Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Parasite and host elemental content and parasite effects on host nutrient excretion and metabolic rate

Citation

Chodkowski, Nicole; Bernot, Randall J. (2018), Data from: Parasite and host elemental content and parasite effects on host nutrient excretion and metabolic rate, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hp08t

Abstract

Ecological stoichiometry uses the mass balance of elements to predict energy and elemental fluxes across different levels of ecological organization. A specific prediction of ecological stoichiometry is the growth rate hypothesis (GRH), which states that organisms with faster growth or reproductive rates will require higher phosphorus content for nucleic acid and protein synthesis. Although parasites are found ubiquitously throughout ecosystems, little is understood about how they affect nutrient imbalances in ecosystems. We (1) tested the GRH by determining the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) content of parasitic trematodes and their intermediate host, the freshwater snail Elimia livescens, and (2) used this framework to determine the trematode effects on host nutrient excretion and metabolism. Snail and parasite tissues were analyzed for elemental content using a CHN analyzer and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) methods. Ammonium and SRP assays were used to estimate N and P excretion rates. A respirometer was used to calculate individual snail metabolism. Trematode tissues contained lower C:P and N:P (more P per unit C and N) than the snail tissues. Snail gonadal tissues more closely resembled the elemental content of parasite tissues, although P content was 13% higher in the gonad than the trematode tissues. Despite differences in elemental content, N and P excretion rates of snails were not affected by the presence of parasites. Parasitized snails maintained faster metabolic rates than nonparasitized snails. However, the species of parasite did not affect metabolic rate. Together, this elemental imbalance between parasite and host, and the altered metabolic rate of infected snails may lead to broader parasite effects in stream ecosystems.

Usage Notes

Location

Indiana