Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature

Rowley, Jodi J.L., and Alford, Ross A. (2013) Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature. Scientific Reports, 3. 1515. pp. 1-4.

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Environmental context strongly affects many host-pathogen interactions, but the underlying causes of these effects at the individual level are usually poorly understood. The amphibian chytrid fungus has caused amphibian population declines and extinctions in many parts of the world. Many amphibian species that have declined or have been extirpated by the pathogen in some environments coexist with it in others. Here we show that in three species of rainforest frogs in nature, individuals’ probability of infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus was strongly related to their thermal history. Individuals' probability of infection declined rapidly as they spent more time above the pathogen's upper optimum temperature. This relationship can explain population-level patterns of prevalence in nature, and suggests that natural or artificial selection for higher thermal preferences could reduce susceptibility to this pathogen. Similar individual-level insights could improve our understanding of environmental context-dependence in other diseases.

Item ID: 27390
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: amphibian declines, chytridiomycosis, body temperature, host-pathogen interactions, wildlife diesease
Funders: Australian Geographical Society, Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptiles, Peter Rankin Trust Fund for Herpetology, Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, US National Science Foundation
Projects and Grants: RFT 43-2004, DEB-0213851
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2013 23:08
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960404 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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