Predicting the growth of the amphibian chytrid fungus in varying temperature environments

Gajewski, Zachary, Stevenson, Lisa A., Pike, David A., Roznik, Elizabeth A., Alford, Ross A., and Johnson, Leah A. (2021) Predicting the growth of the amphibian chytrid fungus in varying temperature environments. Ecology and Evolution, 11 (24). pp. 17920-17931.

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Environmental temperature is a crucial abiotic factor that influences the success of ectothermic organisms, including hosts and pathogens in disease systems. One example is the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has led to widespread amphibian population declines. Understanding its thermal ecology is essential to effectively predict outbreaks. Studies that examine the impact of temperature on hosts and pathogens often do so in controlled constant temperatures. Although varying temperature experiments are becoming increasingly common, it is unrealistic to test every temperature scenario. Thus, reliable methods that use constant temperature data to predict performance in varying temperatures are needed. In this study, we tested whether we could accurately predict Bd growth in three varying temperature regimes, using a Bayesian hierarchical model fit with constant temperature Bd growth data. We fit the Bayesian hierarchical model five times, each time changing the thermal performance curve (TPC) used to constrain the logistic growth rate to determine how TPCs influence the predictions. We then validated the model predictions using Bd growth data collected from the three tested varying temperature regimes. Although all TPCs overpredicted Bd growth in the varying temperature regimes, some functional forms performed better than others. Varying temperature impacts on disease systems are still not well understood and improving our understanding and methodologies to predict these effects could provide insights into disease systems and help conservation efforts.

Item ID: 72169
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: amphibian chytrid fungus, Bayesian hierarchical model, fluctuating temperatures, thermal ecology, thermal performance curves
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2021 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 10:07
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