Bioclimatic and anthropogenic variables shape the occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis over a large latitudinal gradient

Mario Alvarado-Rybak, Manuel Lepe-Lopez, Alexandra Peñafiel-Ricaurte, Andrés Valenzuela-Sánchez, Catalina Valdivia, Fernando O. Mardones, Leonardo D. Bacigalupe, Robert Puschendorf, Andrew A. Cunningham, Claudio Azat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused the greatest known loss of biodiversity due to an infectious disease. We used Bd infection data from quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays of amphibian skin swabs collected across Chile during 2008–2018 to model Bd occurrence with the aim to determine bioclimatic and anthropogenic variables associated with Bd infection. Also, we used Bd presence/absence records to identify geographical Bd high-risk areas and compare Bd prevalence and infection loads between amphibian families, ecoregions, and host ecology. Data comprised 4155 Bd-specific qPCR assays from 162 locations across a latitudinal gradient of 3700 km (18º to 51ºS). Results showed a significant clustering of Bd associated with urban centres and anthropogenically highly disturbed ecosystems in central-south Chile. Both Bd prevalence and Bd infection loads were higher in aquatic than terrestrial amphibian species. Our model indicated positive associations of Bd prevalence with altitude, temperature, precipitation and human-modified landscapes. Also, we found that macroscale drivers, such as land use change and climate, shape the occurrence of Bd at the landscape level. Our study provides with new evidence that can improve the effectiveness of strategies to mitigate biodiversity loss due to amphibian chytridiomycosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17383
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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