Title

Assessing the Influence of Stress and Behavior on Susceptibility to and Recovery from Snake Fungal Disease in the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Presenter Information

John HewlettFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Andrea Darracq PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Since 2006 Snake Fungal Disease (SFD; caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola [Oo]) has been documented as causing mortality in some wild snake populations but causes of the disease are still unclear. We are investigating the effects of baseline and elevated corticosterone and corticosterone reactivity on snake fungal disease dynamics and 2nd and 3rd order habitat selection in a population of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). In 2018, we captured and transmittered 10 C. horridus in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and aim to capture an additional 10 in 2019. From the point of capture through late October, we tracked each individual every 72 hours and will continue tracking them during summer and spring 2019. Blood and swab samples were collected once per month from each individual to quantify baseline and elevated corticosterone and Oo presence, respectively. We analyzed corticosterone using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and determined the presence of Oo using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, we measured habitat attributes at used and random locations once per month to quantify habitat selection. We will present preliminary data on Oo detection, corticosterone, and habitat selection.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

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Assessing the Influence of Stress and Behavior on Susceptibility to and Recovery from Snake Fungal Disease in the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Since 2006 Snake Fungal Disease (SFD; caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola [Oo]) has been documented as causing mortality in some wild snake populations but causes of the disease are still unclear. We are investigating the effects of baseline and elevated corticosterone and corticosterone reactivity on snake fungal disease dynamics and 2nd and 3rd order habitat selection in a population of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). In 2018, we captured and transmittered 10 C. horridus in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and aim to capture an additional 10 in 2019. From the point of capture through late October, we tracked each individual every 72 hours and will continue tracking them during summer and spring 2019. Blood and swab samples were collected once per month from each individual to quantify baseline and elevated corticosterone and Oo presence, respectively. We analyzed corticosterone using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and determined the presence of Oo using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, we measured habitat attributes at used and random locations once per month to quantify habitat selection. We will present preliminary data on Oo detection, corticosterone, and habitat selection.