First Advisor

Kristofer Voss

Second Advisor

Amy Schreier

Third Advisor

Mike Ghedotti


Regis College

Degree Name

MS Environmental Biology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

66 pages


Due to the worldwide decline of biodiversity, protected nature reserves are necessary for species facing extinction. Many frog species have been experiencing rapid population decline and extinction due to the threat of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which inflicts the highly transmittable and deadly disease chytridiomycosis. Chytridiomycosis causes increased skin tissue growth which disrupts respiration and the maintenance of water balance, which can ultimately lead to death. Certain ecological and geographical characteristics have been studied in order to assess their influence on Bd’s prevalence. Specifically, it is hypothesized that high elevations, lotic habitats, and low species richness have a positive effect on Bd’s success in certain areas. I plan to survey multiple sites of lentic and lotic habitats in California at both high and low elevations. I will collect data on the species richness and prevalence of Bd at these sites. I predict that sites at low elevation with lentic habitats and high species diversity will be the best fit for a protected area against Bd. After assessing any relationships between Bd prevalence and the three factors that seem to influence its presence, I will make a recommendation as to which location is the most ideal for a nature reserve to protect frog species from Bd. This will not only contribute to the current literature on this disease, but it could potentially play a key role in the conservation of the amphibian biodiversity globally.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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