Academic Year: 2013-2014  
Name: Dr. Matthew Gray
Department: Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
UTIA Appointment: AgResearch/CASNR
Student: Jordan Chaney
Student Department: Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
Title of Student Project:  Susceptibility of Rare Amphibians to Ranavirus
Publications: Susceptibility of Fish and Turtles to Three Ranaviruses Isolated from Different Ectothermic Vertebrate Classes
Presentations: Comparative and Experimental Medicine and Public Health Research Symposium, UTK and Second International Symposium on Ranaviruses, Knoxville, TN
Other Products:
Abstract of Student Project (when Completed):
Ranaviruses are known to infect and cause disease in common amphibian species such as the wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus).  However, increasing evidence has shown lethal infection of this emerging pathogen in rare amphibians. For example, Mississippi gopher frogs (L. sevosus) and Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) experience high mortality when exposed to ranavirus in the water. Wild populations of the boreal toad (Bufo boreas) have been declining for 20 years, and pathogens are believed to be playing a role. To date, there have not been any studies performed to explore the susceptibility of boreal toads to ranavirus infection.  Our goal is to test the susceptibility of boreal toad tadpoles and metamorphs to ranavirus by exposing them in water to an environmentally relevant concentration of a Frog Virus 3-like isolate. Our results showed that metamorph mortality began two days post-exposure to the virus, with 100% mortality by Day 4. Tadpole mortality began five days post-exposure with 100% mortality by Day 7.  Our results revealed that the rate and extent of mortality in boreal toads exposed to ranavirus is greater than any species of Bufonidae tested to date; thus, ranaviruses may contribute to population declines in the wild.  Biologists that are charged with monitoring boreal toad populations should begin testing for ranavirus, and implement strict biosecurity precautions.  
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Student: Jordan Chaney

Mentor: ​Dr. Matthew Gray