May 12, 2010


New insights into how deadly amphibian disease spreads and kills

Scientists have unraveled the dynamics of a deadly disease that is wiping out amphibian populations across the globe.

New findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that infection intensity -- the severity of the disease among individuals -- determines whether frog populations will survive or succumb to an amphibian fungal disease called Chytridiomycosis.

The research identifies a dangerous tipping point in infection intensity, beyond which Chytrid causes mass mortalities and extinctions, and finds that continual re-infection causes the disease to reach this threshold.

EurekAlert! -
10 May 2010
Photo credit: N Reeder

Molecular Data and Images from Space Used to Study Imperiled Coastal Dolphins

Using DNA samples and images from Earth-orbiting satellites, conservationists from Columbia University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and FundaciĆ³n AquaMarina, are gathering new insights about the franciscana -- a poorly known coastal dolphin species of eastern South America -- in an effort to understand populations and conserve them.

The study, one of the first to combine molecular data along with range-wide environmental information for a marine species, is helping researchers to understand how seemingly monotonous marine environments actually contain significant habitat differences that are shaping populations of this threatened species, which averages between 5-6 feet in length and around 80-90 pounds in weight.

According to findings published in the most recent edition of Molecular Ecology, genetic differences between dolphins from different sites correlate to measurable differences in water temperature, turbidity and chlorophyll levels, a tantalizing indication of how largely hidden oceanographic variables could drive population structure of marine animals.

Science Daily -
10 May 2010
Photo credit: Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA

Journal Article Cited

Science Picks

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  • Tracking Wandering Wildlife
  • Deadly Bat Disease Spreads to Canada and Maryland
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  • Where the Bison Roam: The Status of Bison in North America
  • Diving for Deep-Sea Coral Critters
USGS Newsroom -
06 May 2010


Gulf Oil Spill News

It Ain't All Bad News
Photo courtesy of the Israel Marine Mammal Research & Assistance Center

Browse complete Digest publication library here.

Mapping Brucellosis Increases Relative to Elk Density Using Hierarchical Bayesian Models
PLoS One. 2010 Apr 23;5(4):e10322. [free full-text available]
PC Cross et al.

The Intersection of the Sciences of Biogeography and Infectious Disease Ecology
EcoHealth. 2010; [Epub ahead of print]
SM Schiener

Pathogen Host Switching in Commercial Trade with Management Recommendations
EcoHealth. 2010 [Epub ahead of print]
AM Picco et al.

A hard look at blood-sampling in birds
The Auk. 2010; [Epub ahead of print]
MA Voss

Marine Science Review - May 2010
Special Edition - Oil and oil spills: the Gulf of Mexico [A review of relevant literature from the last three decades] [free full-text available][pdf]
Article submitted by USGS National Wildlife Health Center

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation - May 2010
Volume 22, Number 3