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Chytrid fungus causes changes in life history trait

In a new paper published in the journal Oecologia, researchers from the One Health Group, and CTBCC, along with co-authors from other institutions, find that infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus causes changes in life history traits in frogs.
Chytrid fungus causes changes in life history trait

(c) Jo Isaac

The study investigated life history traits in the Australian frog Litoria verreauxii alpina, and compared the life history traits age and size at maturity in long-exposed to chytrid populations, chytrid-free populations, and museum specimens collected prior to chytrid emergence.

Life-history theory predicts that increased mortality in infected populations may alter amphibian life-history traits as an adaptation mechanism.

The authors found that infected population had a higher proportion of males maturing at 1 year of age, and females maturing at 2 years of age - earlier than in non-infected populations. The earlier maturation was associated with a smaller size at maturity in male frogs. The researchers state that this is consistent with life history theory and may represent an adaptive evolutionary shift toward earlier maturation in response to high chytrid mortality.

Read the full paper here.

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