Evaluation of regulatory action and surveillance as preventive risk-mitigation to an emerging global amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)
The emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a severe threat to global urodelan (salamanders, newts, and related taxa) biodiversity. Bsal has not been detected, to date, in North America, but the risk is high because North America is one of the global hotspots for urodelan biodiversity. The North American and United States response to the discovery of Bsal in Europe was to take a risk-based approach to preventive management actions, including interim regulations on importation of captive salamanders and a large-scale surveillance effort. Risk-based approaches to decision-making can extend to adaptive management cycles by periodically incorporating new information that reduces uncertainty in an estimate of risk or to assess the effect of mitigation actions which reduce risk directly. Our objectives were to evaluate the effects of regulatory action on the introduction of Bsal to the U.S., quantify how a large-scale surveillance effort impacted consequence risk, and to combine other new information on species susceptibility to re-evaluate Bsal risk to the U.S. Import regulations effectively reduced import volume of targeted species, but new research on species susceptibility suggests the list of regulated species was incomplete regarding Bsal reservoir species. Not detecting Bsal in an intensive surveillance effort improved confidence that Bsal was not present, however, the overall risk-reduction impact was limited because of the expansive area of interest (conterminous United States) and limited time frame of sampling. Overall, the preventive actions in response to the Bsal threat did reduce Bsal risk in the U.S. and we present an updated risk assessment to provide information for adaptive decision-making.
ARMI Organizational Units:Pacific Northwest - Biology
National Wildlife Health Center