Fungal pathogens and disease-induced extinction: Are fungal diseases different?
- Jamie Voyles
- Cheryl J. Briggs
- A. Marm Kilpatrick
|Working Group||18th—22nd March 2013||Participant List|
|Working Group||12th—15th September 2013||Participant List|
Fungi have not traditionally been regarded as a conservation threat. Yet emerging fungal diseases have caused mass-mortality events and multiple extinctions in vertebrate hosts. Some of the most notable examples include white-nose syndrome in bats and amphibian chytridiomycosis, which has been well studied for over a decade. Our working group will consider the theoretical mechanisms that could predispose host populations to extinction from fungal pathogens. We will use pre-existing datasets to address specific questions regarding transmission, rate of spread, the range of host species and pathogen persistence independent of the host, all of which are factors implicated in disease-induced extinction. We will ask if these mechanisms are sufficient to explain the large impacts that recently emerging fungal diseases are having on their host populations, or if other unique features of fungal diseases are contributing to their impacts. This work will provide specific recommendations for research and conservation for newly emerging fungal diseases that threaten their hosts with extinction.