DAO 92:117-129 (2010) - doi:10.3354/dao02272
Application of the survey protocol for chytridiomycosis to Queensland, Australia
Lee F. Skerratt1,*, Keith R. McDonald2, Harry B. Hines3, Lee Berger1, Diana Mendez1, Andrea D. Phillott1, Scott D. Cashins1, Kris A. Murray4, Richard Speare1
ABSTRACT: Spread of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis, has resulted in the extinction of frogs, but the distribution of Bd is incompletely known. We trialled the survey protocol for Bd by attempting to systematically map its distribution in Queensland, Australia. Bd was easily detected in known infected areas, such as the Wet Tropics and South East Queensland. It was not detected in bioregions adjacent to, but inland from or to the north of, infected regions: Einasleigh Uplands and Cape York adjacent to the infected Wet Tropics; and Brigalow Belt South adjacent to the infected South East Queensland bioregion. These regions where Bd was not detected have bordered infected regions for between 15 yr (in northern Queensland) and 30 yr (in southern Queensland), and so they define the geographical limits of Bd with regard to the long-term environmental conditions in Queensland. The Gulf Plains, a bioregion distant from infected bioregions, was also negative. Bd was confined to rainforest and bordering habitats, such as wet eucalypt forests. Infections were largely confined to permanent water-associated species, consistent with this being an important cause of this group having the greatest declines. Our data supports biogeographic climatic models that show much of inland and northern Australia to be too hot and dry to support Bd. As there is limited opportunity for Bd to spread further in Queensland, the priority for management is reducing the impact of Bd in affected populations and assisting frogs to disperse into their former distributions. Given that the survey protocol has been applied successfully in Australia it may be useful for mapping the distribution of Bd in other parts of the world.
KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Amphibian · Threatening process · Spread · Management · Disease
|Full text in pdf format|