Unravelling the role of water chemistry and ecology in causation of diseases in frogs

Theme: Environmental Pollution

Primary Supervisor:

Susan Jobling

Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel

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Secondary Supervisor:

Carl Sayer

Geography, UCL

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Project Description:

Infectious diseases of wildlife are among the greatest threats to global biodiversity, causing declines in wildlife species. In particular, fungal and viral diseases are potent threats to amphibian biodiversity that have caused rapid amphibian declines, and extinctions across several continents.

Differences in water chemistry and the presence of pollutants amongst diseased and non-diseased ponds are suspected to play a role in disease causation, although this requires further study. Recent studies also suggest that differences in the macrophyte communities within individual ponds may influence disease outbreaks, by influencing the ecology of the ponds, and affecting the distribution of the pathogens.

This PhD will use a combination of field and laboratory data, advanced chemical analysis and multivariate statistical techniques to determine causal relationships between the ecology and water chemistry of ponds and disease incidence in frogs.

Policy Impact of Research:

Provision of information for statutory and non-statutory organisations, as well as the estimated two million garden pond owners in the UK on management and protection of ponds.

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