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Antifungal treatment of wild amphibian populations caused a transient reduction in the prevalence of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis


Geiger, Corina C; Bregnard, Cindy; Maluenda, Elodie; Voordouw, Maarten J; Schmidt, Benedikt R (2017). Antifungal treatment of wild amphibian populations caused a transient reduction in the prevalence of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Scientific Reports, 7(1):5956.

Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases can drive host populations to extinction and are a major driver of biodiversity loss. Controlling diseases and mitigating their impacts is therefore a priority for conservation science and practice. Chytridiomycosis is a devastating disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and for which there is an urgent need to develop mitigation methods. We treated tadpoles of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) with antifungal agents using a capture-treat-release approach in the field. Antifungal treatment during the spring reduced the prevalence of Bd in the cohort of tadpoles that had overwintered and reduced transmission of Bd from this cohort to the uninfected young-of-the-year cohort. Unfortunately, the mitigation was only transient, and the antifungal treatment was unable to prevent the rapid spread of Bd through the young-of-the year cohort. During the winter, Bd prevalence reached 100% in both the control and treated ponds. In the following spring, no effects of treatment were detectable anymore. We conclude that the sporadic application of antifungal agents in the present study was not sufficient for the long-term and large-scale control of Bd in this amphibian system.

Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases can drive host populations to extinction and are a major driver of biodiversity loss. Controlling diseases and mitigating their impacts is therefore a priority for conservation science and practice. Chytridiomycosis is a devastating disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and for which there is an urgent need to develop mitigation methods. We treated tadpoles of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) with antifungal agents using a capture-treat-release approach in the field. Antifungal treatment during the spring reduced the prevalence of Bd in the cohort of tadpoles that had overwintered and reduced transmission of Bd from this cohort to the uninfected young-of-the-year cohort. Unfortunately, the mitigation was only transient, and the antifungal treatment was unable to prevent the rapid spread of Bd through the young-of-the year cohort. During the winter, Bd prevalence reached 100% in both the control and treated ponds. In the following spring, no effects of treatment were detectable anymore. We conclude that the sporadic application of antifungal agents in the present study was not sufficient for the long-term and large-scale control of Bd in this amphibian system.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Alytes, tadpole, chytridiomycosis, mitigation, temperature, winter
Language:English
Date:20 July 2017
Deposited On:09 Aug 2017 12:58
Last Modified:09 Dec 2017 01:45
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-05798-9
PubMed ID:28729557

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