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Effects of Two Amphibian Pathogens on the Developmental Stability of Green Frogs
- ST-AMOUR, VALÉRIE, GARNER, TRENTON W.J., SCHULTE-HOSTEDDE, ALBRECHT I., LESBARRÈRES, DAVID
- Conservation biology 2010 v.24 no.3 pp. 788-794
- Rana, Ranavirus, females, frogs, fungi, infectious diseases, males, mortality, pathogens, personal development
- Developmental instability, measured as fluctuating asymmetry (FA), is often used as a tool to measure stress and the overall quality of organisms. Under FA, it is assumed that control of symmetry during development is costly and that under stress the trajectory of development is disturbed, resulting in asymmetric morphologies. Amphibian emergent infectious diseases (EIDs), such as Ranavirus and chytrid fungus, have been involved in several mortality events, which makes them stressors and allows for the study of FA. We analyzed nine populations of green frogs (Rana clamitans) for the presence or absence of Ranavirus and chytrid fungus. Individuals were measured to determine levels of FA in seven traits under the hypothesis that FA is more likely to be observed in individuals infected by the pathogens. Significantly higher levels of FA were found in individuals with Ranavirus compared with uninfected individuals among all populations and all traits. We did not observe FA in individuals infected with chytrid fungus for any of the traits measured. Additionally, we observed a significant association between Ranavirus infection and levels of FA in both males and females, which may indicate this viral disease is likely to affect both sexes during development. Altogether, our results indicate that some EIDs may have far-reaching and nonlethal effects on individual development and populations harboring such diseases and that FA can be used as a conservation tool to identify populations subject to such a stress.