Cryptic Diversity of a Widespread Global Pathogen Reveals Expanded Threats to Amphibian Conservation


Allison Q. Byrne, University of California, Berkeley
Vance T. Vrendenburg, San Francisco State University
An Martel, Ghent University
Frank Pasmans, Ghent University
Rayna C. Bell, Smithsonian Insitutition
David C. Blackburn, University of Florida
Molly C. Bletz, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Jaime Bosch, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)
Cheryl J. Briggs, University of California, Santa Barbara
Rafe M. Brown, University of Kansas
Alessandro Catenazzi, Florida National University
Mariel Familiar Lopez, Griffith University
Raul Figueroa-Valenzuela, San Francisco State University
Sonia L. Ghose, University of California, Davis
Jef R. Jaeger, University of Nevada, Las VegasFollow
Andrea J. Jani, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Miloslav Jirku, Czech Academy of Sciences
Roland A. Knapp, University of California, Mammoth Lakes
Antonio Munoz, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur
Daniel M. Portik, University of Arizona, Tucson
Corinne L. Richards-Zawacki, University of Pittsburgh
Heidi Rockney, Oregon State University
Sean M. Rovito, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional
Tariq Stark, Reptile, Amphibian, and Fish Conservation
Hasan Sulaeman, San Francisco State University
Nguyen Thien Tao, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology
Jamie Voyles, University of Nevada, Reno
Anthony W. Waddle, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Zhiyong Yuan, Southwest Forestry University
Erica Bree Rosenblum, University of California, BerkeleyFollow

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America





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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 BdASIA3, that appears to be widespread in Southeast Asia. This lineage co-occurs with the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL) in multiple localities. Additionally, we shed light on the global distribution of BdGPL and highlight the expanded range of another lineage, BdCAPE. Finally, we argue 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.


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Amphibian; Conservation; Genetic; Monitoring


Animal Sciences | Natural Resources and Conservation



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