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Type: Journal article
Title: Disease and the extended phenotype: parasites control host performance and survival through induced changes in body plan
Author: Goodman, B.
Johnson, P.
Citation: PLoS One, 2011; 6(5):e20193-1-e20193-10
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1932-6203
Statement of
Brett A. Goodman and Pieter T. J. Johnson
Abstract: BACKGROUND: By definition, parasites harm their hosts. However, some forms of parasite-induced alterations increase parasite transmission between hosts, such that manipulated hosts can be considered extensions of the parasite's phenotype. While well accepted in principle, surprisingly few studies have quantified how parasite manipulations alter host performance and survival under field and laboratory conditions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: By interfering with limb development, the trematode Ribeiroia ondatrae causes particularly severe morphological alterations within amphibian hosts that provide an ideal system to evaluate parasite-induced changes in phenotype. Here, we coupled laboratory performance trials with a capture-mark-recapture study of 1388 Pacific chorus frogs (Pseudacris regilla) to quantify the effects of parasite-induced malformations on host locomotion, foraging, and survival. Malformations, which affected ~50% of metamorphosing frogs in nature, caused dramatic reductions in all measures of organismal function. Malformed frogs exhibited significantly shorter jumping distances (41% reduction), slower swimming speeds (37% reduction), reduced endurance (66% reduction), and lower foraging success relative to infected hosts without malformations. Furthermore, while normal and malformed individuals had comparable survival within predator-free exclosures, deformed frogs in natural populations had 22% lower biweekly survival than normal frogs and rarely recruited to the adult population over a two-year period. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results highlight the ability of parasites to deeply alter multiple dimensions of host phenotype with important consequences for performance and survival. These patterns were best explained by malformation status, rather than infection per se, helping to decouple the direct and indirect effects of parasitism on host fitness.
Keywords: Forelimb
Analysis of Variance
Survival Analysis
Motor Activity
Host-Parasite Interactions
Rights: Copyright: © 2011 Goodman, Johnson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020193
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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