Interaction between temperature and sublethal infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus impacts a susceptible frog species

Campbell, Lachlan, Bower, Deborah S., Clulow, Simon, Stockwell, Michelle, Clulow, John, and Mahony, Michael (2019) Interaction between temperature and sublethal infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus impacts a susceptible frog species. Scientific Reports, 9. 83.

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The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is an emerging infectious pathogen present on every continent except Antarctica. It causes the disease chytridiomycosis in a subset of species but does not always result in disease or death for every host. Ambient temperature influences both amphibian metabolism and chytrid pathogenicity, however the interactive effects on host physiology is not well understood. We investigated the sublethal effect of B. dendrobatidis infection on a susceptible host, Litoria aurea to test (1) whether the infection load, metabolic activity, body fat and gonad size differed in L. aurea at either 24 degrees C or 12 degrees C ambient temperatures and (2) whether previous Bd infection caused long-term changes to body fat and gonad size. Litoria aurea in 12 degrees C treatments had higher infection loads of B. dendrobatidis and lower survivorship. Metabolic rate was higher and fat mass was lower in infected individuals and in animals in 24 degrees C treatments. Male L. aurea previously infected with B. dendrobatidis had smaller testes 5 months-post clearance of infection, an effect likely to translate to fitness costs in wild populations. These experiments demonstrate a physiological cost to sublethal B. dendrobatidis infection, which suggests a reduction in host fitness mediated by temperature in the host's environment regardless of whether infection leads to mortality.

Item ID: 56995
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre-ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 07:32
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310702 Infectious agents @ 33%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310907 Animal physiological ecology @ 33%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 34%
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