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Ranavirus in Costa Rica


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By Jake Kerby (University of South Dakota)

Published in: Education, Travel, Business
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Ranavirus in Costa Rica

  1. 1. Ranavirus in Costa Rica Jake Kerby, Ph.D. (@ecologyprof) University of South Dakota #RV13
  2. 2. Acknowledgements Funding: US Fish and Wildlife Service- Wildlife Without Borders NSF- Major Research Instrumentation Grant Rufford Grant Authors: Steven Whitfield, Erica Geerdes: USD Dr. Adrian Pinto, Iria Chacon, Erick Ballestero Rodriguez: Universidad de Costa Rica Randall Jimenez: National Univ of Costa Rica Mo Donnelly: Florida International University
  3. 3. Background Amphibian decline story: Chytrid? Central America hosts a diverse, unique, and highly threatened amphibian fauna, yet there has been little effort to describe presence, systematics, host range, or impacts to hosts or populations ofimpacts to hosts or populations of Ranaviruses. One paper of interest- Whitfield declines in both reptiles and amphibians Sought out to examine disease presence in both Whitfield S M et al. PNAS 2007;104:8352-8356
  4. 4. Amphibian disease The story of chytrid in Costa Rica is well documented, but what about Ranavirus? One study done by Angela Picco did not find evidence of infection (Picco and Collins 2007). Rick Speare mentions a “possible iridovirus” in CaneRick Speare mentions a “possible iridovirus” in Cane toads in 1991. Might Ranavirus be present?
  5. 5. Initial surveys Did initial work on 12 species with sampling only at La Selva Biological Field Station. Found ranavirus present in four individuals of the species, Craugastor bransfordii. Published in Herpetological Review (Whitfield et al.Published in Herpetological Review (Whitfield et al. 2012).
  6. 6. Co-infection We did a more thorough study expanding the surveys to 20 species at the same site. We examined species for infections of both ranavirus and Bd. Found several species were co-infected. (Whitfield et al. 2013). First to document(Whitfield et al. 2013). First to document association of ranavirus and Bd infection in a single species: Craugastor fitzingeri. Overall, 42 individuals from 9 species were found with ranavirus. (16.6%) No clinical signs of disease though.
  7. 7. Where is it from? One key question is to better understand where this ranavirus strain emerged from. We sequenced the initial strain and found it to match a North American isolate. Was it introduced from N. America? How? When?Was it introduced from N. America? How? When?
  8. 8. Unintuitive trade Shops in Costa Rica illegally sell Xenopus laevis smuggled in from the states. We obtained animals that wereWe obtained animals that were confiscated at the Costa Rica airport and found them to be infected with ranavirus! Still need to sequence DNA from these samples.
  9. 9. Unintuitive trade Other trade species: Newts, Fire bellied toads… Given previous work in US on bait trade influence ofon bait trade influence of infection, this might be a serious but overlooked problem. More work desperately needed.
  10. 10. Current work We are currently working to isolate a Costa Rican strain of ranavirus from wild populations, from pet trade, and from introduced populations of Puerto Rican Coquis. Examining presence of ranavirus in same populations and in museum samples dating back to 70s. Would like to better understand if the pathogen is responsible for amphibian declines in the country.
  11. 11. Relict Sites Expanded the search to across the country Currently are analyzing samples from 10 sites that have persisted through previous die offs. Examining both RV and Bd.RV and Bd.
  12. 12. Other Ranavirus work Currently, I have a PhD student examining Ranavirus infection in South Dakota/Nebraska Drew detected an outbreak in Spea bombifrans. Currently being isolatedbombifrans. Currently being isolated in Jesse Brunner’s laboratory. We just received funding to examine the impacts of agricultural inputs on salamanders in South Dakota. @drewrdavis- follow for latest updates!
  13. 13. Questions?