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Front Microbiol. 2017 Dec 22;8:2535. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02535. eCollection 2017.

Temporal Variation of the Skin Bacterial Community and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection in the Terrestrial Cryptic Frog Philoria loveridgei.

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Environmental Futures Research Institute, School of Environment, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.
Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Department of Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, United States.
Amphibian Survival Alliance, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, United States.
School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, QLD, Australia.


In animals and plants, symbiotic bacteria can play an important role in disease resistance of host and are the focus of much current research. Globally, amphibian population declines and extinctions have occurred due to chytridiomycosis, a skin disease caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Currently amphibian skin bacteria are increasingly recognized as important symbiont communities with a relevant role in the defense against pathogens, as some bacteria can inhibit the growth of B. dendrobatidis. This study aims to document the B. dendrobatidis infection status of wild populations of a terrestrial cryptic frog (Philoria loveridgei), and to determine whether infection status is correlated with changes in the skin microbial communities. Skin samples of P. loveridgei were collected along an altitudinal range within the species distribution in subtropical rainforests in southeast Australia. Sampling was conducted in two years during two breeding seasons with the first classified as a "La Niña" year. We used Taqman real-time PCR to determine B. dendrobatidis infection status and 16S amplicon sequencing techniques to describe the skin community structure. We found B. dendrobatidis-positive frogs only in the second sampling year with low infection intensities, and no correlation between B. dendrobatidis infection status and altitude, frog sex or size. Skin bacterial diversity was significantly higher in P. loveridgei frogs sampled in the 1st year than in the 2nd year. In addition, 7.4% of the total OTUs were significantly more abundant in the 1st year compared to the 2nd year. We identified 67 bacterial OTUs with a significant positive correlation between infection intensity and an OTU's relative abundance. Forty-five percent of these OTUs belonged to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Overall, temporal variation was strongly associated with changes in B. dendrobatidis infection status and bacterial community structure of wild populations of P. loveridgei.


Philoria loveridge; amphibians; bacteria diversity; chytridiomycosis; skin bacteria

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