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Old 14th February 2008   #1
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Default UK Chytridiomycosis Survey

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UK Chytridiomycosis Survey - Frog Swab

In 2008 Natural England, the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) and The HCT are jointly working on a chytrid screening project. In brief:
  • Chytrid is a fungus known to have infected and caused declines in some amphibian species in different parts of the world.
  • Chytrid has been found in both native and non-native amphibians at a small number of sites the UK. We do not know whether chytrid is widespread in the UK.
  • We do not whether, or how, it will affect our amphibians.
The UK Chytridiomycosis Survey aims to find out how widespread is the fungus.
Find out more about chytrid and chytridiomycosis from:The Institute of Zoology aims to analyse samples from approximately 60 sites around England. The HCT, leading on the NARRS project, will incorporate chytrid sampling within its amphibian survey work. So, the amphibian element of NARRS in 2008 will comprise:
  • Continuation of survey of randomly selected sites provided by HCT
  • Chytrid sampling (option in England only)
Taking chytrid samples is quite straightforward. However, at each of the sites swab samples are needed from 60 native amphibians. They can be of any native species (not just frogs) found at the site, but they must be in the water – so migrating toads are not an option. Catching and swabbing 60 amphibians will be quite a lengthy procedure. So, chytrid sampling needs:
  • A site where large numbers of amphibians are likely to be captured
  • A small team of at least two motivated volunteers
  • A Natural England licence in the event that great crested newts are sampled
Volunteer participation is not exclusive to ARGs, but the requirements mean that ARGs are ideally placed to assist with the big frog swab. If every ARG in England could sample one or two populations, then IoZ would meet its sampling quota with a good geographic spread of sites.
Swab sampling does not harm the amphibians.
There is no reason to believe that chytrid fungus poses any risk to humans.
Frog swabbing could provide a focal activity for ARGs and hopefully participants will enjoy contributing to an important national project with an international context. For people who wanted to take part in NARRS in 2007, but did not want to tackle the randomly selected sites, then chytrid sampling could be an ideal opportunity to get involved, as it allows volunteers to sample their ‘own’ site (assuming that there are sufficient amphibians present).
IoZ will provide sampling kits and support. Training and support will also be provided by The HCT in conjunction with NARRS.
If you can take part in the frog swab, please contact the Institute of Zoology:
Dr Eddie Brede, UK Chytridiomycosis survey, Wellcome Building, Institute of Zoology, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY. Tel 020 7449 6438

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