The interactive effects of chytrid fungus, pesticides, and exposure timing on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) larvae



Aquatic organisms are often exposed to a wide variety of perturbations in nature, including pathogens and chemical contaminants. Despite the co-occurrence of these 2 stressors, few studies have examined the effects of chemical contaminants on host–pathogen dynamics. The authors tested the individual and combined effects on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles of 2 commonly used pesticides (Roundup® and Sevin®) and the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). A fully factorial design was used, and tadpoles were exposed to Bd, Roundup, or Sevin alone, or a combination of Bd and either pesticide at 3 points during larval development (early, mid, late). It was predicted that pesticides would mediate the effect of Bd on tadpoles and reduce the likelihood of negative consequences of infection and that timing of exposure would influence these effects. Tadpoles exposed to Bd at the mid point experienced higher survival through metamorphosis than those exposed to Bd at the early or late points, while tadpoles exposed to Sevin at the early point experienced reduced survival compared with those exposed to Roundup or no-pesticide control at the same exposure point. Roundup ameliorated the effects of Bd on survival compared with tadpoles exposed to Bd alone, while there was no interactive effect of Sevin on survival. In addition, Sevin reduced mass of new metamorphs compared with Roundup and reduced snout–vent length compared with all other treatments. The present study supports the hypothesis that pesticides can mitigate the effects of Bd on amphibian hosts and that such effects may depend on the timing of exposure. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:216–222. © 2013 SETAC