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Infectious diseases pose a serious threat to global biodiversity. However, their ecological impacts are not independent of environmental conditions. For example, the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has contributed to population declines and extinctions in many amphibian species, interacts with several environmental factors to influence its hosts, but potential interactions with other pathogens and environmental contaminants are understudied. We examined the combined effects of Bd, a water mold (Achlya sp.), and the herbicide Roundup® Regular (hereafter, Roundup®) on larval Pacific treefrog Hyliola regilla hosts. We employed a 2 wk, fully factorial laboratory experiment with 3 ecologically realistic levels (0, 1, and 2 mg l-1 of active ingredient) of field-formulated Roundup®, 2 Achlya treatments (present and absent), and 2 Bd treatments (present and absent). Our results were consistent with sublethal interactive effects involving all 3 experimental factors. When Roundup® was absent, the proportion of Bd-exposed larvae infected with Bd was elevated in the presence of Achlya, consistent with Achlya acting as a synergistic cofactor that facilitated the establishment of Bd infection. However, this Achlya effect became nonsignificant at 1 mg l-1 of the active ingredient of Roundup® and disappeared at the highest Roundup® concentration. In addition, Roundup® decreased Bd loads among Bd-exposed larvae. Our study suggests complex interactive effects of a water mold and a contaminant on Bd infection in amphibian hosts. Achlya and Roundup® were both correlated with altered patterns of Bd infection, but in different ways, and Roundup® appeared to remove the influence of Achlya on Bd.
Romansic, J. M., Johnson, J. E., Wagner, R. S., Hill, R. H., Gaulke, C. A., Vredenburg, V. T., & Blaustein, A. R. (2017). Complex interactive effects of water mold, herbicide, and the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on Pacific treefrog Hyliola regilla hosts. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 123(3), 227–238. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03094
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
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