JDJCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Using Presence-Only Absence to Determine the Distribution of an Amphibian-killing Fungus

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Watershed Sciences

Minor

None

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Howard Whiteman

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

The amphibian-killing disease, chytridiomycosis, is one of the most alarming emerging infectious diseases to be discovered in the past three decades. Chytridiomycosis is linked to global amphibian population declines, and it has been directly or indirectly implicated in several species’ extinctions. Research on the fungus causing the disease, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has found several abiotic and biotic variables that may predict its distribution, but most studies have been on continental or global scales. In addition, various modeling techniques have been used to determine Bd’s distribution, such as Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) and Generalized Linear Models (GLM). This project is focused on creating the optimal species distribution model for predicting Bd’s spread. Variable importance was determined for several known (temperature, precipitation, elevation, vegetation) and unknown (slope, aspect, land use) variables, followed by an analysis of the aforementioned modeling techniques. Doing such will determine which method best predicts Bd’s distribution on a large spatial scale. The results of this research will benefit management efforts aimed at conservation and restoration of amphibians impacted by Bd.

Affiliations

Watershed Research Institute

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Using Presence-Only Absence to Determine the Distribution of an Amphibian-killing Fungus

The amphibian-killing disease, chytridiomycosis, is one of the most alarming emerging infectious diseases to be discovered in the past three decades. Chytridiomycosis is linked to global amphibian population declines, and it has been directly or indirectly implicated in several species’ extinctions. Research on the fungus causing the disease, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has found several abiotic and biotic variables that may predict its distribution, but most studies have been on continental or global scales. In addition, various modeling techniques have been used to determine Bd’s distribution, such as Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) and Generalized Linear Models (GLM). This project is focused on creating the optimal species distribution model for predicting Bd’s spread. Variable importance was determined for several known (temperature, precipitation, elevation, vegetation) and unknown (slope, aspect, land use) variables, followed by an analysis of the aforementioned modeling techniques. Doing such will determine which method best predicts Bd’s distribution on a large spatial scale. The results of this research will benefit management efforts aimed at conservation and restoration of amphibians impacted by Bd.