Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Divergent population responses following salamander mass mortalities and declines driven by the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans


Erens, J; Preissler, K; Speybroeck, Jeroen; Beukema, Wouter; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Stark, T; Laudelout, Arnaud; Kinet, Thierry; Schmidt, Benedikt R; Martel, A; Steinfartz, S; Pasmans, F (2023). Divergent population responses following salamander mass mortalities and declines driven by the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 290:20230510.

Abstract

Understanding wildlife responses to novel threats is vital in counteracting biodiversity loss. The emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) causes dramatic declines in European salamander populations, and is considered an imminent threat to global amphibian biodiversity. However, real-life disease outcomes remain largely uncharacterized. We performed a multidisciplinary assessment of the longer-term impacts of Bsal on highly susceptible fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) populations, by comparing four of the earliest known outbreak sites to uninfected sites. Based on large-scale monitoring efforts, we found population persistence in strongly reduced abundances to over a decade after Bsal invasion, but also the extinction of an initially small-sized population. In turn, we found that host responses varied, and Bsal detection remained low, within surviving populations. Demographic analyses indicated an ongoing scarcity of large reproductive adults with potential for recruitment failure, while spatial comparisons indicated a population remnant persisting within aberrant habitat. Additionally, we detected no early signs of severe genetic deterioration, yet nor of increased host resistance. Beyond offering additional context to Bsal-driven salamander declines, results highlight how the impacts of emerging hypervirulent pathogens can be unpredictable and vary across different levels of biological complexity, and how limited pathogen detectability after population declines may complicate surveillance efforts.

Abstract

Understanding wildlife responses to novel threats is vital in counteracting biodiversity loss. The emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) causes dramatic declines in European salamander populations, and is considered an imminent threat to global amphibian biodiversity. However, real-life disease outcomes remain largely uncharacterized. We performed a multidisciplinary assessment of the longer-term impacts of Bsal on highly susceptible fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) populations, by comparing four of the earliest known outbreak sites to uninfected sites. Based on large-scale monitoring efforts, we found population persistence in strongly reduced abundances to over a decade after Bsal invasion, but also the extinction of an initially small-sized population. In turn, we found that host responses varied, and Bsal detection remained low, within surviving populations. Demographic analyses indicated an ongoing scarcity of large reproductive adults with potential for recruitment failure, while spatial comparisons indicated a population remnant persisting within aberrant habitat. Additionally, we detected no early signs of severe genetic deterioration, yet nor of increased host resistance. Beyond offering additional context to Bsal-driven salamander declines, results highlight how the impacts of emerging hypervirulent pathogens can be unpredictable and vary across different levels of biological complexity, and how limited pathogen detectability after population declines may complicate surveillance efforts.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
1 citation in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

0 downloads since deposited on 12 Oct 2023
0 downloads since 12 months

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:amphibian, salamander, Batrachochytrium, emerging infectious disease
Language:English
Date:27 September 2023
Deposited On:12 Oct 2023 09:27
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:39
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2023.0510
PubMed ID:37752840