The devourer of newts: a novel chytrid fungus on Britain’s doorstep

Population declines are reported in over 30 per cent of amphibian species worldwide. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is increasingly recognised as a significant driver of amphibian species extinctions. The emergence in 2013 of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bs) in the Netherlands and Belgium presents a new threat to European amphibians, and a challenge for scientists, conservationists and governmental animal health and environment agencies. The Bs fungus was found to be the causative agent of a cutaneous ulcerative disease of fire salamanders with a high mortality rate at two sites in the Low Countries. There is no evidence that Bs is present in the UK but studies show that the great crested newt is highly susceptible to this pathogen.

At the event, 'The devourer of newts: a novel chytrid fungus on Britain’s doorstep', the discovery of Bs, the likely impact of its arrival in the UK and the employment of wildlife disease-surveillance schemes to detect incursion of novel pathogens in the UK were among the topics discussed.

Listen to the audio recording:

Speakers

An Martel, Ghent University
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans endangers European salamanders

Jim Foster, Conservation Director, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust
The implications of B. salamandrivorans emergence for UK amphibian conservation

Paul Duff, Animal & Plant Health Agency
Wildlife disease surveillance in the UK - how important is this?

This meeting was chaired by Andrew Cunningham, Zoological Society of London

Talk abstracts

Full talk abstracts can be downloaded here: Abstracts - The devourer of newts: a novel chytrid fungus on Britain's doorstep (138.64 KB)

Further Information: please contact  Jennifer Howes, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY. 
Tel:+44 (0)20 7449 6227. Fax: +44 (0)20 7449 6411. E-mail: jennifer.howes@zsl.org

ZSL Science and Conservation Events: An essential part of ZSL's work is to communicate relevant, high-quality zoological and conservation science. The integrated ZSL Science and Conservation Events programme includes Symposia, and the new 'Wildlife Conservation' and 'Communicating Science' series. Topics cover a wide variety of zoological and conservation themes, and international experts present and discuss their research.