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The Diagnostics Working Group

Amphibian species across the globe are experiencing catastrophic population declines, and the alarmingly rapid spread of several emerging infectious diseases is pushing many species towards extinction.

The alarms bells have been sounded, and scientists around the world are working to mount a response to the urgent threat of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in amphibians. The North American BSal Task Force formed in 2015 to coordinate activities and share knowledge among more than 20 nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and state and provincial agencies. The goal of the Task Force is developing comprehensive strategic plan for detecting and preventing the establishment of amphibian EIDs in North America. The Task Force established seven working groups to support its mission.

The Diagnostics Working Group

The DxWG promotes the development of standards for diagnosis and reporting of amphibian EIDs among the wildlife health community, with the salamander chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) as the primary focus. We serve as a forum to exchange ideas and work out the challenges involved in Bsal detection and to provide expert advice to the rest of the Bsal Task Force regarding the viability and pitfalls of traditional and new tools for Bsal detection and diagnosis.

The establishment of a long term program for inter-laboratory quality control and evaluation of protocols for the detection of wildlife pathogens, particularly Batrachochytium dendrobatidis (Bd) and BSal, is our top priority. We also aim to develop standardized and replicable methods that will allow comparison across studies and determine a reliable estimation of presence and/or prevalence and Bd and Bsal load in the wild.

Working Group Members

The Diagnostics Working Group (DxWG) is composed of professionals with expertise in the application and interpretation of an array of diagnostic tools. Our members work in academia, diagnostic laboratories and government agencies throughout North America and are involved in detection and reporting of amphibian diseases, including BSal.

Dr. Maria Forzan

Cornell University, USA

Dr. Julie Ellis

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Dan Grear

National Wildlife Health Center, USA

Dr. Jeff Lorch

National Wildlife Health Center, USA

Dr. Robert Ossiboff

University of Florida, USA

Dr. Hamad-Schifferli

University of Massachusetts, USA

Dr. Carly Muletz Wolz

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, USA

Dr. Matt Allender

University of Illinois, USA

Dr. Heather Fenton

Northwest Territories, Canada

Dr. Jacob Kerby

University of South Dakota, USA

Dr. An Martel

Ghent University, Belgium

Dr. Frank Passmans

Ghent University, Belgium

Laura Sprague

US Fish & Wildlife Service, USA

Dr. John Wood

Pisces Molecular, USA

Dr. Cherie Briggs

University of California, USA

Dr. Leon Grayfer

George Washington University, USA

Mr. Steven Lloyd

Zoologix Inc., USA

Dr. Deb Miller

University of Tennessee, USA

Dr. Allan Pessier

Washington State University, USA

Dr. LeAnn White

National Wildlife Health Center, USA

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