Publication Details

Edwards, C. L., Byrne, P. G., Harlow, P. & Silla, A. J. (2017). Dietary carotenoid supplementation enhances the cutaneous bacterial communities of the critically endangered southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree). Microbial Ecology: an international journal, 73 (2), 435-444.


The rapid spread of infectious disease has resulted in the decline of animal populations globally. Amphibians support a diversity of microbial symbionts on their skin surface that help to inhibit pathogen colonisation and reduce disease susceptibility and virulence. These cutaneous microbial communities represent an important component of amphibian immune defence, however, very little is known about the environmental factors that influence the cutaneous microbiome. Here, we characterise the cutaneous bacterial communities of a captive colony of the critically endangered Australian southern corroboree frog, Pseudophyrne corroboree, and examine the effect of dietary carotenoid supplementation on bacterial abundance, species richness and community composition. Individuals receiving a carotenoid-supplemented diet exhibited significantly higher bacterial abundance and species richness as well as an altered bacterial community composition compared to individuals that did not receive dietary carotenoids. Our findings suggest that dietary carotenoid supplementation enhances the cutaneous bacteria community of the southern corroboree frog and regulates the presence of bacteria species within the cutaneous microbiome. Our study is the second to demonstrate that carotenoid supplementation can improve amphibian cutaneous bacterial community dynamics, drawing attention to the possibility that dietary manipulation may assist with the ex situ management of endangered species and improve resilience to lethal pathogens such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd).

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