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UK Researcher here to study how Dominica’s Mountain Chickens are surviving Chytrid Fungus

by: - June 10, 2019
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Senior Amphibian Technician, Machel Sulton

 

A United Kingdom researcher is teaming up with Dominica Forestry and Wild Life Division to carry out a research on the impact of the Chytrid Fungus on Dominica’s Mountain Chicken.

The Chytrid Fungus is capable of causing sporadic deaths in some amphibian populations and have resulted in 100 per cent mortality rate in others.  However, recent study shows that the fungus is not having that same deadly effect on the mountain chicken in Dominica.

According to UK researcher, Nina White, her work here is intended to confirm the reason behind the species’ survival.

“These mountain chickens are already special species but the ones that are left in Dominica we think they are extra special because after the Chytrid epidemic, the fungus killed off most of the frogs. These frogs seem to be able to live with the fungus on their skin and they’re not getting sick and dying off like all the other frogs, so we feel like maybe they have evolved some sort of tolerance to the disease. So my project is to investigate how this may happen,” she explained.

White further informed DA vibes that she plans to study the genetics of the mountain chickens in effort to conclude her  research.

“I’m going to be looking at their genetics and the types of bacteria that lives on their skin. We have mountain chickens in Dominica that survive Chytrid now and if we can find out then maybe that can help save mountain chickens that are in captivity that haven’t been challenged with the disease yet or other species among amphibians as well.”

White will work with senior amphibian technician of Dominica Forestry and Wild Life Division Machel Sulton until the end of July 2019.