Global climate change is predicted to alter the distribution and dynamics of soil-transmitted helminth infections, and yet host immunity can also influence the impact of warming on host-parasite interactions and mitigate the long-term effects. We used time-series data from two helminth species of a natural herbivore and investigated the contribution of climate change and immunity on the longterm and seasonal dynamics of infection. We provide evidence that climate warming increases the availability of infective stages of both helminth species and the proportional increase in the intensity of infection for the helminth not regulated by immunity. In contrast, there is no significant long-termpositive trend in the intensity for the immune-controlled helminth, as immunity reduces the net outcome of climate on parasite dynamics. Even so, hosts experienced higher infections of this helminth at an earlier age during critical months in the warmer years. Immunity can alleviate the expected long-term effect of climate on parasite infections but can also shift the seasonal peak of infection toward the younger individuals.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Mar 15 2016
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