Thursday, 26 April 2018

Declining central American frog species are bouncing back



Date:  April 11, 2018
Source:  Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Summary:
For more than 40 years, frog populations around the world have been declining. Now, a new study reports that some Central American frog species are recovering, perhaps because they have better defenses against a deadly fungal pathogen.

For more than 40 years, frog populations around the world have been declining. Now, a new study reports that some Central American frog species are recovering, perhaps because they have better defenses against a deadly fungal pathogen.

"It's a hopeful, optimistic chapter," said Louise Rollins-Smith, PhD, associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and a co-author of a study recently published in the journal Science.

A collaborative group of investigators at multiple institutions showed that the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis continues to be as lethal now as it was more than 10 years ago. The antimicrobial defenses produced by frog skin, however, appear to be more effective than they were before the fungal epidemic began.

Rollins-Smith and her colleagues began studying how frogs combat B. dendrobatidis in Panama in 2004. For several years, Douglas Woodhams, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow on her team, and laboratory manager Laura Reinert made multiple trips to Central America to collect samples of frog skin secretions.


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