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Urban Landscapes can change virus gene flow and evolution in a fragmentation-sensitive carnivore


Fountain-Jones, NM and Craft, ME and Funk, WC and Kozakiewicz, CP and Trumbo, DR and Boydston, EE and Lyren, LM and Crooks, K and Lee, JS and VandeWoude, S and Carver, S, Urban Landscapes can change virus gene flow and evolution in a fragmentation-sensitive carnivore, Molecular Ecology, 26, (22) pp. 6487-6498. ISSN 0962-1083 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/mec.14375


Urban expansion has widespread impacts on wildlife species globally, including the transmission and emergence of infectious diseases. However, there is almost no information about how urban landscapes shape transmission dynamics in wildlife. Using an innovative phylodynamic approach combining host and pathogen molecular data with landscape characteristics and host traits, we untangle the complex factors that drive transmission networks of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in bobcats (Lynx rufus). We found that the urban landscape played a significant role in shaping FIV transmission. Even though bobcats were often trapped within the urban matrix, FIV transmission events were more likely to occur in areas with more natural habitat elements. Urban fragmentation also resulted in lower rates of pathogen evolution, possibly owing to a narrower range of host genotypes in the fragmented area. Combined, our findings show that urban landscapes can have impacts on a pathogen and its evolution in a carnivore living in one of the most fragmented and urban systems in North America. The analytical approach used here can be broadly applied to other host–pathogen systems, including humans.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:FIV, bobcat, transmission, disease, fragmentation, machine learning, phylodynamics
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Host-parasite interactions
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response)
UTAS Author:Fountain-Jones, NM (Dr Nicholas Fountain-Jones)
UTAS Author:Kozakiewicz, CP (Mr Christopher Kozakiewicz)
UTAS Author:Carver, S (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
ID Code:124338
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-02-19
Last Modified:2018-05-09

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