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Title

Short term minimum water temperatures determine levels of infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus in Alytes obstetricans tadpoles

AuthorsFernández-Beaskoetxea, Saioa; Carrascal, Luis M. ; Fernández-Loras, Andrés; Fisher, Matthew C.; Bosch, Jaime
Issue Date20-Mar-2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 10(3): e0120237 (2015)
AbstractAmphibians are one of the groups of wildlife most seriously threatened by emerging infectious disease. In particular, chytridiomycosis, caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for amphibian species declines on a worldwide scale. Population-level outcomes following the introduction of the pathogen are context dependent and mediated by a large suite of abiotic and biotic variables. In particular, studies have shown that temperature has a key role in determining infection dynamics owing to the ectothermic nature of the amphibian host and temperature-dependency of pathogen growth rates. To assess the temperature-dependent seasonality of infectious burdens in a susceptible host species, we monitored lowland populations of larval midwife toads, Alytes obstetricians, in Central Spain throughout the year. We found that infections were highly seasonal, and inversely correlated against water temperature, with the highest burdens of infection seen during the colder months. Short-term impacts of water-temperature were found, with the minimum temperatures occurring before sampling being more highly predictive of infectious burdens than were longer-term spans of temperature. Our results will be useful for selecting the optimal time for disease surveys and, more broadly, for determining the key periods to undertake disease mitigation.
DescriptionReceived: September 11, 2014; Accepted: February 4, 2015; Published: March 20, 2015
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120237
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/117436
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0120237
E-ISSN1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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