Molecular Identification of a Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Its Impact on Urbanized New Jersey


In urban landscape, amphibians face many challenges in order to sustain their populations, such as road mortality and infection of pathogenic Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd infection has been reported to cause significant mortality; however, its current distribution in the state of New Jersey remains unknown. In spring, amphibians emerge from their wintering group and migrate to nearby breeding ponds or vernal pools. Their migration pathway is often intercepted by the dense network of human transportation which leads to extirpation. This study aims to investigate potential mortality caused by human transportation and the infected rate of Bd fungus on the amphibian populations at a suburban area in central New Jersey. Twenty-four pitfall traps were installed to collect amphibians. A total of 687 organisms representing 7 amphibian species were recorded during the 73-day study period. Four of the 7 species were selected to test for Bd infection; 73.6% of the amphibian skin swabs showed positive results of infection. However, Bd was not detected in water and soil samples collected around the study areas. The results of this study suggested that road mortality and pathogenic Bd might have tremendously impacted the urban amphibian populations and might have been the major causes of the current trend of amphibian population decline, particularly in the urban area.

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Chu, T. , Wu, M. , Pohren, L. , Haghjoo, B. , Soman, C. and Lee, L. (2014) Molecular Identification of a Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Its Impact on Urbanized New Jersey. Advances in Microbiology, 4, 1164-1173. doi: 10.4236/aim.2014.416126.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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