Amphibian chytrid prevalence on boreal toads in SE Alaska and NW British Columbia: Tests of habitat, life stages, and temporal trends

Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
By: , and 

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Abstract

Tracking and understanding variation in pathogens such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ([Bd]), which causes amphibian chytridiomycosis and has caused population declines globally, is a priority for many land managers. However, there has been relatively little sampling of amphibian communities at high latitudes. We used skin swabs collected during 2005–2017 from boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas; N = 248), in southeast Alaska (USA; primarily in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park [KLGO]) and northwest British Columbia (Canada) to determine how Bd prevalence varied across life stages, habitat characteristics, local species richness, and time. Across all years, Bd prevalence peaked in June and was >3 times greater for adult toads (37.5%) vs. juveniles and metamorphs (11.2%). Bd prevalence for toads in the KLGO area, where other amphibian species are rare or absent, was highest from river habitats (55.0%), followed by human-modified upland wetlands (32.3%) and natural upland wetlands (12.7%) — the same rank-order these habitats are used for toad breeding. No Columbia spotted frogs (N = 12) or wood frogs (N = 2) from the study area tested Bd-positive, although all were from an area of low host density where Bd has not been detected. Prevalence of Bd on toads in the KLGO area decreased during 2005–2015. This trend from a largely single-species system may be encouraging or concerning, depending on how Bd is affecting vital rates, and emphasizes the need to understand effects of pathogens before translating disease prevalence into management actions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Amphibian chytrid prevalence on boreal toads in SE Alaska and NW British Columbia: Tests of habitat, life stages, and temporal trends
Series title Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
DOI 10.3354/dao03430
Volume 137
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 159
Last page 165
Country United States, Canada
Other Geospatial Southeastern Alaska, Northwestern British Columbia
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