Island provides a pathogen refuge within climatically suitable area

Stockwell, Michelle P., Bower, Deborah S., Bainbridge, Loren, Clulow, John, and Mahony, Michael J. (2015) Island provides a pathogen refuge within climatically suitable area. Biodiversity and Conservation, 24 (10). pp. 2583-2592.

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Surveillance of pathogens can lead to significant advances towards making effective decisions in research and management for species threatened by disease. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been a major contributing factor to the global decline of amphibians. Knowledge of the distribution of B. dendrobatidis can contribute to understanding patterns of species decline and prioritizing action. Therefore, we surveyed four spatially distinct populations of a B. dendrobatidis susceptible species, the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), for evidence of infection in the population. Three mainland populations were infected at a prevalence of 3.5-28.3 %, with median infection loads of 0.28-627.18 genomic equivalents (GE). Conversely, we did not detect infection in an island population 3 km from the mainland; the isolation and infrequent visitation of the island suggests that the pathogen has not arrived. Management actions for B. dendrobatidis and conservation of susceptible frog species are heavily dependent on the presence and absence of the pathogen in the population. Prevention of the accidental introduction of B. dendrobatidis and safe guarding genetic diversity of L. aurea is necessary to preserve unique diversity of the island population, whereas containment and control of the pathogen can be directed towards mainland populations. Knowledge of disease dynamics also provides a context to understand the ecology of remaining populations as variation in the physiology or habitat of the mainland populations have facilitated persistence of these populations alongside B. dendrobatidis. Other islands should be a priority target in disease surveillance, to discover refuges that can assist conservation.

Item ID: 51111
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9710
Keywords: Litoria aurea, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, conservation, infectious, Chytridiomycosis, amphibian
Funders: Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project, Barker Family Scholarship, Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, Wildlife Preservation Society
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:32
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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