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RACE: Risiko-Erfassung und Abschätzung der Chytridiomycose für europäische Amphibien
Europe´s Amphibians are disappearing: 18 of 81 species are experiencing some degree of extinction threat and even widespread species are disappearing from large portions of their ranges. A newly emerged infectious pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis,
a previously undiagnosed threat to Europe s amphibians, is infecting over a third of European amphibian species and at least 1/10 of our amphibians are dying in the wild from the disease chytridiomycosis.
To address this lack of knowledge and conservation activities addressing this cryptic killer of amphibians, RACE will assess the risk that Bd poses to European amphibians and will implement the first pan-European attempt to mitigate disease. This is a first-of-its-kind tool aimed at leveraging the power of smart mobile communications technologies to rapidly acquire spatial disease and biodiversity data from field-teams of researchers Europe-wide. Outputs of the EpiCollect system will be databased at our core analysis tool www.spatialepidemiology.net/bd. This web-portal is the central site for the global Bd surveillance effort, and will allow EU-related data to be seamlessly integrated into the global amphibian disease surveillance effort. Alongside field-data on the prevalence, intensity and timing of infection/mortalities, spatial-genetic information will be integrated with the global genotype dataset to identify the timing, and frequency, of Bd introduction(s) into Europe, as well as assessing the differential virulence of genotypes. These spatial and genetic data will be used to parameterise epidemiological models focused on defining the principle drivers of chytridiomycosis including identifying the importance of introduced non-native amphibian species in vectoring spread of the disease. The environmental envelope associated with chytridiomycosis within Europe will be described and projected using current models of climate change in order to assess future risk. Data on individual-species risk will be acquired by phylogenetic comparative methods, combined with direct assessment of species susceptibility under a range of different ecological conditions within controlled laboratory environments.
We will develop approaches to understanding where in situ and captive-breeding conservation efforts are most necessary to mitigate the effects of chytridiomycosis and to preserve amphibian biodiversity; these approaches will be formalised into a European Threat Abatement Plan (ETAP). Implementation and use of the outputs of RACE will be used to advise policy on an international level by involving partners in other EU-projects and the United Nations Environment Programmes 2010 biodiversity targets.


amphibian decline, amphibians, chytrid fungus, emerging desease

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