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Host contribution to parasite persistence is consistent between parasites and over time, but varies spatially

Bielby, J, Price, SJ, Monsalve‐Carcaño, C and Bosch, J (2021) Host contribution to parasite persistence is consistent between parasites and over time, but varies spatially. Ecological Applications, 31 (3). ISSN 1051-0761

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Most parasites and pathogens infect multiple hosts, but a great deal of variation exists in the role of those hosts in persistence of infection. Understanding which hosts are most important in maintaining parasites can provide a clearer target for infection control. Recently developed empirical and theoretical approaches provide a way to quantify the relative contribution of hosts within a community and place them in a multihost framework to better direct control efforts. Amphibians provide a framework for better understanding multihost‐multiparasite dynamics. Two well‐studied amphibian parasites, Bd and Ranavirus, infect multiple host species and exhibit a great deal of heterogeneity in how they affect hosts. We used these two parasites and a community of 5 amphibian species to investigate the relative importance of hosts in parasite persistence, and how any patterns varied spatially and temporally. At two sites (Lake Ercina and Lake Lloroza in the Picos de Europa National Park) we collected data on the prevalence and shedding rate of parasite infection for both Bd and Ranavirus, and the abundance of each species’ life‐stages. We used these data to parameterise a recently developed modelling framework, which was used to quantify the relative contribution of each host to the community reproductive number, R0. By comparing each host category over time and between sites we were able to identify consistencies in which host was responsible for the maintenance of these two parasites. Within a site one species consistently contributed the most to the persistence of both parasites. This consistency did not transfer between sites, the maintenance host species being different for each. At one site (Ercina) life‐stages of the common midwife toad, Alytes obstetricans, acted as the maintenance host for both Bd and Ranavirus. In contrast, at the second site, Lloroza, the alpine newt, Ichthyosaura alpestris, fulfilled that role. A single host species was responsible for infection persistence of both parasites at each lake. Attempts to control the infection levels and impacts of multiple parasites can benefit from a community epidemiology approach, and provide clarity on which hosts are the foci of mitigation efforts. However, at a small spatial‐scale the target host may vary according to the physical qualities of those sites and the demographics of the host community.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 05 Environmental Sciences, 06 Biological Sciences, 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2020 12:39
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2022 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1002/eap.2256
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14015
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