Data from: Parasite infection and decreased thermal tolerance: impact of proliferative kidney disease (PKD) on a wild salmonid fish in the context of climate change
Bruneaux, Matthieu et al. (2016), Data from: Parasite infection and decreased thermal tolerance: impact of proliferative kidney disease (PKD) on a wild salmonid fish in the context of climate change, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.591d4
Parasites and pathogens can have an important effect on their host's thermal resistance. The impact of parasite infection on host physiological performances has traditionally been studied in controlled laboratory conditions, and much less is known about its actual effects in wild populations. Nonetheless, such knowledge is critical when assessing the effect of climate change on the future survival of the host.
Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae is a myxozoan endoparasite causing proliferative kidney disease (PKD) in salmonids. Infection and clinical symptoms of PKD are dependent on environmental temperature and PKD has become an emerging disease of primary importance for farmed and wild salmonids in the last decades. Despite important achievements in understanding PKD pathology in recent years, there are still crucial gaps in the knowledge of the disease ecology, notably in how the parasite affects host performance in the wild.
We sampled juvenile (0+) brown trout (Salmo trutta) from the wild during early and late summer and assessed relative parasite load (DNA quantification with qPCR) and disease severity (kidney hyperplasia). We also measured haematocrit, leucocyte formula, aerobic scope and upper thermal tolerance in a field-physiology approach in order to better understand the relationships between PKD severity and host performance. By using wild-caught individuals and performing measurements directly on location, we aimed to gain insights into host physiology in a natural environment while avoiding biases caused by laboratory acclimation.
We found that most physiopathological symptoms in the wild were strongly correlated with kidney hyperplasia, but more weakly linked to parasite load. Disease severity was positively correlated with anaemia and abundance of circulating thrombocytes, and negatively correlated with aerobic scope and thermal tolerance.
Our results suggest that impaired aerobic performances and thermal tolerance in infected fish may potentially result in decreased host survival in the wild, especially in relation with predicted higher average summer temperatures and increased frequency of extreme events (summer heatwaves) in the context of global climate change.