Antifungal bacteria on woodland salamander skin exhibit high taxonomic diversity and geographic variability

Authors: C R Muletz; Graziella V DiRenzo; S A Yarwood; Evan HC Grant; R C Fleischer; Karen R Lips
Contribution Number: 575

Diverse bacteria inhabit amphibian skin, some of which inhibit growth of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Yet, there has been no systematic survey of anti-Bd bacteria across localities, species and elevations. This is important given geographic and taxonomic variation in amphibian susceptibility to Bd. Our sites were within the Appalachian Mountains where previous sampling indicated low Bd prevalence. We determined the number and identity of anti-Bd bacteria on 61 Plethodon salamanders (37 P. cinereus, 15 P. glutinosus, 9 P. cylindraceus) using culturing methods and 16S rDNA sequencing. We sampled co-occurring species at three localities, and P. cinereus along an elevational gradient (700 ? 1000 masl) at one locality. We identified 50 anti-Bd bacterial OTUs and found that the degree of Bd inhibition was not correlated with relatedness. Five anti-Bd bacteria occurred on multiple species at multiple localities, but none were shared among all species and localities. Prevalence of
36 anti-Bd bacteria was higher at Shenandoah NP, VA, with 96% (25/26) of salamanders hosting at least one anti-Bd bacteria compared to 50% (7/14) at Catoctin MP, MD and 38% (8/21) at Mt. Rogers NRA, VA. At the individual level, salamanders at Shenandoah NP had more anti-Bd bacteria per individual (μ = 3.3) than those at Catoctin MP (μ = 0.8) and at Mt. Rogers NRA (μ = 0.4). All salamanders tested negative for Bd. Anti-Bd bacteria are diverse in central Appalachian Plethodon salamanders, and their distribution varied geographically. The antifungal bacteria we identified may play a protective role for these salamanders.

Publication details
Published Date:
Outlet/Publisher: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Media Format:

ARMI Organizational Units:
Northeast - Biology
chytrid fungus; disease
Notice: PDF documents require Adobe Reader or Google Chrome Browser (recommended) for viewing.