A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

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As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

As part of the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI), USGS researchers undertook a collaborative, inter-disciplinary, consensus-building approach to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities that could enable science-based habitat management decisions to mitigate disease impacts. Nine important knowledge gaps were identified in a transparent process using tools from nominal group theory and influence diagrams, which led to prioritization of research in the areas of community and metapopulation dynamics, contaminants, habitat drivers of host-pathogen dynamics, and interactions with environment and host microbiome. 

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Grant, E.H., Adams, M.J., Fisher, R.N., Grear, D.A., Halstead, B.J., Hossack, B.R., Muths, E., Richgels, K.L., Russell, R.E., Smalling, K., Waddle, J.H., Walls, S.C., White, C.L., 2018, Identifying management-relevant research priorities for responding to disease-associated amphibian declines: Global Ecology and Conservation, p. e00441, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2018.e00441

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Date published: September 20, 2017
Status: Active

FRESC Amphibian Research Team

The Amphibian Research Lab focuses on amphibian conservation issues. We are currently addressing issues such as invasive species, disease, land use change, and long-term monitoring design for amphibians in North America. We use a combination of comparative surveys and manipulative experiments to understand the factors affecting amphibian distribution and abundance.