Initial assessment of host susceptibility and pathogen virulence for conservation and management of Tasmanian amphibians

Voyles, Jamie, Phillips, Annie, Driessen, Michael, Webb, Matthew, Berger, Lee, Woodhams, Douglas C., Murray, Kris, and Skerratt, Lee (2014) Initial assessment of host susceptibility and pathogen virulence for conservation and management of Tasmanian amphibians. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 9 (1). pp. 106-115.

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The disease chytridiomycosis, which is caused by lethal fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is considered a threat to Tasmanian amphibians, but little is known about the susceptibility of Tasmania's amphibian species or the likely impacts of infections. We identified threatened and endemic species with prioritization rules and the aid of predictive risk models. We also conducted controlled infection experiments in order to test the pathogenicity of, and host susceptibility to, a Tasmanian isolate of B. dendrobatidis. Of the species prioritized for disease testing, the endemic Tasmanian Tree Frog (Litoria burrowsae) sustained high infection intensities and high (100%) mortality rates. The Green and Golden Frog (Litoria raniformis) became infected, but only 22% of exposed frogs died. Our results verify the pathogenicity of a local B. dendrobatidis strain and identify a highly vulnerable amphibian species, the Tasmanian Tree Frog. Our results are a critical component of Tasmanian conservation management programs, which are now enacting disease mitigation efforts. Thus, we demonstrate the importance of incorporating information on host susceptibility and B. dendrobatidis pathogenicity into risk analyses for management of amphibians threatened by chytridiomycosis.

Item ID: 34162
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1931-7603
Keywords: amphibian declines; Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; chytridiomycosis; Litoria burrowsae; Litoria raniformis; species susceptibility; Tasmania
Funders: Australian Government, Tasmanian Government
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2014 02:57
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960405 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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