Meeting Abstract

S2.5  Sunday, Jan. 4 10:30  Using physiology to understand climate-driven changes in disease and biodiversity losses: lesson learned from amphibian declines ROHR, Jason R.; University of South Florida

The relationship between climate change and biodiversity losses caused by the emergence of infectious diseases remains controversial. Part of the reasons for this controversy is that there are few mechanistic studies that explore the links among climate change, infectious disease, and declines of host populations. Host–parasite interactions are generally mediated by physiological responses and thus I submit that physiological models that address both climatic means and variances should facilitate predictions for how host–parasite interactions will respond to climate change. Given that changes to climatic variability and extremes is a hallmark of climate change but its impact on species interactions is understudied, I will highlight how temporal variability in weather can be used to predict the effects of climate on host–parasite interactions. I also will discuss the climate variability hypoth¬esis for disease-related declines, which posits that increased unpredictable temperature variability might provide a temporary advantage to pathogens because they are smaller and have faster metabolisms than their hosts, allowing more rapid acclimati¬zation following a temperature shift. I will provide meta-analytical evidence for the assumption that smaller organisms acclimate more quickly to temperature changes. I then will provide a case study on the role of climatic variability in amphibian declines associated with the emergence of the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. Finally, I will argue that the metabolic theory of ecology could provide the mathematical framework to integrate physiological mechanisms and large-scale spatiotemporal processes to predict how simultaneous changes in climatic means, variances, and extremes will affect infectious diseases and hosts of conservation concern.