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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of pond salinization on survival rate of amphibian hosts infected with the chytrid fungus

Published source details

Stockwell M.P., Storrie L.J., Pollard C.J., Clulow J. & Mahony J.M. (2014) Effects of pond salinization on survival rate of amphibian hosts infected with the chytrid fungus. Conservation Biology, 29, 391-399



Add salt to ponds

A randomised, replicated, controlled study in 2013 in 12 artificial freshwater ponds in New South Wales, Australia (Stockwell et al. 2014) found that increasing the salt concentration of ponds reduced chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection rates and increased survival in green and golden bell frogs Litoria aurea. Twelve months after release as tadpoles, frogs showed significantly lower fungal infection in ponds with salt concentration of 4 parts/thousand (ppt, <5%) than those with 2 ppt (10-15%) or 0 ppt (25-30%). There was no significant difference between treatments at one or four months. Survival to 200 days after metamorphosis was higher in ponds with salt at 2 ppt (75%) and 4 ppt (67%) than 0 ppt (46%). Abundance of one of three frog species (dwarf tree frogs Litoria fallax) was lower in ponds at 4ppt compared to 0 ppt and 2 ppt. Six created ponds (diameter 12-16 m; depth 1.2-1.7 m) and six artificial troughs (2,000 L) were each stocked with 60 captive-bred green and golden bell frog tadpoles. Sea salt was added to create concentrations of 0ppt, 2ppt and 4ppt, each randomly assigned to two ponds and two troughs. Salinities remained constant over time. Sampling occured at one, four (as tadpoles) and 12 months (as frogs) for infection rates, size and body condition. Non-target invertebrate abundances were also monitored.  (Jurre Terpstra)