The current global biodiversity crisis requires rapid, inexpensive and reliable methods of detecting the main threats to species’ survival: pathogens, habitat change, and loss of genetic diversity1. Equally crucial are solutions for stemming biodiversity loss: we lack vital models that determine how these threats interact, which would help prioritise conservation efforts. Recently, CRI-CG has discovered for one species of frog over a relatively small geographic area that eDNA extracted from water samples captures more genetic diversity than analyses using tissue samples (UNESCO-funded project ACQUAVIVA). The same eDNA can be used to detect amphibian pathogens. NIPMAP will apply this knowledge in an innovative way by: i) optimizing this eDNA approach to estimate mtDNA diversity in four amphibian taxa (two caudates, two anurans) and pathogen diversity (principal pathogens: Bd, Bsal, Rv) across the eastern Italian Alps; ii) using these data to inform individual-based and spatially explicit simulations of host movements and pathogen transmission37; iii) integrating parameters from i-ii with skin microbiota and other health indices, as well as iv) environmental variables at each sample site, to generate correlative models (e.g. GLMMs and SDMs) and potential distribution maps to direct conservation management decisions. We will also pilot two innovative eDNA protocols: one to measure nuclear DNA diversity (to measure current gene flow and dispersal rates) and one to understand microbiota function using metatranscriptomics. These interdisciplinary tools will be integrated into a workflow that will be applicable to animal taxa anywhere on the planet.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme
Funding SchemeHORIZON-AG-UN - HORIZON Unit Grant
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