Brandon Sheafor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, Mount Union College
Location: Northeast Ohio
Research: Status of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Northeastern Ohio
Abstract: We will begin to describe host and geographic ranges of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on amphibians at a minimum of 12 locations in Northeastern Ohio. Bd is the causal organism for an emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, implicated in amphibian declines worldwide. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis of skin swabs, we will determine Bd distribution on ten locally abundant species collected from ponds and wetlands. Because we are exploring the host range of Bd, other amphibian species will be sampled as encountered. Environmental data including habitat type, water depth and temperature, and structural features, and animal data including length, sex, and breeding condition will be collected at each site. We will use a citizen science approach to collect samples under the strict guidance of Cleveland Metroparks and Geauga Park District naturalists. Mount Union College undergraduate students will be involved in all stages of this research.