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Q&A with an expert: Dr. Laura Grogan talks with the WDAA Student Chapter!

If you missed it, on Tuesday evening Dr. Laura Grogan gave a presentation for the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia Section's Student Chapter "Q&A with an Expert". You can find the recording below!

Title: Tolerance and resistance in defence against amphibian chytridiomycosis

Abstract: Animal defences against infection involve two distinct but complementary mechanisms: tolerance and resistance. Tolerance measures the animal host’s ability to limit detrimental effects from a given infection, whereas resistance is the ability to limit the intensity of that infection (classic immune responses). The study of host tolerance to infection is a burgeoning area in the field of animal disease ecology. Unlike resistance, tolerance does not affect pathogen fitness, and hence does not promote antagonistic counter-adaptation.There is a vast range in amphibian responses to infection with the main fungal agent of the worst vertebrate disease, chytridiomycosis (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Bd). Infection tolerance is important for the dynamics and co-evolution of Bd infection within amphibian communities. Some frogs die from chytridiomycosis infection loads that others can tolerate without detrimental effects. Furthermore, some frogs harbour intense infections of > 8 million zoospore equivalents, consistent with the concept of superspreading. Tolerant amphibian life-stages such as tadpoles can harbour chytridiomycosis in their mouthparts but do not die from disease. Such tolerant tadpoles can then rescue a population despite high mortality of adults, or alternatively act as reservoirs for infection. Sympatric species, and tolerant superspreaders may also act as infection reservoirs, promoting pathogen persistence, maintaining high force of infection, and driving less tolerant hosts to extinction. Improving our understanding of infection tolerance and resistance promises powerful new strategies for understanding and mitigating infectious diseases. In this seminar I will explore the theory of tolerance and resistance, and provide examples from both the individual and population scale, together with their implications for individual health and population persistence.

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