Temperature rise and parasitic infection interact to increase the impact of an invasive species

Ciaran Laverty, David Brenner, Christopher McIlwaine, Jack J. Lennon, Jaimie T A Dick, Frances E. Lucy, Keith A. Christian

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    Invasive species often detrimentally impact native biota, e.g. through predation, but predicting such impacts is difficult due to multiple and perhaps interacting abiotic and biotic context dependencies. Higher mean and peak temperatures, together with parasites, might influence the impact of predatory invasive host species additively, synergistically or antagonistically. Here, we apply the comparative functional response methodology (relationship between resource consumption rate and resource supply) in one experiment and conduct a second scaled-up mesocosm experiment to assess any differential predatory impacts of the freshwater invasive amphipod Gammarus pulex, when uninfected and infected with the acanthocephalan Echinorhynchus truttae, at three temperatures representative of current and future climate. Individual G. pulex showed Type II predatory functional responses. In both experiments, infection was associated with higher maximum feeding rates, which also increased with increasing temperatures. Additionally, infection interacted with higher temperatures to synergistically elevate functional responses and feeding rates. Parasitic infection also generally increased Q 10 values. We thus suggest that the differential metabolic responses of the host and parasite to increasing temperatures drives the synergy between infection and temperature, elevating feeding rates and thus enhancing the ecological impact of the invader.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)291-296
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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