Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can amphibian fungal disease be beaten?

Date:
July 27, 2011
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Over the past 30 years, around 200 species of amphibians have disappeared due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection. The scientific community has attempted to fight the pathogen, without success. Now, researchers have reviewed every technique in order to prevent the effects of this disease and local extinctions.

Over the past 30 years, around 200 species of amphibians have disappeared due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection. The scientific community has attempted to fight the pathogen, without success. Now, an international research group has reviewed every technique in order to prevent the effects of this disease and local extinctions.
Credit: Jaime Bosch

Over the past 30 years, around 200 species of amphibians have disappeared due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection. The scientific community has attempted to fight the pathogen, without success. Now, an international research group has reviewed every technique in order to prevent the effects of this disease and local extinctions.

"There are several alternatives for mitigating chytridiomycosis that are more effective than trying to prevent the pathogen from arriving or eradicating it from the environment," Jaime Bosch, a researcher at the National Natural Sciences Museum (MNCN-CSIC) in Spain and co-author of the new study on controlling the infection that has attacked 200 species of frogs, toads and other amphibians, said.

After reviewing all the current mitigation actions -- or those that could possibly be developed in the near future -- the researchers have concluded that new strategies based on the use of different methods to control infection levels "could be enough to prevent outbreaks of the disease and could, therefore, largely prevent local extinctions," says Bosch.

The study, which has been published in Frontiers in Zoology, has shown how the fungal amphibian pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) has been dispersed by human action. "It is a phenomenon that is practically unstoppable in our globalised world," the biologist explains.

The fungus has been implicated in the extinction of amphibian populations and species all over the world for many years. However, until recently the only effective way of tackling this disease seemed to be to prevent it from dispersing and to establish captive colonies of species at the greatest risk of disappearing from their natural habitat.

A battle still to be won in Spain

The research highlights various local experiments that are using new strategies in a bid to mitigate the disease. In the case of Spain, the Peρalara Natural Park (Madrid) is of particular importance since it was the first place in Europe that suffered an outbreak of chytridiomycosis, which brought the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) to the brink of extinction. In one of the few populations that managed to avoid extinction, for example, tadpole numbers fell from 5,000 to 20 individuals.

One of the pilot studies, led by Bosch, involves keeping infected tadpoles in captivity at temperatures of over 21ΊC, which is higher than in their normal environment. The tadpoles are kept in this condition until they undergo metamorphosis, when they are released, even though some of them still test positively for the infection. Since 2009, the number of amphibians surviving has increased, thanks to a new heat therapy using baths of the antifungal itraconazole.

However, the reinfection of treated animals "is possible with both treatments," explains the researcher, adding that "it is still too soon to recommend using them, because of the risk of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis becoming resistant to the itraconazole."

In 2008, the Government of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, the MNCN and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust also set up a captive breeding programme in order to maintain some populations in case of extinction. The future young will be tolerant (reducing the impact of infection) or resistant (able to fight off the pathogen), although rescued amphibians naturally have genes that confer tolerance against the disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. 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:

Plataforma SINC. "Can amphibian fungal disease be beaten?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727083441.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2011, July 27). Can amphibian fungal disease be beaten?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727083441.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Can amphibian fungal disease be beaten?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727083441.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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