Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Erin Muths; David S. Pilliod; Lauren J. Livo
    Date: 2008
    Source: Biological Conservation. 141: 1484-1492.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (305 B)


    Amphibian populations continue to be imperiled by the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). Understanding where B. dendrobatidis (Bd) occurs and how it may be limited by environmental factors is critical to our ability to effectively conserve the amphibians affected by Bd. We sampled 1247 amphibians (boreal toads and surrogates) at 261 boreal toad (Bufo boreas) breeding sites (97 clusters) along an 11 latitudinal gradient in the Rocky Mountains to determine the distribution of B. dendrobatidis and examine environmental factors, such as temperature and elevation, that might affect its distribution. The fungus was detected at 64% of all clusters and occurred across a range of elevations (1030­ 3550 m) and latitudes (37.6­48.6 ) but we detected it in only 42% of clusters in the south (site elevations higher), compared to 84% of clusters in the north (site elevations lower). Maximum ambient temperature (daily high) explained much of the variation in Bd occurrence in boreal toad populations and thus perhaps limits the occurrence of the pathogen in the Rocky Mountains to areas where climatic conditions facilitate optimal growth of the fungus. This information has implications in global climate change scenarios where warming temperatures may facilitate the spread of disease into previously un- or little-affected areas (i.e., higher elevations). This study provides the first regional-level, field-based effort to examine the relationship of environmental and geographic factors to the distribution of B. dendrobatidis in North America and will assist managers to focus on at-risk populations as determined by the local temperature regimes, latitude and elevation.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Muths, Erin; Pilliod, David S.; Livo, Lauren J. 2008. Distribution and environmental limitations of an amphibian pathogen in the Rocky Mountains, USA. Biological Conservation. 141: 1484-1492.


    amphibian decline, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, boreal toad, climate change, Rocky Mountains, temperature

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page