Routine habitat switching alters the likelihood and persistence of infection with a pathogenic parasite

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:p jats:list

jats:list-item jats:pAnimals switch habitats on a regular basis, and when habitats vary in suitability for parasitism, routine habitat switching alters the frequency of parasite exposure and may affect post‐infection parasite proliferation. However, the effects of routine habitat switching on infection dynamics are not well understood.</jats:p> </jats:list-item>

jats:list-item jats:pWe performed infection experiments, behavioural observations and field surveillance to evaluate how routine habitat switching by adult alpine newts (jats:italicIchthyosaura alpestris</jats:italic>) influences infection dynamics of the pathogenic parasite, jats:italicBatrachochytrium dendrobatidis</jats:italic> (jats:italicBd</jats:italic>).</jats:p> </jats:list-item>

jats:list-item jats:pWe show that when newts are exposed to equal total doses of jats:italicBd</jats:italic> in aquatic habitatsjats:italic,</jats:italic> differences in exposure frequency and post‐exposure habitat alter infection trajectories: newts developed more infections that persisted longer when doses were broken into multiple, reduced‐intensity exposures. Intensity and persistence of infections were reduced among newts that were switched to terrestrial habitats following exposure.</jats:p> </jats:list-item>

jats:list-item jats:pWhen presented with a choice of habitats, newts did not avoid exposure to jats:italicBd</jats:italic>, but heavily infected newts were more prone to reduce time spent in water.</jats:p> </jats:list-item>

jats:list-item jats:pAccounting for routine switching between aquatic and terrestrial habitat in the experiments generated distributions of infection loads that were consistent with those in two populations of wild newts.</jats:p> </jats:list-item>

jats:list-item jats:pTogether, these findings emphasize that differential habitat use and behaviours associated with daily movement can be important ecological determinants of infection risk and severity.</jats:p> </jats:list-item> </jats:list> </jats:p>jats:pA <jats:ext-link xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">plain language summary</jats:ext-link> is available for this article.</jats:p>

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, behaviour, disease risk, environmental heterogeneity, habitat use, host behaviour, host-parasite interactions
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Functional Ecology
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