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New paper! Immune system changes at metamorphosis and vulnerability to chytridiomycosis!

Congratulations to PhD candidate Josie Humphries for publishing her first first-author paper!!

Humphries, J.E., Lanctôt, C.M., Robert, J., McCallum, H.I., Newell, D.A., Grogan, L.F., 2022. Do immune system changes at metamorphosis predict vulnerability to chytridiomycosis? An update. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 136, 104510.


Amphibians are among the vertebrate groups suffering great losses of biodiversity due to a variety of causes including diseases, such as chytridiomycosis (caused by the fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans). The amphibian metamorphic period has been identified as being particularly vulnerable to chytridiomycosis, with dramatic physiological and immunological reorganisation likely contributing to this vulnerability. Here, we overview the processes behind these changes at metamorphosis and then perform a systematic literature review to capture the breadth of empirical research performed over the last two decades on the metamorphic immune response. We found that few studies focused specifically on the immune response during the peri-metamorphic stages of amphibian development and fewer still on the implications of their findings with respect to chytridiomycosis. We recommend future studies consider components of the immune system that are currently under-represented in the literature on amphibian metamorphosis, particularly pathogen recognition pathways. Although logistically challenging, we suggest varying the timing of exposure to Bd across metamorphosis to examine the relative importance of pathogen evasion, suppression or dysregulation of the immune system. We also suggest elucidating the underlying mechanisms of the increased susceptibility to chytridiomycosis at metamorphosis and the associated implications for population persistence. For species that overlap a distribution where Bd/Bsal are now endemic, we recommend a greater focus on management strategies that consider the important peri-metamorphic period.

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