DAO 97:173-184 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02413

Interaction between breeding habitat and elevation affects prevalence but not infection intensity of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Brazilian anuran assemblages

Michael C. Gründler1, Luís Felipe Toledo2, Gabriela Parra-Olea3, Célio F. B. Haddad4, Luis O. M. Giasson4, Ricardo J. Sawaya5, Cynthia P. A. Prado6, Olívia G. S. Araujo4, Fernando J. Zara7, Fernanda C. Centeno4, Kelly R. Zamudio1,*

1Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Ithaca, New York 14853-2701, USA
2Museu de Zoologia ‘Prof. Dr. Adão José Cardoso’, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo 13083-863, Brazil
3Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal 04510, Mexico
4Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, São Paulo 13506-970, Brazil
5Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Diadema, São Paulo 09972-270, Brazil
6Departamento de Morfologia e Fisiologia Animal, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, São Paulo 14884-900, Brazil
7Departamento de Biologia Aplicada, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, São Paulo 14884-900, Brazil

ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease of amphibians, is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and has been linked to declining amphibian populations worldwide. The susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis-induced population declines is potentially influenced by many factors, including environmental characteristics, differences among host species and the growth of the pathogen itself. We investigated the effects of elevation and breeding habitat on Bd prevalence and individual infection intensity (zoospore loads) in 3 anuran assemblages of the Atlantic Coastal Forest of Brazil. Bd infection intensity was strongly influenced by elevation and breeding habitat, but we found no evidence of an interaction between those 2 variables in explaining the number of zoospores sampled from individual frogs. In contrast, Bd infection odds were predicted by elevation and by an interaction between elevation and breeding habitat, such that frogs had a higher probability of Bd infection in lotic habitats at low elevations. Our results indicate that Bd persists across a wide variety of habitats and elevations in the Atlantic Coastal Forest. Prevalence and infection intensity of Bd are highest at high elevations where overall environmental conditions for Bd are most favorable. In addition, at low elevations amphibian host habitat choice is also an important determinant of infection. Our study highlights the need to investigate interacting variables of host ecology and the environment simultaneously.


KEY WORDS: Frog · Chytridiomycosis · Atlantic Coastal Forest


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Cite this article as: Gründler MC, Toledo LF, Parra-Olea G, Haddad CFB and others (2012) Interaction between breeding habitat and elevation affects prevalence but not infection intensity of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Brazilian anuran assemblages. Dis Aquat Org 97:173-184. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02413

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