DAO prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03169

Nutrient availability modulates both host and parasite life-histories in a snail-trematode interaction

Gregory J. Sandland*, Katherine A. Josephson

*Email: gsandland@uwlax.edu

ABSTRACT: Host nutrient availability can have important life-history consequences for hosts and their parasites. That being said, the responses of each participant within the association can vary extensively across host–parasite systems. In this paper, we outline the life-history responses of an aquatic snail (Biomphalaria glabrata) and its trematode parasite (Echinostoma caproni) during host nutrient restriction. The onset of host starvation had rapid and strong effects on snail reproduction, significantly reducing egg output in control snails and eliminating egg production in infected individuals. The combination of E. caproni infection and nutrient restriction also had a dramatic effect on B. glabrata survival with starved infected snails dying at a faster rate than hosts from any other treatment. In terms of parasite reproduction, host nutrient restriction did not influence the quantity of parasite larvae produced after starvation onset but did influence parasite quality, reducing both larval swimming time and overall longevity. Together these results demonstrate that nutrient restriction can strongly influence both host and parasite life histories, and therefore should be considered in future studies attempting to understand patterns of disease in host populations.