Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357796

Research Project: Management and Characterization of Agriculturally and Biotechnologically Important Microbial Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Unraveling the ecology and epidemiology of an emerging fungal disease, sea turtle egg fusariosis (STEF)

item SMYTH, CHRISTOPHER - Pennsylvania State University
item SARMIENTO-RAMIREZ, JULIE - Real Jardin Bolancio Csic
item SHORT, DYLAN - University Of California
item DIÉGUEZ-URIBEONDO, JAVIER - Real Jardin Bolancio Csic
item O Donnell, Kerry
item GEISER, DAVID - Pennsylvania State University

Submitted to: PLoS Pathogens
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2019
Publication Date: 5/16/2019
Citation: Smyth, C.W., Sarmiento-Ramirez, J.M., Short, D.P.G., Diéguez-Uribeondo, J., O'Donnell, K., Geiser, D.M. 2019. Unraveling the ecology and epidemiology of an emerging fungal disease, sea turtle egg fusariosis (STEF). PLoS Pathogens. 15(5). Article e1007682.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Emerging fungal diseases of wildlife are increasingly common, with far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem health. These include white-nose syndrome of bats in North America, which has killed over 5.5 million bats in the last decade, and chytridiomycosis, which has led to the global decline or extinction of at least 200 frog species. Recently, two closely related fungal species previously known to infect humans and other animals, Fusarium keratoplasticum (Fk) and F. falciforme (Ff), were implicated in a newly emergent disease, Sea Turtle Egg Fusariosis (STEF). This disease was linked to 100% egg mortality in endangered sea turtle nests in nesting sites worldwide. Yet, the most basic questions regarding its etiology and epidemiology remain unanswered, including whether Fk and Ff occur naturally in the nest environment. This review discusses how a population genetics approach can be used to help identify the source(s) of the causative Fusarium species and discover what environmental factors contribute to disease development. This review will be of interest to wildlife and conservation biologists, quarantine officials, veterinary pathologists and fungal biologists who are interested in developing novel strategies for controlling and eliminating the threat these pathogens pose to sea turtles worldwide.