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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 127:107-115 (2018)  -  DOI:

Amphibian chytrid infection is influenced by rainfall seasonality and water availability

Joice Ruggeri1,2,4,*, Sergio Potsch de Carvalho-e-Silva2, Timothy Y. James3, Luís Felipe Toledo

1Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Amphibians suffer from a number of factors that make them the most threatened group of vertebrates. One threat is the fungal disease chytridiomycosis caused by the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has rapidly spread and caused the loss of massive amphibian biodiversity worldwide. Recently, Bd was associated with a few amphibian population declines and extinctions in some areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. However, the mechanisms underlying such declines are not fully understood. Therefore, it is essential to improve our knowledge of abiotic factors that can possibly influence Bd prevalence and chytridiomycosis disease severity. Herein we tested the hypothesis that water availability (such as in perennial streams, where Bd is frequently present in larvae) and rainfall would increase the prevalence of Bd. To test this, we sampled frogs from 6 transects with different numbers of perennial waterbodies, and we report that the more water available in the area, the higher the probability of Bd infection on anurans. Seasonality also influenced both the Bd prevalence in the area and the intensity of infection in infected frogs. However, Bd prevalence was higher during the rainy months whereas the infection burden was lower. We suggest that Bd is likely spread during the summer, when most anuran species gather near the water for spawning and when rainfall overfills ephemeral wetlands. On the other hand, during the drier months, a higher infection burden may be explained by increased disease susceptibility.

KEY WORDS: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Chytridiomycosis · Pathogen dynamics · Waterborne disease · Highlands · Brazilian Atlantic forest

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Cite this article as: Ruggeri J, Potsch de Carvalho-e-Silva S, James TY, Toledo LF (2018) Amphibian chytrid infection is influenced by rainfall seasonality and water availability. Dis Aquat Org 127:107-115.

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