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Chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been causing mass amphibian extinctions on a global scale (Skerratt et al. 2007). Bd spores proliferate on the skin and cause it to slough off, leading to eventual death (Berger et al. 2000). A Gram- negative species of bacteria, Janthinobacterium lividum, has been shown to prevent fungal colonization of amphibians. Further investigation into this bacteria, which occurs naturally on the skin of some amphibian populations, has revealed the mechanism of protection (Brucker et al. 2008). J. lividum produces a purple pigment called violacein which is toxic to the Bd fungus (Harris et al. 2009). Cutaneous populations of J. lividum pose no health risk to amphibians, so it is a promising ally in the fight against chytridiomycosis (Becker and Harris 2010). Theoretically, amphibian populations could be exposed to J. lividum in vernal pools, where some species lay their eggs to keep them safe from predation by fish. I surveyed vernal pools in Dutchess County, NY for the presence of naturally occurring violacein producers, and then characterized them using culture-dependent methods, genomic analysis, and a chytrid fungal killing assay.
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Miller, Liza, "Survey of vernal pools in the Hudson Valley yields bacterial isolates which inhibit the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis" (2012). Senior Projects Fall 2012. 30.
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