How does the bopyrid isopod Gyge branchialis interfere with trace metal bioaccumulation in the mud shrimp Upogebia cf. pusilla?
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Parasites are widespread in natural environments, and their impacts on the fitness of their host and, at a broader scale, on ecosystem functioning are well recognized. Over the last two decades, there has been an increasing interest in the effects of parasites in conjunction with other stressors, especially pollutants, on the health of organisms. For instance, parasites can interfere with the bioaccumulation process of contaminants in their host leading to parasitized organisms exhibiting lower pollutants burdens than unparasitized individuals for example. However, the mechanisms underlying these patterns are not well understood. This study examined how the bopyrid parasite Gyge branchialis could lower the cadmium (Cd) uptake of its mud shrimp host Upogebia cf. pusilla. When exposed to water-borne Cd, parasites were able to bioaccumulate this trace metal. However, the uptake of Cd by the parasite was low and cannot entirely explain the deficit of Cd contamination of the host. The weight of gills of parasitized organisms was significantly reduced compared with unparasitized organisms. We suggest that by reducing the surface for metal uptake, parasites could lower the contaminant burden of their host.
KeywordsHost-parasite interactions Metal contamination Physiological alteration Mud shrimp
The authors are grateful to the two anonymous referees for their help in improving the manuscript. Many thanks to Dr. Katie O’Dwyer (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology) for the interesting comments and editing corrections of the manuscript. We are grateful to M. Mauran for her significant help during experiment. We thank the captain and the crewmembers of the R/V Planula IV (CNRS-INSU-FOF) for assistance in the field.
A.D. was supported by a doctoral grant of the French “Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche” (Université de Bordeaux—2015/AUN/25).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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