Debra L Miller

Debra L Miller
University of Tennessee | UTK · Center for Wildlife Health

BS, MS, DVM, PhD

About

156
Publications
26,510
Reads
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3,650
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - present
January 2011 - present
January 2007 - December 2011
University of Tennessee

Publications

Publications (156)
Article
The secondary metabolite emodin, produced by the widely distributed invasive shrub known as the common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), has been shown to produce deformities and mortality in invertebrates, fish, and amphibian larvae. Here, we describe the effects on the liver of green frog (Lithobates clamitans) tadpoles after 21 d of exposure to hi...
Article
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans is an emerging fungus that is causing salamander declines in Europe. We evaluated whether an invasive frog species (Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis) that is found in international trade could be an asymptomatic carrier when exposed to zoospore doses known to infect salamanders. We discovered that Cuban t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Skin microbiomes are important components of skin health and have been shown to contribute to immunity in amphibians, especially against the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ( Bd ). Hellbenders ( Cryptobranchus alleganiensis ) are large aquatic amphibians (Order Caudata) native to the eastern United States that have experie...
Article
Full-text available
Ranaviruses are an important wildlife pathogen of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Previous studies have shown that susceptibility and severity of infection can vary with age, host species, virus strain, temperature, population density, and presence of environmental stressors. Experiments are limited with respect to interactions between this pathoge...
Article
Full-text available
Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens of poikilothermic vertebrates. In 2015 the Global Ranavirus Reporting System (GRRS) was established as a centralized, open access, online database for reports of the presence (and absence) of ranavirus around the globe. The GRRS has multiple data layers (e.g., location, date, host(s) species, and methods of detect...
Article
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is an important fungal pathogen present in wild hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) populations that appears to cause disease during novel exposure and acute stress. Hellbender repatriation efforts are ongoing to combat declining populations, but mortality by chytridiomycosis (disease from Bd) after release...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental temperature is a key factor driving various biological processes, including immune defenses and host-pathogen interactions. Here, we evaluated the effects of environmental temperature on the pathogenicity of the emerging fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans ( Bsal ), using controlled laboratory experiments, and measured...
Article
Populations of the eastern hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis have been declining for decades, and emerging pathogens and pesticides are hypothesized to be contributing factors. However, few empirical studies have attempted to test the potential effects of these factors on hellbenders. We simultaneously exposed subadult hellbende...
Article
Full-text available
Controlled experiments are one approach to understanding the pathogenicity of etiologic agents to susceptible hosts. The recently discovered fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), has resulted in a surge of experimental investigations because of its potential to impact global salamander biodiversity. However, variation in experi...
Article
Wildlife diseases are a major threat for species conservation and there is a growing need to implement disease surveillance programs to protect species of concern. Globally, amphibian populations have suffered considerable losses from disease, particularly from chytrid fungi ( Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd] and Batrachochytrium salamandrivoran...
Preprint
Full-text available
Controlled experiments are one approach to understanding the pathogenicity of etiologic agents to susceptible hosts. The recently discovered fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), has resulted in a surge of experimental investigations because of its potential to impact global salamander biodiversity. However, variation in experi...
Article
Full-text available
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is an emerging invasive pathogen that is highly pathogenic to salamander species. Modeling infection dynamics in this system can facilitate proactive efforts to mitigate this pathogen's impact on North American species. Given its widespread distribution and high abundance, the eastern newt (Notophthalmus vir...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Full-text available
Arkansas populations of Ozark Hellbenders, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi have declined precipitously over the past few decades and are now limited to a single river. Biologists have also observed an increase of distal limb lesions with unidentified etiology and unknown role in morbidity and mortality of the species in this location. We docum...
Article
A consequence of genetic recombination can be the evolution of highly virulent pathogen strains. Virulence can manifest through various mechanisms of host–pathogen interaction that facilitate transmission. We discovered a highly virulent chimeric ranavirus in Georgia, USA, estimated transmission parameters using controlled experiments, and develope...
Article
Full-text available
The emerging fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is a significant conservation threat to salamander biodiversity in Europe, although its potential to affect North American species is poorly understood. We tested the susceptibility of two genera (Eurycea and Pseudotriton) and three populations of lungless salamanders (Plethodo...
Article
Full-text available
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans are important amphibian pathogens responsible for morbidity and mortality in free-ranging and captive frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. While B. dendrobatidis has a widespread global distribution, B. salamandrivorans has only been detected in amphibians in Asia and Europe. Although molecular...
Article
Full-text available
Ranaviruses have been identified as the cause of explosive disease outbreaks in amphibians worldwide and can be transmitted between hosts both via direct and indirect contact, in which humans might contribute to the translocation of contaminated material. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible role of water sports in the human transloca...
Article
Understanding the distribution of pathogens across landscapes and their prevalence within host populations is a common aim of wildlife managers. Despite the need for unbiased estimates of pathogen occurrence and prevalence for planning effective management interventions, many researchers fail to account for imperfect pathogen detection. Instead raw...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand the clinical pathology, diseases, and causes of mortality of reintroduced American martens ( Martes americana) in Michigan, a study was conducted from 2011 to 2015 in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Samples obtained from live trapping ( n = 58) or harvested carcasses ( n = 34) were serologically tested for select pa...
Article
Full-text available
Human-mediated disease outbreaks due to poor biosecurity practices when processing animals in wild populations have been suspected. We tested whether not changing nitrile gloves between processing wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles and co-housing individuals increased pathogen transmission and subsequent diseased-induced mortality caused by...
Data
Data (.csv) for glove experiment. (CSV)
Data
Data (.csv) for co-housing experiment. (CSV)
Data
R code for survival analyses; glove experiment. (R)
Data
R code for survival analyses; co-housing experiment. (R)
Article
Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. They threaten aquatic animal industries and wildlife worldwide. Our objective was to genetically characterize ranaviruses isolated during separate bullfrog die-offs that occurred eight years apart on the same North American farm. The earlier outbreak was due to a highly pathogeni...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report summarizes work conducted in Year 6 (January 2016-September 2016) of the striped newt repatriation project within the Apalachicola National Forest (ANF).
Article
Full-text available
Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are hypothesized to be capital breeders, whereby they forage little to none during the nesting season. The capital breeding hypothesis can be tested in marine turtles using physiological measures of health, which are much less expensive than studies that use satellite tags or other physiological monito...
Article
Full-text available
There is growing evidence that pathogens play a role in population declines and species extinctions. For small populations, disease-induced extinction may be especially probable. We estimated the susceptibility of two amphibian species of conservation concern (the dusky gopher frog [Lithobates sevosus] and boreal toad [Anaxyrus boreas boreas]) to a...
Article
The occurrence of emerging infectious diseases in wildlife populations is increasing, and changes in environmental conditions have been hypothesized as a potential driver. For example, warmer ambient temperatures might favor pathogens by providing more ideal conditions for propagation or by stressing hosts. Our objective was to determine if water t...
Article
Full-text available
Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are susceptible to many of the same diseases as domestic turkeys. Before 2005, most Wild Turkeys in southern Georgia, USA, had little or no exposure to commercial poultry operations. As part of a pathogen survey examining the effects of commercial poultry on Wild Turkeys, samples were collected from Wild Turkeys f...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging pathogens are a potential contributor to global amphibian declines. Ranaviruses, which infect ectothermic vertebrates and are common in aquatic environments, have been implicated in die-offs of at least 72 amphibian species worldwide. Most studies on the subject have focused on pool-breeding amphibians, and infection trends in other amphib...
Article
Full-text available
Amphibians are one of the most imperiled vertebrate groups, with pathogens playing a role in the decline of some species. Rare species are particularly vulnerable to extinction because populations are often isolated and exist at low abundance. The potential impact of pathogens on rare amphibian species has seldom been investigated. The dusky gopher...
Article
Full-text available
In 2009, juvenile pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, reared at the Blind Pony State Fish Hatchery (Missouri, USA) to replenish dwindling wild stocks, experienced mass mortality. Histological examination revealed extensive necrosis of the haematopoietic tissues, and a virus was isolated from affected organs in cell culture and then observed by el...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract We examined 31 free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) from central Georgia, USA, for select parasites and viral agents. Sixteen coyotes had adult heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis). Serum samples from 27 animals revealed antibodies against canine parvovirus (100%), canine distemper virus (48%), canine adenovirus (37%), and Trypanosoma cruzi (7...
Article
Ranaviruses are large double stranded DNA viruses of poikilothermic vertebrates including amphibians, reptiles and fish. In North America, ranaviral disease and ranavirus-related die-off events have been documented in all three classes. Ranaviruses are found worldwide, appear to be emerging in some regions, and are increasingly recognized as a thre...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Ranaviruses have been associated with mortality of lower vertebrates around the world. Frog virus 3 (FV3)-like ranaviruses have been isolated from different ectothermic vertebrate classes; however, few studies have demonstrated whether this pathogen can be transmitted among classes. Using FV3-like ranaviruses isolated from the American bul...
Article
Full-text available
Transmission is an essential process that contributes to the survival of pathogens. Ranaviruses are known to infect different classes of lower vertebrates including amphibians, fishes and reptiles. Differences in the likelihood of infection among ectothermic vertebrate hosts could explain the successful yearlong persistence of ranaviruses in aquati...
Article
Full-text available
Serum protein concentrations provide insight into the nutritional and immune status of organisms. It has been suggested that some marine turtles are capital breeders that fast during the nesting season. In this study, we documented serum proteins in neo-phyte and remigrant nesting leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). This allowed us to e...
Article
Full-text available
Use of disinfectants by biologists, veterinarians, and zoological facilities is a standard biosecurity procedure to prevent contamination and the spread of pathogens. We tested the efficacy of 5 disinfectants and 1 anti-fungal treatment, at 1 and 5 min contact durations, in inactivating Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) grown on tryptone media. O...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Coastal Plains Institute (CPI) and US Forest Service entered a 5-year cost-share agreement in October 2010 to address the severe decline of the striped newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus) population within the Munson Sandhills (MS) of the Apalachicola National Forest (ANF). At that time, CPI and cooperators initiated a multifaceted study to: 1) in...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Emerging pathogens within the genus Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae) are carried by and can be lethal to ectotherms including amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Impacts of this virus in reptiles are under-studied, and factors contributing to pathogen virulence and host susceptibility are not well understood. We conducted a...
Article
Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are long-distance migrants that travel thousands of km from foraging grounds to breeding and nesting grounds. These extensive journeys are fueled by ingestion of an estimated 300-400kg of prey/d and likely result in exposure to high concentrations of environmental toxicants (e.g., mercury compounds). I...
Article
Full-text available
Ranaviruses are emerging infectious diseases that infect amphibians, fish, and reptiles. Several cases of morbidity and mortality in captive and natural populations of reptiles have been attributed to ranaviruses, but research in this taxon has been limited. We used oral-cloacal swabs and tail clips to survey two species, Chrysemys picta picta (Eas...
Data
The interactive effects of environmental stressors and emerging infectious disease pose potential threats to stream salamander communities and their headwater stream ecosystems. To begin assessing these threats, we conducted occupancy surveys and pathogen screening of stream salamanders (Family Pletho-dontidae) in a protected southern Appalachians...
Article
Full-text available
The interactive effects of environmental stressors and emerging infectious disease pose potential threats to stream salamander communities and their headwater stream ecosystems. To begin assessing these threats, we conducted occupancy surveys and pathogen screening of stream salamanders (Family Plethodontidae) in a protected southern Appalachians w...
Article
A 15-yr-old female Madagascar ground boa (Boa madagascariensis) presented with a history of anorexia, wheezing, and occasional open-mouth breathing. On oral examination, a firm, caseous mass was noted in the right caudoventral pharyngeal region, which was confirmed as a carcinoma on incisional biopsy. Advanced imaging (computed tomography and magne...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases are a significant threat to global biodiversity. While historically overlooked, a group of iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus has been responsible for die-offs in captive and wild amphibian, reptile and fish populations around the globe over the past two decades. In order to share contemporary information on ranaviruse...
Article
Full-text available
Hellbenders (n=97) were collected from the Little and Hiwassee Rivers in eastern Tennessee, USA, during 2009 and 2010. Location and morphometrics for each animal were recorded, and nonlethal tissue samples were collected to estimate the prevalence of infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Ranavirus in each watershed and year. Real-t...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases have been identified as threats to biodiversity, yet our understanding of the factors contributing to host susceptibility to pathogens within natural populations remains limited. It has been proposed that species interactions within communities affect host susceptibility to pathogens, thereby contributing to disease eme...
Article
Full-text available
Ranaviruses have been identified as the etiologic agent in many amphibian die-offs across the globe. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is commonly used to detect ranavirus infection in amphibian hosts, but the test results may vary between tissue samples obtained by lethal and non-lethal procedures. Testing liver samples for infection is a common let...
Article
Full-text available
Of the seven sea turtle species, the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) exhibits the lowest and most variable nest success (i.e., hatching success and emergence success) for reasons that remain largely unknown. In an attempt to identify or rule out causes of low reproductive success in this species, we established t...
Data
Synopsis of plasma biochemical data for leatherback sea turtles from the literature (western Atlantic Ocean). (DOC)
Data
Synopsis of plasma biochemical data for leatherback sea turtles from the literature (eastern Atlantic Ocean). (DOC)
Data
Synopsis of hematologic values for leatherback sea turtles from the literature (Pacific Ocean). (DOC)
Data
Synopsis of plasma biochemical data for leatherback sea turtles from the literature (Pacific Ocean). (DOC)