Immunize amphibians against chytridiomycosis infection

How is the evidence assessed?

Source countries

Key messages

  • One randomized, replicated, controlled study in the USA found that vaccinating mountain yellow-legged frogs with formalin-killed chytrid fungus did not significantly reduce chytridiomycosis infection rate or mortality.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomized, replicated, controlled study in a laboratory at the University of California, USA (Stice & Briggs 2010) found that vaccinating mountain yellow-legged frogs Rana muscosa with formalin-killed chytrid fungus did not significantly reduce infection rate with chytridiomycosis or mortality. The proportion of frogs that became infected (chytrid/adjuvant: 0.8; adjuvant only: 0.9; control: 0.8) and died (chytrid/adjuvant: 0.4; adjuvant: 0.4; control: 0.2) were similar to controls. Following vaccination, there was no significant difference in the time to infection, rate of increase in chytrid zoospores in animals (chytrid/adjuvant: 0.08; adjuvant: 0.08; control: 0.09) or the maximum number of zoospores per frog (chytrid/adjuvant: 53,990; adjuvant: 17,831; control: 5,106). Frogs were randomly assigned into three groups of 19–20 individuals. Controls received an injection of saline. One group received a 1:1 vaccination of formalin-killed chytrid fungus in Freund’s complete adjuvant (to increase effectiveness) and one month later formalin-killed chytrid in Freund’s incomplete adjuvant. Another group received saline with Freund’s complete adjuvant and one month later saline with Freund’s incomplete adjuvant. Injections comprised 0.05 cm³ into the dorsal lymph sac. Frogs were exposed to live chytrid (105 zoospores) one month after treatments. Individuals were monitored weekly for chytridiomycosis using swabs of the ventral surface.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Smith, R.K., Meredith, H. & Sutherland, W.J. (2018) Amphibian Conservation. Pages 9-65 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Amphibian Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Amphibian Conservation
What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

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Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust