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New paper! Occurrence of Bd within and between species - from field studies

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

PhD candidate Thais Sasso Lopes has published a new paper (her first paper as first author from her PhD)!

Sasso, T., McCallum, H., Grogan, L. (2021) Occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis within and between species: a review of influential variables as identified from field studies. Biological Conservation, Volume 262 (IF 5.23).


  • Systematic review of field-based comparisons of Bd infection at multiple populations

  • Mismatch between countries mainly surveyed and hotspots of threatened amphibians

  • Understated abiotic, host/pathogen-related factors play a key role in Bd occurrence.

  • Load and prevalence share similarities and differences on response to variables.

  • Bd occurrence is context dependent and changes at landscape and population level.


In the last two decades a wealth of field studies has documented Bd infection on amphibians worldwide. These studies have demonstrated that the pathogen presence, infection severity and disease impact differ substantially between and within species. However, aside from the influence of temperature, the relative importance of various biotic and abiotic factors driving pathogen occurrence is unclear, leading to potential bias and limitation in our understanding of host-Bd dynamic ecology. Here, we systematically review the Bd literature that investigated environmental, pathogen-related or intrinsic species-specific factors to explain spatial patterns of Bd as measured from field-collected samples. We searched Scopus, Web of Science, and key review papers for field-based articles published from 1999 to 2020. We evaluated 102 articles on spatial heterogeneity of Bd occurrence between amphibian populations. Distinct factors have been investigated to influence either prevalence or infection intensity of Bd, the two most common Bd detection metrics. Factors identified in the studies go beyond temperature-associated constraints on Bd, which is commonly assumed to be the most significant environmental driver. Intra-specific variation in genetic response to the pathogen, presence of invasive species or other taxa, salinity, and even the presence of Bd predators can also underpin the observed pathogen occurrence. We also found that studies were poorly representative of the global geographic distribution of amphibians and focused mostly on Least Concern species and common families. Studies on threatened species are consistently underrepresented within different families. Understanding of Bd-host dynamics as well as conservation management need to be shaped to population and landscape scales to consider the intricacy of factors influencing amphibian declines caused by Bd.

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