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Title: Putative resistance and tolerance mechanisms have little impact on disease progression for an emerging salamander pathogen
1. Resistance and tolerance are unique host defence strategies that can limit the impacts of a pathogen on a host. However, for most wildlife–pathogen systems, there are still fundamental uncertainties regarding (a) how changes in resistance and tolerance can affect disease outcomes and (b) the mechanisms underlying resistance and tolerance in host populations. 2.Here, we first compared observed patterns of resistance and tolerance and their effects on disease outcomes among salamander species that are susceptible to infection and mortality from the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). We then tested whether two putative mechanisms that contribute to host resistance and tolerance, skin sloughing and skin lesion reduction, predicted reduced Bsal growth rate or increased host survival during infection, respectively. 3. We performed multi‐dose Bsal challenge experiments on four species of Salamandridae found throughout North America. We combined the laboratory experiments with dynamic models and sensitivity analysis to examine how changes in load‐dependent resistance and tolerance functions affected Bsal‐induced mortality risk. Finally, we used our disease model to test whether skin sloughing and lesion reduction predicted variability in infection outcomes not described by Bsal infection intensity. 4. We found that resistance and tolerance differed significantly among salamander species, with the most susceptible species being more » both less resistance and less tolerant of Bsal infection. Our dynamic model showed that the relative influence of resistance versus tolerance on host survival was species‐dependent—increasing resistance was only more influential than increasing tolerance for the least tolerant species where changes in pathogen load had a threshold‐like effect on host survival. Testing two candidate mechanisms of resistance and tolerance, skin sloughing and lesion reduction, respectively, we found limited support that either of these processes were strong mechanisms of host defense. 5. Our study contributes to a broader understanding of resistance and tolerance in host–pathogen systems by showing that differences in host tolerance can significantly affect whether changes in resistance or tolerance have larger effects on disease outcomes, highlighting the need for species and even population‐specific management approaches that target host defence strategies. « less
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Pedersen, Amy
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Functional Ecology
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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