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Altitudinal variation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on continental and insular amphibians

Grant number: 20/02994-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2020
Effective date (End): June 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Luis Felipe de Toledo Ramos Pereira
Grantee:Julia Renata Ernetti
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/25358-3 - The chytrid fungus: from its origins to its consequences, AP.TEM

Abstract

Chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is associated with declines and extinctions of amphibians worldwide. Different factors contribute to the emergence of the pathogen in nature. The altitude and availability of habitat can determine the structure of host communities, and directly influence the pathogen dynamics. The dilution effect hypothesis predicts that a high host diversity community tends to show a reduction in disease levels. Thus, based on the premise of dilution effect, it is expected that areas with increasing elevation show a pattern of decreased richness, and in habitats that support less structured communities, such as islands, we should observe an amplifying of disease effect. This thesis project aims to investigate the effects of amphibian diversity on Bd infection rates in elevational gradients of Atlantic Forest island and continental environments. In addition, we seek to assess the virulence of infection in different Bd isolates, and better understand how seasonality influences the pathogen's prevalence and infection patterns in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. This work should directly contribute to the understanding of the Bd patterns on neotropical anuran communities, and will provide important information on the emergence and distribution of the pathogen in nature, essential for the development of future conservation strategies. (AU)