Presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in rainwater suggests aerial dispersal is possible

Kolby, Jonathan E., Ramirez, Sara D., Berger, Lee, Griffin, Dale W., Jocque, Merlijn, and Skerratt, Lee F. (2015) Presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in rainwater suggests aerial dispersal is possible. Aerobiologia, 31 (3). pp. 411-419.

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Abstract

Global spread of the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) may involve dispersal mechanisms not previously explored. Weather systems accompanied by strong wind and rainfall have been known to assist the dispersal of microbes pathogenic to plants and animals, and we considered a similar phenomenon might occur with Bd. We investigated this concept by sampling rainwater from 20 precipitation events for the presence of Bd in Cusuco National Park, Honduras: a site where high Bd prevalence was previously detected in stream-associated amphibians. Quantitative PCR analysis confirmed the presence of Bd in rainwater in one (5 %) of the weather events sampled, although viability cannot be ascertained from molecular presence alone. The source of the Bd and distance that the contaminated rainwater traveled could not be determined; however, this collection site was located approximately 600 m from the nearest observed perennial river by straight-line aerial distance. Although our results suggest atmospheric Bd dispersal is uncommon and unpredictable, even occasional short-distance aerial transport could considerably expand the taxonomic diversity of amphibians vulnerable to exposure and at risk of decline, including terrestrial and arboreal species that are not associated with permanent water bodies.

Item ID: 41696
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-3025
Keywords: amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, chytridiomycosis, dispersal, atmospheric, rain
Funders: Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (RSGNC), Chicago Zoological Society/Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:43
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 > 960405 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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