Bd: Amphibian Plague

23 May 2016

Posted by: Richard Scrase

Category: Video of the week

Interview with Professor Matthew Fisher (Imperial College, London) about his research on the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that causes the often lethal disease, Chytridiomycosis in amphibians.

UAR interviewed Prof Matthew Fisher of Imperial College London about his work on the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) currently devastating amphibian species around the world. Matthew and his team have been the first to successfully treat infected frogs and their tadpoles. They 'cured' individual midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) with a dilute solution of a fungicide Itraconazole and after cleaning their habitat in the mountains of Majorca were able to re-introduce the species where they had previously become locally extinct.

This is the first time amphibians have been successfully re-introduced following an outbreak of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

While this method is not an answer to removing the fungus from the wider environment it does make it possible for people to remove threatened species into captivity and maintain them in 'arks' until their descendants can be returned to the wild.

Read more here:

Download a transcript of the interview here.


Bosch J, Sanchez-Tomé E, Fernández-Loras A, Oliver JA, Fisher MC, Garner TWJ. (2015) Successful elimination of a lethal wildlife infectious disease in nature. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0874

Fisher MC, Henk DA, Briggs C, Brownstein JS, Madoff L, McCraw SL, Gurr S. (2012) Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature 484: 186-194