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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 147:149-154 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03640

NOTE
Low occurrence of ranavirus in the Prairie Pothole Region of Montana and North Dakota (USA) contrasts with prior surveys

Brian J. Tornabene1,*, Erica J. Crespi2, Bernardo A. Traversari2, Kenzi M. Stemp3, Creagh W. Breuner1, Caren S. Goldberg4, Blake R. Hossack1,5

1Wildlife Biology Program, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
2School of Biological Sciences, Center for Reproductive Sciences, Washington State University, PO Box 644236, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
3Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608, USA
4School of the Environment, Washington State University, PO Box 644236, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
5US Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens that have caused mortality events in amphibians worldwide. Despite the negative effects of ranaviruses on amphibian populations, monitoring efforts are still lacking in many areas, including in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America. Some PPR wetlands in Montana and North Dakota (USA) have been contaminated by energy-related saline wastewaters, and increased salinity has been linked to greater severity of ranavirus infections. In 2017, we tested tissues from larvae collected at 7 wetlands that ranged in salinity from 26 to 4103 mg Cl l-1. In 2019, we used environmental DNA (eDNA) to test for ranaviruses in 30 wetlands that ranged in salinity from 26 to 11754 mg Cl l-1. A previous study (2013-2014) found that ranavirus-infected amphibians were common across North Dakota, including in some wetlands near our study area. Overall, only 1 larva tested positive for ranavirus infection, and we did not detect ranavirus in any eDNA samples. There are several potential reasons why we found so little evidence of ranaviruses, including low larval sample sizes, mismatch between sampling and disease occurrence, larger pore size of our eDNA filters, temporal variation in outbreaks, low host abundance, or low occurrence or prevalence of ranaviruses in the wetlands we sampled. We suggest future monitoring efforts be conducted to better understand the occurrence and prevalence of ranaviruses within the PPR.


KEY WORDS: Pathogens · Contaminants · Salinity · Amphibians


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Cite this article as: Tornabene BJ, Crespi EJ, Traversari BA, Stemp KM, Breuner CW, Goldberg CS, Hossack BR (2021) Low occurrence of ranavirus in the Prairie Pothole Region of Montana and North Dakota (USA) contrasts with prior surveys. Dis Aquat Org 147:149-154. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03640

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