Moray Firth declined from 860 in 1987/88 to 236 in 2006/07, with some increase during winters 2007/08 and 2008/09. At the three main high-tide roosts (Balintore, Lossiemouth and Buckie) the maximum combined number declined from 574 to 90. Changes in survival and recruitment (percentage of first-year birds) were examined at these roosts from captured samples, which were ringed and recaptured. There were no significant changes between winters in survival rates, nor were there differences between the survival rates of age groups (first-year and adult) or bill size groups, which represented birds of different sex and breeding origin. Annual survival estimates for the three roosts ranged from 72 to 77%. The percentage of first-year birds varied among roosts and years; the lowest values were during the late 1980s/early 1990s and early 2000s. A free-running population model incorporating varying percentages of first-year birds and constant mortality for each roost provided a plausible explanation for the decline. Although modelled numbers followed the observed pattern, a discrepancy in one year was carried forward in subsequent years, so that the fit with the observed numbers was parallel rather than similar. However, it seems that the decline in numbers was largely due to poorer recruitment. We discuss whether breeding success had declined, whether the

  19. Coincident mass extirpation of neotropical amphibians with the emergence of the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Tina L.; Rovito, Sean M.; Wake, David B.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2011-01-01

    Amphibians highlight the global biodiversity crisis because ∼40% of all amphibian species are currently in decline. Species have disappeared even in protected habitats (e.g., the enigmatic extinction of the golden toad, Bufo periglenes, from Costa Rica). The emergence of a fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated in a number of declines that have occurred in the last decade, but few studies have been able to test retroactively whether Bd emergence was linked to earlier declines and extinctions. We describe a noninvasive PCR sampling technique that detects Bd in formalin-preserved museum specimens. We detected Bd by PCR in 83–90% (n = 38) of samples that were identified as positive by histology. We examined specimens collected before, during, and after major amphibian decline events at established study sites in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. A pattern of Bd emergence coincident with decline at these localities is revealed—the absence of Bd over multiple years at all localities followed by the concurrent emergence of Bd in various species at each locality during a period of population decline. The geographical and chronological emergence of Bd at these localities also indicates a southbound spread from southern Mexico in the early 1970s to western Guatemala in the 1980s/1990s and to Monteverde, Costa Rica by 1987. We find evidence of a historical “Bd epidemic wave” that began in Mexico and subsequently spread to Central America. We describe a technique that can be used to screen museum specimens from other amphibian decline sites around the world. PMID:21543713

  20. Coincident mass extirpation of neotropical amphibians with the emergence of the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Tina L; Rovito, Sean M; Wake, David B; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2011-06-07

    Amphibians highlight the global biodiversity crisis because ∼40% of all amphibian species are currently in decline. Species have disappeared even in protected habitats (e.g., the enigmatic extinction of the golden toad, Bufo periglenes, from Costa Rica). The emergence of a fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated in a number of declines that have occurred in the last decade, but few studies have been able to test retroactively whether Bd emergence was linked to earlier declines and extinctions. We describe a noninvasive PCR sampling technique that detects Bd in formalin-preserved museum specimens. We detected Bd by PCR in 83-90% (n = 38) of samples that were identified as positive by histology. We examined specimens collected before, during, and after major amphibian decline events at established study sites in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. A pattern of Bd emergence coincident with decline at these localities is revealed-the absence of Bd over multiple years at all localities followed by the concurrent emergence of Bd in various species at each locality during a period of population decline. The geographical and chronological emergence of Bd at these localities also indicates a southbound spread from southern Mexico in the early 1970s to western Guatemala in the 1980s/1990s and to Monteverde, Costa Rica by 1987. We find evidence of a historical "Bd epidemic wave" that began in Mexico and subsequently spread to Central America. We describe a technique that can be used to screen museum specimens from other amphibian decline sites around the world.

  1. Population decline induced by gonorrhoea and tuberculosis transmission: Micronesia during the Japanese occupation, 1919-45.

    PubMed

    Cassels, Susan; Singer, Burton H

    2010-12-01

    The islands of Yap in Micronesia survived a period of severe depopulation during the Japanese occupation from 1919 to 1945. Using data from historical documents, supplemented by ethnographic evidence, we calibrate a simulation model that accounts for this phenomenon. Our model tracks the reproduction histories of a synthetic cohort of women in Yap, including effects of infertility due to gonorrhoea as well as tuberculosis mortality, and predicts the net reproduction rate (NRR). In this particular case and throughout history, human migrations and associated social and cultural interactions have frequently been accompanied by dramatic changes in patterns of disease transmission and substantial demographic consequences. Despite the broad emphasis on mortality as a measure of demographic consequences in the historical and contemporary literature, there are important instances where life expectancy at birth, fertility rates, and total population size are important demographic consequences. We find that gonorrhoea may have significantly contributed to depopulation during the Japanese occupation of Micronesia, due to repeated infections and high risk of sterility. Results of our model suggest that gonorrhoea alone could have reduced the net reproduction rate by 82%, whereas deaths from tuberculosis may have contributed to a 17% decline.

  2. Dual-pathogen etiology of avian trichomonosis in a declining band-tailed pigeon population.

    PubMed

    Girard, Yvette A; Rogers, Krysta H; Woods, Leslie W; Chouicha, Nadira; Miller, Woutrina A; Johnson, Christine K

    2014-06-01

    The Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata monilis) is a migratory game bird of North America that is at risk for population decline. Epidemics of avian trichomonosis caused by upper digestive tract infection with Trichomonas spp. protozoa in these and other doves and pigeons of the United States are sporadic, but can involve tens of thousands of birds in a single event. Herein, we analyze the role of trichomonosis in band-tailed pigeon mortality and relate spatial, temporal and demographic patterns of parasite transmission to the genetic background of the infecting organism. Infections were most common in adult birds and prevalence was high in band-tailed pigeons sampled at mortality events (96%) and rehabilitation centers (36%) compared to those that were hunter-killed (11%) or live-caught (4%). During non-epidemic periods, animals were primarily infected with T. gallinae Fe-hydrogenase subtype A2, and were less often infected with either T. gallinae subtype A1 (the British finch epidemic strain), T. stableri n. sp. (a T. vaginalis-like species), or Tritrichomonas blagburni n. sp.-like organisms. Birds sampled during multiple epidemics in California were only infected with T. gallinae subtype A2 and T. stableri. The non-clonal etiology of avian trichomonosis outbreaks in band-tailed pigeons and the risk of spill-over to raptor and passerine species highlights the need for additional studies that clarify the host range and evolutionary relationships between strains of Trichomonas spp. in regions of trichomonosis endemicity.

  3. Projected risk of population declines for native fish species in the Upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crimmins, S.M.; Boma, P.; Thogmartin, W.E.

    2015-01-01

    Conservationists are in need of objective metrics for prioritizing the management of habitats. For individual species, the threat of extinction is often used to prioritize what species are in need of conservation action. Using long-term monitoring data, we applied a Bayesian diffusion approximation to estimate quasi-extinction risk for 54 native fish species within six commercial navigation reaches along a 1350-km gradient of the upper Mississippi River system. We found a strong negative linear relationship between quasi-extinction risk and distance upstream. For some species, quasi-extinction estimates ranged from nearly zero in some reaches to one in others, suggesting substantial variability in threats facing individual river reaches. We found no evidence that species traits affected quasi-extinction risk across the entire system. Our results indicate that fishes within the upper Mississippi River system face localized threats that vary across river impact gradients. This suggests that conservation actions should be focused on local habitat scales but should also consider the additive effects on downstream conditions. We also emphasize the need for identification of proximate mechanisms behind observed and predicted population declines, as conservation actions will require mitigation of such mechanisms. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  4. Novel survey method finds dramatic decline of wild cotton-top tamarin population

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Anne; Thomas, Len; Leighty, Katherine A.; Soto, Luis H.; Medina, Felix S.

    2010-01-01

    The cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) is a critically endangered primate, endemic to the tropical forests of Colombia. Population monitoring is essential to evaluate the success of conservation efforts, yet standard survey methods are ineffective because animals flee silently before they are seen. We developed a novel technique that combines the use of playbacks of territorial vocalizations with traditional transect surveys. We used remote sensing to identify potential habitat within the species' historic range, and visited the 27% that we could survey safely. Of this, only 99 km2 was extant forest, containing an estimated 2,045 animals (95% confidence interval 1,587–2,634). Assuming comparable densities in non-surveyed areas, approximately 7,394 wild cotton-top tamarins remain in Colombia. With 20–30,000 animals exported to the United States in the late 1960s, this must represent a precipitous decline. Habitat destruction and capture for the illegal pet trade are ongoing. Urgent conservation measures are required to prevent extinction in the wild. PMID:20975684

  5. A review of possible causes of nutrient enrichment and decline of endangered sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bortleson, Gilbert C.; Fretwell, Marvin O.

    1993-01-01

    Ten possible causes for this excessive enrichment in nutrients are described. Three of these hypotheses are suggested for immediate testing because of large-scale changes in nutrient loading that may have occurred as a result of man’s activities. These three hypotheses relate nutrient enrichment to (1) conversion of marshland to agricultural land, (2) agricultural drainage from the basin, and (3) reservoir regulation. Eleven possible hypothetical causes for the decline in sucker populations also are described. The decline in sucker population may be related to excessive nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) of the lake.

  6. Amphibian responses to wildfire in the western united states: Emerging patterns from short-term studies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hossack, B.R.; Pilliod, D.S.

    2011-01-01

    The increased frequency and severity of large wildfires in the western United States is an important ecological and management issue with direct relevance to amphibian conservation. Although the knowledge of fire effects on amphibians in the region is still limited relative to most other vertebrate species, we reviewed the current literature to determine if there are evident patterns that might be informative for conservation or management strategies. Of the seven studies that compared pre- and post-wildfire data on a variety of metrics, ranging from amphibian occupancy to body condition, two reported positive responses and five detected negative responses by at least one species. Another seven studies used a retrospective approach to compare effects of wildfire on populations: two studies reported positive effects, three reported negative effects from wildfire, and two reported no effects. All four studies that included plethodontid salamanders reported negative effects on populations or individuals; these effects were greater in forests where fire had been suppressed and in areas that burned with high severity. Species that breed in streams are also vulnerable to post-wildfire changes in habitat, especially in the Southwest. Wildfire is also important for maintaining suitable habitat for diverse amphibian communities, although those results may not be evident immediately after an area burns. We expect that wildfire will extirpate few healthy amphibian populations, but it is still unclear how populations will respond to wildfire in the context of land management (including pre- and post-fire timber harvest) and fragmentation. Wildfire may also increase the risk of decline or extirpation for small, isolated, or stressed (e.g., from drought or disease) populations. Improved understanding of how these effects vary according to changes in fire frequency and severity are critical to form more effective conservation strategies for amphibians in the western United States.

  7. Evidence that disease-induced population decline changes genetic structure and alters dispersal patterns in the Tasmanian devil.

    PubMed

    Lachish, S; Miller, K J; Storfer, A; Goldizen, A W; Jones, M E

    2011-01-01

    Infectious disease has been shown to be a major cause of population declines in wild animals. However, there remains little empirical evidence on the genetic consequences of disease-mediated population declines, or how such perturbations might affect demographic processes such as dispersal. Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has resulted in the rapid decline of the Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii, and threatens to cause extinction. Using 10 microsatellite DNA markers, we compared genetic diversity and structure before and after DFTD outbreaks in three Tasmanian devil populations to assess the genetic consequences of disease-induced population decline. We also used both genetic and demographic data to investigate dispersal patterns in Tasmanian devils along the east coast of Tasmania. We observed a significant increase in inbreeding (F(IS) pre/post-disease -0.030/0.012, P<0.05; relatedness pre/post-disease 0.011/0.038, P=0.06) in devil populations after just 2-3 generations of disease arrival, but no detectable change in genetic diversity. Furthermore, although there was no subdivision apparent among pre-disease populations (θ=0.005, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.003 to 0.017), we found significant genetic differentiation among populations post-disease (θ=0.020, 0.010-0.027), apparently driven by a combination of selection and altered dispersal patterns of females in disease-affected populations. We also show that dispersal is male-biased in devils and that dispersal distances follow a typical leptokurtic distribution. Our results show that disease can result in genetic and demographic changes in host populations over few generations and short time scales. Ongoing management of Tasmanian devils must now attempt to maintain genetic variability in this species through actions designed to reverse the detrimental effects of inbreeding and subdivision in disease-affected populations.

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

    PubMed Central

    An, Deuknam

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    An, Deuknam; Waldman, Bruce

    2016-03-01

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

  10. Do hormone-modulating chemicals impact on reproduction and development of wild amphibians?

    PubMed

    Orton, Frances; Tyler, Charles R

    2015-11-01

    Globally, amphibians are undergoing a precipitous decline. At the last estimate in 2004, 32% of the approximately 6000 species were threatened with extinction and 43% were experiencing significant declines. These declines have been linked with a wide range of environmental pressures from habitat loss to climate change, disease and pollution. This review evaluates the evidence that endocrine-disrupting contaminants (EDCs) - pollutants that affect hormone systems - are impacting on wild amphibians and contributing to population declines. The review is limited to anurans (frogs and toads) as data for effects of EDCs on wild urodeles (salamanders, newts) or caecilians (limbless amphibians) are extremely limited. Evidence from laboratory studies has shown that a wide range of chemicals have the ability to alter hormone systems and affect reproductive development and function in anurans, but for the most part only at concentrations exceeding those normally found in natural environments. Exceptions can be found for exposures to the herbicide atrazine and polychlorinated biphenyls in leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) and perchlorate in African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). These contaminants induce feminising effects on the male gonads (including 'intersex' - oocytes within testes) at concentrations measured in some aquatic environments. The most extensive data for effects of an EDC in wild amphibian populations are for feminising effects of atrazine on male gonad development in regions across the USA. Even where strong evidence has been provided for feminising effects of EDCs, however, the possible impact of these effects on fertility and breeding outcome has not been established, making inference for effects on populations difficult. Laboratory studies have shown that various chemicals, including perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls and bromodiphenylethers, also act as endocrine disrupters through interfering with thyroid-dependent processes that are fundamental for

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Managing habitat to slow or reverse population declines of the Columbia spotted frog in the Northern Great Basin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pilliod, David S.; Richard D. Scherer,

    2015-01-01

    Evaluating the effectiveness of habitat management actions is critical to adaptive management strategies for conservation of imperiled species. We quantified the response of a Great Basin population of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) to multiple habitat improvement actions aimed to reduce threats and reverse population declines. We used mark-recapture data for 1,394 adult frogs that had been marked by state, federal, and university biologists in 9 ponds representing a single population over a 16-year period from 1997 to 2012. With the use of demographic models, we assessed population-level effects of 1) a grazing exclosure constructed around 6 stock ponds that had been used to water livestock for decades before being fully fenced in 2003, and 2) the construction of 3 new stock ponds in 2003 to provide alternative water sources for livestock and, secondarily, to provide additional frog habitat. These management actions were implemented in response to a decline of more than 80% in population size from 1997 to 2002. We found evidence that excluding cattle from ponds and surrounding riparian habitats resulted in higher levels of frog production (more egg masses), higher adult frog recruitment and survival, and higher population growth rate. We also found that frogs colonized the newly constructed stock ponds within 3 years and frogs began breeding in 2 of them after 5 years. The positive effects of the cattle exclosure and additional production from the new ponds, although notable, did not result in full recovery of the population even 9 years later. This slow recovery may be partly explained by the effects of weather on recruitment rates, particularly the negative effects of harsher winters with late springs and higher fall temperatures. Although our findings point to potential successes of habitat management aimed at slowing or reversing rapidly declining frog populations, our study also suggests that recovering from severe population declines can take

  13. Physical Function Decline and the Risk of Elder Self-neglect in a Community-Dwelling Population

    PubMed Central

    Dong, XinQi; Simon, Melissa; Fulmer, Terry; Mendes de Leon, Carlos F.; Rajan, Bharat; Evans, Denis A.

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: This longitudinal study examines the association between physical function decline and the risk of elder self-neglect in a community-dwelling population. Design and Methods: Of the 5,570 participants in the Chicago Health Aging Project, 1,068 were reported to social services agency for suspected elder self-neglect from 1993 to 2005. The primary predictor was objectively assessed physical function using decline in physical performance testing. Secondary predictors were assessed using the decline in self-reported Katz, Nagi, and Rosow–Breslau scales. Outcome of interest was elder self-neglect. Logistic and linear regression models were used to assess these associations. Results: After adjusting for confounding factors, every 1-point decline in physical performance testing was associated with increased risk of reported elder self-neglect (odds ratio [OR], 1.05, confidence interval [CI], 1.03–1.07, p < .001). Decline in Katz (OR, 1.05, CI, 1.00–1.10, p < .05) and decline in Rosow–Breslau (OR, 1.19, CI, 1.11–1.27, p < .001) were associated with increased risk of reported elder self-neglect. Decline in physical performance testing (standardized parameter estimate [PE]: 0.19, SE: 0.06, p = .002), Katz (PE: 0.65, SE: 0.14, p < .001), Nagi (PE: 0.48, SE: 0.14, p < .001), and Rosow–Breslau (PE: 0.57, SE: 0.21, p = .006) scales were associated with increased risk of greater self-neglect severity. Implications: Decline in physical function was associated with increased risk of reported elder self-neglect and greater self-neglect severity in this community-dwelling population. PMID:20019180

  14. Is the current decline in malaria burden in sub-Saharan Africa due to a decrease in vector population?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum has historically been a major contributor to morbidity and mortality. Recent reports indicate a pronounced decline in infection and disease rates which are commonly ascribed to large-scale bed net programmes and improved case management. However, the decline has also occurred in areas with limited or no intervention. The present study assessed temporal changes in Anopheline populations in two highly malaria-endemic communities of NE Tanzania during the period 1998-2009. Methods Between 1998 and 2001 (1st period) and between 2003 and 2009 (2nd period), mosquitoes were collected weekly in 50 households using CDC light traps. Data on rainfall were obtained from the nearby climate station and were used to analyze the association between monthly rainfall and malaria mosquito populations. Results The average number of Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus per trap decreased by 76.8% and 55.3%, respectively over the 1st period, and by 99.7% and 99.8% over the 2nd period. During the last year of sampling (2009), the use of 2368 traps produced a total of only 14 Anopheline mosquitoes. With the exception of the decline in An. gambiae during the 1st period, the results did not reveal any statistical association between mean trend in monthly rainfall and declining malaria vector populations. Conclusion A longitudinal decline in the density of malaria mosquito vectors was seen during both study periods despite the absence of organized vector control. Part of the decline could be associated with changes in the pattern of monthly rainfall, but other factors may also contribute to the dramatic downward trend. A similar decline in malaria vector densities could contribute to the decrease in levels of malaria infection reported from many parts of SSA. PMID:21752273

  15. Sudden deaths and colony population decline in Greek honey bee colonies.

    PubMed

    Bacandritsos, N; Granato, A; Budge, G; Papanastasiou, I; Roinioti, E; Caldon, M; Falcaro, C; Gallina, A; Mutinelli, F

    2010-11-01

    During June and July of 2009, sudden deaths, tremulous movements and population declines of adult honey bees were reported by the beekeepers in the region of Peloponnesus (Mt. Mainalo), Greece. A preliminary study was carried out to investigate these unexplained phenomena in this region. In total, 37 bee samples, two brood frames containing honey bee brood of various ages, eight sugar samples and four sugar patties were collected from the affected colonies. The samples were tested for a range of pests, pathogens and pesticides. Symptomatic adult honey bees tested positive for Varroa destructor, Nosema ceranae, Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), Acute paralysis virus (ABPV), Deformed wing virus (DWV), Sacbrood virus (SBV) and Black queen cell virus (BQCV), but negative for Acarapis woodi. American Foulbrood was absent from the brood samples. Chemical analysis revealed that amitraz, thiametoxan, clothianidin and acetamiprid were all absent from symptomatic adult bees, sugar and sugar patty samples. However, some bee samples, were contaminated with imidacloprid in concentrations between 14 ng/g and 39 ng/g tissue. We present: the infection of Greek honey bees by multiple viruses; the presence of N. ceranae in Greek honey bees and the first record of imidacloprid (neonicotonoid) residues in Greek honey bee tissues. The presence of multiple pathogens and pesticides made it difficult to associate a single specific cause to the depopulation phenomena observed in Greece, although we believe that viruses and N. ceranae synergistically played the most important role. A follow-up in-depth survey across all Greek regions is required to provide context to these preliminary findings.

  16. Physical Function Decline and the Risk of Elder Self-Neglect in a Community-Dwelling Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dong, XinQi; Simon, Melissa; Fulmer, Terry; de Leon, Carlos F. Mendes; Rajan, Bharat; Evans, Denis A.

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: This longitudinal study examines the association between physical function decline and the risk of elder self-neglect in a community-dwelling population. Design and Methods: Of the 5,570 participants in the Chicago Health Aging Project, 1,068 were reported to social services agency for suspected elder self-neglect from 1993 to 2005. The…

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  18. Winter body condition of moose (Alces alces) in a declining population in northeastern Minnesota.

    PubMed

    DelGiudice, Glenn D; Sampson, Barry A; Lenarz, Mark S; Schrage, Michael W; Edwards, Andrew J

    2011-01-01

    Assessments of the condition of moose (Alces alces) may be particularly informative to understanding the dynamics of populations and other influential factors. During February-March 2003 to 2005, we assessed the nutritional condition of 79 moose (39 females, 40 males) in northeastern Minnesota by body condition scoring (BCS(F), scale of 0-10); 67 of these by were assessed by ultrasonographic measurements of rump fat (Maxfat), which was used to estimate ingesta-free body fat (IFBF) in all but two of the females. Scores of the BCS(F) were related (r(2)=0.34, P<0.0001) to Maxfat. Body condition scores were not affected by sex × capture-year, capture-year, or age-at-capture, but the mean body condition score of males (6.5 ± 0.2 [SE], n=40) was less (P ≤ 0.009) than that of females (7.4 ± 0.2, n=39). Overall, Maxfat ranged from 0.0 to 4.6 and 0.3 to 2.8 cm in females and males, respectively, and was unaffected by age-at-capture. There was a sex×capture-year effect (P=0.021) on Maxfat; mean values were stable for males during the winters of 2003 to 2005 but in females were lowest during 2003, consistent with the lowest pregnancy rates and lowest winter and spring survival compared to 2004 and 2005. Based on estimates of percent IFBF, late winter-early spring survival in 2003 of at least 11% of the collared animals assessed by Maxfat, 21% of the adult females, specifically, may have been seriously challenged directly by poor condition. Data from this study provide reference values and assessments of body condition of moose that will be an essential component of the additional, comprehensive research needed to better understand the influence of extrinsic and intrinsic factors on the performance of this viable, but declining, population. For future research, we will concentrate on developing a more-reliable BCS which would allow IFBF estimation once rump fat is depleted.

  19. Declines in moose population density at Isle Royle National Park, MI, USA and accompanied changes in landscape patterns

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    De Jager, N. R.; Pastor, J.

    2009-01-01

    Ungulate herbivores create patterns of forage availability, plant species composition, and soil fertility as they range across large landscapes and consume large quantities of plant material. Over time, herbivore populations fluctuate, producing great potential for spatio-temporal landscape dynamics. In this study, we extend the spatial and temporal extent of a long-term investigation of the relationship of landscape patterns to moose foraging behavior at Isle Royale National Park, MI. We examined how patterns of browse availability and consumption, plant basal area, and soil fertility changed during a recent decline in the moose population. We used geostatistics to examine changes in the nature of spatial patterns in two valleys over 18 years and across short-range and long-range distance scales. Landscape patterns of available and consumed browse changed from either repeated patches or randomly distributed patches in 1988-1992 to random point distributions by 2007 after a recent record high peak followed by a rapid decline in the moose population. Patterns of available and consumed browse became decoupled during the moose population low, which is in contrast to coupled patterns during the earlier high moose population. Distributions of plant basal area and soil nitrogen availability also switched from repeated patches to randomly distributed patches in one valley and to random point distributions in the other valley. Rapid declines in moose population density may release vegetation and soil fertility from browsing pressure and in turn create random landscape patterns. ?? Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

  20. Ecology and pathology of amphibian ranaviruses.

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-03

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. The Amphibians of Mount Oku, Cameroon: an updated species inventory and conservation review

    PubMed Central

    Doherty-Bone, Thomas M.; Gvoždík, Václav

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Amphibians are a disproportionately threatened group of vertebrates, the status of which in Sub-Saharan Africa is still uncertain, with heterogeneous fauna punctuated by mountains. Mount Oku, Cameroon is one such mountain, which holds many endemic and restricted-range species. The history of amphibian research on Mt Oku, current knowledge on biogeography and conservation biology is reviewed, including recent findings. This updated inventory adds 25 further species, with 50 species of amphibian so far recorded to the Oku Massif (c. 900 to 3,011 m). This includes 5 endemic to Mt Oku, 7 endemic to the Bamenda Highlands, 18 restricted to the highlands of Cameroon and Nigeria, and 20 with broader ranges across Africa. This includes a new mountain locality for the Critically Endangered Leptodactylodon axillaris. Among others, the first record of Phrynobatrachus schioetzi and Ptychadena taenioscelis from Cameroon are presented. The uncertainty of habitat affinities and elevational ranges are discussed. The proportion of threatened species on Mt Oku is 44.2%, but projected to increase to 47.9% due to new species descriptions and recent dramatic declines. The natural habitats of Mt Oku are irreplaceable refuges for its endemic and restricted-range amphibian populations under severe pressure elsewhere in their range. Threats to this important amphibian fauna are increasing, including agricultural encroachment, expanding aquaculture, livestock grazing, pollution, invasive species, forest loss and degradation. Past, present and desired conservation interventions to address these threats are discussed. PMID:28144180

  3. The Amphibians of Mount Oku, Cameroon: an updated species inventory and conservation review.

    PubMed

    Doherty-Bone, Thomas M; Gvoždík, Václav

    2017-01-01

    Amphibians are a disproportionately threatened group of vertebrates, the status of which in Sub-Saharan Africa is still uncertain, with heterogeneous fauna punctuated by mountains. Mount Oku, Cameroon is one such mountain, which holds many endemic and restricted-range species. The history of amphibian research on Mt Oku, current knowledge on biogeography and conservation biology is reviewed, including recent findings. This updated inventory adds 25 further species, with 50 species of amphibian so far recorded to the Oku Massif (c. 900 to 3,011 m). This includes 5 endemic to Mt Oku, 7 endemic to the Bamenda Highlands, 18 restricted to the highlands of Cameroon and Nigeria, and 20 with broader ranges across Africa. This includes a new mountain locality for the Critically Endangered Leptodactylodon axillaris. Among others, the first record of Phrynobatrachus schioetzi and Ptychadena taenioscelis from Cameroon are presented. The uncertainty of habitat affinities and elevational ranges are discussed. The proportion of threatened species on Mt Oku is 44.2%, but projected to increase to 47.9% due to new species descriptions and recent dramatic declines. The natural habitats of Mt Oku are irreplaceable refuges for its endemic and restricted-range amphibian populations under severe pressure elsewhere in their range. Threats to this important amphibian fauna are increasing, including agricultural encroachment, expanding aquaculture, livestock grazing, pollution, invasive species, forest loss and degradation. Past, present and desired conservation interventions to address these threats are discussed.

  4. Has contemporary climate change played a role in population declines of the lizard Ctenophorus decresii from semi-arid Australia?

    PubMed

    Walker, Samantha; Stuart-Fox, Devi; Kearney, Michael R

    2015-12-01

    Whilst contemporary climatic changes are small in magnitude compared to those predicted for the coming decades, they have already been linked to species range shifts and local extinctions. Elucidating the drivers behind species' responses to contemporary climate change will better inform management strategies for vulnerable and pest species alike. A recent proposal to explain worldwide local extinctions in lizards is that increasing maximum temperatures have constrained lizard activity time in the breeding season beyond extinction thresholds. Here we document a significant population decline and potential local extinction at the warm (northern) range margin of the tawny dragon, Ctenophorus decresii, a rock-dwelling lizard from the Flinders Ranges in semi-arid Australia. We developed and tested a biophysical model of tawny dragon thermoregulatory behaviour and drove the model with daily weather data for the period 1990-2009 across the Flinders Ranges. Our results indicate that potential annual activity time has likely increased over this period throughout the historic range, with within-season declines only in the summer months at the northern range limit. However, populations that have declined since 2000 have also likely experienced higher active body temperatures and more stringent retreat-site requirements (deeper crevices) than have regions where the species remains common, during a period of declining rainfall. Our laboratory estimates of thermal preference in this species were insensitive to altered nutritional and hydric state. Thus it is possible that recent population declines are linked to desiccation stress driven by higher body temperatures and declining rainfall. Our study illustrates that simple indices of the impact of climate warming on animals, such as activity restriction, may in fact reflect a variety of potential mechanisms whose ultimate outcome will be contingent on other factors such as water and shelter availability.

  5. Assessing the global zoo response to the amphibian crisis through 20-year trends in captive collections.

    PubMed

    Dawson, Jeff; Patel, Freisha; Griffiths, Richard A; Young, Richard P

    2016-02-01

    Global amphibian declines are one of the biggest challenges currently facing the conservation community, and captive breeding is one way to address this crisis. Using information from the International Species Information System zoo network, we examined trends in global zoo amphibian holdings across species, zoo region, and species geographical region of origin from 1994 to 2014. These trends were compared before and after the 2004 Global Amphibian Assessment to assess whether any changes occurred and whether zoo amphibian conservation effort had increased. The numbers of globally threatened species (GTS) and their proportional representation in global zoo holdings increased and this rate of increase was significantly greater after 2004. North American, European, and Oceanian GTS were best represented in zoos globally, and proportions of Oceanian GTS held increased the most since 2004. South American and Asian GTS had the lowest proportional representation in zoos. At a regional zoo level, European zoos held the lowest proportions of GTS, and this proportion did not increase after 2004. Since 1994, the number of species held in viable populations has increased, and these species are distributed among more institutions. However, as of 2014, zoos held 6.2% of globally threatened amphibians, a much smaller figure than for other vertebrate groups and one that falls considerably short of the number of species for which ex situ management may be desirable. Although the increased effort zoos have put into amphibian conservation over the past 20 years is encouraging, more focus is needed on ex situ conservation priority species. This includes building expertise and capacity in countries that hold them and tracking existing conservation efforts if the evidence-based approach to amphibian conservation planning at a global level is to be further developed.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  7. Two centuries of the Scandinavian wolf population: patterns of genetic variability and migration during an era of dramatic decline.

    PubMed

    Flagstad, Ø; Walker, C W; Vilà, C; Sundqvist, A-K; Fernholm, B; Hufthammer, A K; Wiig, Ø; Koyola, I; Ellegren, H

    2003-04-01

    The grey wolf (Canis lupus) was numerous on the Scandinavian peninsula in the early 19th century. However, as a result of intense persecution, the population declined dramatically and was virtually extinct from the peninsula by the 1960s. We examined historical patterns of genetic variability throughout the period of decline, from 1829 to 1979. Contemporary Finnish wolves, considered to be representative of a large eastern wolf population, were used for comparison. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variability among historical Scandinavian wolves was significantly lower than in Finland while Y chromosome variability was comparable between the two populations. This may suggest that long-distance migration from the east has been male-biased. Importantly though, as the historical population was significantly differentiated from contemporary Finnish wolves, the overall immigration rate to the Scandinavian peninsula appears to have been low. Levels of variability at autosomal microsatellite loci were high by the early 1800s but declined considerably towards the mid-20th century. At this time, approximately 40% of the allelic diversity and 30% of the heterozygosity had been lost. After 1940, however, there is evidence of several immigration events, coinciding with episodes of marked population increase in Russian Karelia and subsequent westwards migration.

  8. Evidence of genetic distinction and long-term population decline in wolves (Canis lupus) in the Italian Apennines.

    PubMed

    Lucchini, V; Galov, A; Randi, E

    2004-03-01

    Historical information suggests the occurrence of an extensive human-caused contraction in the distribution range of wolves (Canis lupus) during the last few centuries in Europe. Wolves disappeared from the Alps in the 1920s, and thereafter continued to decline in peninsular Italy until the 1970s, when approximately 100 individuals survived, isolated in the central Apennines. In this study we performed a coalescent analysis of multilocus DNA markers to infer patterns and timing of historical population changes in wolves surviving in the Apennines. This population showed a unique mitochondrial DNA control-region haplotype, the absence of private alleles and lower heterozygosity at microsatellite loci, as compared to other wolf populations. Multivariate, clustering and Bayesian assignment procedures consistently assigned all the wolf genotypes sampled in Italy to a single group, supporting their genetic distinction. Bottleneck tests showed evidences of population decline in the Italian wolves, but not in other populations. Results of a Bayesian coalescent model indicate that wolves in Italy underwent a 100- to 1000-fold population contraction over the past 2000-10,000 years. The population decline was stronger and longer in peninsular Italy than elsewhere in Europe, suggesting that wolves have apparently been genetically isolated for thousands of generations south of the Alps. Ice caps covering the Alps at the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 18,000 years before present), and the wide expansion of the Po River, which cut the alluvial plains throughout the Holocene, might have provided effective geographical barriers to wolf dispersal. More recently, the admixture of Alpine and Apennine wolf populations could have been prevented by deforestation, which was already widespread in the fifteenth century in northern Italy. This study suggests that, despite the high potential rates of dispersal and gene flow, local wolf populations may not have mixed for long periods of time.

  9. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, J. I.; Kowalski, G. J.; Klimova, A.; Staniland, I. J.; Baylis, A. M. M.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations. PMID:27493782

  10. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, J I; Kowalski, G J; Klimova, A; Eberhart-Phillips, L J; Staniland, I J; Baylis, A M M

    2016-07-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations.

  11. Ancient DNA reveals genetic stability despite demographic decline: 3,000 years of population history in the endemic Hawaiian petrel.

    PubMed

    Welch, Andreanna J; Wiley, Anne E; James, Helen F; Ostrom, Peggy H; Stafford, Thomas W; Fleischer, Robert C

    2012-12-01

    In the Hawaiian Islands, human colonization, which began approximately 1,200 to 800 years ago, marks the beginning of a period in which nearly 75% of the endemic avifauna became extinct and the population size and range of many additional species declined. It remains unclear why some species persisted whereas others did not. The endemic Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) has escaped extinction, but colonies on two islands have been extirpated and populations on remaining islands have contracted. We obtained mitochondrial DNA sequences from 100 subfossil bones, 28 museum specimens, and 289 modern samples to investigate patterns of gene flow and temporal changes in the genetic diversity of this endangered species over the last 3,000 years, as Polynesians and then Europeans colonized the Hawaiian Islands. Genetic differentiation was found to be high between both modern and ancient petrel populations. However, gene flow was substantial between the extirpated colonies on Oahu and Molokai and modern birds from the island of Lanai. No significant reductions in genetic diversity occurred over this period, despite fears in the mid-1900s that this species may have been extinct. Simulations show that even a decline to a stable effective population size of 100 individuals would result in the loss of only 5% of the expected heterozygosity. Simulations also show that high levels of genetic diversity may be retained due to the long generation time of this species. Such decoupling between population size and genetic diversity in long-lived species can have important conservation implications. It appears that a pattern of dispersal from declining colonies, in addition to long generation time, may have allowed the Hawaiian petrel to escape a severe genetic bottleneck, and the associated extinction vortex, and persist despite a large population decline after human colonization.

  12. Improved Analysis of Long-Term Monitoring Data Demonstrates Marked Regional Declines of Bat Populations in the Eastern United States.

    PubMed

    Ingersoll, Thomas E; Sewall, Brent J; Amelon, Sybill K

    2013-01-01

    Bats are diverse and ecologically important, but are also subject to a suite of severe threats. Evidence for localized bat mortality from these threats is well-documented in some cases, but long-term changes in regional populations of bats remain poorly understood. Bat hibernation surveys provide an opportunity to improve understanding, but analysis is complicated by bats' cryptic nature, non-conformity of count data to assumptions of traditional statistical methods, and observation heterogeneities such as variation in survey timing. We used generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) to account for these complicating factors and to evaluate long-term, regional population trajectories of bats. We focused on four hibernating bat species - little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), Indiana myotis (M. sodalis), and northern myotis (M. septentrionalis) - in a four-state region of the eastern United States during 1999-2011. Our results, from counts of nearly 1.2 million bats, suggest that cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71% (with 95% confidence interval of ±11%) in M. lucifugus, 34% (±38%) in P. subflavus, 30% (±26%) in M. sodalis, and 31% (±18%) in M. septentrionalis. The M. lucifugus population fluctuated until 2004 before persistently declining, and the populations of the other three species declined persistently throughout the study period. Population trajectories suggest declines likely resulted from the combined effect of multiple threats, and indicate a need for enhanced conservation efforts. They provide strong support for a change in the IUCN Red List conservation status in M. lucifugus from Least Concern to Endangered within the study area, and are suggestive of a need to change the conservation status of the other species. Our modeling approach provided estimates of uncertainty, accommodated non-linearities, and controlled for observation heterogeneities, and thus has wide

  13. Improved Analysis of Long-Term Monitoring Data Demonstrates Marked Regional Declines of Bat Populations in the Eastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Amelon, Sybill K.

    2013-01-01

    Bats are diverse and ecologically important, but are also subject to a suite of severe threats. Evidence for localized bat mortality from these threats is well-documented in some cases, but long-term changes in regional populations of bats remain poorly understood. Bat hibernation surveys provide an opportunity to improve understanding, but analysis is complicated by bats' cryptic nature, non-conformity of count data to assumptions of traditional statistical methods, and observation heterogeneities such as variation in survey timing. We used generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) to account for these complicating factors and to evaluate long-term, regional population trajectories of bats. We focused on four hibernating bat species – little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), Indiana myotis (M. sodalis), and northern myotis (M. septentrionalis) – in a four-state region of the eastern United States during 1999–2011. Our results, from counts of nearly 1.2 million bats, suggest that cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71% (with 95% confidence interval of ±11%) in M. lucifugus, 34% (±38%) in P. subflavus, 30% (±26%) in M. sodalis, and 31% (±18%) in M. septentrionalis. The M. lucifugus population fluctuated until 2004 before persistently declining, and the populations of the other three species declined persistently throughout the study period. Population trajectories suggest declines likely resulted from the combined effect of multiple threats, and indicate a need for enhanced conservation efforts. They provide strong support for a change in the IUCN Red List conservation status in M. lucifugus from Least Concern to Endangered within the study area, and are suggestive of a need to change the conservation status of the other species. Our modeling approach provided estimates of uncertainty, accommodated non-linearities, and controlled for observation heterogeneities, and thus

  14. The population decline of Gyps vultures in India and Nepal has slowed since veterinary use of diclofenac was banned.

    PubMed

    Prakash, Vibhu; Bishwakarma, Mohan Chandra; Chaudhary, Anand; Cuthbert, Richard; Dave, Ruchi; Kulkarni, Mandar; Kumar, Sashi; Paudel, Khadananda; Ranade, Sachin; Shringarpure, Rohan; Green, Rhys E

    2012-01-01

    Populations of oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) crashed during the mid-1990s throughout the Indian subcontinent. Surveys in India, initially conducted in 1991-1993 and repeated in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, revealed that the population of Gyps bengalensis had fallen by 2007 to 0.1% of its numbers in the early 1990s, with the population of Gyps indicus and G. tenuirostris combined having fallen to 3.2% of its earlier level. A survey of G. bengalensis in western Nepal indicated that the size of the population in 2009 was 25% of that in 2002. In this paper, repeat surveys conducted in 2011 were analysed to estimate recent population trends. Populations of all three species of vulture remained at a low level, but the decline had slowed and may even have reversed for G. bengalensis, both in India and Nepal. However, estimates of the most recent population trends are imprecise, so it is possible that declines may be continuing, though at a significantly slower rate. The degree to which the decline of G. bengalensis in India has slowed is consistent with the expected effects on population trend of a measured change in the level of contamination of ungulate carcasses with the drug diclofenac, which is toxic to vultures, following a ban on its veterinary use in 2006. The most recent available information indicates that the elimination of diclofenac from the vultures' food supply is incomplete, so further efforts are required to fully implement the ban.

  15. Nutrition and Health in Amphibian Husbandry

    PubMed Central

    Ferrie, Gina M.; Alford, Vance C.; Atkinson, Jim; Baitchman, Eric; Barber, Diane; Blaner, William S.; Crawshaw, Graham; Daneault, Andy; Dierenfeld, Ellen; Finke, Mark; Fleming, Greg; Gagliardo, Ron; Hoffman, Eric A.; Karasov, William; Klasing, Kirk; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Lankton, Julia; Lavin, Shana R.; Lentini, Andrew; Livingston, Shannon; Lock, Brad; Mason, Tom; McComb, Alejandra; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P.; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Probst, Tom; Rodriguez, Carlos; Schad, Kristine; Semmen, Kent; Sincage, Jamie; Stamper, M. Andrew; Steinmetz, Jason; Sullivan, Kathleen; Terrell, Scott; Wertan, Nina; Wheaton, Catharine J.; Wilson, Brad; Valdes, Eduardo V.

    2015-01-01

    Amphibian biology is intricate, and there are many inter-related factors that need to be understood before establishing successful Conservation Breeding Programs (CBPs). Nutritional needs of amphibians are highly integrated with disease and their husbandry needs, and the diversity of developmental stages, natural habitats, and feeding strategies result in many different recommendations for proper care and feeding. This review identifies several areas where there is substantial room for improvement in maintaining healthy ex situ amphibian populations specifically in the areas of obtaining and utilizing natural history data for both amphibians and their dietary items, achieving more appropriate environmental parameters, understanding stress and hormone production, and promoting better physical and population health. Using a scientific or research framework to answer questions about disease, nutrition, husbandry, genetics, and endocrinology of ex situ amphibians will improve specialists’ understanding of the needs of these species. In general, there is a lack of baseline data and comparative information for most basic aspects of amphibian biology as well as standardized laboratory approaches. Instituting a formalized research approach in multiple scientific disciplines will be beneficial not only to the management of current ex situ populations, but also in moving forward with future conservation and reintroduction projects. This overview of gaps in knowledge concerning ex situ amphibian care should serve as a foundation for much needed future research in these areas. PMID:25296396

  16. Nutrition and health in amphibian husbandry.

    PubMed

    Ferrie, Gina M; Alford, Vance C; Atkinson, Jim; Baitchman, Eric; Barber, Diane; Blaner, William S; Crawshaw, Graham; Daneault, Andy; Dierenfeld, Ellen; Finke, Mark; Fleming, Greg; Gagliardo, Ron; Hoffman, Eric A; Karasov, William; Klasing, Kirk; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Lankton, Julia; Lavin, Shana R; Lentini, Andrew; Livingston, Shannon; Lock, Brad; Mason, Tom; McComb, Alejandra; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Probst, Tom; Rodriguez, Carlos; Schad, Kristine; Semmen, Kent; Sincage, Jamie; Stamper, M Andrew; Steinmetz, Jason; Sullivan, Kathleen; Terrell, Scott; Wertan, Nina; Wheaton, Catharine J; Wilson, Brad; Valdes, Eduardo V

    2014-01-01

    Amphibian biology is intricate, and there are many inter-related factors that need to be understood before establishing successful Conservation Breeding Programs (CBPs). Nutritional needs of amphibians are highly integrated with disease and their husbandry needs, and the diversity of developmental stages, natural habitats, and feeding strategies result in many different recommendations for proper care and feeding. This review identifies several areas where there is substantial room for improvement in maintaining healthy ex situ amphibian populations specifically in the areas of obtaining and utilizing natural history data for both amphibians and their dietary items, achieving more appropriate environmental parameters, understanding stress and hormone production, and promoting better physical and population health. Using a scientific or research framework to answer questions about disease, nutrition, husbandry, genetics, and endocrinology of ex situ amphibians will improve specialists' understanding of the needs of these species. In general, there is a lack of baseline data and comparative information for most basic aspects of amphibian biology as well as standardized laboratory approaches. Instituting a formalized research approach in multiple scientific disciplines will be beneficial not only to the management of current ex situ populations, but also in moving forward with future conservation and reintroduction projects. This overview of gaps in knowledge concerning ex situ amphibian care should serve as a foundation for much needed future research in these areas.

  17. Low levels of chemical anthropogenic pollution may threaten amphibians by impairing predator recognition.

    PubMed

    Polo-Cavia, Nuria; Burraco, Pablo; Gomez-Mestre, Ivan

    2016-03-01

    Recent studies suggest that direct mortality and physiological effects caused by pollutants are major contributing factors to global amphibian decline. However, even sublethal concentrations of pollutants could be harmful if they combined with other factors to cause high mortality in amphibians. Here we show that sublethal concentrations of pollutants can disrupt the ability of amphibian larvae to recognize predators, hence increasing their risk of predation. This effect is indeed much more important since very low amounts of pollutants are ubiquitous, and environmental efforts are mostly directed towards preventing lethal spills. We analyzed the effects of two common contaminants (humic acid and ammonium nitrate) on the ability of tadpoles of the western spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) to recognize chemical cues from a common predator, nymphs of the dragonfly Anax imperator. We compared the swimming activity of tadpoles in the presence and absence of water-borne chemical cues from dragonflies at different concentrations of humic acid and ammonium nitrate. Tadpoles reduced swimming activity in response to predator cues in the absence of pollutants, whereas they remained unresponsive to these cues when either humic acid or ammonium nitrate was added to the water, even at low concentrations. Moreover, changes in tadpole activity associated with the pollutants themselves were non-significant, indicating no toxic effect. Alteration of the natural chemical environment of aquatic systems by pollutants may be an important contributing cause for declines in amphibian populations, even at sublethal concentrations.

  18. Association of amphibians with attenuation of ultraviolet-b radiation in montane ponds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, M.J.; Schindler, D.E.; Bury, B.R.

    2001-01-01

    Ambient ultraviolet-b (UV-B) radiation (280-320 nm) has increased at north-temperate latitudes in the last two decades. UV-B can be detrimental to amphibians, and amphibians have shown declines in some areas during this same period. We documented the distribution of amphibians and salmonids in 42 remote, subalpine and alpine ponds in Olympic National Park, Washington, United States. We inferred relative exposure of amphibian habitats to UV-B by estimating the transmission of 305- and 320-nm radiation in pond water. We found breeding Ambystoma gracile, A. macrodactylum and Rana cascadae at 33%, 31%, and 45% of the study sites, respectively. Most R. cascadae bred in fishless shallow ponds with relatively low transmission of UV-B. The relationship with UV-B exposure remained marginally significant even after the presence of fish was included in the model. At 50 cm water depth, there was a 55% reduction in incident 305-nm radiation at sites where breeding populations of R. cascadae were detected compared to other sites. We did not detect associations between UV-B transmission and A. gracile or A. macrodactylum. Our field surveys do not provide evidence for decline of R. cascadae in Olympic National Park as has been documented in Northern California, but are consistent with the hypothesis that the spatial distribution of R. cascadae breeding sites is influenced by exposure to UV-B. Substrate or pond depth could also be related to the distribution of R. cascadae in Olympic National Park.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  20. Linking temporal changes in the demographic structure and individual growth to the decline in the population of a tropical fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sirot, Charlotte; Darnaude, Audrey M.; Guilhaumon, François; Ramos-Miranda, Julia; Flores-Hernandez, Domingo; Panfili, Jacques

    2015-11-01

    The exceptional biodiversity and productivity of tropical coastal lagoons can only be preserved by identifying the causes for the decline in the populations living in these vulnerable ecosystems. The Terminos lagoon in Mexico provided an opportunity for studying this issue as some of its fish populations, in particular the Silver Perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), have declined significantly since the 1980s. Fish sampling campaigns carried out over the whole lagoon area in 1979-81 and again in 2006-2011 revealed the mechanisms which may have been responsible for this decline. Based on biometrical data for 295 juveniles and adults from the two periods and on somatic growth derived from 173 otoliths, a study of the temporal changes in the demographic structure and life history traits (individual growth and body condition) made it possible to distinguish the causes of the decline in the B. chrysoura population. Growth models for the lagoon in 1980-1981 and 2006-2011 showed no significant change in the growth parameters of the population over the last 30 years with a logistic model giving an accurate estimate (R2 = 0.66) of the size-at-age for both periods. The decline in the B. chrysoura population could not be explained by an overall decrease in individual size and condition in the lagoon, the average standard length (SL) and Fulton index (FI) having increased slightly since 1980-1981 (4.6 mm and 0.02 for juveniles and 5.42 mm and 0.07 for adults). However, the size structure of the population in the lagoon has changed, with a significant shift in the size distribution of juveniles with a marked reduction in the proportion of juveniles ≤ 60 mm in the captures (90.9% fewer than in 1980-1981). As the otolith growth rate of fish during the first 4 months also decreased significantly between the two sampling periods (-15%), it is suggested that the main reason for the decline in the abundance and biomass of B. chrysoura within this system may be that its habitats are less

  1. Patterns of growth and body condition in sea otters from the Aleutian archipelago before and after the recent population decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laidre, K.L.; Estes, J.A.; Tinker, M.T.; Bodkin, J.; Monson, D.; Schneider, K.

    2006-01-01

    3In addition to larger asymptotic values for mass and length, the rate of growth towards asymptotic values was more rapid in the 1990s than in the 1960s/70s: sea otters reached 95% of asymptotic body mass and body length 1–2 years earlier in the 1990s.4Body condition (as measured by the log mass/log length ratio) was significantly greater in males than in females. There was also an increasing trend from the 1960s/70s through 2004 despite much year-to-year variation.5Population age structures differed significantly between the 1960s/70s and the 1990s with the latter distribution skewed toward younger age classes (indicating an altered lxfunction) suggesting almost complete relaxation of age-dependent mortality patterns (i.e. those typical of food-limited populations).6This study spanned a period of time over which the population status of sea otters in the Aleutian archipelago declined precipitously from levels at or near equilibrium densities at some islands in the 1960s/70s to < 5% of estimated carrying capacity by the late 1990s. The results of this study indicate an improved overall health of sea otters over the period of decline and suggest that limited nutritional resources were not the cause of the observed reduced population abundance. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the decline was caused by increased killer whale predation.

  2. Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition.

    PubMed

    Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Ferrie, Gina M; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P; Schad, Kristine; Stamper, M Andrew; Gagliardo, Ron; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Valdes, Eduardo V

    2014-01-01

    The Epidemiology Working Group, a subgroup of the participants of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Workshop on "Ex situ Amphibian Medicine and Nutrition," identified a critical need to design and implement approaches that will facilitate the assessment and evaluation of factors impacting amphibian health. In this manuscript, we describe and summarize the outcomes of this workshop with regards (a) the identified gaps in knowledge, (b) identified priorities for closing these gaps, and (c) compile a list of actions to address these priorities. Four general areas of improvement were identified in relation to how measurements are currently being taken to evaluate ex situ amphibian health: nutrition, infectious diseases, husbandry, and integrated biology including genetics and endocrinology. The proposed actions that will be taken in order to address the identified gaps include: (1) identify and quantify major health issues affecting ex situ amphibian populations, (2) identify and coordinate laboratories to conduct analyses using standardized and validated protocols to measure nutritional, infectious diseases, genetic, and hormonal parameters, (3) determine in situ baseline distribution of parameters related to amphibian health, and (4) establish an inter-disciplinary research approach to target specific hypotheses related to amphibian health such as the effects of population genetics (e.g., relatedness, inbreeding) on disease susceptibility, or how environmental parameters are related to chronic stress and hormone production. We think is important to address current gaps in knowledge regarding amphibian health in order to increase the probability to succeed in addressing the issues faced by in situ and ex situ amphibians populations. We are confident that the recommendations provided in this manuscript will facilitate to address these challenges and could have a positive impact in both the health of in situ and ex situ amphibian populations, worldwide.

  3. On the decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the use of ornithological literature to document long-term population trends

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greenberg, R.; Droege, S.

    1999-01-01

    Unlike most North American blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolensis) have shown steep population declines. Declines of approximately 90% are indicated for three recent decades from the Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Counts, and Quebec Checklist Program. Analyses of abundance classifications in bird distribution books and annotated checklists reveal an overlooked but long-term decline dating back to at least the early part of this century. Rusty Blackbirds were described as very common to abundant in 5656 of the pre-192O published accounts, 19% of the 1921-1950 accounts, and only 7% of the post-1950 accounts. Rusty Blackbirds were described as uncommon in none of the pre-1950 accounts, 18% of the 1951-1980 accounts, and 43% of the post-1980 accounts. A similar pattern was found for analyses based on local checklists. Destruction of wooded wetlands on wintering grounds, acid precipitation, and the conversion of boreal forest wetlands could have contributed to these declines. Systematic analysis of regional guides and checklists provides a valuable tool for examining large-scale and long-term population changes in birds.

  4. Detection and effects of harmful algal toxins in Scottish harbour seals and potential links to population decline.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Silje-Kristin; Lacaze, Jean-Pierre; Hermann, Guillaume; Kershaw, Joanna; Brownlow, Andrew; Turner, Andrew; Hall, Ailsa

    2015-04-01

    Over the past 15 years or so, several Scottish harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) populations have declined in abundance and several factors have been considered as possible causes, including toxins from harmful algae. Here we explore whether a link could be established between two groups of toxins, domoic acid (DA) and saxitoxins (STXs), and the decline in the harbour seal populations in Scotland. We document the first evidence that harbour seals are exposed to both DA and STXs from consuming contaminated fish. Both groups of toxins were found in urine and faeces sampled from live captured (n = 162) and stranded animals (n = 23) and in faecal samples collected from seal haul-out sites (n = 214) between 2008 and 2013. The proportion of positive samples and the toxins levels measured in the excreta were significantly higher in areas where harbour seal abundance is in decline. There is also evidence that DA has immunomodulatory effects in harbour seals, including lymphocytopenia and monocytosis. Scottish harbour seals are exposed to DA and STXs through contaminated prey at potentially lethal levels and with this evidence we suggest that exposure to these toxins are likely to be important factors driving the harbour seal decline in some regions of Scotland.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-27

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

  7. Acid tolerance in amphibians

    SciTech Connect

    Pierce, B.A.

    1985-04-01

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

  8. Xenopus laevis and Emerging Amphibian Pathogens in Chile.

    PubMed

    Soto-Azat, Claudio; Peñafiel-Ricaurte, Alexandra; Price, Stephen J; Sallaberry-Pincheira, Nicole; García, María Pía; Alvarado-Rybak, Mario; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2016-12-01

    Amphibians face an extinction crisis with no precedence. Two emerging infectious diseases, ranaviral disease caused by viruses within the genus Ranavirus and chytridiomycosis due to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), have been linked with amphibian mass mortalities and population declines in many regions of the globe. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) has been indicated as a vector for the spread of these pathogens. Since the 1970s, this species has been invasive in central Chile. We collected X. laevis and dead native amphibians in Chile between 2011 and 2013. We conducted post-mortem examinations and molecular tests for Ranavirus and Bd. Eight of 187 individuals (4.3 %) tested positive for Ranavirus: seven X. laevis and a giant Chilean frog (Calyptocephallela gayi). All positive cases were from the original area of X. laevis invasion. Bd was found to be more prevalent (14.4 %) and widespread than Ranavirus, and all X. laevis Bd-positive animals presented low to moderate levels of infection. Sequencing of a partial Ranavirus gene revealed 100 % sequence identity with Frog Virus 3. This is the first report of Ranavirus in Chile, and these preliminary results are consistent with a role for X. laevis as an infection reservoir for both Ranavirus and Bd.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  10. Water clarity, maternal behavior, and physiology combine to eliminate UV radiation risk to amphibians in a montane landscape.

    PubMed

    Palen, Wendy J; Schindler, Daniel E

    2010-05-25

    Increasing UV-B radiation (UV-B; 290-320 nm) due to stratospheric ozone depletion has been a leading explanation for the decline in amphibians for nearly 2 decades. Yet, the likelihood that UV-B can influence amphibians at the large spatial scales relevant to population declines has not yet been evaluated. A key limitation has been in relating results from individual sites to the effect of UV-B for populations distributed across heterogeneous landscapes. We measured critical embryonic exposures to UV-B for two species of montane amphibians with contrasting physiological sensitivities, long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Cascades frog (Rana cascadae), at field sites spanning a gradient of UV-B attenuation in water. We then used these experimental results to estimate the proportion of embryos exposed to harmful UV-B across a large number of breeding sites. By combining surveys of the incubation timing, incident UV-B, optical transparency of water, and oviposition depth and light exposure of embryos at each site, we present a comprehensive assessment of the risk posed by UV-B for montane amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. We found that only 1.1% of A. macrodactylum and no R. cascadae embryos across a landscape of breeding sites are exposed to UV-B exceeding lethal levels. These results emphasize that accurately estimating the risk posed by environmental stressors requires placing experimental results in a broader ecological context that accounts for the heterogeneity experienced by populations distributed across natural landscapes.

  11. Rise and fall of a wolf population: genetic diversity and structure during recovery, rapid expansion and drastic decline.

    PubMed

    Jansson, E; Ruokonen, M; Kojola, I; Aspi, J

    2012-11-01

    The grey wolves (Canis lupus) of Finland have had a varied history, with a period of rapid population expansion after the mid-1990s followed by a decline with a current census size of about 140 wolves. Here, we investigate the impact of unstable population size and connectivity on genetic diversity and structure in a long-term genetic study of 298 Finnish wolves born in 1995-2009 and genotyped for 17 microsatellite loci. During the initial recovery and prior to population expansion, genetic diversity was high (1995-1997: LD-N(e)  = 67.2; H(o)  = 0.749; H(e)  = 0.709) despite a small census size and low number of breeders (N(c)  < 100; N(b)  < 10) likely reflecting the status of the Russian source population. Surprisingly, observed heterozygosity decreased significantly during the study period (t = -2.643, P = 0.021) despite population expansion, likely a result of an increase in inbreeding (F(IS)  = 0.108 in 2007-2009) owing to a low degree of connectivity with adjacent Russian wolf population (m = 0.016-0.090; F(ST)  = 0.086, P < 0.001) and population crash after 2006. However, population growth had a temporary positive impact on N(e) and number of family lines. This study shows that even strong population growth alone might not be adequate to retain genetic diversity, especially when accompanied with low amount of subsequent gene flow and population decline.

  12. Endoscopy in Amphibians.

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin

    2015-09-01

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

  13. Decline in perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoate serum concentrations in an Australian population from 2002 to 2011

    PubMed Central

    Toms, L.-M.L.; Thompson, J.; Rotander, A.; Hobson, P.; Calafat, A.M.; Kato, K.; Ye, X.; Broomhall, S.; Harden, F.; Mueller, J.F.

    2016-01-01

    Some perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have become widespread pollutants detected in human and wildlife samples worldwide. The main objective of this study was to assess temporal trends of PFAS concentrations in human blood in Australia over the last decade (2002–2011), taking into consideration age and sex trends. Pooled human sera from 2002/03 (n = 26); 2008/09 (n = 24) and 2010/11 (n = 24) from South East Queensland, Australia were obtained from de-identified surplus pathology samples and compared with samples collected previously from 2006/07 (n = 84). A total of 9775 samples in 158 pools were available for an assessment of PFASs. Stratification criteria included sex and age: <16 years (2002/03 only); 0–4 (2006/07, 2008/09, 2010/11); 5–15 (2006/07, 2008/09, 2010/11); 16–30; 31–45; 46–60; and >60 years (all collection periods). Sera were analyzed using on-line solid-phase extraction coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography–isotope dilution-tandem mass spectrometry. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was detected in the highest concentrations ranging from 5.3–19.2 ng/ml (2008/09) to 4.4–17.4 ng/ml (2010/11). Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) was detected in the next highest concentration ranging from 2.8–7.3 ng/ml (2008/09) to 3.1–6.5 ng/ml (2010/11). All other measured PFASs were detected at concentrations <1 ng/ml with the exception of perfluorohexane sulfonate which ranged from 1.2–5.7 ng/ml (08/09) and 1.4–5.4 ng/ml (10/11). The mean concentrations of both PFOS and PFOA in the 2010/11 period compared to 2002/03 were lower for all adult age groups by 56%. For 5–15 year olds, the decrease was 66% (PFOS) and 63% (PFOA) from 2002/03 to 2010/11. For 0–4 year olds the decrease from 2006/07 (when data were first available for this age group) was 50% (PFOS) and 22% (PFOA). This study provides strong evidence for decreasing serum PFOS and PFOA concentrations in an Australian population from 2002 through 2011. Age trends

  14. Factors affecting population dynamics of leaf beetles in a subarctic region: The interplay between climate warming and pollution decline.

    PubMed

    Zvereva, Elena L; Hunter, Mark D; Zverev, Vitali; Kozlov, Mikhail V

    2016-10-01

    Understanding the mechanisms by which abiotic drivers, such as climate and pollution, influence population dynamics of animals is important for our ability to predict the population trajectories of individual species under different global change scenarios. We monitored four leaf beetle species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding on willows (Salix spp.) in 13 sites along a pollution gradient in subarctic forests of north-western Russia from 1993 to 2014. During a subset of years, we also measured the impacts of natural enemies and host plant quality on the performance of one of these species, Chrysomela lapponica. Spring and fall temperatures increased by 2.5-3°C during the 21-year observation period, while emissions of sulfur dioxide and heavy metals from the nickel-copper smelter at Monchegorsk decreased fivefold. However, contrary to predictions of increasing herbivory with climate warming, and in spite of discovered increase in host plant quality with increase in temperatures, none of the beetle species became more abundant during the past 20years. No directional trends were observed in densities of either Phratora vitellinae or Plagiodera versicolora, whereas densities of both C. lapponica and Gonioctena pallida showed a simultaneous rapid 20-fold decline in the early 2000s, remaining at very low levels thereafter. Time series analysis and model selection indicated that these abrupt population declines were associated with decreases in aerial emissions from the smelter. Observed declines in the population densities of C. lapponica can be explained by increases in mortality from natural enemies due to the combined action of climate warming and declining pollution. This pattern suggests that at least in some tri-trophic systems, top-down factors override bottom-up effects and govern the impacts of environmental changes on insect herbivores.

  15. Ranking ecological risks of multiple chemical stressors on amphibians.

    PubMed

    Fedorenkova, Anastasia; Vonk, J Arie; Lenders, H J Rob; Creemers, Raymond C M; Breure, Anton M; Hendriks, A Jan

    2012-06-01

    Populations of amphibians have been declining worldwide since the late 1960s. Despite global concern, no studies have quantitatively assessed the major causes of this decline. In the present study, species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) were developed to analyze the sensitivity of anurans for ammonium, nitrate, heavy metals (cadmium, copper), pesticides (18 compounds), and acidification (pH) based on laboratory toxicity data. Ecological risk (ER) was calculated as the probability that a measured environmental concentration of a particular stressor in habitats where anurans were observed would exceed the toxic effect concentrations derived from the species sensitivity distributions. The assessment of ER was used to rank the stressors according to their potential risk to anurans based on a case study of Dutch freshwater bodies. The derived ERs revealed that threats to populations of anurans decreased in the sequence of pH, copper, diazinon, ammonium, and endosulfan. Other stressors studied were of minor importance. The method of deriving ER by combining field observation data and laboratory data provides insight into potential threats to species in their habitats and can be used to prioritize stressors, which is necessary to achieve effective management in amphibian conservation.

  16. Toxicity to amphibians of environmental extracts from natural waters in National Parks and Fish and Wildlife Refuges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, Christine M.; Little, Edward E.

    2005-01-01

    Amphibian population declines are not limited to overly degraded habitats, but often occur in relatively pristine environments such as national parks or wildlife refuges, thus forcing biologists to examine less obvious causes for declines such as the presence of contaminants. The objective of our study was to extract naturally-occurring compounds from amphibian habitats (using semipermeable membrane devices) in three national parks or wildlife refuges (two sites within Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, Big Bend National Park, and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge), and assess their toxicity to developing larvae using bioassays. Extracts did not cause mortality, so all effects observed were sublethal, influencing life history characteristics. In all three areas studied, amphibians reared in extracts from at least one of the two sites exhibited either a lengthened larval period or reduced mass at metamorphosis. Extracts from both the air and water at one site in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park lengthened the larval period, which is in agreement with studies showing elevated levels of aerially transported contaminants at sites such as this within the park. Ultraviolet radiation, which is also suspected of having caused amphibian declines and was included as a factor in our study, did not act alone or alter the toxicity of the extracts.

  17. Toxicity to amphibians of environmental extracts from natural waters in National Parks and Fish and Wildlife Refuges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

    Amphibian population declines are not limited to overtly degraded habitats, but often occur in relatively pristine environments such as national parks or wildlife refuges, thus forcing biologists to examine less obvious causes for declines such as the presence of contaminants. The objective of our study was to extract naturally-occurring compounds from amphibian habitats (using semipermeable membrane devices) in three national parks or wildlife refuges (two sites within Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, Big Bend National Park, and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge), and assess their toxicity to developing larvae using bioassays. Extracts did not cause mortality, so all effects observed were sublethal, influencing life history characteristics. In all three areas studied, amphibians reared in extracts from at least one of the two sites exhibited either a lengthened larval period or reduced mass at metamorphosis. Extracts from both the air and water at one site in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park lengthened the larval period, which is in agreement with studies showing elevated levels of aerially transported contaminants at sites such as this within the park. Ultraviolet radiation, which is also suspected of having caused amphibian declines and was included as a factor in our study, did not act alone or alter the toxicity of the extracts. ?? ISSCA 2005.

  18. Genetic structure of populations of whale sharks among ocean basins and evidence for their historic rise and recent decline.

    PubMed

    Vignaud, Thomas M; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Leblois, Raphael; Meekan, Mark G; Vázquez-Juárez, Ricardo; Ramírez-Macías, Dení; Pierce, Simon J; Rowat, David; Berumen, Michael L; Beeravolu, Champak; Baksay, Sandra; Planes, Serge

    2014-05-01

    This study presents genetic evidence that whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are comprised of at least two populations that rarely mix and is the first to document a population expansion. Relatively high genetic structure is found when comparing sharks from the Gulf of Mexico with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. If mixing occurs between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, it is not sufficient to counter genetic drift. This suggests whale sharks are not all part of a single global metapopulation. The significant population expansion we found was indicated by both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA. The expansion may have happened during the Holocene, when tropical species could expand their range due to sea-level rise, eliminating dispersal barriers and increasing plankton productivity. However, the historic trend of population increase may have reversed recently. Declines in genetic diversity are found for 6 consecutive years at Ningaloo Reef in Australia. The declines in genetic diversity being seen now in Australia may be due to commercial-scale harvesting of whale sharks and collision with boats in past decades in other countries in the Indo-Pacific. The study findings have implications for models of population connectivity for whale sharks and advocate for continued focus on effective protection of the world's largest fish at multiple spatial scales.

  19. Dramatic Declines of Montane Frogs in a Central African Biodiversity Hotspot.

    PubMed

    Hirschfeld, Mareike; Blackburn, David C; Doherty-Bone, Thomas M; Gonwouo, LeGrand Nono; Ghose, Sonia; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are vanishing worldwide. Declines and extinctions of many populations have been attributed to chytridiomycosis, a disease induced by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In Africa, however, changes in amphibian assemblages were typically attributed to habitat change. We conducted a retrospective study utilizing field surveys from 2004-2012 of the anuran faunas on two mountains in western Cameroon, a hotspot of African amphibian diversity. The number of species detected was negatively influenced by year, habitat degradation, and elevation, and we detected a decline of certain species. Because another study in this region revealed an emergence of Bd in 2008, we screened additional recent field-collected samples and also pre-decline preserved museum specimens for the presence of Bd supporting emergence before 2008. When comparing the years before and after Bd detection, we found significantly diminished frog species richness and abundance on both mountains after Bd emergence. Our analyses suggest that this may be the first disease-driven community-level decline in anuran biodiversity in Central Africa. The disappearance of several species known to tolerate habitat degradation, and a trend of stronger declines at higher elevations, are consistent with Bd-induced declines in other regions. Not all species decreased; populations of some species remained constant, and others increased after the emergence of Bd. This variation might be explained by species-specific differences in infection probability. Increased habitat protection and Bd-mitigation strategies are needed for sustaining diverse amphibian communities such as those on Mt. Manengouba, which contains nearly half of Cameroon's frog diversity.

  20. Dramatic Declines of Montane Frogs in a Central African Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Hirschfeld, Mareike; Blackburn, David C.; Doherty-Bone, Thomas M.; Gonwouo, LeGrand Nono; Ghose, Sonia; Rödel, Mark-Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Amphibian populations are vanishing worldwide. Declines and extinctions of many populations have been attributed to chytridiomycosis, a disease induced by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In Africa, however, changes in amphibian assemblages were typically attributed to habitat change. We conducted a retrospective study utilizing field surveys from 2004–2012 of the anuran faunas on two mountains in western Cameroon, a hotspot of African amphibian diversity. The number of species detected was negatively influenced by year, habitat degradation, and elevation, and we detected a decline of certain species. Because another study in this region revealed an emergence of Bd in 2008, we screened additional recent field-collected samples and also pre-decline preserved museum specimens for the presence of Bd supporting emergence before 2008. When comparing the years before and after Bd detection, we found significantly diminished frog species richness and abundance on both mountains after Bd emergence. Our analyses suggest that this may be the first disease-driven community-level decline in anuran biodiversity in Central Africa. The disappearance of several species known to tolerate habitat degradation, and a trend of stronger declines at higher elevations, are consistent with Bd-induced declines in other regions. Not all species decreased; populations of some species remained constant, and others increased after the emergence of Bd. This variation might be explained by species-specific differences in infection probability. Increased habitat protection and Bd-mitigation strategies are needed for sustaining diverse amphibian communities such as those on Mt. Manengouba, which contains nearly half of Cameroon’s frog diversity. PMID:27149624

  1. Pesticides in amphibian habitats of Central and Northern California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fellers, Gary M.; Sparling, W; McConnell, Laura; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Drakeford, Leticia

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have indicated that toxicity from pesticide exposure may be contributing to amphibian declines in California and that atmospheric deposition could be a primary pathway for pesticides to enter amphibian habitats. We report on a survey of California wetlands sampled along transects associated with Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and Sequoia National Park. Each transect ran from the Pacific coast to the Cascades or Sierra Nevada mountains. Pacific chorus frogs (Pseudacris regilla), water, and sediment were collected from wetlands in 2001 and 2002. Twenty-three pesticides were found in frog, water, or sediment samples. Six contaminants including trifluralin, α-endosulfan, chlordanes, and trans-nonachlor were found in adult P. regilla. Seventeen contaminants were found in sediments, including endosulfan sulfate, chlordanes, 1-chloro-4-[2,2-dichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethenyl]benzene (4,4′-DDE), and chlorpyrifos. The mean number of chemicals detected per pond in sediments was 2.4 (2.5, standard deviation). In water, 17 chemicals were detected, with β-endosulfan being present in almost all samples. Trifluralin, chlordanes, and chlorpyrifos were the next most common. The mean number of chemicals in water per pond was 7.8 (2.9). With the possible exception of chlorpyrifos oxon in sediments and total endosulfans, none of the contaminants exceeded known lethal or sublethal concentrations in P. regilla tissue. Endosulfans, chlorpyrifos, and trifluralin were associated with historic and present day population status of amphibians. Cholinesterase, an essential neurological enzyme that can be depressed by certain pesticides, was reduced in tadpoles from areas with the greatest population declines.

  2. Ecosystem scale declines in elk recruitment and population growth with wolf colonization: a before-after-control-impact approach.

    PubMed

    Christianson, David; Creel, Scott

    2014-01-01

    The reintroduction of wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone provided the unusual opportunity for a quasi-experimental test of the effects of wolf predation on their primary prey (elk--Cervus elaphus) in a system where top-down, bottom-up, and abiotic forces on prey population dynamics were closely and consistently monitored before and after reintroduction. Here, we examined data from 33 years for 12 elk population segments spread across southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming in a large scale before-after-control-impact analysis of the effects of wolves on elk recruitment and population dynamics. Recruitment, as measured by the midwinter juvenile∶female ratio, was a strong determinant of elk dynamics, and declined by 35% in elk herds colonized by wolves as annual population growth shifted from increasing to decreasing. Negative effects of population density and winter severity on recruitment, long recognized as important for elk dynamics, were detected in uncolonized elk herds and in wolf-colonized elk herds prior to wolf colonization, but not after wolf colonization. Growing season precipitation and harvest had no detectable effect on recruitment in either wolf treatment or colonization period, although harvest rates of juveniles∶females declined by 37% in wolf-colonized herds. Even if it is assumed that mortality due to predation is completely additive, liberal estimates of wolf predation rates on juvenile elk could explain no more than 52% of the total decline in juvenile∶female ratios in wolf-colonized herds, after accounting for the effects of other limiting factors. Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves.

  3. Patterns of growth and body condition in sea otters from the Aleutian archipelago before and after the recent population decline.

    PubMed

    Laidre, K L; Estes, J A; Tinker, M T; Bodkin, J; Monson, D; Schneider, K

    2006-07-01

    1. Growth models for body mass and length were fitted to data collected from 1842 sea otters Enhydra lutris shot or live-captured throughout south-west Alaska between 1967 and 2004. Growth curves were constructed for each of two main year groups: 1967-71 when the population was at or near carrying capacity and 1992-97 when the population was in steep decline. Analyses of data collected from animals caught during 2004, when the population density was very low, were precluded by a small sample size and consequently only examined incidentally to the main growth curves. 2. Growth curves demonstrated a significant increase in body mass and body length at age in the 1990s. Asymptotic values of body mass were 12-18% higher in the 1990s than in the 1960s/70s, and asymptotic values for body length were 10-11% higher between the same periods. Data collected in 2004 suggest a continued increase in body size, with nearly all data points for mass and length falling significantly above the 1990s growth curves. 3. In addition to larger asymptotic values for mass and length, the rate of growth towards asymptotic values was more rapid in the 1990s than in the 1960s/70s: sea otters reached 95% of asymptotic body mass and body length 1-2 years earlier in the 1990s. 4. Body condition (as measured by the log mass/log length ratio) was significantly greater in males than in females. There was also an increasing trend from the 1960s/70s through 2004 despite much year-to-year variation. 5. Population age structures differed significantly between the 1960s/70s and the 1990s with the latter distribution skewed toward younger age classes (indicating an altered lx function) suggesting almost complete relaxation of age-dependent mortality patterns (i.e. those typical of food-limited populations). 6. This study spanned a period of time over which the population status of sea otters in the Aleutian archipelago declined precipitously from levels at or near equilibrium densities at some islands in

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

  5. Summary of the evidence on modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia: A population-based perspective.

    PubMed

    Baumgart, Matthew; Snyder, Heather M; Carrillo, Maria C; Fazio, Sam; Kim, Hye; Johns, Harry

    2015-06-01

    An estimated 47 million people worldwide are living with dementia in 2015, and this number is projected to triple by 2050. In the absence of a disease-modifying treatment or cure, reducing the risk of developing dementia takes on added importance. In 2014, the World Dementia Council (WDC) requested the Alzheimer's Association evaluate and report on the state of the evidence on modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia. This report is a summary of the Association's evaluation, which was presented at the October 2014 WDC meeting. The Association believes there is sufficient evidence to support the link between several modifiable risk factors and a reduced risk for cognitive decline, and sufficient evidence to suggest that some modifiable risk factors may be associated with reduced risk of dementia. Specifically, the Association believes there is sufficiently strong evidence, from a population-based perspective, to conclude that regular physical activity and management of cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension) reduce the risk of cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia. The Association also believes there is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that a healthy diet and lifelong learning/cognitive training may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

  6. Inferring Population Decline and Expansion From Microsatellite Data: A Simulation-Based Evaluation of the Msvar Method

    PubMed Central

    Girod, Christophe; Vitalis, Renaud; Leblois, Raphaël; Fréville, Hélène

    2011-01-01

    Reconstructing the demographic history of populations is a central issue in evolutionary biology. Using likelihood-based methods coupled with Monte Carlo simulations, it is now possible to reconstruct past changes in population size from genetic data. Using simulated data sets under various demographic scenarios, we evaluate the statistical performance of Msvar, a full-likelihood Bayesian method that infers past demographic change from microsatellite data. Our simulation tests show that Msvar is very efficient at detecting population declines and expansions, provided the event is neither too weak nor too recent. We further show that Msvar outperforms two moment-based methods (the M-ratio test and Bottleneck) for detecting population size changes, whatever the time and the severity of the event. The same trend emerges from a compilation of empirical studies. The latest version of Msvar provides estimates of the current and the ancestral population size and the time since the population started changing in size. We show that, in the absence of prior knowledge, Msvar provides little information on the mutation rate, which results in biased estimates and/or wide credibility intervals for each of the demographic parameters. However, scaling the population size parameters with the mutation rate and scaling the time with current population size, as coalescent theory requires, significantly improves the quality of the estimates for contraction but not for expansion scenarios. Finally, our results suggest that Msvar is robust to moderate departures from a strict stepwise mutation model. PMID:21385729

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

    PubMed

    Picco, Angela M; Collins, James P

    2008-12-01

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

  8. Catastrophic Decline of World's Largest Primate: 80% Loss of Grauer's Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) Population Justifies Critically Endangered Status.

    PubMed

    Plumptre, Andrew J; Nixon, Stuart; Kujirakwinja, Deo K; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Critchlow, Rob; Williamson, Elizabeth A; Nishuli, Radar; Kirkby, Andrew E; Hall, Jefferson S

    2016-01-01

    Grauer's gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), the World's largest primate, is confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is threatened by civil war and insecurity. During the war, armed groups in mining camps relied on hunting bushmeat, including gorillas. Insecurity and the presence of several militia groups across Grauer's gorilla's range made it very difficult to assess their population size. Here we use a novel method that enables rigorous assessment of local community and ranger-collected data on gorilla occupancy to evaluate the impacts of civil war on Grauer's gorilla, which prior to the war was estimated to number 16,900 individuals. We show that gorilla numbers in their stronghold of Kahuzi-Biega National Park have declined by 87%. Encounter rate data of gorilla nests at 10 sites across its range indicate declines of 82-100% at six of these sites. Spatial occupancy analysis identifies three key areas as the most critical sites for the remaining populations of this ape and that the range of this taxon is around 19,700 km2. We estimate that only 3,800 Grauer's gorillas remain in the wild, a 77% decline in one generation, justifying its elevation to Critically Endangered status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

  9. Catastrophic Decline of World's Largest Primate: 80% Loss of Grauer's Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) Population Justifies Critically Endangered Status

    PubMed Central

    Nixon, Stuart; Kujirakwinja, Deo K.; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Critchlow, Rob; Williamson, Elizabeth A.; Nishuli, Radar; Kirkby, Andrew E.; Hall, Jefferson S.

    2016-01-01

    Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), the World’s largest primate, is confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is threatened by civil war and insecurity. During the war, armed groups in mining camps relied on hunting bushmeat, including gorillas. Insecurity and the presence of several militia groups across Grauer’s gorilla’s range made it very difficult to assess their population size. Here we use a novel method that enables rigorous assessment of local community and ranger-collected data on gorilla occupancy to evaluate the impacts of civil war on Grauer’s gorilla, which prior to the war was estimated to number 16,900 individuals. We show that gorilla numbers in their stronghold of Kahuzi-Biega National Park have declined by 87%. Encounter rate data of gorilla nests at 10 sites across its range indicate declines of 82–100% at six of these sites. Spatial occupancy analysis identifies three key areas as the most critical sites for the remaining populations of this ape and that the range of this taxon is around 19,700 km2. We estimate that only 3,800 Grauer’s gorillas remain in the wild, a 77% decline in one generation, justifying its elevation to Critically Endangered status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. PMID:27760201

  10. Helping Your Local Amphibians (HYLA): An Internet-based Amphibian Course for Educators.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murphy, Tony P.

    2001-01-01

    Introduces an online zoology course that was offered primarily to upper elementary and middle school teachers in which teachers were expected to take action to help the local amphibian population. (Author/YDS)

  11. Ecopathology of ranaviruses infecting amphibians.

    PubMed

    Miller, Debra; Gray, Matthew; Storfer, Andrew

    2011-11-01

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

  12. The metamorphosis of amphibian toxicogenomics.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Caren C

    2012-01-01

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

  13. Ecopathology of Ranaviruses Infecting Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Debra; Gray, Matthew; Storfer, Andrew

    2011-01-01

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

  14. Biology of amphibians and reptiles in old-growth forests in the Pacific northwest. Forest Service general technical report

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-03-01

    The amphibian and reptile fauna of older forest ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest includes several endemic species, species with unique behavioral and ecological characteristics, and species whose populations have been in decline in recent years. The authors review the biology of these species and include information on their distinguishing characteristics, behavior, and ecology. Herpetofaunal associations with forest characteristic and the impact of habitat loss are addressed.

  15. Drugs with anticholinergic properties, cognitive decline, and dementia in an elderly general population: the 3-city study

    PubMed Central

    Carrière, Isabelle; Fourrier-Reglat, Annie; Dartigues, Jean-François; Rouaud, Olivier; Pasquier, Florence; Ritchie, Karen; Ancelin, Marie-Laure

    2009-01-01

    Objective To examine the association between use of medications with anticholinergic properties, cognitive decline and incident dementia in a large community-based sample of subjects aged 65 years and over. Methods Participants were 4128 women and 2784 men from a population-based cohort recruited from three French cities. Cognitive performance, clinical diagnosis of dementia and anticholinergic use were evaluated at base-line, 2 and 4 year later. Results 7.5% of subjects reported anticholinergic drug use at base-line. Multivariate adjusted logistic regression indicated that women reporting anticholinergic drugs at base-line showed greater decline over four years in verbal fluency scores (OR=1.41, CI=1.11–1.79) and in global cognitive functioning (OR=1.22, CI=0.96–1.55) than women not using anticholinergic drugs. In men, an association was found with decline in visual memory (OR=1.63, CI=1.08–2.47) and to a lesser extent in executive function (OR=1.47, CI=0.89–2.44). Significant interactions were observed in women between anticholinergic use and age, apolipoprotein E, or hormone replacement therapy. A significantly 1.4–2 fold higher risk of cognitive decline was observed for continuous anticholinergic users but not for those having discontinued. The risk of incident dementia over the four-year followup was also increased in continuous users (HR=1.65, CI=1.00–2.73) but not in those having discontinued anticholinergic drugs (HR=1.28, CI=0.59–2.76). Conclusions Elderly people taking anticholinergic drugs were at increased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. Discontinuing anticholinergic treatment was associated with a decreased risk. Physicians should carefully consider prescription of anticholinergic drugs in elderly people especially in the oldest old and persons at high genetic risk of cognitive disorder. PMID:19636034

  16. From tails to toes: developing nonlethal tissue indicators of mercury exposure in five amphibian species.

    PubMed

    Pfleeger, Adam Z; Eagles-Smith, Collin A; Kowalski, Brandon M; Herring, Garth; Willacker, James J; Jackson, Allyson K; Pierce, John R

    2016-04-01

    Exposure to environmental contaminants has been implicated as a factor in global amphibian decline. Mercury (Hg) is a particularly widespread contaminant that biomagnifies in amphibians and can cause a suite of deleterious effects. However, monitoring contaminant exposure in amphibian tissues may conflict with conservation goals if lethal take is required. Thus, there is a need to develop non-lethal tissue sampling techniques to quantify contaminant exposure in amphibians. Some minimally invasive sampling techniques, such as toe-clipping, are common in population-genetic research, but it is unclear if these methods can adequately characterize contaminant exposure. We examined the relationships between mercury (Hg) concentrations in non-lethally sampled tissues and paired whole-bodies in five amphibian species. Specifically, we examined the utility of three different tail-clip sections from four salamander species and toe-clips from one anuran species. Both tail and toe-clips accurately predicted whole-body THg concentrations, but the relationships differed among species and the specific tail-clip section or toe that was used. Tail-clips comprised of the distal 0-2 cm segment performed the best across all salamander species, explaining between 82 and 92% of the variation in paired whole-body THg concentrations. Toe-clips were less effective predictors of frog THg concentrations, but THg concentrations in outer rear toes accounted for up to 79% of the variability in frog whole-body THg concentrations. These findings suggest non-lethal sampling of tails and toes has potential applications for monitoring contaminant exposure and risk in amphibians, but care must be taken to ensure consistent collection and interpretation of samples.

  17. From tails to toes: developing nonlethal tissue indicators of mercury exposure in five amphibian species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pfleeger, Adam Z.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Kowalski, Brandon M.; Herring, Garth; Willacker, James J.; Jackson, Allyson K.; Pierce, John

    2016-01-01

    Exposure to environmental contaminants has been implicated as a factor in global amphibian decline. Mercury (Hg) is a particularly widespread contaminant that biomagnifies in amphibians and can cause a suite of deleterious effects. However, monitoring contaminant exposure in amphibian tissues may conflict with conservation goals if lethal take is required. Thus, there is a need to develop non-lethal tissue sampling techniques to quantify contaminant exposure in amphibians. Some minimally invasive sampling techniques, such as toe-clipping, are common in population-genetic research, but it is unclear if these methods can adequately characterize contaminant exposure. We examined the relationships between mercury (Hg) concentrations in non-lethally sampled tissues and paired whole-bodies in five amphibian species. Specifically, we examined the utility of three different tail-clip sections from four salamander species and toe-clips from one anuran species. Both tail and toe-clips accurately predicted whole-body THg concentrations, but the relationships differed among species and the specific tail-clip section or toe that was used. Tail-clips comprised of the distal 0–2 cm segment performed the best across all salamander species, explaining between 82 and 92 % of the variation in paired whole-body THg concentrations. Toe-clips were less effective predictors of frog THg concentrations, but THg concentrations in outer rear toes accounted for up to 79 % of the variability in frog whole-body THg concentrations. These findings suggest non-lethal sampling of tails and toes has potential applications for monitoring contaminant exposure and risk in amphibians, but care must be taken to ensure consistent collection and interpretation of samples.

  18. Diclofenac disposition in Indian cow and goat with reference to Gyps vulture population declines.

    PubMed

    Taggart, M A; Cuthbert, R; Das, D; Sashikumar, C; Pain, D J; Green, R E; Feltrer, Y; Shultz, S; Cunningham, A A; Meharg, A A

    2007-05-01

    Gyps vultures across India are declining rapidly and the NSAID diclofenac has been shown to be the major cause. Vultures scavenge livestock carcasses that have been treated with diclofenac within the days preceding death. We present data on diclofenac disposition in Indian cow and goat, and field data on the prevalence of diclofenac in carcases in the environment. In the disposition experiment, animals were treated with a single intramuscular injection of diclofenac at 1000 microg kg-1 bw. In cow, diclofenac was detectable in liver, kidney and intestine up to 71 h post-treatment; in plasma, half-life was 12.2 h. In goat, tissue residues were undetectable after 26 h. Prevalence of diclofenac in liver from 36 dead livestock collected in the field was 13.9%. Data suggest that diclofenac residues in Indian cow and goat are short-lived, but diclofenac prevalence in carcasses available to vultures may still be very high.

  19. Testing mechanisms of Bergmann's rule: phenotypic decline but no genetic change in body size in three passerine bird populations.

    PubMed

    Husby, Arild; Hille, Sabine M; Visser, Marcel E

    2011-08-01

    Bergmann's rule predicts a decrease in body size with increasing temperature and has much empirical support. Surprisingly, we know very little about whether "Bergmann size clines" are due to a genetic response or are a consequence of phenotypic plasticity. Here, we use data on body size (mass and tarsus length) from three long-term (1979-2008) study populations of great tits (Parus major) that experienced a temperature increase to examine mechanisms behind Bergmann's rule. We show that adult body mass decreased over the study period in all populations and that tarsus length increased in one population. Both body mass and tarsus length were heritable and under weak positive directional selection, predicting an increase, rather than a decrease, in body mass. There was no support for microevolutionary change, and thus the observed declines in body mass were likely a result of phenotypic plasticity. Interestingly, this plasticity was not in direct response to temperature changes but seemed to be due to changes in prey dynamics. Our results caution against interpreting recent phenotypic body size declines as adaptive evolutionary responses to temperature changes and highlight the importance of considering alternative environmental factors when testing size clines.

  20. Modeling predicts that redd trampling by cattle may contribute to population declines of native trout.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Douglas P; Rieman, Bruce E; Young, Michael K; Brammer, James A

    2010-06-01

    Unrestricted livestock grazing can degrade aquatic ecosystems, and its effects on native vertebrate species are generally mediated by changes to physical habitat. Recently, high estimated rates of cattle trampling on artificial redds within federal grazing allotments in southwestern Montana, USA, has raised concern that direct mortality from trampling may contribute to imperilment of native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi). To explore the implications of cattle trampling, we built two mathematical models. First we used a temperature-driven model of egg-to-fry mortality representative of the developmental stages during which embryos would be vulnerable to trampling. Cattle trampling was an additional source of mortality (beyond natural mortality), and we modeled egg-to-fry mortality across a range of trampling rates (25-125% per month) for scenarios assuming low (0.60), moderate (0.81), and high (0.95) natural mortality. We then used a matrix model to determine how trampling affected population growth (lambda), assuming initially stable (lambda = 1.008) or slow-growing populations (lambda = 1.025 and 1.05). Cattle trampling concentrated over a few days when the embryos were most sensitive caused greater egg-to-fry mortality than when the same amount of trampling occurred over one month. Trampling caused a large increase in egg-to-fry mortality when that natural mortality was low, but the overall population-level effect was far less than might have been anticipated from the rate of trampling itself. Nonetheless, small reductions in population growth rate could be biologically significant for populations with little or no demographic resilience, and trampling rates as low as 25% could lead to negative population growth. The rapid reduction in resilience with increased trampling rates (>50%) means that even growing populations are less likely to recover from periodic fluctuations. The overall risk posed by trampling will depend on whether

  1. Improving the design of amphibian surveys using soil data: A case study in two wilderness areas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowen, K.D.; Beever, E.A.; Gafvert, U.B.

    2009-01-01

    Amphibian populations are known, or thought to be, declining worldwide. Although protected natural areas may act as reservoirs of biological integrity and serve as benchmarks for comparison with unprotected areas, they are not immune from population declines and extinctions and should be monitored. Unfortunately, identifying survey sites and performing long-term fieldwork within such (often remote) areas involves a special set of problems. We used the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Database to identify, a priori, potential habitat for aquatic-breeding amphibians on North and South Manitou Islands, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan, and compared the results to those obtained using National Wetland Inventory (NWI) data. The SSURGO approach identified more target sites for surveys than the NWI approach, and it identified more small and ephemeral wetlands. Field surveys used a combination of daytime call surveys, night-time call surveys, and perimeter surveys. We found that sites that would not have been identified with NWI data often contained amphibians and, in one case, contained wetland-breeding species that would not have been found using NWI data. Our technique allows for easy a priori identification of numerous survey sites that might not be identified using other sources of spatial information. We recognize, however, that the most effective site identification and survey techniques will likely use a combination of methods in addition to those described here.

  2. Amphibian molecular ecology and how it has informed conservation.

    PubMed

    McCartney-Melstad, Evan; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2015-10-01

    Molecular ecology has become one of the key tools in the modern conservationist's kit. Here we review three areas where molecular ecology has been applied to amphibian conservation: genes on landscapes, within-population processes, and genes that matter. We summarize relevant analytical methods, recent important studies from the amphibian literature, and conservation implications for each section. Finally, we include five in-depth examples of how molecular ecology has been successfully applied to specific amphibian systems.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

  4. Cryopreservation and other assisted reproductive technologies for the conservation of threatened amphibians and reptiles: bringing the ARTs up to speed.

    PubMed

    Clulow, John; Clulow, Simon

    2016-06-01

    Amphibians and reptiles are experiencing serious declines, with the number of threatened species and extinctions growing rapidly as the modern biodiversity crisis unfolds. For amphibians, the panzootic of chytridiomycosis is a major driver. For reptiles, habitat loss and harvesting from the wild are key threats. Cryopreservation and other assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) could play a role in slowing the loss of amphibian and reptile biodiversity and managing threatened populations through genome storage and the production of live animals from stored material. These vertebrate classes are at different stages of development in cryopreservation and other ARTs, and each class faces different technical challenges arising from the separate evolutionary end-points of their reproductive biology. For amphibians, the generation of live offspring from cryopreserved spermatozoa has been achieved, but the cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos remains elusive. With reptiles, spermatozoa have been cryopreserved in a few species, but no offspring from cryopreserved spermatozoa have been reported, and the generation of live young from AI has only occurred in a small number of species. Cryopreservation and ARTs are more developed and advanced for amphibians than reptiles. Future work on both groups needs to concentrate on achieving proof of concept examples that demonstrate the use of genome storage and ARTs in successfully recovering threatened species to increase awareness and support for this approach to conservation.