Geographic and taxonomic variation in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and transmission within a highly endemic amphibian community
Article first published online: 3 MAY 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Diversity and Distributions
Volume 19, Issue 9, pages 1153–1163, September 2013
How to Cite
Bielby, J., Bovero, S., Angelini, C., Favelli, M., Gazzaniga, E., Perkins, M., Sotgiu, G., Tessa, G., Garner, T. W. J. (2013), Geographic and taxonomic variation in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and transmission within a highly endemic amphibian community. Diversity and Distributions, 19: 1153–1163. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12085
- Issue published online: 14 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 3 MAY 2013
- People's Trust for Endangered Species
- Risk Assessment of Chytridiomycosis to European Amphibian Biodiversity
- Chester Zoo
- Societas Europaea Herpetologica
- IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
- disease transmission;
In a highly endemic, threatened amphibian assemblage, we measure and describe the geographic and taxonomic distribution of the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), with a view to identifying those sites and species most at risk of infection and its negative consequences. Additionally, we aimed to determine the potential for direct transmission events between two known carriers of Bd infection.
The island of Sardinia.
We collected swab and tissue samples of amphibians from a wide range of geographic sites and species. We used epidemiological and statistical techniques to quantify deviations from a random distribution. We used random forests to investigate habitat use and overlap in two species known to be infected by Bd to quantify a surrogate measure of the contact rates between these two species.
Both geographic and taxonomic distributions of Bd were highly non-random: we identified a cluster of infections in the north of the island and found that two species, Euproctus platycephalus and Discoglossus sardus, had a relatively high prevalence of infection within this cluster. Our analyses suggest that, on the basis of their fine-scale habitat use, they have relatively little opportunity for direct transmission and could maintain Bd infection independently.
Our results illustrate how obtaining detailed information on the geographic and taxonomic distribution of infection is a useful first step in assessing the risk of infection for species within the region. Attempting to quantify possible routes of transmission amongst species further aids us in identifying mechanisms of pathogen persistence within the host community. Within this assemblage, we have identified two hosts that carry infection and may be at risk. Further, our research suggests that these two species may be able to maintain infection independently of one another, which has implications for attempts to mitigate this parasite.