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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

FIELD SURVEYS FOR DETECTION OF BATRACHOCHYTRIUM DENDROBATIDIS IN NORTH GEORGIA AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS

Abstract

Chytridiomycosis is a fungal disease caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and is a contributing factor to global amphibian population declines. Although Bd is distributed globally, little research has been conducted on Georgia’s amphibian populations. We surveyed for the presence of Bd in amphibian populations in the northeast Georgia Piedmont region at 3 different locations using active night searches, and passive sampling techniques at one of the 3 locations from spring 2013 through fall 2016. During night searches, we located amphibians in wetlands and captured them by hand. We used poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) pipes for passive sampling during both day and night. Following captures, we collected environmental and physical data from each individual, swabbed the skin for Bd detection using sterile polyester tipped swabs, and released individuals at their capture site. We changed gloves and disinfected equipment between each capture. Collected skin swabs were analyzed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to detect for presence of Bd. To date, we have collected 450 individual samples from 9 different species at 3 study sites using active surveys and 90 individual samples from passive sampling. PCR techniques have detected a positive Bd sample at one of the sites after testing 106 samples. Analysis of sampling, along with capture-mark-recapture data will continue throughout 2017.

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