Data from: Infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is common in tropical lowland habitats: implications for amphibian conservation
Zumbado-Ulate, Hector; García-Rodríguez, Adrián; Vredenburg, Vance T.; Searle, Catherine (2019), Data from: Infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is common in tropical lowland habitats: implications for amphibian conservation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8t267j0
Numerous species of amphibians declined in Central America during the 1980s and 1990s. These declines mostly affected highland stream amphibians and have been primarily linked to chytridiomycosis, a deadly disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Since then, the majority of field studies on Bd in the Tropics have been conducted in midland and highland environments (>800 m) mainly because the environmental conditions of mountain ranges match the range of ideal abiotic conditions for Bd in the laboratory. This unbalanced sampling has led researchers to largely overlook host–pathogen dynamics in lowlands, where other amphibian species declined during the same period. We conducted a survey testing for Bd in 47 species (n = 348) in four lowland sites in Costa Rica to identify local host–pathogen dynamics and to describe the abiotic environment of these sites. We detected Bd in three sampling sites and 70% of the surveyed species. We found evidence that lowland study sites exhibit enzootic dynamics with low infection intensity and moderate to high prevalence (55% overall prevalence). Additionally, we found evidence that every study site represents an independent climatic zone, where local climatic differences may explain variations in Bd disease dynamics. We recommend more detection surveys across lowlands and other sites that have been historically considered unsuitable for Bd occurrence. These data can be used to identify sites for potential disease outbreaks and amphibian rediscoveries.