Hossack, B. R., Hall, D., Crawford, C. L., Goldberg, C. S., Muths, E., Sigafus, B. H., & Chambert, T. (2023). Successful eradication of invasive American bullfrogs leads to coextirpation of emerging pathogens. Conservation Letters, 00, e12970. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12970
Interventions of the host–pathogen dynamics provide strong tests of relationships, yet they are still rarely applied across multiple populations. After American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) invaded a wildlife refuge where federally threatened Chiricahua leopard frogs (R. chiricahuensis) were reintroduced12 years prior, managers launched a landscape-scale eradication effort to help ensure continued recovery of the native species. We used a before-after-control impact design and environmental DNA sampling of 19 eradication sites and 18control sites between fall 2016 and winter 2020–2021 to measure community-level responses to bullfrog eradication, including for two pathogens. Dynamic occupancy models revealed successful eradication from 94% of treatment sites. Native amphibians did not respond to bullfrog eradication, but the pathogens amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and rana viruses were coextirpated with bullfrogs. Our spatially replicated experimental approach provides strong evidence that management of invasive species can simultaneously reduce predation and disease risk for imperiled species.