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Title: Testing the multiple stressor hypothesis: chlorothalonil exposure alters transmission potential of a bumblebee pathogen but not individual host health
Numerous threats are putting pollinator health and essential ecosystem pollination services in jeopardy. Although individual threats are widely studied, their co-occurrence may exacerbate negative effects, as posited by the multiple stressor hypothesis. A prominent branch of this hypothesis concerns pesticide–pathogen co-exposure. A landscape analysis demonstrated a positive association between local chlorothalonil fungicide use and microsporidian pathogen ( Nosema bombi ) prevalence in declining bumblebee species ( Bombus spp.), suggesting an interaction deserving further investigation. We tested the multiple stressor hypothesis with field-realistic chlorothalonil and N. bombi exposures in worker-produced B. impatiens microcolonies. Chlorothalonil was not avoided in preference assays, setting the stage for pesticide–pathogen co-exposure. However, contrary to the multiple stressor hypothesis, co-exposure did not affect survival. Bees showed surprising tolerance to Nosema infection, which was also unaffected by chlorothalonil exposure. However, previously fungicide-exposed infected bees carried more transmission-ready spores. Our use of a non-declining bumblebee and potential higher chlorothalonil exposures under some scenarios could mean stronger individual or interactive effects in certain field settings. Yet, our results alone suggest consequences of pesticide co-exposure for pathogen dynamics in host communities. This underlies the importance of considering both within- and between-host processes when addressing the multiple stressor hypothesis in relation to more » pathogens. « less
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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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