Latest amphibian chytridiomycosis research

Latest research 

  • January 2016: A study co-authored by IoZ’s Professor Andrew Cunningham and PhD student Michael Hudson tested the in-situ treatment of individual mountain chicken frogs using the antifungal drug, itraconazole. They found increased probability of survival and loss of the fungus infection for treated frogs compared to non-treated. Results suggest that in-situ treatment of individuals with the drug could be a useful short term measure to reduce the chtridiomycosis-induced mortality rate and to increase other conservation actions, or facilitate population survival during periods of high disease risk. 
  • August 2016: Findings from research co-authored by IoZ’s Professor Andrew Cunningham and PhD student Michael Hudson suggest that the decline of the mountain chicken across its range is amongst the fastest recorded for any species, with island-wide population collapses due to chytridiomycosis occurring within 18 months on Dominica and under one year on Montserrat. There’s an urgent need to build mitigation capacity where amphibians are at risk from chytridiomycosis and to prevent the spread of the disease to new areas. 

Mountain Chicken frog

What’s next?

We continue to:

  • Develop further safe treatments to cure the disease in captive animals and wild populations
  • Determine whether field treatments can be used to reduce the impact of the disease on wild amphibians in various settings and populations.
  • Identify new genetic variants of chytrid fungi to understand what genetic factors are responsible for hyper- and hypo-virulence
  • Determine whether restocking is a useful conservation tool following declines due to chytridiomycosis
  • Identify how human activities like wildlife trade can be modified to reduce the risk of transmitting lethal infections to captive animals and wild populations
  • Transfer our research knowledge and skills to individuals and organizations who join the effort to manage chytridiomycosis.