Project Title

Assessing the interaction of stress physiology and Bd infection in Arizona tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum)

Project Abstract

Amphibian biodiversity has greatly diminished in recent years due to pathogenic fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the cause of the deadly disease chytridiomycosis (chytrid). The pathogenesis of chytrid is still unclear, as certain species and individuals within a species are differentially affected. Prolonged corticosterone activity hinders immune response, and may influence susceptibility and mortality of Bd. Thus, the objective of our study is to assess the relationship of corticosterone variation and Bd spore load in Arizona tiger salamanders (ATS; Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum) of Gunnison County, Colorado. In 2022 and 2023, we used a dermal swabbing method to collect baseline (resting) corticosterone and Bd samples from paedomorph and metamorph ATS. This study will provide a greater understanding of the pathogenesis of Bd and the interacting effects of glucocorticoid production and polyphenic life history on disease resistance. These results will develop the use of corticosterone as a predictor of Bd and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) susceptibility and severity.

Funding Type

Research Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology


Biology / Watershed Studies


Master of Science in Biology




Howard H. Whiteman, PhD

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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