The effects of an emerging pathogen on amphibian host behaviors and interactions Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/t435gg27t

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  • Contemporary environmental change encompasses massive biodiversity loss and increasing numbers of emerging diseases worldwide. As part of a global biodiversity crisis, amphibians are disappearing at unprecedented rates. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is an emerging infectious pathogen prominently associated with many declines. Chapter 1 reviews the past decade of research on this system and highlights areas where knowledge is notably lacking. Host behavior remains a crucial determinant of host-pathogen dynamics yet studies addressing the effects of Batrachochytrium on amphibian behaviors are virtually nonexistent. Remaining chapters examine behavioral responses of host species to Batrachochytrium. Chapter 2 examines how ancient behaviors that have persisted in amphibians for millions of years change with exposure to Batrachochytrium. I examined thermoregulatory behavior in tadpoles of four species (Pseudacris regilla, Rana aurora, Bufo boreas, Rana cascadae), and aggregation behavior in two species that school as tadpoles (B. boreas, R. cascadae). Results suggest that some amphibians will continue seeking optimal temperatures and continue aggregating regardless of infection risk. I discuss the importance of behavioral plasticity and evolutionary inertia in interpreting host behavioral responses to infection. Chapter 3 examines Batrachochytrium dynamics when multiple host species interact. I manipulated infection status in tadpoles of three naturally co-occurring hosts (P. regilla, B. boreas, R. cascadae) in various combinations and measured growth, survival and infection severity. There were strong interactions between species combinations and infection leading to pathogen-mediated mutualism and competition. Results also suggest that both species richness and species identity may be important factors moderating a dilution effect in this system. Coexisting, interacting hosts must also contend with predators in a community. Chapter 4 explores Batrachochytrium-induced changes in antipredator behaviors in four species (P. regilla, R. aurora, B. boreas, R. cascadae). I also examined whether antipredator behaviors increased survivorship in the presence of lethal predators in R. cascadae, R. aurora. Exposure to Batrachochytrium changed activity rate and refuge use in Bufo, but not in the other species. Nonselective predation of Batrachochytriumexposed prey by susceptible predators adds an unexplored dimension of complexity to this system. Chapter 5 summarizes the ecological implications of studies presented in this dissertation.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Linda Kathman(linda.kathman@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-10-06T18:47:21Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Han PhD dissertation 2008.pdf: 811217 bytes, checksum: 04394d1a04b9c6e0bac461f7a301fe59 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Barbara Han (hanba@onid.orst.edu) on 2008-10-02T20:05:34Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Han PhD dissertation 2008.pdf: 811217 bytes, checksum: 04394d1a04b9c6e0bac461f7a301fe59 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-10-03T15:49:58Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Han PhD dissertation 2008.pdf: 811217 bytes, checksum: 04394d1a04b9c6e0bac461f7a301fe59 (MD5)

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