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Contact networks in a wild Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) population: using social network analysis to reveal seasonal variability in social behaviour and its implications for transmission of devil facial tumour disease

Citation

Hamede Ross, RK and Bashford, JD and McCallum, HI and Jones, Menna, Contact networks in a wild Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) population: using social network analysis to reveal seasonal variability in social behaviour and its implications for transmission of devil facial tumour disease, Ecology Letters, 12, (11) pp. 1147-1157. ISSN 1461-023X (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01370.x

Abstract

The structure of the contact network between individuals has a profound effect on the transmission of infectious disease. Using a novel technology - proximity sensing radio collars - we described the contact network in a population of Tasmanian devils. This largest surviving marsupial carnivore is threatened by a novel infectious cancer. All devils were connected in a single giant component, which would permit disease to spread throughout the network from any single infected individual. Unlike the contact networks for many human diseases, the degree distribution was not highly aggregated. Nevertheless, the empirically derived networks differed from random networks. Contact networks differed between the mating and non-mating seasons, with more extended male-female associations in the mating season and a greater frequency of female-female associations outside the mating season. Our results suggest that there is limited potential to control the disease by targeting highly connected age or sex classes. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiology - biophysics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Hamede Ross, RK (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
UTAS Author:Bashford, JD (Dr James Bashford)
UTAS Author:McCallum, HI (Professor Hamish McCallum)
UTAS Author:Jones, Menna (Professor Menna Jones)
ID Code:58216
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:208
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2009-09-18
Last Modified:2011-07-27
Downloads:0

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