Chytrid Fungus Research Print

ARGSL has been helping with national research into the distribution of chytrid fungus. Chytrid is an amphibian disease linked to the serious decline of amphibian populations in other parts of the world. To find out how widely the disease has spread in Britain, Natural England and the Institute of Zoology have been working with Amphibian and Reptile Groups to carry out original research into the problem. Without these volunteers, the research could not have taken place.

The Chytrid Project has co-ordinated the collection of samples from amphibians (in a process known as “swabbing”) that are being analysed by the Institute of Zoology. Swabbing activity takes place in spring and early summer when amphibians are most likely to be in a pond. ARGSL volunteers have supported this research by taking samples from amphibians in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

The work may be repeated in 2009, depending on the lessons learned from this years survey work.

What do I need to know about chytrid?

The chytrid fungus can be spread very easily between ponds on clothing, boots or pond nets. At the present time we don’t know where the fungus is, so to avoid inadvertently spreading the disease, those people visiting ponds on a regular basis should take a number of precautions. Advice on this is available here on the Zoological Society of London’s website.