Committee Chair

Wilson, Thomas P.

Committee Member

Barbosa, Jose M.; Carver, Ethan A.; Reynolds, Bradley R.


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


In light of the biodiversity crisis facing amphibian populations globally, studies investigating the pathogenic amphibian fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) are a foremost priority for biologists. Understanding effects of habitat variation on Bd prevalence is important for identifying populations that are most at risk and can help to inform management decisions. Using American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) and Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) as study organisms, this research sought to investigate how prevalence of Bd varies between natural wetlands and urban retention ponds in East Tennessee while also examining relevant habitat factors and morphometrics. A total of 373 frogs were sampled across six retention ponds and six wetlands distributed evenly between two basin level hydrologic unit codes. Of the frogs sampled, 11 tested positive for Bd. These data provide new insights into the status of Bd prevalence and distribution in Tennessee and provide information useful in future conservation and remediation efforts.


There are a number of people I would like to acknowledge here as this research would not have been possible as a singular effort on my part. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the members of Team Salamander, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as friends and family that spent late nights assisting me in the field. I would like to especially acknowledge my friend and colleague, Jonathan Carpenter for assisting me in the field on numerous occasions and functioning as a sounding board for discussion of current literature and streamlining field strategies. I would also like to especially acknowledge friend and lab-mate Nyssa Hunt for the spatial imagery in this document and in multiple poster presentations along the way. Secondly, I would like to acknowledge Cameron Brocco for showing me the ropes in the genetics laboratory and doing the lion’s share of the trouble shooting when things went awry. Thirdly, I want to thank my committee members Dr. Ethan Carver, Dr. Jose Barbosa, and Dr. Bradley Reynolds for providing constant support, laboratory materials, and guidance. I would also like to thank Dr. Margaret Kovach for use of laboratory space, machine and instrument use, and for providing the occasional advice. Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank my advisor Dr. Thomas Wilson for being not only a transformational mentor but also a friend. Without the guidance, support, and assistance of Dr. Wilson my academic career and professional growth would certainly not have progressed to where it is today. This research was funded by the Provost Student Research Award, UTC Biology SUF-TPW (#E041011), and personal funds. Field research was conducted under Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Permit 3082 and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) AUP # 0408. All data collection was conducted in accordance with IACUC protocols.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bullfrog; Green frog


Chytrid fungus; Bd; Amphibian; Disease; Frogs; East Tennessee

Document Type

Masters theses




xii, 63 leaves