Global distribution of two fungal pathogens threatening endangered sea turtles

Sarmiento-Ramírez, Jullie M., Abella-Pérez, Elena, Phillott, Andrea D., Sim, Jolene, van West, Pieter, Martín, María P., Marco, Adolfo, and Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier (2014) Global distribution of two fungal pathogens threatening endangered sea turtles. PLoS ONE, 9 (1). pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Nascent fungal infections are currently considered as one of the main threats for biodiversity and ecosystem health, and have driven several animal species into critical risk of extinction. Sea turtles are one of the most endangered groups of animals and only seven species have survived to date. Here, we described two pathogenic species, i.e., Fusarium falciforme and Fusarium keratoplasticum, that are globally distributed in major turtle nesting areas for six sea turtle species and that are implicated in low hatch success. These two fungi possess key biological features that are similar to emerging pathogens leading to host extinction, e.g., high virulence, and a broad host range style of life. Their optimal growth temperature overlap with the optimal incubation temperature for eggs, and they are able to kill up to 90% of the embryos. Environmental forcing, e.g., tidal inundation and clay/silt content of nests, were correlated to disease development. Thus, these Fusarium species constitute a major threat to sea turtle nests, especially to those experiencing environmental stressors. These findings have serious implications for the survival of endangered sea turtle populations and the success of conservation programs worldwide.

Item ID: 31976
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Additional Information:

© 2014 Sarmiento-Ramírez et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain (MCI) , Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Natural Environment Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Projects and Grants: MCI GL2009-10032, MCI CGL2012-32934, SIC JAEPre 0901804
Date Deposited: 21 May 2014 23:56
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments @ 100%
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