Over 100 of the world’s amphibian species have become extinct since 1980 and a third of the remaining 7,000+ species are facing a similar fate. A major contributor to global amphibian population declines is the emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by a fungus named Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Recently, a second chytrid fungus, Batrachochtrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was discovered as the cause of population declines in European fire salamanders and raises new concerns about introduced diseases and amphibian conservation.

The long-term success of amphibian survival assurance populations in zoos and conservation centers depends on our ability to diagnose and control diseases like chytridiomycosis. However, affordable and easily accessible laboratory resources have not always been available to zoo veterinarians and conservation biologists. To address this need, the Wildlife Disease Laboratories established an Amphibian Disease Laboratory with initial support provided by a National Leadership Program grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. This collaborative effort makes our unique expertise and laboratory capability available to support critical needs of amphibian conservation programs.

We are pleased to be able to offer low-cost, high-quality testing for both types of amphibian chytrid fungus and ranaviruses for zoos, wildlife agencies, and researchers. Our goal is to encourage widespread surveillance for these population-limiting infectious diseases. For zoos, it is our hope that these efforts will facilitate eradication of these diseases from established collections and enable the collection of data on disease occurrence and prevalence needed to apply disease risk assessment tools to reintroduction programs. On a case-by-case basis, we are able to provide assistance investigating outbreaks of infectious diseases in captive collections and wild populations, and serve as consultants for amphibian disease risk assessments.

Available Tests:

  1. Taqman PCR for Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Bd) - $25
  2. Taqman PCR for Salamander Chytrid Fungus (Bsal) - $25
  3. Combination Taqman PCR for Bd and Bsal - $30
  4. Taqman PCR for Ranavirus - $30
  5. Conventional PCR and DNA sequencing for other amphibian pathogens (e.g., mycobacteria, myxozoa, others) – Contact Us
  6. Histopathology – Contact Us

Resources:

Proceedings from a workshop held at the San Diego Zoo in 2009, the Manual for the Control of Infectious Diseases in Amphibian Survival Assurance Colonies and Reintroduction Programs provides protocols for facility biosecurity, disease testing, and treatment

Guidelines and Submissions

Contact Us

amphibianlab@sandiegozoo.org
760-291-5472 or 760-291-5470

Requests for laboratory supplies and general submission information can be addressed to: amphibianlab@sandiegozoo.org