First global tally of an amphibian killer

March 28, 2019

Chytridiomycosis, a highly virulent fungal amphibian disease, has been linked to the worldwide decline of more than 500 species - including 90 presumed extinctions - over the last 50 years, researchers report. The study, the first to tally the pathogen's global toll, finds that this amphibian panzootic represents the greatest recorded loss of biodiversity attributable to disease. Caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), chytridiomycosis began causing mass amphibian die-off and extinctions nearly 30 years ago, after a pathogenic strain of the chytrid emerged from Asia, likely through the global animal trade. "Despite increasing understanding of the fungus, scientists have only been able to guess at the scale of damage caused by Bd to amphibian populations across the world," largely due to a lack of an appropriate dataset, write Dan Greenberg and Wendy Palen in a related Perspective. Here, Ben Sheele and colleagues use a comprehensive dataset of chytridiomycosis-related amphibian declines worldwide to reconstruct the deadly history of the disease and quantify its impact on global biodiversity. Sheele et al.'s analysis reveals Bd to be among the most destructive invasive species, contributing to the decline of at least 501 amphibian species - 124 of which are suffering severe (>90%) reductions in abundance. While chytridiomycosis-associated die-offs peaked in the 1980s and the number of new population declines have slowed since, the authors warn that there is a continued risk of outbreaks should Bd or other strains become more virulent or spread into new areas. However, while the majority of species are still experiencing continued decline, not all is lost. The authors report evidence of recovery and even the development of host resistance, among some species.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Fungus Articles from Brightsurf:

International screening of the effects of a pathogenic fungus
The pathogenic fungus Candida auris, which first surfaced in 2009, is proving challenging to control.

Research breakthrough in fight against chytrid fungus
For frogs dying of the invasive chytridiomycosis disease, the leading cause of amphibian deaths worldwide, the genes responsible for protecting them may actually be leading to their demise, according to a new study published today in the journal Molecular Ecology by University of Central Florida and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) researchers.

Researchers look to fungus to shed light on cancer
A team of Florida State University researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry found that a natural product from the fungus Fusicoccum amygdali stabilizes a family of proteins in the cell that mediate important signaling pathways involved in the pathology of cancer and neurological diseases.

The invisibility cloak of a fungus
The human immune system can easily recognize fungi because their cells are surrounded by a solid cell wall of chitin and other complex sugars.

Taming the wild cheese fungus
The flavors of fermented foods are heavily shaped by the fungi that grow on them, but the evolutionary origins of those fungi aren't well understood.

Candida auris is a new drug-resistant fungus emerging globally and in the US early detection is key to controlling spread of deadly drug-resistant fungus
Early identification of Candida auris, a potentially deadly fungus that causes bloodstream and intra-abdominal infections, is the key to controlling its spread.

Genetic blueprint for extraordinary wood-munching fungus
The first time someone took note of Coniochaeta pulveracea was more than two hundred years ago, when the South African-born mycologist Dr Christiaan Hendrik Persoon mentioned it in his 1797 book on the classification of fungi.

How a fungus can cripple the immune system
An international research team led by Professor Oliver Werz of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has now discovered how the fungus knocks out the immune defenses, enabling a potentially fatal fungal infection to develop.

North American checklist identifies the fungus among us
Some fungi are smelly and coated in mucus. Others have gills that glow in the dark.

Tropical frogs found to coexist with deadly fungus
In 2004, the frogs of El Copé, Panama, began dying by the thousands.

Read More: Fungus News and Fungus Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to