Community Partner

Chauncey Anderson, USGS Oregon Water Science Center

First Advisor

John Rueter

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Management (MEM)


Environmental Science and Management




Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Amphibians -- Diseases -- North America, Host-parasite relationships, Chytridiales




Chytrid fungi are the most ancestral of the fungi and are global in distribution. There are over 1200 species of Chytridiomycota described from freshwater, marine and terrestrial systems in temperate, tropical and tundra environments. Chytridiales are characterized by a range of morphologies and share the flask- or pot-like shape of the zoosporangia, within which motile zoospores develop. Chytrids function primarily as plant saprobes and parasites, but some also parasitize animals. Chytrids are observed in conjunction with the decline of freshwater and marine algal blooms, they decompose excess pollen, and comprise the fungal flora in gut of herbivores. Some chytrids also parasitize micro-invertebrates, insects and amphibians.

The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the only chytrid known to infect a vertebrate host. Bd exists free-living in the aquatic environment. Lab experiments have demonstrated Bd survival on sterilized moist sand for up to three months and it remained infective in lake water for up to seven weeks. Bd cultures can be maintained under lab conditions for several months (personal observation), which suggests Bd can survive in the environment without a host as long as nutrients are not limiting. In the aquatic environment, Bd is detected by filtering water samples to capture free-living zoospores and zoosporangia then performing a qPCR analysis. Bd has not been reliably isolated from sediments. The goal of our research was to study free-living Bd in amphibian habitats to better understand its ecology and host-pathogen dynamics.


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Presentation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Management.

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