DAO 68:245-250 (2006) - doi:10.3354/dao068245
Analysis of climatic and geographic factors affecting the presence of chytridiomycosis in Australia
A. Drew, E. J. Allen*, L. J. S. Allen
ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis is an emerging fungal disease that has been implicated in the global decline of amphibian populations. Identifying climatic and geographic factors associated with its presence may be useful in control and prevention measures. Factors such as high altitude, cool temperature, and wet climate have been associated with chytridiomycosis outbreaks. Although some of these factors have been studied in a laboratory setting, there have been few studies in a natural setting. In this investigation, the relationship between altitude, average summer maximum temperature, or the amount of rainfall and the presence or absence of chytridiomycosis are statistically tested using data from 56 study sites in Australia. Currently, in Australia, 48 native species of wild amphibians have been found infected with chytridiomycosis. The 56 sites in the present study, extending along approximately 50% of the coastline of Australia, have been identified as either a chytrid site, where ≥1 species are infected with chytridiomycosis, or a no-decline site, where none of the species present at the site are experiencing a decline or are known to be infected. The odds-ratio test and two-proportions test applied to this data indicate that the presence of chytridiomycosis in Australia is significantly related to temperature. In particular, the presence of chytridiomycosis is more likely at sites where the average summer maximum temperature is <30°C. The results of the analyses do not indicate a significant relationship between the presence of chytridiomycosis and altitude or rainfall.
KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Amphibians · Australia · Temperature
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