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Averting a biodiversity crisis: AmphibiaWeb addresses the new Bsal threat

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Delivered 11 August 2015 by Dr. Michelle Koo (via Zoom) at a Southern Appalachia Bsal meeting in Asheville, NC, USA.

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Averting a biodiversity crisis: AmphibiaWeb addresses the new Bsal threat

  1. 1. Averting a biodiversity crisis: AmphibiaWeb addresses the new Bsal threat Photo by Emanuele Biggi Michelle S. Koo, Tiffany Yap, Vance Vredenburg, Alessandro Catenazzi, Carol Spencer, & David Wake -AmphibiaWeb- SSAR Symposium, Lawrence, KS, 2015
  2. 2. About AmphibiaWeb Our Mission Since 1999: To provide information on amphibian biology, natural history, conservation and taxonomy
  3. 3. About AmphibiaWeb ¤  Website launched 2000 running continuous since then ¤  Data ¤  Taxonomy, synonymy ¤  Aggregates VertNet data, IUCN range & status ¤  Species biology, life history, images, media ¤  Community ¤  Herp classes ¤  Educators ¤  Professionals & amateurs ¤  Conservation ¤  Steering committee: ¤  David Wake*, director ¤  Michelle Koo & Vance Vredenburg, assoc. directors ¤  Joyce Gross, programmer ¤  Ann Chang, coordinator ¤  David Cannatella*, UT Austin ¤  David Blackburn*, U Florida ¤  Carol Spencer, UC Berkeley ¤  Alessandro Catenazzi, SIU * Taxonomic subcommittee
  4. 4. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (or Bsal) ¤  Described by An Martel et al. in 2013 ¤  European Fire Salamander already in decline in the Netherlands ¤  Affects only salamanders (Martel et al. 2014) ¤  Skin lesions ¤  Anorexia ¤  Apathy ¤  Ataxia ¤  Death within a week Photo by Frank Pasmans Blooi et al., 2015
  5. 5. Salamander Biodiversity ¤  7,427 total amphibian species ¤  676 salamander species (~9%) ¤  10 families ¤  66 genera ¤  ~50% in North America ¤  321 species, 9 families ¤  USA (190), Mexico (137), Canada (21) Photos by Joyce Gross and Todd Pierson Data @AmphibiaWeb.org 2015
  6. 6. Ecological Role of Salamanders ¤  Density and biomass ¤  2,950 to 18,000 salamanders/hectare ¤  Biomass ≥ birds, small mammals ¤  Trophic dynamics ¤  Keystone predator ¤  Valuable prey for top predators ¤  Carbon sequestration ¤  Slow the rate of leaf litter decomposition Wyman 1998; Davic and Welsh, 2004; Best and Welsh, 2014 Photo by Brian Freiermuth
  7. 7. Ecological Role of Salamanders ¤  Energy flow between aquatic and terrestrial systems ¤  Dispersal vectors ¤  Chemical transformations ¤  Soil dynamics ¤  Underground retreats ¤  Ecosystem functions and services ¤  Erosion control ¤  Water purification ¤  Climate modulation ¤  Agricultural benefits ¤  Recreation/aesthetics Davic and Welsh, 2004; Best and Welsh, 2014 Photos by John Clare and Todd Pierson
  8. 8. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) ¤  Discovered in 1998 (Berger et al.); Described in 1999 (Longcore et al.) ¤  Aquatic zoospore ¤  Affects the skin ¤  Frogs ¤  Salamanders ¤  Caecilians ¤  Optimal growth at 17 – 23°C ¤  Found on all continents where amphibians occur ¤  > 350 affected species ¤  > 200 species declines and extinctions over multiple decades Drawing by Alison Burke
  9. 9. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (or Bsal) ¤  Recent discovery (Martel et al.) 2013 ¤  Netherlands, Belgium ¤  Optimal growth at 15 – 20°C (lower than Bd) ¤  Affects only salamanders (Martel et al. 2014) ¤  Thermal limits at 25°C (Blooi et al. 2015) Photo by Frank Pasmans Blooi et al., 2015
  10. 10. Bsal susceptibility trials in 35 amphibians From Martel et al. 2014
  11. 11. Bsal (Martel et al. 2014) ¤  Originated in Asia over 30 million years ago ¤  Potential reservoir species – Fire-Bellied Newts: ¤  Cynops cyanurus (China) ¤  Cynops pyrrhogaster (Japan) ¤  Paramesotriton deloustali (Vietnam) ¤  Spread by international amphibian pet trade ¤  Not recorded in North America ¤  2 North American species are highly susceptible ¤  Notophthalmus viridescens – Eastern Newt ¤  Taricha granulosa – Rough-skinned Newt Photos by Todd Pierson, Henk Wallays, and Mark Aartse-Tuyn
  12. 12. What is the magnitude of the threat? 1.  Could Bsal get to North America? ¤ International amphibian trade
  13. 13. Salamander Trade ¤  International Trade Data are limited ¤  CITES – Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna ¤  Only 146 (of 7427 amphibians) regulated; only 6 are salamanders ¤  USA amphibian trade data: 2010-2014 ¤  Freedom of Information Act request from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (Yap et al. 2015) Photos by savethesalamanders.org and Gonçalo M. Rosa
  14. 14. Major US Ports and Imports Port Bsal threat Non-Bsal threat All shipments 1 Los Angeles, CA 418,692 1,198 419,890 2 Tampa, FL 272,338 1,140 273,478 3 New York, NY 55,441 70 55,511 4 Atlanta, GA 13,272 40 13,312 5 San Francisco, CA 3,164 6,459 9,623   Total Top 5 US Ports 762,907 8,907 771,814   All US Ports Combined 768,572 10,430 779,002 Yap, Koo, Ambrose, Wake & Vredenburg, 2015, Science
  15. 15. Major US Ports and Imports Port Bsal threat Non-Bsal threat All shipments 1 Los Angeles, CA 418,692 1,198 419,890 2 Tampa, FL 272,338 1,140 273,478 3 New York, NY 55,441 70 55,511 4 Atlanta, GA 13,272 40 13,312 5 San Francisco, CA 3,164 6,459 9,623   Total Top 5 US Ports 762,907 8,907 771,814   All US Ports Combined 768,572 10,430 779,002 Yap, Koo, Ambrose, Wake & Vredenburg, 2015, Science 91% of all imported salamanders included Cynops or Paramesotriton species
  16. 16. What is the magnitude of the threat? 1.  Could Bsal get to North America? ¤ International amphibian trade 2.  What factors could influence Bsal invasion and establishment? ¤ Abiotic – suitable habitat/climate envelope ¤ Biotic - availability of hosts ¤ Access – ports of entry
  17. 17. Bsal Habitat Suitability Model Yap, Koo, Ambrose, Wake & Vredenburg, 2015, Science
  18. 18. Species Richness Yap, Koo, Ambrose, Wake & Vredenburg, 2015, Science
  19. 19. Salamander Vulnerability Model Yap, Koo, Ambrose, Wake & Vredenburg, 2015, Science
  20. 20. Appalachia and Southeast US ¤  Highest taxonomic diversity ¤  7/10 Families ¤  Plethodontidae ¤  Salamandridae ¤  Up to 29 co-occurring species ¤  Many endemic species ¤  Includes Eastern Newt range Photos by Henk Wallays and Todd Pierson
  21. 21. West Coast of the US ¤  Highest Bsal habitat suitability ¤  5/10 Families ¤  Salamandridae and Plethodontidae ¤  Up to 12 co-occurring species ¤  Includes Rough-skinned newt range Photos by Tiffany Yap, Harry Greene, Todd Pierson, and Sam Murray 1 5
  22. 22. Central Highlands of Mexico ¤  Sierra Madre Occidental, Sierra Madre Oriental, and Trans- Mexican Volcanic Belt ¤  Hotspots of tropical salamander diversity ¤  High endemism; high beta diversity ¤  Many are threatened or endangered Photos by Abel Batista, Todd Pierson, Sean Rovito
  23. 23. What we can learn from Bd global pandemic ¤  Bsal has spread 60 km in 5 years – Netherlands to Belgium, and now Germany ¤  Once arrives, poses a severe, irreversible threat ¤  ONE ADVANTAGE: We may have caught it early Cheng et al. 2011
  24. 24. Policy Implications ¤  USFWS – place a temporary ban on live salamander imports ¤  Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. § 42) ¤  it is prohibited to import any species “injurious to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry or to the wildlife resources of the United States.” ¤  The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) – declare Bsal a notifiable disease ¤  Develop and implement a mandatory, structured system that allows for accurate tracking of all species being traded ¤  Establish monitoring programs ¤  Incentivize captive breeding programs as an alternative to wild harvesting ¤  Regulate online wildlife trade
  25. 25. Studies Needed ¤  Conduct studies to better understand the basic biology of Bsal and host-pathogen dynamics ¤  Longitudinal studies in museum specimens – historical distribution ¤  Targeted field surveys – recent declines in North American salamander populations (anecdotal) ¤  Infection trials – which species are susceptible? ¤  What happens in co-infections with Bd?
  26. 26. Join AmphibiaWeb’s efforts ¤  We are building a needed Data Repository for Bd/Bsal test results ¤  New collaboration with US Forest Service to create this central portal ¤  Will include Bd-maps data ¤  Will allow both field or museum samples ¤  Community feedback requested!
  27. 27. Proposed Amphibian Disease Tracker ¤  Where have Bd and Bsal have been tested? Where have Bd and Bsal been found? ¤  Which species have been tested with Bd /Bsal? Are there geographic or temporal patterns? Are their patterns in life history traits? ¤  Where are the sudden outbreaks of Bd/Bsal? ¤  How has the distribution, prevalence and intensity changed over time and space?
  28. 28. Proposed Amphibian Disease Tracker
  29. 29. Proposed Amphibian Disease Tracker
  30. 30. Proposed Amphibian Disease Tracker
  31. 31. Questions? Ideas? Let’s hear! Photo by Tiffany Yap
  32. 32. Special thanks to these sponsors and partners of AmphibiaWeb Find out more: AmphibiaWeb.org

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