Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   The Occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Salamander Populations of West Virginia
Author:   Casey John Bartkus
College:   Science
Degree Program:   Biological Sciences, M.S.
Degree:   Master of Science
Committee Director:   Dr. Thomas K. Pauley
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   04/22/2009

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), otherwise known as the amphibian chytrid fungus, is a pathogen that causes the amphibian disease, chytridiomycosis. While Bd has been found in amphibian populations in other states across the country, little is known of its occurrence in West Virginia. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is highly associated with amphibians in montane habitats. Because West Virginia has the highest mean elevation of any state east of the Mississippi River, amphibians in the state may be at high risk of an outbreak. The goal of this study was to determine the status of Bd in salamander species of concern in West Virginia. I took 266 samples from 8 different species at 22 different sites and sent samples to Washington State University where real-time Taqman Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assays were used to detect the presence of Bd zoospores. Only one site tested positive for the incidence of Bd; however, further testing is needed to adequately sample for statewide occurrence. Sites testing positive for Bd occurrence were mapped to show the possible distribution of the disease, which is essential for development of protocols that will aid managers in reducing the spread of Bd. 

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