Article

Emerging infectious disease and the loss of biodiversity in a Neotropical amphibian community.

Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 62901-6501, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 03/2006; 103(9):3165-70. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0506889103
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pathogens rarely cause extinctions of host species, and there are few examples of a pathogen changing species richness and diversity of an ecological community by causing local extinctions across a wide range of species. We report the link between the rapid appearance of a pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in an amphibian community at El Copé, Panama, and subsequent mass mortality and loss of amphibian biodiversity across eight families of frogs and salamanders. We describe an outbreak of chytridiomycosis in Panama and argue that this infectious disease has played an important role in amphibian population declines. The high virulence and large number of potential hosts of this emerging infectious disease threaten global amphibian diversity.

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May 22, 2014