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Dis Aquat Organ. 2008 Sep 24;81(3):189-202. doi: 10.3354/dao01960.

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection patterns among Panamanian amphibian species, habitats and elevations during epizootic and enzootic stages.

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Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6501, USA.


The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused declines of many amphibian populations, yet the full course of the epizootic has rarely been observed in wild populations. We determined effects of elevation, habitat, and aquatic index (AI) on prevalence of infection among Panamanian amphibians sampled along 2 elevational transects. Amphibian populations on the Santa Fé transect (SFT) had declined in 2002, while those on the El Copé transect (ECT) were healthy until September 2004. In 2004 we sampled Bd along both transects, surveying the SFT 2 yr after decline, and surveying the ECT 4 mo prior to the arrival of Bd, during the epizootic, and 2 mo later. Overall prevalence of Bd along the ECT increased from 0.0 (95% CI 0.00-0.0003) to 0.51 (95% CI 0.48-0.55) over a 3 mo period, accompanied by significant decreases in amphibian abundance and species richness in all habitats. Prevalence of infection on the ECT was highest along riparian transects and at higher elevations, but not among levels of AI. Prevalence of infection on the SFT was highest in pool transects, and at higher elevations, but not among levels of AI. Riparian amphibian abundance and species richness also declined at SFT following detection of Bd in 2002. Variation among species, microenvironmental conditions, and the length of coexistence with Bd may contribute to observed differences in prevalence of Bd and in population response.

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