Effects of multiple stressors on amphibian pathogen prevalence and susceptibility
Winzeler, Megan Elizabeth
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Amphibians experience multiple abiotic and biotic stressors throughout development. How these stressors interact with each other is complex and hard to understand, particularly when occurring in combination. To determine the interactions of natural hydroperiod length and amphibian pathogens, I studied ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in 20 wetlands on the Savannah River Site (SRS) in two Ambystomatid salamanders. I showed that during a 2 year study, presence and prevalence of both pathogens vary by year. I used a 2x2x2 factorial design to study the interactions of copper, shortened hydroperiod, and exposure to ranavirus. I found that sublethal impacts on growth due to exposure to a pathogen can occur, even without recorded effects of other stressors. Our study highlights the need to include multi-year surveillance of amphibian populations, due to the potential annual pathogen dynamic cycles and sublethal effects of exposure to the pathogen in amphibians.