Island of opportunity: can New Guinea protect amphibians from a globally emerging pathogen?

Deborah S. Bower*, Karen R. Lips, Yolarnie Amepou, Stephen Richards, Chris Dahl, Elizah Nagombi, Miriam Supuma, Lisa Dabek, Ross A. Alford, Lin Schwarzkopf, Mark Ziembicki, Jeffrey N. Noro, Amir Hamidy, Graeme R. Gillespie, Lee Berger, Carla Eisemberg, Yiming Li, Xuan Liu, Charlotte K. Jennings, Burhan TjaturadiAndrew Peters, Andrew K. Krockenberger, Dillian Nason, Mirza D. Kusrini, Rebecca J. Webb, Lee F. Skerratt, Chris Banks, Andrew L. Mack, Arthur Georges, Simon Clulow

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)


    The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid) has caused the most widespread, disease-induced declines and extinctions in vertebrates recorded to date. The largest climatically suitable landmass that may still be free of this fungus is New Guinea. The island is home to a sizeable proportion of the world's known frog species (an estimated 6%), as well as many additional, yet-to-be-described species. Two decades of research on the chytrid fungus have provided a foundation for improved management of amphibian populations. We call for urgent, unified, international, multidisciplinary action to prepare for the arrival of B dendrobatidis in New Guinea, to prevent or slow its spread within the island after it arrives, and to limit its impact upon the island's frog populations. The apparent absence of the fungus in New Guinea offers an opportunity to build capacity in advance for science, disease surveillance, and diagnosis that will have broad relevance both for non-human animal health and for public health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)348-354
    Number of pages7
    JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    Issue number6
    Early online date3 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright by the Ecological Society of America. Article published in Bower, D. S., Lips, K. R., Amepou, Y., Richards, S., Dahl, C., Nagombi, E., ... & Clulow, S. (2019). Island of opportunity: can New Guinea protect amphibians from a globally emerging pathogen?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Vol. 17, Issue 6, pp 348-354.


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