Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fighting massive declines in frog populations with bacteria and fungicides

Date:
June 21, 2011
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
A microscopic chytrid fungus is causing massive declines in frog populations all over the world and even the extinction of certain species. Researchers have now developed methods for combating the chytrid fungus with bacteria and fungicides. The possibility of vaccinating frogs is also being considered.

The midwife toad: a species that is particularly sensitive to the chytrid fungus.
Credit: Benedikt Schmidt

A microscopic chytrid fungus is causing massive declines in frog populations all over the world and even the extinction of certain species. Together with colleagues from Europe and the USA, researchers from the University of Zurich present methods as to how the chytrid fungus can be combated in the journal Frontiers in Zoology: namely with bacteria and fungicides. However, the possibility of vaccinating the frogs is also being considered.

Related Articles


New pathogens are not just a growing problem for humans and livestock, but also wild animals. Along with the destruction of their habitats and the overexploitation of their populations, a disease caused by a chytrid fungus called chytridiomycosis is one of the three biggest killers of amphibians in the world.

Devastating declines in amphibian populations were observed in Australia and Central America in the 1980s and 1990s. However, it wasn't until 1998 that the pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was finally identified and described; the fungus has been spreading ever since. "Whenever it has turned up somewhere new, huge numbers of frogs have died from the disease," explains Benedikt Schmidt, a conservation biologist from the University of Zurich. What supposedly started out as a tropical disease has ballooned into a global problem. Today, the fungus can be found on every continent where there are frogs.

In Europe, the chytrid fungus and substantial declines in frog populations were first recorded in the mountains of Spain. "Wherever you looked for the fungus in Europe you found it," says Schmidt. In Switzerland, the fungus was detected in about half of all the ponds sampled. Almost all the indigenous amphibian species were, albeit to varying degrees, infected with the chytrid fungus. And individual amphibians that had perished from chytridiomycosis were also discovered in Switzerland, although not to quite such an extent as the mass deaths in other countries.

While the causes of "normal" hazards for frogs are well known and it is clear how we can help the amphibians, in the case of the chytrid fungus there are no known counter-measures. Researchers from the University of Zurich therefore teamed up with colleagues from Spain, Australia and the USA to examine possible approaches to fight the fungus. "Treating individuals in a zoo, for example, is a piece of cake," says Schmidt; "fighting the fungus out in nature, however, is a different kettle of fish altogether."

Schmidt et al. see two particularly promising methods. The first involves using bacteria that live naturally on the frog's skin. Some of these skin bacteria block the chytrid fungus and can thus cure the frogs. "The approach works in the lab," explains Schmidt. "Now we need to test how the method can be used for frogs living in the wild." The second approach is simple: You catch frogs or tadpoles, treat them for the fungus and let them go again. "This also works fine in principle," says Schmidt. The only problem is how to prevent the animals from becoming reinfected as soon as you release them back into the wild.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Douglas C Woodhams, Jaime Bosch, Cheryl J Briggs, Scott Cashins, Leyla R Davis, Antje Lauer, Erin Muths, Robert Puschendorf, Benedikt R Schmidt, Brandon Sheafor, Jamie Voyles. Mitigating amphibian disease: strategies to maintain wild populations and control chytridiomycosis. Frontiers in Zoology, 2011; 8 (1): 8 DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-8-8

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Fighting massive declines in frog populations with bacteria and fungicides." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620094856.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2011, June 21). Fighting massive declines in frog populations with bacteria and fungicides. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620094856.htm
University of Zurich. "Fighting massive declines in frog populations with bacteria and fungicides." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620094856.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer teamed up with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and others to investigate a predatory glow worm found in the Amazon. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins