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Site- and individual-level contaminations affect infection prevalence of an emerging infectious disease of amphibians

February 23, 2022

Emerging infectious disease outbreaks are one of multiple stressors responsible for amphibian declines globally. In the northeastern United States, ranaviral diseases are prevalent in amphibians and other ectothermic species, but there is still uncertainty as to whether their presence is leading to population level effects. Further, there is also uncertainty surrounding the potential interactions among disease infection prevalence in free-ranging animals and habitat degradation (co-occurrence of chemical stressors). The current study was designed to provide field-based estimates of the relationship between amphibian disease and chemical stressors. We visited 40 wetlands across three protected areas, estimated the prevalence of ranavirus among populations of larval wood frogs and spotted salamanders, and assessed chemical and biological stressors in wetland habitats and larval amphibians using a suite of selected bioassays, screening tools and chemical analyses. Estimated ranavirus occupancy varied among the three protected areas and ranged from 0.27 to 0.55 with considerable variation within each protected area. Of the stressors evaluated, ranavirus prevalence was strongly and positively related to concentrations of metalloestrogens (metals with the potential to bind to estrogen receptors) and total metals in wetland sediments and weakly and negatively related to total pesticide concentrations in larval amphibians. These results can be used by land managers to refine habitat assessments to include such environmental factors with the potential to influence disease susceptibility.

Publication Year 2022
Title Site- and individual-level contaminations affect infection prevalence of an emerging infectious disease of amphibians
DOI 10.1002/etc.5291
Authors Kelly L. Smalling, Brittany A. Mosher, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Keith Loftin, Adam Boehlke, Michelle Hladik, Carly R. Muletz-Wolz, Nandadevi Córtes-Rodríguez, Robin Femmer, Evan H. Campbell Grant
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Index ID 70228829
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center; Kansas Water Science Center; New Jersey Water Science Center; Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center; Eastern Ecological Science Center