Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is an emerging fungal disease that poses a serious threat to salamanders worldwide. Bsal originated in Asia and has swept through western Europe, but is not yet present in North America, a global hotspot of salamander biodiversity. Researchers will study the immune responses of a common North American salamander, the Eastern newt. The team will study factors which could influence susceptibility to this disease, including host genetic diversity, coinfections with other diseases, habitat and populations of origin. Given poor biosecurity and the ongoing international pet trade, the potential for Bsal to eventually impact North American salamanders is high. Identifying factors that predispose salamanders to Bsal will help inform disease prevention and management strategies for naive populations as the disease spreads.
Grant amount awarded
Caitlin A. McDonald, DVM