DAO 121:1-14 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03039

Patterns of amphibian infection prevalence across wetlands on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA

Cara N. Love1,2,*, Megan E. Winzeler1,2,*, Rochelle Beasley1,*, David E. Scott1,*, Schyler O. Nunziata3, Stacey L. Lance1,*,**

1Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA
2Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA
 *These authors contributed equally to this work
**Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Amphibian diseases, such as chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranaviral disease caused by ranaviruses, are often linked to global amphibian population declines, yet the ecological dynamics of both pathogens are poorly understood. The goal of our study was to determine the baseline prevalence, pathogen loads, and co-infection rate of Bd and ranavirus across the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, USA, a region with rich amphibian diversity and a history of amphibian-based research. We tested over 1000 individuals, encompassing 21 amphibian species from 11 wetlands for both Bd and ranavirus. The prevalence of Bd across individuals was 9.7%. Using wetland means, the mean (±SE) Bd prevalence was 7.9 ± 2.9%. Among toad species, Anaxyrus terrestris had 95 and 380% greater odds of being infected with Bd than Scaphiopus holbrookii and Gastrophryne carolinensis, respectively. Odds of Bd infection in adult A. terrestris and Lithobates sphenocephalus were 75 to 77% greater in metal-contaminated sites. The prevalence of ranavirus infections across all individuals was 37.4%. Mean wetland ranavirus prevalence was 29.8 ± 8.8% and was higher in post-metamorphic individuals than in aquatic larvae. Ambystoma tigrinum had 83 to 85% higher odds of ranavirus infection than A. opacum and A. talpoideum. We detected a 4.8% co-infection rate, with individuals positive for ranavirus having a 5% higher occurrence of Bd. In adult Anaxyrus terrestris, odds of Bd infection were 13% higher in ranavirus-positive animals and odds of co-infection were 23% higher in contaminated wetlands. Overall, we found the pathogen prevalence varied by wetland, species, and life stage.


KEY WORDS: Batrachochytrium · Chytrid · Metals · Ranavirus · Wetland


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Love CN, Winzeler ME, Beasley R, Scott DE, Nunziata SO, Lance SL (2016) Patterns of amphibian infection prevalence across wetlands on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA. Dis Aquat Org 121:1-14. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03039

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -