Can habitat management mitigate disease impacts on threatened Amphibians?

Geoffrey W. Heard, Michael P. Scroggie, David S.L. Ramsey, Nick Clemann, Jenny A. Hodgson, Chris D. Thomas

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Chytridiomycosis has decimated amphibian biodiversity. Management options for the disease are currently limited, but habitat manipulation holds promise due to the thermal and physicochemical sensitivities of chytrid fungi. Here, we quantify the extent to which habitat management could reduce metapopulation extinction risk for an Australian frog susceptible to chytridiomycosis. Our modeling revealed that: (1) habitat management is most effective in climates where hosts are already less susceptible to the disease; (2) creating habitat, particularly habitat with refugial properties adverse to the pathogen, may be substantially more effective than manipulating existing habitat; and (3) increasing metapopulation size and connectivity through strategic habitat creation can greatly reduce extinction risk. Controlling chytridiomycosis is a top priority for conserving amphibians. Our study provides impetus for experiments across a range of species and environments to test the capacity of habitat management to mitigate the impacts of this pervasive disease.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12375
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalConservation Letters
    Volume11
    Issue number2
    Early online dateMay 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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