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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Fungal pathogens have not traditionally been considered highly lethal. However, many newly discovered fungal diseases are threatening wild and domestic animals, agriculturally important crops, and human health. Two particularly striking examples of deadly fungal pathogens are Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“Bd”), which causes disease in amphibians and Geomyces destructans (“Gd”), which infects and kills bats. These two different pathogens have surprisingly similar disease characteristics; they emerged relatively recently, spread rapidly though frog and bat populations and caused devastating declines and even extinction events. It is unclear, however, exactly how these pathogens operate and cause devastating die-offs. Our working group will bring together amphibian and bat researchers, epidemiologists and theoretical modelers to investigate the mechanisms of fungal pathogens in wildlife populations. We will consider how fungal pathogens might differ from other well-studied infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. We will also address the wildlife conservation problems associated with newly emerging fungal pathogens, and make recommendations for research and mitigation efforts in rapidly declining wildlife populations. Understanding fungal pathogen biology could provide important information for studying fungal epidemics in diverse host organisms, including plants, other wildlife populations and in humans as well.
Working Group Participants

Principal Investigator(s)

Jamie Voyles, Cheryl J. Briggs, Auston M. Kilpatrick

Project Dates

Start: March 1, 2013

End: April 30, 2013



David Blehert
US Geological Survey (USGS)
Benjamin Bolker
McMaster University
Cheryl J. Briggs
University of California, Santa Barbara
Tina Cheng
University of California, Santa Cruz
James P. Collins
Arizona State University
Matthew Fisher
Imperial College, London, St Mary's Campus
Winifred F. Frick
University of California, Santa Cruz
Auston M. Kilpatrick
University of California, Santa Cruz
Aaron A. King
University of Michigan
Kate Langwig
Boston University
Daniel L. Lindner
USDA Forest Service
Hamish McCallum
Griffith University
Jessica Metcalf
University of Oxford
Kris Murray
EcoHealth Alliance
Robert Puschendorf
James Cook University
Erica Bree Rosenblum
University of California, Berkeley
Mary Toothman
University of California, Santa Barbara
Jamie Voyles
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Mark Wilber
University of California, Santa Barbara
Craig Willis
University of Winnipeg


  1. Journal Article / 2015

    Context-dependent conservation responses to emerging wildlife diseases

  2. Journal Article / 2015

    Moving beyond too little, too late: Managing emerging infectious diseases requires coordinated, international action

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