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You are here: Home National Park Service Spotlights 2016 Spotlight on National Park Resources Presence of Ranavirus and Chytrid Pathogens among Amphibians

Presence of Ranavirus and Chytrid Pathogens among Amphibians

Christine Densmore- Veterinary Medical Officer, U.S. Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center

Amphibians are excellent indicators of ecosystem health and represent important management targets for National Parks and Refuges. Objectives of this study were to determine the presence of the amphibian pathogens, Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Catoctin Mountain Park, to determine whether overt disease occurs among amphibians related to these pathogens, and to identify potential environmental variables (i.e. contaminants) correlated with either pathogen. In 2014, ten stream and five pond sites were sampled for pathogens and contaminants. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was identified in larval amphibians collected from two pond sites, and Ranavirus was identified in specimens collected from four pond sites and one stream site. No evidence of concurrent disease was observed at any site. Eight pesticides were detected in the tissue samples collected concurrently. Management related implications of these findings include disinfection of gear between sites and follow-up monitoring of amphibian population health and contaminant occurrence within the Park.