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      Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity

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      Science

      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Abstract

          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 amphibian species over the past half-century, including 90 presumed extinctions. The effects of chytridiomycosis have been greatest in large-bodied, range-restricted anurans in wet climates in the Americas and Australia. Declines peaked in the 1980s, and only 12% of declined species show signs of recovery, whereas 39% are experiencing ongoing decline. There is risk of further chytridiomycosis outbreaks in new areas. The chytridiomycosis panzootic represents the greatest recorded loss of biodiversity attributable to a disease.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Colloquium paper: are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians.

          Many scientists argue that we are either entering or in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction. Intense human pressure, both direct and indirect, is having profound effects on natural environments. The amphibians--frogs, salamanders, and caecilians--may be the only major group currently at risk globally. A detailed worldwide assessment and subsequent updates show that one-third or more of the 6,300 species are threatened with extinction. This trend is likely to accelerate because most amphibians occur in the tropics and have small geographic ranges that make them susceptible to extinction. The increasing pressure from habitat destruction and climate change is likely to have major impacts on narrowly adapted and distributed species. We show that salamanders on tropical mountains are particularly at risk. A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming. This disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen and implicated in serious declines and extinctions of >200 species of amphibians, poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. Our data for frogs in the Sierra Nevada of California show that the fungus is having a devastating impact on native species, already weakened by the effects of pollution and introduced predators. A general message from amphibians is that we may have little time to stave off a potential mass extinction.
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            Spread of Chytridiomycosis Has Caused the Rapid Global Decline and Extinction of Frogs

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              Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis gen. et sp. nov., a Chytrid Pathogenic to Amphibians

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                March 28 2019
                March 29 2019
                March 28 2019
                March 29 2019
                : 363
                : 6434
                : 1459-1463
                Article
                10.1126/science.aav0379
                © 2019

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