Negative effects of changing temperature on amphibian immunity under field conditions
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2006
Volume 20, Issue 5, pages 819–828, October 2006
How to Cite
RAFFEL, T. R., ROHR, J. R., KIESECKER, J. M. and HUDSON, P. J. (2006), Negative effects of changing temperature on amphibian immunity under field conditions. Functional Ecology, 20: 819–828. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01159.x
- Issue published online: 25 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2006
- Received 19 October 2005; revised 16 March 2006; accepted 30 May 2006Editor: Michael Angilletta
- Amphibian decline;
- climate change;
- Notophthalmus viridescens
- 1Recent evidence of the important role of emerging diseases in amphibian population declines makes it increasingly important to understand how environmental changes affect amphibian immune systems.
- 2Temperature-dependent immunity may be particularly important to amphibian disease dynamics, especially in temperate regions. Changes in temperature are expected to cause deviations away from optimal levels of immunity until the immune system can respond.
- 3To test whether temperature changes cause deviations from optimal immunity under natural conditions, we conducted a seasonal survey of adult Red-Spotted Newts and measured basal levels of several immunological variables.
- 4We then examined these findings in relation to: (1) the lag hypothesis, which predicts that changes in temperature-dependent immune parameters lag behind short-term temperature changes, and (2) the seasonal acclimation hypothesis, which predicts that immune cell production declines during long-term temperature decreases until amphibians can fully acclimate to winter conditions.
- 5Our results supported both hypotheses, showing a spring lag effect on lymphocyte levels and an even stronger seasonal acclimation effect on lymphocytes, neutrophils and eosinophils in the autumn. Our findings suggest that temperature variability causes increased susceptibility of amphibians to infection, and they have implications for the emergence of disease and the potential for climate change to exacerbate amphibian decline.