Presence of Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Among Amphibians of Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland: Pathogen, Disease, and Contaminants Screening
Christine Densmore1; Lindsey Donaldson2; Evan Grant3; Kelly Smalling4; Deborah Iwanowicz1; Deborah Sites5; Emily Nadenbousch1*; Baileigh Reed-Grimmett1*
1US Geological Survey, National Fish Health Research Laboratory, Leetown Science Center, Kearneysville, WV, USA; 2National Park Service, Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, MD, USA; 3US Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA; 4US Geological Survey, California Water Science Center, Sacramento, CA, USA; 5Biotechnology Center, Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, MD, USA
Amphibians are excellent indicators of ecosystem health and represent important management targets for National Parks and Refuges. Catoctin Mountain Park in north-central Maryland, USA provides a rich habitat for amphibian species in a region where disease occurrence among wild amphibian and reptile populations has been reported in recent years. Objectives of this study were to determine the presence of the amphibian pathogens, Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Catoctin Mountain Park, to determine whether overt disease occurs among amphibians related to these pathogens, and to identify potential environmental variables (i.e., contaminants) correlated with either pathogen. In 2014, ten stream and five pond sites within the park were sampled for pathogens and contaminants. External swab and tissue specimens from multiple species of adult or larval amphibians were analyzed for the presence of the two amphibian pathogens and pesticide residues. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was identified in larval amphibians collected from two pond sites, and Ranavirus was identified in specimens collected from four pond sites and one stream site. No evidence of concurrent disease was observed at any site. Eight pesticides were detected in the tissue samples collected concurrently, with the fungicide fenbuconazole detected most frequently. Management related implications of these findings include disinfection of gear between sites and follow-up monitoring of amphibian population health and contaminant occurrence within the park.
* Presenting author