Development and worldwide use of a non-lethal and minimal population-level impact protocols for the isolation of chytrids from amphibians

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Title: Development and worldwide use of a non-lethal and minimal population-level impact protocols for the isolation of chytrids from amphibians
Authors: Fisher, M
Ghosh, P
Shelton, J
Bates, K
Brookes, L
Wierzbicki, C
Rosa, G
Farrer, R
Aanensen, D
Alvarado-Rybak, M
Bataille, A
Berger, L
Boell, S
Bosch, J
Clare, F
Courtois, E
Crottini, A
Cunningham, A
Doherty-Bone, T
Gebresenbet, F
Gower, D
Hoglund, J
Jenkinson, T
Kosch, T
James, T
Lambertini, C
Laurila, A
Lin, C-F
Loyau, A
Martel, A
Meurling, S
Miaud, C
Minting, P
Ndriantsoa, S
Ribeiro, L
Ribeiro, L
Pasmans, F
Rakotonanahary, T
Rabemananjara, F
Schmeller, D
Schmidt, B
Skerratt, L
Smith, F
Soto-Azat, C
Tessa, G
Toledo, LF
Valenzuela-Sanchez, A
Verster, R
Voros, J
Waldman, B
Webb, R
Weldon, C
Wombwell, E
Zamudio, K
Longcore, J
Garner, T
Item Type: Working Paper
Abstract: Parasitic chytrid fungi have emerged as a significant threat to amphibian species worldwide, necessitating the development of techniques to isolate these pathogens into sterile culture for research purposes. However, early methods of isolating chytrids from their hosts relied on killing amphibians. We modified a pre-existing protocol for isolating chytrids from infected animals to use toe clips and biopsies from toe webbing rather than euthanizing hosts, and distributed the protocol to interested researchers worldwide as part of the BiodivERsA project RACE; here called the RML protocol. In tandem, we developed a lethal procedure for isolating chytrids from tadpole mouthparts. Reviewing a database of use a decade after their inception, we find that these methods have been widely applied across at least 5 continents, 23 countries and in 62 amphibian species, and have been successfully used to isolate chytrids in remote field locations. Isolation of chytrids by the non-lethal RML protocol occured in 18% of attempts with 207 fungal isolates and three species of chytrid being recovered. Isolation of chytrids from tadpoles occured in 43% of attempts with 334 fungal isolates of one species (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) being recovered. Together, these methods have resulted in a significant reduction and refinement of our use of threatened amphibian species and have improved our ability to work with this important group of emerging fungal pathogens.
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2018
Publisher: bioRxiv
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). Available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license (
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/K014455/1
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine
Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care

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