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Title: Differences in sensitivity to the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis among amphibian populations

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

Date: 2015

Source: Conservation Biology

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: 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 postmetamorphic 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.

Keywords: amphibian declines, chytridiomycosis, emerging infectious disease, Lithobates sylvaticus, reservoir populations.

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Bradley, Paul W.; Gervasi, Stephanie S.; Hua, Jessica; Cothran, Rickey D.; Relyea, Rick A.; Olson, Deanna H.; Blaustein, Andrew R. 2015. Differences in sensitivity to the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis among amphibian populations . Conservation Biology. 29(5): 1347-1356.

 


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