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Fight to battle amphibian fungus

By Colin Ricketts - 28 Jul 2011 11:58:0 GMT
Fight to battle amphibian fungus

An infection which has seen off around 200 species of amphibians in three decades could be about to fall to scientific research.

Chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection, has been the subject of an international effort to defeat it by reviewing every method that has been tried to tackle it.

"There are several alternatives for mitigating chytridiomycosis that are more effective than trying to prevent the pathogen from arriving or eradicating it from the environment", said Jaime Bosch, a researcher at the National Natural Sciences Museum (MNCN-CSIC) in Spain and co-author of the new study, which was published in Frontiers in Zoology.

Bosch says that local projects might point the way to the best combinations of actions to tackle an infection that has cut a swathe through amphibian populations which have been saved only by isolating populations, something that is practically impossible in today's globalised world says Bosch.

In Spain's Penalara Natural Park, where tadpole numbers of species attacked were devastated by the fungus, heat treatment for tadpoles has proved to be of some use. More recently, a heated antifungal bath has been even more effective.

But the battle is far from won say the researchers, who are also pinning some hope on captive breeding of populations with a tolerance to the infection and even a resistance.

Top Image Credit: © Yanik Chauvin