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  1. The emerging fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ( Bd ), which can cause a fatal disease called chytridiomycosis, is implicated in the collapse of hundreds of host amphibian species. We describe chytridiomycosis dynamics in two co-occurring terrestrial salamander species, the Santa Lucia Mountains slender salamander, Batrachoseps luciae , and the arboreal salamander, Aneides lugubris . We (1) conduct a retrospective Bd -infection survey of specimens collected over the last century, (2) estimate present-day Bd infections in wild populations, (3) use generalized linear models (GLM) to identify biotic and abiotic correlates of infection risk, (4) investigate susceptibility of hosts exposed to Bd in laboratory trials, and (5) examine the ability of host skin bacteria to inhibit Bd in culture. Our historical survey of 2,866 specimens revealed that for most of the early 20th century (~1920–1969), Bd was not detected in either species. By the 1990s the proportion of infected specimens was 29 and 17% ( B. luciae and A. lugubris , respectively), and in the 2010s it was 10 and 17%. This was similar to the number of infected samples from contemporary populations (2014–2015) at 10 and 18%. We found that both hosts experience signs of chytridiomycosis and suffered high Bd -causedmore »mortality (88 and 71% for B. luciae and A. lugubris , respectively). Our GLM revealed that Bd -infection probability was positively correlated with intraspecific group size and proximity to heterospecifics but not to abiotic factors such as precipitation, minimum temperature, maximum temperature, mean temperature, and elevation, or to the size of the hosts. Finally, we found that both host species contain symbiotic skin-bacteria that inhibit growth of Bd in laboratory trials. Our results provide new evidence consistent with other studies showing a relatively recent Bd invasion of amphibian host populations in western North America and suggest that the spread of the pathogen may be enabled both through conspecific and heterospecific host interactions. Our results suggest that wildlife disease studies should assess host-pathogen dynamics that consider the interactions and effects of multiple hosts, as well as the historical context of pathogen invasion, establishment, and epizootic to enzootic transitions to better understand and predict disease dynamics.« less
  2. Rollins-Smith, Louise A. (Ed.)
  3. Kerby, Jake (Ed.)
  4. Biodiversity loss is one major outcome of human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. One way that humans have triggered wildlife declines is by transporting disease-causing agents to remote areas of the world. Amphibians have been hit particularly hard by disease due in part to a globally distributed pathogenic chytrid fungus ( Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [ Bd ]). Prior research has revealed important insights into the biology and distribution of Bd ; however, there are still many outstanding questions in this system. Although we know that there are multiple divergent lineages of Bd that differ in pathogenicity, we know little about how these lineages are distributed around the world and where lineages may be coming into contact. Here, we implement a custom genotyping method for a global set of Bd samples. This method is optimized to amplify and sequence degraded DNA from noninvasive skin swab samples. We describe a divergent lineage of Bd , which we call Bd ASIA3, that appears to be widespread in Southeast Asia. This lineage co-occurs with the global panzootic lineage ( Bd GPL) in multiple localities. Additionally, we shed light on the global distribution of Bd GPL and highlight the expanded range of another lineage, Bd CAPE. Finally, we arguemore »that more monitoring needs to take place where Bd lineages are coming into contact and where we know little about Bd lineage diversity. Monitoring need not use expensive or difficult field techniques but can use archived swab samples to further explore the history—and predict the future impacts—of this devastating pathogen.« less