Left to Right: Tabby Cavendish (Great Smoky Mountains NP), Brian Gregory (USGS), and Jamie Barichivich (ARMI) swabbing salamanders for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Rockhouse Cave, Wheeler NWR, Alabama. Photo by: Alan Cressler.
ARMI conducts original research on various amphibian diseases in the lab and field. Our research has included estimating the impacts of diseases on the growth of populations, developing and testing potential treatments, affects of stressors on susceptibility to disease, how diseases are transmitted in the wild, and how to model disease distributions and spread.
ARMI disease research is conducted throughout the country, but ARMI pathologist Dr. David Green is based at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and coordinates the health screenings and investigations of amphibian mortalities (e.g., identification, pathology) in addition to collaborating on many disease research projects.
Amphibians at our long-term monitoring sites are periodically screened for diseases and we investigate mass mortality events.
National Wildlife Health Center - ARMI
ARMI Products on Disease
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Spatial variation in risk and consequence of Batrachochytrium salamanderivorans introduction in the United States
Authors: Richgels K, Russell R, Adams M, Grant E | Date: 2016-02-17 | Outlet: Royal Society Open Science 3:150616 | Format: .PDF
A newly identified fungal pathogen, <i>Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans</i> (<i>Bsal</i>), is responsible for mass mortality events and severe population declines in European salamanders. The eastern USA has the highest diversity of salamanders in the world and the introduction of this pathogen is likely to be devastating. Although data is inevitably limited for new pathogens, disease risk assessments utilize best available data to inform management decisions. Using characteristics of <i>Bsal</i> ecology, spatial data on imports and pet trade establishments, and salamander species diversity, we identify high risk areas with both a high likelihood of introduction and severe consequences for local salamanders. We predict that the Pacific coast, southern Appalachian Mountains, and mid-Atlantic regions will have the highest relative risk from <i>Bsal</i>. Management of invasive pathogens becomes difficult once they are established in wildlife populations; therefore, import restrictions to limit pathogen introduction and early detection through surveillance of high risk areas are priorities for preventing the next crisis for North American salamanders
A Model to Inform Management Actions as a Response to Chytridiomycosis-Associated Decline
Authors: Converse SJ, Bailey LL, Mosher BA, Funk WC, Gerber BD, Muths E | Date: 2016-02-15 | Outlet: Ecohealth | Format: .PDF
Decision-analytic models provide forecasts of how systems of interest will respond to management. These models can be parameterized using empirical data, but sometimes require information elicited from experts. When evaluating the effects of disease in species translocation programs, expert judgment is likely to play a role because complete empirical information will rarely be available. We illustrate development of a decision-analytic model built to inform decision-making regarding translocations and other management actions for the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas), a species with declines linked to chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd).
Amphibian mortality events and ranavirus outbreaks in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Authors: Patla D, St-Hilaire S, Ray A, Hossack B R, Peteron C R | Date: 2016 | Outlet: Herptetological Review 47:50-54 | Format: .PDF
Mortality events in wild amphibians go largely undocumented, and where events are detected, the numbers of dead amphibians observed are probably a small fraction of actual mortality. Incidental observations from field surveys can, despite limitations, provide valuable information on the presence, host species, and spatial distribution of diseases. Here we summarize amphibian mortality events and diagnoses recorded from 2000 to 2014 in four management areas: Yellowstone National Park; Grand Teton National Park; the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; and the National Elk Refuge, which together span a large portion of protected areas within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.