Sara C Bell

Sara C Bell
Australian Institute of Marine Science

PhD James Cook University

About

57
Publications
7,985
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Introduction
My PhD investigated the microbial ecology of rainforest frog skin and the potential for bacteria to mitigate the effects of the disease chytridiomycosis. I was subsequenly involved in documenting the recolonisation of Australian Wet Tropics frogs at upland sites where population declines occurred due to disease. I currently work at the Australian Institute of Marine Science on projects investigating the metagenomics of the coral holobiont; specifically the associated bacteria and viruses.
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - January 2014
James Cook University
Position
  • Post Doctoral Research Officer
May 2001 - January 2014
James Cook University
Position
  • Research Assistant/Research Officer
Education
April 2008 - November 2012
James Cook University
Field of study
  • Zoology
September 1996 - May 1999
Bangor University
Field of study
  • Zoology with Marine Zoology

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Full-text available
Genetic signatures caused by demographic and adaptive processes during past climatic shifts can inform predictions of species’ responses to anthropogenic climate change. To identify these signatures in Acropora tenuis , a reef-building coral threatened by global warming, we first assembled the genome from long reads and then used shallow whole-geno...
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...
Preprint
Full-text available
The inshore region of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) became inundated at the start of the Holocene when sea levels rose. Like many inshore reefs worldwide it harbours extensive coral assemblages despite being subject to relatively high turbidity, freshwater input and thermal fluctuations. To investigate how the coral holobiont has adapted to these co...
Article
Full-text available
Marine sponges often host diverse and species-specific communities of microorganisms that are critical for host health. Previous functional genomic investigations of the sponge microbiome have focused primarily on specific symbiont lineages, which frequently make up only a small fraction of the overall community. Here, we undertook genome-centric a...
Article
Full-text available
Corals and the reef ecosystems that they support are in global decline due to increasing anthropogenic pressures such as climate change¹. However, effective reef conservation strategies are hampered by a limited mechanistic understanding of coral biology and the functional roles of the diverse microbial communities that underpin coral health2,3. He...
Article
Full-text available
Symbiotic bacterial communities resident on amphibian skin can benefit their hosts. For example, antibiotic production by community members can control the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and it is possible for these community members to be used as probiotics to reduce infection levels. In the early 1990s, the emergence of Bd caused de...
Article
Recent metagenomic analyses have revealed a high diversity of viruses in the pelagic ocean and uncovered clear habitat‐specific viral distribution patterns. Conversely, similar insights into the composition, host‐specificity and function of viruses associated with marine organisms have been limited by challenges associated with sampling and computa...
Article
Full-text available
Coral recovery (the restoration of abundance and composition of coral communities) after disturbance is a key process that determines the resilience of reef ecosystems. To understand the mechanisms underlying the recovery process of coral communities, colony abundance and size distribution were followed on reefs around Pelorus Island, located in th...
Article
Full-text available
The broad diversity of amphibian developmental strategies has been shaped, in part, by pathogen pressure, yet trade-offs between the rate of larval development and immune investment remain poorly understood. The expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in skin secretions is a crucial defense against emerging amphibian pathogens and can also indi...
Article
Full-text available
1.Pathogens can be critical drivers of the abundance and distribution of wild animal populations. The presence of an over-dispersed pathogen load distribution between hosts (where few hosts harbor heavy parasite burdens and light infections are common) can have an important stabilizing effect on host-pathogen dynamics where infection intensity dete...
Article
Full-text available
Bacterial symbionts on frog skin can reduce the growth of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) through production of inhibitory metabolites. Bacteria can be effective at increasing the resistance of amphibians to chytridiomycosis when added to amphibian skin, and isolates can be screened for production of metabolites that inhibit...
Article
Emerging infectious diseases are contributing to global declines in coral reef ecosystems, highlighting a growing need for etiological knowledge to develop effective management strategies. In this review, we focus on black band disease (BBD), one of the most virulent diseases and the only polymicrobial disease so far known to affect corals. A multi...
Article
Full-text available
The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can cause precipitous population declines in its amphibian hosts. Responses of individuals to infection vary greatly with the capacity of their immune system to respond to the pathogen. We used a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to identify major histocompatibil...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial symbionts of vertebrate skin have an important function in defense of the host against pathogens. In particular, the emerging chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, causes widespread disease in amphibians but can be inhibited via secondary metabolites produced by many different skin-associated bacteria. Similarly, the fungal patho...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Knowledge of baseline cutaneous bacterial microbiota may be useful in interpreting diagnostic cultures from captive sick frogs and as part of quarantine or pretranslocation disease screening. Bacteria may also be an important part of innate immunity against chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (B...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Amphibians are currently threatened by the rapid global spread of the pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which is the largest disease threat to biodiversity. To mitigate the threat, probiotic therapy through bioaugmentation is a feasible strategy based on growing evidence that microbes contribute to host de...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Epidemics of chytridiomycosis, caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochyrtium dendrodatitis (Bd), caused frog declines in Australian Wet Tropics rainforests. Declines occurred only at high elevations, and several species have subsequently reappeared at many upland sites. Gene flow among these sites is unlikely...
Article
Full-text available
Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a widespread disease of amphibians responsible for population declines and extinctions. Some bacteria from amphibians' skins produce antimicrobial substances active against Bd. Supplementing populations of these cutaneous antifungal bacteria might help manage chytridiomy...
Article
Full-text available
Rates of growth and reproduction of the pathogens that cause emerging infectious diseases can be affected by local environmental conditions; these conditions can thus influence the strength and nature of disease outbreaks. An understanding of these relationships is important for understanding disease ecology and developing mitigation strategies. Wi...
Data
The three different arrangements of 96-well plates used in our experiments: Plate A, Plate B, and Plate C. Two of these plate arrangements (A and B; A and C; or B and C) were haphazardly assigned to each thermal treatment. Each numbered column (labelled 1-12) contains eight wells arranged in rows (A–H). (DOC)
Data
Fisher’s LSD post-hoc results for ANOVAs comparing optical densities among temperatures, analysed separately for each isolate during the logarithmic growth phase (Day 5) and the stationary phase (Day 14). (DOC)
Data
Fisher’s LSD post-hoc results for ANOVAs comparing standardised optical densities among temperatures for each isolate during the logarithmic growth phase (Day 5) and the stationary phase (Day 14). (DOC)
Article
Certain bacteria present on frog skin can prevent infection by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), conferring disease resistance. Previous studies have used agar-based in vitro challenge assays to screen bacteria for Bd-inhibitory activity and to identify candidates for bacterial supplementation trials. However, agar-based as...
Article
Probiotic therapy through bioaugmentation is a feasible disease mitigation strategy based on growing evidence that microbes contribute to host defences of plants and animals. Amphibians are currently threatened by the rapid global spread of the pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the disease chytridiomycosis. Bioaugmentation...
Article
Many parasites and pathogens suppress host immunity to maintain infection or initiate disease. On the skin of many amphibians, defensive peptides are active against the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causative agent of the emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis. We tested the hypothesis that infection with the fungus may be l...
Article
Aim Rapidly evolving pathogens may exert diversifying selection on genes involved in host immune defence including those encoding antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Amphibian skin peptides are one important defence against chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We examined the...
Article
AIM: Rapidly evolving pathogens may exert diversifying selection on genes involved in host immune defence including those encoding antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Amphibian skin peptides are one important defence against chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We examined the...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Archived project
Understanding ecology and microbiology of black band disease in corals.
Project
Monitoring of coral population recovery after a severe tropical cyclone in the central Great Barrier Reef region.