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An emerging viral pathogen truncates population age structure in a European amphibian and may reduce population viability

Campbell, LJ; Garner, TWJ; Tessa, G; Scheele, BC; Griffiths, AGF; Wilfert, L; Harrison, XA; (2018) An emerging viral pathogen truncates population age structure in a European amphibian and may reduce population viability. PeerJ , 6 , Article e5949. 10.7717/peerj.5949. Green open access

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Abstract

Infectious diseases can alter the demography of their host populations, reducing their viability even in the absence of mass mortality. Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates globally, and emerging infectious diseases play a large role in their continued population declines. Viruses belonging to the genus Ranavirus are responsible for one of the deadliest and most widespread of these diseases. To date, no work has used individual level data to investigate how ranaviruses affect population demographic structure. We used skeletochronology and morphology to evaluate the impact of ranaviruses on the age structure of populations of the European common frog (Rana temporaria) in the United Kingdom. We compared ecologically similar populations that differed most notably in their historical presence or absence of ranavirosis (the acute syndrome caused by ranavirus infection). Our results suggest that ranavirosis may truncate the age structure of R. temporaria populations. One potential explanation for such a shift might be increased adult mortality and subsequent shifts in the life history of younger age classes that increase reproductive output earlier in life. Additionally we constructed population projection models which indicated that such increased adult mortality could heighten the vulnerability of frog populations to stochastic environmental challenges.

Type: Article
Title: An emerging viral pathogen truncates population age structure in a European amphibian and may reduce population viability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5949
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5949
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 Campbell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Keywords: Disease, Amphibians, Demography, Ranavirus, Environmental Stochasticity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059110
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