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Dynamics and genetics of a disease driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation

Hudson, Michael A., Young, Richard P., D'Urban Jackson, Josie, Orozco-terWengel, Pablo, Martin, Lloyd, James, Arlington, Sulton, Machel, Garcia, Gerardo, Griffiths, Richard A., Thomas, Reginald, and others. (2016) Dynamics and genetics of a disease driven species decline to near extinction: lessons for conservation. Scientific reports, 6 . ISSN 2045-2322. (doi:10.1038/srep30772) (KAR id:56763)


Amphibian chytridiomycosis has caused precipitous declines in hundreds of species worldwide. By tracking mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) populations before, during and after the emergence of chytridiomycosis, we quantified the real-time species level impacts of this disease. We report a range-wide species decline amongst the fastest ever recorded, with a loss of over 85% of the population in fewer than 18 months on Dominica and near extinction on Montserrat. Genetic diversity declined in the wild, but emergency measures to establish a captive assurance population captured a representative sample of genetic diversity from Montserrat. If the Convention on Biological Diversity’s targets are to be met, it is important to evaluate the reasons why they appear consistently unattainable. The emergence of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken was predictable, but the decline could not be prevented. There is an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/srep30772
Uncontrolled keywords: Chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Amphibian declines, Mountain chicken, Convention on Biological Diversity, Aichi Targets, Conservation, Epidemiology, Genetics
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Darwin Initiative (
Depositing User: M. Hudson
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2016 13:57 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Griffiths, Richard A..

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