About The National Bsal Task Force
The Bsal Task Force was initiated at an international workshop (June 2015: USGS Powell Center, Fort Collins, CO, USA: 29 participants from North America, Europe, Australia) focusing on emerging management, policy and research implications of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans infectionof amphibians. The workshop made great strides in developing an objective decision-making process to guide Bsal response actions (with a focus on the USA), and organized seven working groups to partition additional efforts that would together become a larger strategic planning effort. These working groups were (Fig. 1A): Surveillance/Monitoring; Diagnostics; Data Management; Response; Outreach/Communication; Research; and Decision Support. There was considerable interaction envisioned among Working Groups (Fig. 1B) as their tasks were to be better framed after the June 2015 workshop, with broad participation encouraged from members outside of the initial Fort Collins workship – inclusive of international participants. Each Group eventually was projected to contribute an appendix to an overarching Bsal Strategic Plan, that is a topic for further discussion in Spring 2016.
Leads of the seven Working Groups and select other members from interested partner groups were assembled to form the Technical Advisory Committee (Fig. 1A) of the Bsal Task Force. The Technical Advisory Committee has members who provide communication links among Groups and with other interested parties relative to Bsal or amphibian disease developments. These include US State and Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, zoos, and the pet industry. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation also developed a Disease Task Team in 2015, for both amphibians and reptiles, and they have been taking on some Bsal coordination roles as well, working with the Outreach/Communication Working Group specifically, and with issues that arise that are not directly related to Bsal Working Groups. The Technical Advisory Committee meets monthly to provide updates among Groups and other parties.
Fig. 1. Bsal Task Force organizational structure (A) and main Working Group interactions (B).