An Overview of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Utah, With a Focus on Boreal Toads and Their Changing Conservation Status
Date of Award
The Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) has disappeared from a large portion of its range in southern Utah and it has been questioned whether Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd, also known as chytrid) has played a role in its disappearance. The role of chytrid in range contraction of Boreal Toads and other amphibians in Utah is unknown. The primary objective of this project is to determine if any historic Boreal Toad specimens have chytrid to determine its arrival in Utah. If any old specimens test positive, the secondary goal of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between the presence of chytrid and Boreal Toad disappearance. Previously collected Boreal Toad specimens from the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum were swabbed for chytrid. Sampling preserved specimens for chytrid is a fundamental step for a complete understanding of Boreal Toad disappearance in Utah. PCR and histological methods were the primary techniques for analyzing chytrid presence. The resulting genetic analysis detected chytrid in specimens dating back to the early 2000s as well as a specimen from 1961, but further skin analyses could not confirm chytrid presence in the skin of the specimen from 1961. As a result, this research project was not able to provide enough data for a thorough understanding of chytrid in historical Boreal Toad populations. However, this study examines the effectiveness of swabbing preserved specimens for chytrid and concludes that further research is needed to make progress in understanding the history of chytrid in Boreal Toads throughout the state and over time.
Beirne, Samantha A., "An Overview of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Utah, With a Focus on Boreal Toads and Their Changing Conservation Status" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 579.
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Karen H. Beard
Departmental Honors Advisor
Eugene W. Schupp