Amphibian Host and Skin Microbiota Response to a Common Agricultural Antimicrobial and Internal Parasite
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Holistic approaches that simultaneously characterize responses of both microbial symbionts and their hosts to environmental shifts are imperative to understanding the role of microbiotas on host health. Using the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) as our model, we investigated the effects of a common trematode (family Echinostomatidae), a common agricultural antimicrobial (Sulfadimethoxine; SDM), and their interaction on amphibian skin microbiota and amphibian health (growth metrics and susceptibility to parasites). In the trematode-exposed individuals, we noted an increase in alpha diversity and a shift in microbial communities. In the SDM-treated individuals, we found a change in the composition of the skin microbiota similar to those induced by the trematode treatment. Groups treated with SDM, echinostomes, or a combination of SDM and echinostomes, had higher relative abundances of OTUs assigned to Flavobacterium and Acinetobacter. Both of these genera have been associated with infectious disease in amphibians and the production of anti-pathogen metabolites. Similar changes in microbial community composition between SDM and trematode exposed individuals may have resulted from stress-related disruption of host immunity. Despite changes in the microbiota, we found no effect of echinostomes and SDM on host health. Given the current diseaseand pollution-related threats facing amphibians, our study highlights the need to continue to evaluate the influence of natural and anthropogenic stressors on host-associated microbial communities.
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