Temperature is a key driver of a wildlife epidemic and future warming will increase impacts [article]

Stephen J Price, William TM Leung, Christopher Owen, Chris Sergeant, Andrew A Cunningham, Francois Balloux, Trenton WJ Garner, Richard A Nichols
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
Increasing environmental temperatures are predicted to have increasingly severe and deleterious effects on biodiversity. For the most part, the impacts of a warming environment are presumed to be direct, however some predict increasingly severe disease epidemics, primarily from vector-borne pathogens, that will have the capacity to deplete host populations. Data to support this hypothesis are lacking. Here we describe increasing severity of ranavirosis driven by increasing temperature affecting
more » ... a widely distributed amphibian host. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments showed that increasing environmental temperature leads to increased propagation of ranavirus and, in the latter, increased incidence of host infection and mortality. Also, temperature was shown to be a key determinant of disease dynamics in wild amphibians, raising the odds and severity of disease incidents. The direction of this effect was highly consistent in the context of other interacting variables such as shading around ponds. Projections based on future climate indicate that changes in seasonal weather in the UK will result in the increased incidence of severe cases of ranavirosis in amphibian populations that could affect recruitment. These complementary lines of evidence present a clear case of direct environmental modulation of a host-pathogen interaction and provide information for proposing mitigation actions.
doi:10.1101/272369 fatcat:lvfb3v66ljh6pflfbzhtjdd5z4