Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Terrestrial chytridiomycosis

Sara Weinstein has published an exciting study of Bd infecting and affecting a strictly terrestrial plethodontid salamander in the Western US (Weinstein Copeia 2009(4): 653-660). She provides strong evidence for a historical relationship between Batrachoseps attenuatus and Bd, going back as far as 1973, that seems to involve mortality of the species in the field. Her experiments convincingly show that Bd infection leads to death in the species and some insight into the link between environmental moisture and mortality. Fascinating work on a host species not expected to be so strongly affected by a supposedly aquatic parasite. This, along with the recent paper in Molecular Ecology by Goka et al. (2009, vol 18(23): 4757-4774) are the most significant papers on chytridiomycosis, caudate hosts and historical interactions to come along for quite some time.