Chytridiomycosis and Amphibian Population Declines Continue to Spread Eastward in Panama
- 384 Downloads
Chytridiomycosis is a globally emerging disease of amphibians and the leading cause of population declines and extirpations at species-diverse montane sites in Central America. We continued long-term monitoring efforts for the presence of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and for amphibian populations at two sites in western Panama, and we began monitoring at three new sites to the east. Population declines associated with chytridiomycosis emergence were detected at Altos de Campana National Park. We also detected Bd in three species east of the Panama Canal at Soberanía National Park, and prevalence data suggests that Bd may be enzootic in the lowlands of the park. However, no infected frogs were found further east at Tortí (prevalence <7.5% with 95% confidence). Our results suggest that Panama’s diverse and not fully described amphibian communities east of the canal are at risk. Precise predictions of future disease emergence events are not possible until factors underlying disease emergence, such as dispersal, are understood. However, if the fungal pathogen spreads in a pattern consistent with previous disease events in Panama, then detection of Bd at Tortí and other areas east of the Panama Canal is imminent. Therefore, development of new management strategies and increased precautions for tourism, recreation, and biology are urgently needed.
Keywordsamphibian Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis chytridiomycosis emerging disease Panama population declines
We thank Santana Arcia, Arquímides Batista, Forrest Brem, Roberto Brenes, James Coronado, Iván Domínguez, Aurelio González, César Jaramillo, Fr. Wally Kasuboski, Karen Lips, Julie Ray, Corrine Richards, and Manuel Rivera. This research was supported by NSF IRCEB grant DEB-0213851 (James P. Collins, P.I.; subcontracts to L.A. Rollins-Smith and A.D. Hyatt) and grants IOB-0520847 and IOB-0619536 to L.A. Rollins-Smith and a NSERC Canada Discovery Grant to D.M. Green. Scientific collecting permits from the government of Panama (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente) were arranged with the assistance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of STRI for logistical support for the all of the studies in Panama.
- Berger L, Speare R, Daszak P, Green DE, Cunningham AA, Goggin CL, et al. (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 95:9031–9036Google Scholar
- Gascon C, Collins JP, Moore RD, Church DR, McKay JE, Mendelson JR III (editors) (2007) Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, pp 64Google Scholar
- Ibáñez R, Jaramillo CA, Arrunátegui M, Fuenmayor Q, Solís FA (1995 ) El inventario biológico del Canal de Panamá. Estudio Herpetológico. Scientia (Panamá) 2:111–159Google Scholar
- Lips KR, Brem F, Brenes R, Reeve JD, Alford RA, Voyles J, et al. (2006) Emerging infectious disease and the loss of biodiversity in a neotropical amphibian community. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102:3165–3170Google Scholar
- McDonald K, Alford R (1999) A review of declining frogs in northern Queensland. In: Campbell A (ed.),Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs, Canberra, Australia: Environment Australia, pp 14–22Google Scholar
- Morgan JAT, Vredenburg VT, Rachowicz LJ, Knapp RA, Stice MJ, Tunstall T, et al. (2007) Population genetics of the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:13845–13850Google Scholar
- Smith HM, Chiszar D (2006) Dilemma of name-recognition: why and when to use new combinations of scientific names. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 1:6–8Google Scholar
- Toft K, Rand AS, Clark M (1982) Population dynamics and seasonal recruitment in Bufo typhonius and Colostethus nubicola (Anura). In: Leigh EG, Rand AS, Windsor DM, (editors) The Ecology of a Tropical Forest: Seasonal Rhythms and Long-Term Changes, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp 397–403Google Scholar
- Whitfield SM, Bell KE, Phillipi T, Sasa M, Bolanos F, Chaves G, et al. (2007) Amphibian and reptile declines over 35 years at La Selva, Costa Rica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:8352–8356Google Scholar