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Is Evolution (Not) Working for Infected Amphibians?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alison Harvey.

Amphibians are the most threatened of vertebrate classes and infectious diseases are key drivers of global amphibian declines. Two pathogen groups (chytridiomycete fungi and ranaviruses) are responsible for many of the identified declines due to disease. Some argue that rather than attempt direct interventions to manage pathogens, conservationists who are working on aspects of amphibian infectious diseases should leave amphibians and their pathogens to sort themselves out. The assumption is that coevolution between amphibian hosts and their pathogens should result in relatively stable host and pathogen dynamics and sustainable host populations. I’ll present evidence that while amphibians and their pathogens are evolving, it is questionable of the outcome will be sustainable amphibian populations, and why this may be.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Conservation Seminars series.

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