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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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