Rocky Mountain boreal toads are declining due to the global amphibian fungal disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd infections attack amphibian skin, a vital organ that performs multiple functions, including respiration, in amphibians. Research has identified native strains of bacteria on amphibian skin that are able to protect captive toads from the disease. In this study, the team will test effective ways to treat wild boreal toads using these beneficial microbes as a probiotic treatment. Researchers will focus on tadpoles starting to metamorphose. This tactic will help target high number of individual animals while testing ways to administer the probiotic to the water and soil where the young toads live. Identifying a potential treatment strategy against Bd will help inform other life-saving strategies in the race to save wild amphibian species around the world.
Grant amount awarded
University of Colorado, Boulder
Valerie J. McKenzie, PhD