A1 Journal article (refereed)
Cold water reduces the severity of parasite-inflicted damage : support for wintertime recuperation in aquatic hosts (2021)

Klemme, I., Hyvärinen, P., & Karvonen, A. (2021). Cold water reduces the severity of parasite-inflicted damage : support for wintertime recuperation in aquatic hosts. Oecologia, 195(2), 155-161. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-020-04818-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Klemme, Ines; Hyvärinen, Pekka; Karvonen, Anssi

Journal or series: Oecologia

ISSN: 0029-8549

eISSN: 1432-1939

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 195

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 155-161

Publisher: Springer

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-020-04818-2

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78373


The reduction in host fitness caused by parasite infections (virulence) depends on infection intensity and the degree of damage caused per parasite. Environmental conditions can shape both virulence components, but in contrast to infection intensity, environmental impacts on per-parasite damage are poorly understood. Here, we studied the effect of ambient temperature on per-parasite damage, which is jointly determined by the ability of parasites to induce harm (per-parasite pathogenicity) and the ability of hosts to limit damage (tolerance). We experimentally exposed two salmonid species, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sea trout (Salmo trutta), to replicated genotypes of the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum. After development of health damage (eye cataracts) in warm water (16 °C) during the first 12 weeks post exposure, we maintained the fish at either 5 °C (cold water) or 16 °C for another 8 weeks and quantified changes in cataracts as a function of parasite load. We found that per-parasite damage was reduced in cold compared to warm water, suggesting that cold temperatures improved host health. Per-parasite damage was also affected by parasite genotype and host species, but these effects did not change with temperature. Our findings suggest that cold-water seasons, which are often neglected in host-parasite studies due to low infection risk, could allow hosts to recuperate and thus, may have important implications for the ecology and epidemiology of parasite infections.

Keywords: parasites; infections; fish diseases; tolerance (physical); virulence; temperature; Salmoniformes; trematoda

Free keywords: temperature; tolerance; virulence; salmonid; trematode

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Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-18-11 at 08:03