Context-dependent symbioses and their potential roles in wildlife diseases

Daskin, Joshua H., and Alford, Ross A. (2012) Context-dependent symbioses and their potential roles in wildlife diseases. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 279 (1733). pp. 1457-1465.

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It is well known in ecology, evolution and medicine that both the nature (commensal, parasitic and mutualistic) and outcome (symbiont fitness, survival) of symbiotic interactions are often context-dependent. Less is known about the importance of context-dependence in symbioses involved in wildlife disease. We review variable symbioses, and use the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis to demonstrate how understanding context-dependence can improve the understanding and management of wildlife diseases. In chytridiomycosis, the host–pathogen interaction is context-dependent; it is strongly affected by environmental temperature. Skin bacteria can also modify the interaction; some bacteria reduce amphibians' susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. Augmentation of protective microbes is being considered as a possible management tool, but informed application of bioaugmentation requires understanding of how the interactions between host, beneficial bacteria and pathogen depend upon environmental context. The community-level response of the amphibian skin microbiota to environmental conditions may explain the relatively narrow range of environmental conditions in which past declines have occurred. Environmental context affects virulence and the protection provided by mutualists in other host–pathogen systems, including threatened bats and corals. Increased focus on context-dependence in interactions between wildlife and their symbionts is likely to be crucial to the future investigation and management of emerging diseases of wildlife.

Item ID: 22227
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: symbiosis, mutualism, wildlife disease, chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, conservation ecology
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 16:16
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060307 Host-Parasite Interactions @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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