Lee Berger

Lee Berger
University of Melbourne | MSD · Faculty of Veterinary Science

BVSc, PhD

About

229
Publications
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Publications

Publications (229)
Article
The global rate of wildlife extinctions is accelerating, and the persistence of many species requires conservation breeding programs. A central paradigm of these programs is to preserve the genetic diversity of the founder populations. However, this may preserve original characteristics that make them vulnerable to extinction. We introduce targeted...
Article
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Mycoviruses may influence the pathogenicity of disease-causing fungi. Although mycoviruses have been found in some chytrid fungi, limited testing has not detected them in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the cause of the devastating amphibian disease, chytridiomycosis. Here we conducted a survey for mycovirus presence in 38 Bd isolates from Aus...
Article
The devastating infectious disease chytridiomycosis has caused declines of amphibians across the globe, yet some populations are persisting and even recovering. One understudied effect of wildlife disease is changes in reproductive effort. Here we aimed to understand if disease has plastic effects on reproduction and if reproductive effort could ev...
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
Article
Background: Reference intervals for haematology and serum biochemistry parameters were developed for free-ranging Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) using 35 samples from 12 female and 15 male free-ranging animals. Captive tree-kangaroos (n = 12) were also sampled for comparison. Differences were found between free-ranging and captiv...
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Background Infectious disease, particularly the fungal disease chytridiomycosis (caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ), is a primary cause of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. The transdermal route, although offering a simple option for drug administration in frogs, is complicated by the lack of knowledge regarding percutaneous abs...
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Abstract Emerging infectious diseases threaten the persistence of biodiversity globally. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is one of the most widespread and damaging pathogens to biodiversity. New Guinea hosts 6% of the world's frogs and is the largest landmass where B. dendrobatidis remains undetected despite being larg...
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The primary aim of in vitro testing of chemicals delivered via the percutaneous route is to predict the absorption that would ensue if exposure occurred in live animals. While there is mounting evidence that in vitro diffusion studies in mammalian skin can provide valid information regarding likely in vivo absorption, little is known whether such a...
Article
Chytridiomycosis has been a key driver of global frog declines and extinctions, particularly for high‐altitude populations across Australia and the Americas. While recent evidence shows some species are recovering, the extent of such recoveries and the mechanisms underpinning them remain poorly resolved. We surveyed the historical latitudinal and e...
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Lambert et al . question our retrospective and holistic epidemiological assessment of the role of chytridiomycosis in amphibian declines. Their alternative assessment is narrow and provides an incomplete evaluation of evidence. Adopting this approach limits understanding of infectious disease impacts and hampers conservation efforts. We reaffirm th...
Article
Frogs have permeable skin, so transdermal delivery provides a practical alternative to traditional dosing routes. However, little is known about how frog skin permeability differs interspecifically, and there are different reported clinical outcomes following topical application of the same chemical in different frog species. This study collated in...
Article
Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a skin disease responsible for the global decline of amphibians. Frog species and populations can vary in susceptibility, but this phenomenon remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated serotonin in the skin of infected and uninfected frogs. In more susceptible frog...
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Rarely do commercial chemical products contain solely the active chemical/ingredient. It is therefore important to consider whether ingredients other than the active may: 1) alter absorption of the active chemical, or 2) be absorbed themselves, resulting in systemic effects. Frogs have highly permeable skin and are routinely exposed to commercial c...
Article
The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is causing global amphibian declines. Here we describe a simple, rapid and inexpensive methylene blue staining protocol to determine B. dendrobatidis viability, regardless of life-stage. The viability of cells in suspension or adherent monolayers can be determined using either manual microscopy counting or...
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Background: Snow leopards, Panthera uncia, are a threatened apex predator, scattered across the mountains of Central and South Asia. Disease threats to wild snow leopards have not been investigated.Methods and Results: Between 2008 and 2015, twenty snow leopards in the South Gobi desert of Mongolia were captured and immobilised for health screening...
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The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid) has caused the most widespread, disease‐induced declines and extinctions in vertebrates recorded to date. The largest climatically suitable landmass that may still be free of this fungus is New Guinea. The island is home to a sizeable proportion of the world's known frog species...
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Anthropogenic trade and development have broken down dispersal barriers, facilitating the spread of diseases that threaten Earth's biodiversity. We present a global, quantitative assessment of the amphibian chytridiomycosis panzootic, one of the most impactful examples of disease spread, and demonstrate its role in the decline of at least 501 amphi...
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In Australia, the cane toad Rhinella marina and chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) are examples of invasive species that have had dramatic impacts on native fauna. However, little is known about the interaction between Bd and cane toads. We aimed to explore the interaction of these 2 species in 3 parts. First, we collated data from...
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The fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis (caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans), has caused amphibian declines and extinctions globally since its emergence. Characterizing the host immune response to chytridiomycosis has been a focus of study with the aim of disease mitigation. However, many aspects of the innate and ad...
Article
Owing to the dynamic interaction between frogs' skin and the environment, xenobiotics in frog habitats are of particular concern, and knowledge of percutaneous absorption in frog skin is necessary for risk mitigation purposes. Baseline transdermal kinetics in adult aquatic and arboreal frog species have recently been reported, however, there is lit...
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods - Figs. S1, S3, S4, S6, S7, and S9 to S16 - Tables S2 to S5 - Captions for figs. S2, S5, and S8 - Caption for table S1 - Captions for data S1 to S3 - References
Chapter
The amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis is considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. This lethal skin disease is caused by chytridiomycete fungi belonging to the genus Batrachochytrium. Although sudden amphibian population declines had occurred since the 1970s in the Americas and Australia, mass mortalities were not observed unt...
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Chytridiomycosis is among several recently emerged fungal diseases of wildlife that have caused decline or extinction of naïve populations. Despite recent advances in understanding pathogenesis, host response to infection remains poorly understood. Here we modelled a total of 162 metabolites across skin and liver tissues of 61 frogs from four popul...
Article
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Parasitic chytrid fungi have emerged as a signifcant threat to amphibian species worldwide, necessitating the development of techniques to isolate these pathogens into culture for research purposes. However, early methods of isolating chytrids from their hosts relied on killing amphibians. We modifed a pre-existing protocol for isolating chytrids f...
Article
Full-text available
Amphibians are experiencing a great loss in biodiversity globally and one of the major causes is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. This disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which infects and disrupts frog epidermis; however, pathological changes have not been explicitly characterized. Apoptosis (progr...
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Globalized infectious diseases are causing species declines worldwide, but their source often remains elusive. We used whole-genome sequencing to solve the spatiotemporal origins of the most devastating panzootic to date, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a proximate driver of global amphibian declines. We traced the source of B....
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Captive and wild amphibians are under threat of extinction from the deadly fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). The antifungal drug terbinafine (TBF) is used by pet owners to treat Bd-infected frogs; however, it is not widely used in academic or zoological institutions due to limited veterinary clinical trials. To assess TBF's effic...
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The fungal skin disease chytridiomycosis has caused the devastating decline and extinction of hundreds of amphibian species globally, yet the potential for evolving resistance, and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. We exposed 406 naïve, captive-raised alpine tree frogs (Litoria verreauxii alpina) from multiple p...
Article
Frog skin structure and physiology differs between skin regions, however little is known about how these differences affect transdermal absorption of chemicals. Further, no information is available regarding how the relative lipophilicity of a chemical influences its transdermal pharmacokinetics in frog skin. This study investigated the in vitro pe...
Article
Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) is an iconic species in far north Queensland yet little is known about its health or population status. Studies on this species have been conducted in a limited number of locations and focused primarily on ecology, habitat use and home-range size. The species is relatively common in the Atherton Tabl...
Preprint
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Southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) have been driven to functional extinction in the wild after the emergence of the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in southeastern Australia in the 1980s. This species is currently maintained in a captive assurance colony and is managed to preserve the genetic diversity...
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Potentiating the evolution of immunity is a promising strategy for addressing biodiversity diseases. Assisted selection for infection resistance may enable the recovery and persistence of amphibians threatened by chytridiomycosis; a devastating fungal skin disease threatening hundreds of species globally. However, knowledge of the mechanisms involv...
Preprint
Full-text available
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...
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Full-text available
Context Vehicle strike is a major issue where wildlife habitat is intersected by busy roads. Near Threatened Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) is a large (5-10 kg) semi-arboreal mammal found in populated rural and forested areas of north-eastern Australia. Warning signs, rope bridges and underpasses have not prevented ∼20 animals bei...
Article
Amphibian chytridiomycosis disease has caused widespread declines and extinctions of frogs in cool, wet habitats in eastern Australia. Screening suggests that the disease does not yet occupy all areas modelled to be environmentally suitable, including rainforests on Cape York Peninsula. Cape Melville is an area of rainforest with several endemic fr...
Article
Temperature variability, and in particular temperature decreases, can increase susceptibility of amphibians to infections by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). However, the effects of temperature shifts on the immune systems of Bd-infected amphibians are unresolved. We acclimated frogs to 16 °C and 26 °C (baseline), simultaneously tran...
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Full-text available
Emerging pathogens can drive evolutionary shifts in host life-history traits, yet this process remains poorly documented in vertebrate hosts. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is the worst recorded wildlife disease and has caused the extinction of over 100 species across mu...
Article
Biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, especially among vertebrates. Disease is commonly ignored or dismissed in investigations of wildlife declines, partly because there is often little or no obvious clinical evidence of illness. We argue that disease has the potential to cause many species declines and extinctions and that there is mounti...
Article
Despite calls for improved responses to emerging infectious diseases in wildlife, management is seldom considered until a disease has been detected in affected populations. Reactive approaches may limit the potential for control and increase total response costs. An alternative, proactive management framework can identify immediate actions that red...
Article
Full-text available
Southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) have declined to near extinction in the wild after the emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in southeastern Australia in the 1980s. A major captive breeding and reintroduction program is underway to preserve this iconic species, but improving resistance to B. de...
Article
The impacts of pathogen emergence in naïve hosts can be catastrophic, and pathogen spread now ranks as a major threat to biodiversity. However, pathogen impacts can persist for decades after epidemics and produce variable host outcomes. Chytridiomycosis in amphibians (caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is an exemplar,...
Article
Full-text available
Background Amphibians are declining at an alarming rate, and one of the major causes of decline is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. Parasitic fungal sporangia occur within epidermal cells causing epidermal disruption, but these changes have not been well characterised. Apoptosis (planned cell death) can be a damaging response to the host bu...
Data
Caspase data Raw data for the caspase 3/7 assay for L v alpina
Article
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AIMS: To describe the gross and light microscopic characteristics of skin lesions observed on the ventral skin of captive Archey’s frogs (Leiopelma archeyi) between 2000 and 2012, and to investigate their occurrence, possible aetiology and association with survival. METHODS: Postmortem skin samples were obtained for histological evaluation from 37...
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[Extract] When Rick Speare died in a car accident on 5th June 2016 while heading to Cairns to teach parasitology, the world lost a phenomenal force for good. Both Rick and his wife Kerry Kelly have inspired many with their compassion, not just for the world at large but for all the immediate people and animals around them. Rick made brilliant contr...
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One of the major causes of amphibian population decline is the deadly fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd. Research on pathogenesis and host immunity aims to inform development of targeted conservation interventions. Studies examining global host immune responses as well as effects on lymphocytes in vitro suggest that Bd infection ca...
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Mounting an immune response to fight disease is costly for an organism and can reduce investment in another life-history trait, such as reproduction. The terminal investment hypothesis predicts that an organism will increase reproductive effort when threatened by disease. The reproductive fitness of amphibians infected with the deadly fungal pathog...
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To protect Australian amphibian biodiversity, we have identified and prioritised frog species at an imminent risk of extinction from chytridiomycosis, and devised national management and research priorities for disease mitigation. Six Australian frogs have not been observed in the wild since the initial emergence of chytridiomycosis and may be exti...
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Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) emerged in the 1970s in Australia and the Americas, causing rapid and catastrophic declines and extinctions of naïve amphibian populations as it spread through remote rainforest and alpine regions. The description of chytridiomycosis in 1998 stimulated a large and diverse global research effort, including studies...