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Wednesday, January 27 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Impacts of Urbanization on the Health and Stress of Amphibian Communities

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AUTHORS: Mary Beth Manjerovic*, Lincoln Park Zoo; Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Lincoln Park Zoo; Rachel Santymire, Lincoln Park Zoo

ABSTRACT: Over the last 20 years, amphibian populations have drastically declined in both diversity and abundance due to habitat degradation and the prevalence of emerging diseases. Approximately one-third of amphibian species are negatively impacted by urbanization, and the spread of the waterborne fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been linked to the extinction of almost 200 amphibian species. Higher stress often causes greater susceptibility to disease. This link between health and stress may be especially significant in amphibians affected by Bd because the fungus likely affects critical immune defenses of the skin. Our goal was to investigate disease risk factors, including the impacts of urbanization and stress, along an urban-rural gradient from downtown Chicago to surrounding counties. We identified Bd throughout the region in three common species: American bullfrogs Lithobates catesbeianus, green frogs Lithobates clamitans, and northern leopard frogs Lithobates pipiens. We detected regional and interspecific variation in infection rates with the highest prevalence in bullfrogs, followed by leopard frogs and green frogs. To evaluate amphibian stress physiology, we collected dermal swabs prior to swabbing for Bd. This novel methodology was successful in detecting intraspecific variation in cortisol and identified stress hormones across a range of taxa including both fully aquatic salamanders and terrestrial toads. In validation trials, eight of 10 individuals had a 1 to 4 fold increase in cortisol that occurred after a hand-restraint stressor was induced. For our target species, we found method of capture did not result in differences in stress hormones but that green frogs exhibited significant variation in stress hormones between sites (n=3, P

Wednesday January 27, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST