Natural and anthropogenic stressors are hypothesized to suppress immune function in amphibians, thus increasing individual susceptibility to pathogens. I tested whether wood frog tadpole responses to chronic high density, predator cues, and low-food conditions made them more susceptible to ranavirus infection at the individual- and population-level. Tadpole development, behavior, and corticosterone concentrations were measured, as were disease mortality, prevalence, and time to death. While the treatments altered some aspects of tadpole physiology and behavior, they did not change the outcome of ranavirus exposure. Most tadpoles became infected (prevalence >85%), approximately half of which died. The exception was the population-level high-density treatment, where case mortality was only 12% and metamorphosis was three times more likely than the control. At least these three common environmental challenges may not increase the severity of disease. Disease management should focus on preventing introductions of ranavirus to naïve ponds.
Key Words: predator cue, nutritional stress, high density, crowding, immunosuppression, corticosterone, stressor, ranavirus
|Advisor:||Brunner, Jesse L.|
|Commitee:||Crespi, Erica J., Frair, Jacqueline L., Manno, Jack P., Whipps, Christopher M.|
|School:||State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry|
|Department:||Environmental & Forest Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 50/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Crowding, Immunosuppression, Nutritional stress, Predator cue, Stress|
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