New findings may help ecologists understand the spread of a deadly fungus decimating amphibian populations worldwide. A group of fungi called chytrids, which includes a frog-killing pathogen, dominates soil communities in otherwise relatively lifeless habitats atop mountains in the Rockies and in Nepal, where water and multi-cellular life is often scarce, researchers report. Though these assemblages did not include the infamous __Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis__ (BD), which has hammered global amphibian populations for at least a decade, researchers say that learning about the enigmatic chytrids may shed light on why the pathogen seems to be so widespread.
University of Colorado, Boulder,
microbial ecologist Steve Schmidt
sampling chytrid-rich soil in Nepal

Image: Debendra Karki
"This gives us a better picture of what chytrids do and where they are," said University of Maryland ecologist linkurl:Karen Lips,; who studies amphibian and reptile declines in Central and South America but was not involved in the current...

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