Dynamics of chytridiomycosis during the breeding season in an Australian alpine amphibian

Brannelly, Laura A., Hunter, David A., Lenger, Daniel, Scheele, Ben C., Skerratt, Lee F., and Berger, Lee (2015) Dynamics of chytridiomycosis during the breeding season in an Australian alpine amphibian. PLoS ONE, 10 (12). e0143629. pp. 1-15.

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Understanding disease dynamics during the breeding season of declining amphibian species will improve our understanding of how remnant populations persist with endemic infection, and will assist the development of management techniques to protect diseasethreatened species from extinction. We monitored the endangered Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine treefrog) during the breeding season through capture-mark-recapture (CMR) studies in which we investigated the dynamics of chytridiomycosis in relation to population size in two populations. We found that infection prevalence and intensity increased throughout the breeding season in both populations, but infection prevalence and intensity was higher (3.49 and 2.02 times higher prevalence and intensity, respectively) at the site that had a 90-fold higher population density. This suggests that Bd transmission is density-dependent. Weekly survival probability was related to disease state, with heavily infected animals having the lowest survival. There was low recovery from infection, especially when animals were heavily infected with Bd. Sympatric amphibian species are likely to be reservoir hosts for the disease and can play an important role in the disease ecology of Bd. Although we found 0% prevalence in crayfish (Cherax destructor), we found that a sympatric amphibian (Crinia signifera) maintained 100% infection prevalence at a high intensity throughout the season. Our results demonstrate the importance of including infection intensity into CMR disease analysis in order to fully understand the implications of disease on the amphibian community. We recommend a combined management approach to promote lower population densities and ensure consistent progeny survival. The most effective management strategy to safeguard the persistence of this susceptible species might be to increase habitat area while maintaining a similar sized suitable breeding zone and to increase water flow and area to reduce drought.

Item ID: 43731
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2015 Brannelly 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.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Taronga Zoo
Projects and Grants: ARC FT100100375, ARC LP 110200240, ARC DP120100811
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2016 01:31
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060505 Mycology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960810 Mountain and High Country Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960409 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Mountain and High Country Environments @ 50%
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