Mapping the spread of chytridiomycosis

With the advent of technology in the 21st century, there has become an emphasis on global databases or maps for measuring the spread of disease. Wildlife diseases such as white nose syndrome in bats, as well as the amphibian chytrid fungus, both have maps compiled of data from research surveys in an attempt to understand the spread of the disease. The database for chytrid, Bd-maps.net is open so that other researchers can view the data. Mapping the spread of chytrid is important for understanding the ways in which Bd moves from country to country and population to population. By looking at a general overview of infection intensities from survey data, researchers can see trends of certain species that experience high infection rates or patterns of infection in different countries. Online databases like Bd-maps are critical for combating Bd, particularly if quality control of the data incorporated into the maps is maintained. In thinking about online databases, my mind automatically jumps to citizen science, but in the case of mapping Bd, citizen science most likely will not apply. While citizens may be able to assist certain labs with collecting data, swabbing frogs and salamanders for the chytrid fungus is something only trained researchers with lab supplies should be doing, due to the risk of unwittingly spreading Bd.

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