Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis(Bd), more commonly known as the chytrid fungus is a widespread epidemic amongst amphibians that is pushing many species to extinction. The chytrid fungus causes the disease chytridiomycosis which thickens the skin of those amphibians infected with the disease. How does this kill amphibians? When the skin is thickened it reduces the ability for ion transport across the skin membrane, which in turn leads to cardiac arrest. This disease is ravaging frog populations all over the globe. However, other amphibians such as the salamanders and caecilians are not as heavily affected by the epidemic.
Chytrid is an aquatic fungus that releases zoospores into water sources. The dumping of infected water into an environment can lead to infection of the amphibians in that ecosystem. A study conducted by leading Zoologist Vredenburg also suggests that the amphibians themselves are natural carriers that spread the fungus from habitat to habitat over land as well. (Vredenburg et al, 2007). Many herpetological societies websites’ have pages dedicated to prevention of anthropogenic-mediated spreading of the disease by educating readers about cleaning equipment used by herpetologists and amphibian enthusiasts. (Amphibiaweb.org, 2012).