AiM  Vol.4 No.16 , December 2014
Molecular Identification of a Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Its Impact on Urbanized New Jersey
Abstract: In urban landscape, amphibians face many challenges in order to sustain their populations, such as road mortality and infection of pathogenic Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd infection has been reported to cause significant mortality; however, its current distribution in the state of New Jersey remains unknown. In spring, amphibians emerge from their wintering group and migrate to nearby breeding ponds or vernal pools. Their migration pathway is often intercepted by the dense network of human transportation which leads to extirpation. This study aims to investigate potential mortality caused by human transportation and the infected rate of Bd fungus on the amphibian populations at a suburban area in central New Jersey. Twenty-four pitfall traps were installed to collect amphibians. A total of 687 organisms representing 7 amphibian species were recorded during the 73-day study period. Four of the 7 species were selected to test for Bd infection; 73.6% of the amphibian skin swabs showed positive results of infection. However, Bd was not detected in water and soil samples collected around the study areas. The results of this study suggested that road mortality and pathogenic Bd might have tremendously impacted the urban amphibian populations and might have been the major causes of the current trend of amphibian population decline, particularly in the urban area.
Cite this paper: Chu, T. , Wu, M. , Pohren, L. , Haghjoo, B. , Soman, C. and Lee, L. (2014) Molecular Identification of a Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Its Impact on Urbanized New Jersey. Advances in Microbiology, 4, 1164-1173. doi: 10.4236/aim.2014.416126.

[1]   Daszak, P., Berger, L., Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Green, D.E. and Speare, R. (1999) Emerging Infectious Diseases and Amphibian Population Declines. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5, 735-748.

[2]   OECD (1996) Guidelines for Aid Agencies for Improved Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Wetlands. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France.

[3]   Dahl, T.E. (1990) Wetlands Losses in the United States 1780’s to 1980’s. N.W.I.P., US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services, Washington DC, 21.

[4]   Eigenbrod, F., Hecnar, S.J. and Fahrig, L. (2008) The Relative Effects of Road Traffic and Forest Cover on Anuran Populations. Biological Conservation, 141, 35-46.

[5]   Erwin, K.L. (2009) Wetlands and Global Climate Change: The Role of Wetland Restoration in a Changing World. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 17, 71-84.

[6]   Houghton, J.T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D.J., Noguer, M., Van der Linden, P.J., Dai, X., Maskell, K. and Johnson, C.A., Eds. (IPCC) (2001) Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[7]   Patz, J.A. and Olson, S.H. (2006) Climate Change and Health: Global to Local Influences on Disease Risk. Annals of Tropical Medicine & Parasitology, 100, 535-549.

[8]   Forman, R.T.T. (2008) Urban Regions: Ecology and Planning Beyond the City (Cambridge Studies in Landscape Ecology). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[9]   Forman, R.T.T., Sperling, D., Bissonette, J.A., Clevenger, A.P., Cutshall, C.D., Dale, V.D., Fahrig, L., France, R.L., Goldman, C.R., Heanue, K., Jones, J., Swanson, F., Turrentine, T. and Winter, T.C. (2002) Road Ecology: Science and Solutions. 2nd Edition, Island Press, Washington DC.

[10]   UN-HABITAT (2004) The State of the World’s Cities 2004/2005: Globalization and Urban Culture.

[11]   Becker, C.G., Fonseca, C.R., Haddad, C.F.B., Batista, R.F. and Prado, P.I. (2007) Habitat Split and the Global Decline of Amphibians. Science, 318, 1775-1777.

[12]   Hamer, A.J. and McDonnell, M.J. (2008) Amphibian Ecology and Conservation in the Urbanizing World: A Review. Biological Conservation, 141, 2432-2449.

[13]   Cushman, S.A. (2006) Effects of Habitat Loss and Fragmentation on Amphibians: A Review and Prospectus. Biological Conservation, 128, 231-240.

[14]   Houlahan, J.E., Keddy, P.A., Makkay, K. and Findlay, C.S. (2006) The Effects of Adjacent Land Use on Wetland Species Richness and Community Composition. Wetlands, 26, 79-96.[79:TEOALU]2.0.CO;2

[15]   Ashley, E.P. and Robinson, J.T. (1996) Road Mortality of Amphibians, Reptiles and Other Wildlife on the Long Point Causeway, Lake Erie, Ontario. The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 110, 403-412.

[16]   Carr, L.W. and Fahrig, L. (2001) Effect of Road Traffic on Two Amphibian Species of Different Vagility. Conservation Biology, 15, 1071-1078.

[17]   Findlay, C.S. and Lenton, J. (2001) Land-Use Correlates of Anuran Community Richness and Composition in Southeastern Ontario Wetlands. Ecoscience, 8, 336-343.

[18]   Hels, T. and Buchwald, E. (2001) The Effect of Road Kills on Amphibian Populations. Biological Conservation, 99, 331-340.

[19]   Bradford, D.F. (2005) Factors Implicated in Amphibian Population Declines in the United States. In: Lannoo, M.J., Ed., Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species, University of California Press, Berkeley, 915-925.

[20]   Gibbs, J.P. and Shriver, W.G. (2005) Can Road Mortality Limit Populations of Pool-Breeding Amphibians? Wetlands Ecology and Management, 13, 281-289.

[21]   Voyles, J., Young, S., Berger, L., Campbell, C., Voyles, W.F., Dinudom, A., Cook, D., Webb, R., Alford, R.A., Skerratt, L.F. and Speare, R. (2009) Pathogenesis of Chytridiomycosis, a Cause of Catastrophic Amphibian Declines. Science, 326, 582-585.

[22]   US Geologic Society (2009) Amphibian Disease List in Northeast Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

[23]   Fisher, M.C., Garner, T.W.J. and Walker, S.F. (2009) Global Emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Amphibian Chytridiomycosis in Space, Time, and Host. Annual Review of Microbiology, 63, 291-310.

[24]   Berger, L., Speare, R., Daszak, P., Green, D.E., Cunningham, A.A., Goggin, C.L., Slocombe, R., Ragan, M.A., Hyatt, A.D., McDonald, K.R., Hines, H.B., Lips, K.R., Marantelli, G. and Parkes, H. (1998) Chytridiomycosis Causes Amphibian Mortality Associated with Population Declines in the Rain Forests of Australia and Central America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95, 9031-9036.

[25]   Bosch, J., Martínez-Solano, I. and García-París, M. (2001) Evidence of a Chytrid Fungus Infection Involved in the Decline of the Common Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricans) in Protected Areas of Central Spain. Biological Conservation, 97, 331-337.

[26]   Rohr, J.R. and Raffel, T.R. (2010) Linking Global Climate and Temperature Variability to Widespread Amphibian Declines Putatively Caused by Disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 8269-8274.

[27]   Boyle, W.J. (2003) A Guide to Bird Finding in New Jersey, Revised and Updated. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick.

[28]   Alemu, I.J.B., Cazabon, M.N.E., Dempewolf, L., Hailey, A., Lehtinen, R.M., Mannette, R.P., Naranjit, K.T. and Roach, A.C.J. (2008) Presence of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Populations of the Critically Endangered Frog Mannophryne olmonae in Tobago, West Indies. Ecohealth, 5, 34-39.

[29]   Annis, S.L., Dastoor, F.P., Ziel, H., Daszak, P. and Longcore, J.E. (2004) A DNA-Based Assay Identifies Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Amphibians. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 40, 420-428.

[30]   Schloegel, L.M., Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A., Speare, R. and Hill, B. (2010) Two Amphibian Diseases, Chytridiomycosis and Ranaviral Disease, Are Now Globally Notifiable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE): An Assessment. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 92, 101-108.

[31]   Reshetnikov, A.N., Chestnut, T., Brunner, J.L., Charles, K., Nebergall, E.E. and Olson, D.H. (2014) Detection of the Emerging Amphibian Pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Ranavirus in Russia. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 110, 235-240.

[32]   Kirshtein, J.D., Anderson, C.W., Wood, J.S., Longcore, J.E. and Voytek, M.A. (2007) Quantitative PCR Detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis DNA from Sediments and Water. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 77, 11-15.