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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 147:1-12 (2021)  -  DOI:

Emerging infectious diseases of amphibians in Poland: distribution and environmental drivers

Gemma Palomar1,2, Joanna Jakóbik3, Jaime Bosch4,5, Krzysztof Kolenda6, Mikołaj Kaczmarski7, Paulina Jośko3, José V. Roces-Díaz8, Przemysław Stachyra9, Barbora Thumsová4,5, Piotr Zieliński1, Maciej Pabijan3,*

1Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
2Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Adama Mickiewicza 33, 31-120 Kraków, Poland
3Institute of Zoology and Biomedical Research, Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 9, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
4Research Unit of Biodiversity (CSIC, UO, PA), Gonzalo Gutiérrez Quirós s/n, Oviedo University - Campus Mieres, Edificio de Investigación, 33600 Mieres, Spain
5Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
6Department of Evolutionary Biology and Conservation of Vertebrates, University of Wrocław, Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wrocław, Poland
7Institute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71 C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland
8Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), 08193 Cerdanyola del Valles, Spain
9Roztocze National Park, Plażowa 2, 22-470 Zwierzyniec Poland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Emerging infectious diseases are a threat to biodiversity and have taken a large toll on amphibian populations worldwide. The chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), and the iridovirus Ranavirus (Rv), are of concern as all have contributed to amphibian declines. In central and eastern Europe, their geographical and host distributions and main environmental drivers determining prevalence are poorly known. We screened over 1000 amphibians from natural and captive populations in Poland for the presence of Bd, Bsal and Rv. In wild amphibian populations, we found that Bd is widespread, present in 46 out of 115 sampled localities as well as 2 captive colonies, and relatively common with overall prevalence at 14.4% in 9 species. We found lower prevalence of Rv at 2.4%, present in 11 out of 92 sampling sites, with a taxonomic breadth of 8 different amphibian species. Bsal infection was not detected in any individuals. In natural populations, Pelophylax esculentus and Bombina variegata accounted for 75% of all Bd infections, suggesting a major role for these 2 species as pathogen reservoirs in Central European freshwater habitats. General linear models showed that climatic as well as landscape features are associated with Bd infection in Poland. We found that higher average annual temperature constrains Bd infection, while landscapes with numerous water bodies or artificial elements (a surrogate for urbanization) increase the chances of infection. Our results show that a combination of climatic and landscape variables may drive regional and local pathogen emergence.

KEY WORDS: Chytrid fungus · Batrachochytrium · Ranavirus · Pathogens · Central Europe

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Cite this article as: Palomar G, Jakóbik J, Bosch J, Kolenda K and others (2021) Emerging infectious diseases of amphibians in Poland: distribution and environmental drivers. Dis Aquat Org 147:1-12.

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