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Host Identity Matters—Up to a Point: The Community Context of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Transmission

Daversa, David R; Bosch, Jaime; Manica, Andrea; Garner, Trenton WJ; Fenton, Andy; (2022) Host Identity Matters—Up to a Point: The Community Context of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Transmission. The American Naturalist , 200 (4) pp. 584-597. 10.1086/720638. Green open access

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Abstract

The level of detail on host communities needed to understand multihost parasite invasions is an unresolved issue in disease ecology. Coarse community metrics that ignore functional differences between hosts, such as host species richness, can be good predictors of invasion outcomes. Yet if host species vary in the extent to which they maintain and transmit infections, then explicitly accounting for those differences may be important. Through controlled mesocosm experiments and modeling, we show that interspecific differences between host species are important for community-wide infection dynamics of the multihost fungal parasite of amphibians (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]), but only up to a point. The most abundant host species in our system, fire salamander larvae (Salamandra salamandra), did not maintain or transmit infections. Rather, two less abundant “auxiliary” host species, Iberian tree frog (Hyla molleri) and spiny toad (Bufo spinosus) larvae, maintained and transmitted Bd. Frogs had the highest mean rates of Bd shedding, giving them the highest contributions to the basic reproduction number, R0. Toad contributions to R0 were substantial, however, and when examining community-level patterns of infection and transmission, the effects of frogs and toads were similar. Specifying more than just host species richness to distinguish salamanders from auxiliary host species was critical for predicting community-level Bd prevalence and transmission. Distinguishing frogs from toads, however, did not improve predictions. These findings demonstrate limitations to the importance of host species identities in multihost infection dynamics. Host species that exhibit different functional traits, such as susceptibility and infectiousness, may play similar epidemiological roles in the broader community.

Type: Article
Title: Host Identity Matters—Up to a Point: The Community Context of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Transmission
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/720638
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1086/720638
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: disease ecology, multihost transmission, community ecology, chytridiomycosis, invasion biology
UCL classification: 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 > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155894
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