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NPR’s Living On Earth interviews Dr. Woodhams: Good Bacteria Could Save Amphibians

Cow Knob salamander, Plethodon punctatus, from George Washington National Forest, VA
Photo: Matt Becker.

Fighting the fungal diseases that have killed millions of frogs and other amphibians is a top priority, and new research suggests natural soil bacteria might provide protection. UMass Boston biology professor Doug Woodhams tells Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer how they work, and might help other species threatened by these illnesses.

Listen to the interview/Read the transcript

Trends in Microbiology publishes new study: Managing Amphibian Disease with Skin Microbiota

Trends in MicroBiology 1

Cow Knob salamander, Plethodon punctatus, from George Washington National Forest, VA
Cover photo: Doug Woodhams.

In a section on Science and Society, Woodhams and colleagues describe state-of-the-art approaches for amphibian disease management.  These include probiotic bacteria that persist from aquatic tadpole to terrestrial adult frog stages, and bacteria that produce volatile compounds including hydrogen cyanide that can kill fungus from a distance and could be applied to soils. These management tools were announced on the heels of a moratorium on salamander trade to help prevent invasion by a new salamander chytrid.  This is the 50th peer-reviewed publication from new assistant professor Doug Woodhams, and was supported by the UMass Boston Endowed Faculty Career Development Award.

Woodhams DC, Bletz M, Kueneman J, McKenzie V. (2016) Managing Amphibian Disease with Skin Microbiota. Trends in Microbiology, 24:161-164.

 

Contact

Douglas C. Woodhams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
UMass Boston | Department of Biology
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
Phone: 617-287-6679