Tiger Salamander-Ranavirus Coevolution

A major focus of my lab is to study the role of emerging diseases as a leading hypothesis for amphibian declines. For nearly two decades, research in the Storfer lab has been focused on investigating the extent to which tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) and an emerging ranavirus are co-evolved. We have conducted ecological, population genetic, and phylogeographic molecular studies of the tiger salamander-virus interaction throughout western North America. Using this ecological genomic approach, are unraveling the molecular basis for geographic variation in disease resistance and pathogen virulence. Currently, we are investigating local adaptation in the host-pathogen system and its implications for disease emergence; ranaviruses are spread globally via amphibian trade, which appears to enhance their virulence.

REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATIONS
  • Epstein, B†. and A. Storfer. 2016. Comparative genomics of an emerging amphibian virus. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.6:15-27 doi: 10.1534/g3.115.023762
  • Kerby, J.L. †, A. Hart and A. Storfer*. 2011. Combined effects of virus, pesticide and predator cue on the larval tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). Ecohealth 8:46-54.
  • Miller, D., M. J. Gray and A. Storfer. 2011. Ecopathology of ranaviruses infecting amphibians. Viruses. 3:2351-2373. doi: 10.3390/v3112351
  • Kerby, J.L.†, K. Richards-Hrdlicka, A. Storfer and D.K. Skelly. 2010. An examination of amphibian sensitivity to environmental contaminants:  Are amphibians poor canaries? Ecology Letters 13:60-67.
  • Ridenhour, B. J.† and A. Storfer.  2008Geographically variable selection in Ambystoma tigrinum Virus (Iridoviridae) throughout the Western United States. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:1151-1159.
  • Storfer, A.*, M. E. Alfaro, B. J. Ridenhour†, J. K. Jancovich, S. G. Mech†, M. J. Parris and J. P. Collins., 2007.  Phylogenetic concordance analysis shows an emerging pathogen is novel and endemic. Ecology Letters. 10:1075-1083.