Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity

Date: 07, Oct, 2019
Author(s):   Ben C. Scheele, Frank Pasmans, Lee F. Skerratt, Lee Berger, An Martel, Wouter Beukema, Aldemar A. Acevedo, Patricia A. Burrowes, Tamilie Carvalho, Alessandro Catenazzi, Ignacio De la Riva, Matthew C. Fisher, Sandra V. Flechas, Claire N. Foster, Patricia Frías-Álvarez, Trenton W. J. Garner, Brian Gratwicke, Juan M. Guayasamin, Mareike Hirschfeld, Jonathan E. Kolby, Tiffany A. Kosch, Enrique La Marca, David B. Lindenmayer, Karen R. Lips, Ana V. Longo, Raul Maneyro, Cait A. McDonald, et al.
Publisher: Science

Anthropogenic trade and development have broken down dispersal barriers, facilitating the spread of diseases that threaten Earth’s biodiversity. We present a global, quantitative assessment of the amphibian chytridiomycosis panzootic, one of the most impactful examples of disease spread, and demonstrate its role in the decline of at least 501 amphibian species over the past half-century, including 90 presumed extinctions. The effects of chytridiomycosis have been greatest in range-restricted anurans, wet climates, and high elevations in the Americas and Australia. Declines peaked in the 1980s, and only 12% of declined species show signs of recovery, whereas 39% are experiencing ongoing decline. There is risk of further chytridiomycosis outbreaks in new areas. The chytridiomycosis panzootic represents the greatest recorded loss of biodiversity attributable to a disease.