Predicting wild hosts for amphibian chytridiomycosis: integrating host life-history traits with pathogen environmental requirements

Murray, Kris A., and Skerratt, Lee F. (2012) Predicting wild hosts for amphibian chytridiomycosis: integrating host life-history traits with pathogen environmental requirements. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 18 (1). pp. 200-224.

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Abstract

Confronting the risk of emerging infectious diseases of wildlife is an important objective for biosecurity and conservation. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), cause of the emerging disease chytridiomycosis, has been associated with amphibian declines and extinctions globally. Characterizing Bd's host range is important for understanding community disease dynamics, predicting further declines, minimizing the cost of surveillance and developing pre-emptive management actions. In this study, we integrated ametric of potential host exposure to the pathogen (derived from spatial models of environmental suitability for Bd) with host species' life-history and ecological traits to identify risk factors associated with Bd infection in our model system (Australia). We found that the most informative predictor of a species' infection status was their general occupancy in areas predicted to be environmentally suitable for Bd. Body size, range size, habitat association, and Family were also important but were less useful for prediction. This information allowed us to make predictions regarding infection risk in poorly or unstudied species and shortlist new potential hosts for targeted future surveillance. Our study highlights the utility of species distribution modeling for wildlife diseases and examines the role of sampling bias and host life-history traits in risk analyses for chytridiomycosis.

Item ID: 22620
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1080-7039
Keywords: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, chytrid fungus, wildlife disease, risk assessment, infection risk, life-history traits
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 09:12
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920405 Environmental Health @ 100%
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