Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies

Open-File Report 2015-1233

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The recently (2013) identified pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), poses a severe threat to the distribution and abundance of salamanders within the United States and Europe. Development of a response strategy for the potential, and likely, invasion of Bsal into the United States is crucial to protect global salamander biodiversity. A formal working group, led by Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins Science Center, and Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, was held at the USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States from June 23 to June 25, 2015, to identify crucial Bsal research and monitoring needs that could inform conservation and management strategies for salamanders in the United States. Key findings of the workshop included the following: (1) the introduction of Bsal into the United States is highly probable, if not inevitable, thus requiring development of immediate short-term and long-term intervention strategies to prevent Bsal establishment and biodiversity decline; (2) management actions targeted towards pathogen containment may be ineffective in reducing the long-term spread of Bsal throughout the United States; and (3) early detection of Bsal through surveillance at key amphibian import locations, among high-risk wild populations, and through analysis of archived samples is necessary for developing management responses. Top research priorities during the preinvasion stage included the following: (1) deployment of qualified diagnostic methods for Bsal and establishment of standardized laboratory practices, (2) assessment of susceptibility for amphibian hosts (including anurans), and (3) development and evaluation of short- and long-term pathogen intervention and management strategies. Several outcomes were achieved during the workshop, including development of an organizational structure with working groups for a Bsal Task Force, creation of an initial influence diagram to aid in identifying effective management actions in the face of uncertainty, and production of a list of potential management actions and key research uncertainties. Additional products under development include a Bsal Strategic Action plan, an emergency response plan, a monitoring and surveillance program, a standardized diagnostic approach, decision models for natural resource agencies, and a reporting database for salamander mortalities. This workshop was the first international meeting to address the threat of Bsal to salamander populations in the United States, with more than 30 participants from U.S. conservation and resource management agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. National Park Service, and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies) and academic research institutions in Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Suggested Citation

Grant, E.H.C., Muths, E., Katz, R.A., Canessa, Stefano, Adam, M.J., Ballard, J.R., Berger, Lee, Briggs, C.J., Coleman, Jeremy, Gray, M.J., Harris, M.C., Harris, R.N., Hossack, Blake, Huyvaert, K.P., Kolby, J.E., Lips, K.R., Lovich, R.E., McCallum, H.I., Mendelson, J.R., III, Nanjappa, Priya, Olson, D.H., Powers, J.G., Richgels, K.L.D., Russell, R.E., Schmidt, B.R., Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke, Watry, M.K., Woodhams, D.C., and White, C.L., 2016, Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1233, 16 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Major Findings
  • Workshop Outcomes
  • Identified Urgent Needs
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Initial list of potential management actions for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Fort Collins Science Center, National Wildlife Health Center, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
v, 16 p.
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):