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Data from: Effectiveness of antifungal treatments during chytridiomycosis epizootics in populations of an endangered frog

Citation

Knapp, Roland et al. (2021), Data from: Effectiveness of antifungal treatments during chytridiomycosis epizootics in populations of an endangered frog, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25349/D9D90C

Abstract

The recently-emerged amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has had an unprecedented impact on global amphibian populations, and highlights the urgent need to develop effective mitigation strategies. We conducted in-situ antifungal treatment experiments in wild populations of the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog during or immediately after Bd-caused mass die-off events. The objective of treatments was to reduce Bd infection intensity ("load") and in doing so alter frog-Bd dynamics and increase the probability of frog population persistence despite ongoing Bd infection. Experiments included treatment of early life stages (tadpoles and subadults) with the antifungal drug itraconazole, treatment of adults with itraconazole, and augmentation of the skin microbiome of subadults with Janthinobacterium lividum, a commensal bacterium with antifungal properties. All itraconazole treatments caused immediate reductions in Bd load, and produced longer-term effects that differed between life stages. In experiments focused on early life stages, Bd load was reduced in the two months immediately following treatment and was associated with increased survival of subadults. However, Bd load and frog survival returned to pre-treatment levels in less than one year, and treatment had no effect on population persistence. In adults, treatment reduced Bd load and increased frog survival over the entire three-year post-treatment period, consistent with frogs having developed an effective adaptive immune response against Bd. Despite this protracted period of reduced impacts of Bd on adults, recruitment into the adult population was limited and the population eventually declined to near-extirpation. In the microbiome augmentation experiment, exposure of subadults to a solution of J. lividum increased concentrations of this potentially protective bacterium on frogs. However, concentrations declined to baseline levels within one month and did not have a protective effect against Bd infection. Collectively, these results indicate that our mitigation efforts were ineffective in causing long-term changes in frog-Bd dynamics and increasing population persistence, due largely to the inability of early life stages to mount an effective immune response against Bd. This results in repeated recruitment failure and a low probability of population persistence in the face of ongoing Bd infection.

Methods

These datasets were collected before, during, and after six antifungal treatments conducted in lakes and ponds in Kings Canyon National Park and the Inyo National Forest (California, USA). Frogs were captured, tagged, swabbed, treated, and surveyed using standard methods, as described in the associated paper. The data were thoroughly error-checked prior to use in statistical analyses.

Usage Notes

The associated README.md file provides a general description of each dataset, and a specific description of the fields in each dataset.

Funding

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

National Science Foundation, Award: EF-0723563

National Institutes of Health, Award: EF-0723563

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1244804

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1557190

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1455873

National Science Foundation

National Park Service, Award: P19AC00789