Livestock abundance predicts vampire bat demography, immune profiles, and bacterial infection risk

Becker, D. et al. (2018) Livestock abundance predicts vampire bat demography, immune profiles, and bacterial infection risk. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373(1745), 20170089. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2017.0089) (PMID:29531144) (PMCID:PMC5882995)

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Human activities create novel food resources that can alter wildlife–pathogen interactions. If resources amplify or dampen, pathogen transmission probably depends on both host ecology and pathogen biology, but studies that measure responses to provisioning across both scales are rare. We tested these relationships with a 4-year study of 369 common vampire bats across 10 sites in Peru and Belize that differ in the abundance of livestock, an important anthropogenic food source. We quantified innate and adaptive immunity from bats and assessed infection with two common bacteria. We predicted that abundant livestock could reduce starvation and foraging effort, allowing for greater investments in immunity. Bats from high-livestock sites had higher microbicidal activity and proportions of neutrophils but lower immunoglobulin G and proportions of lymphocytes, suggesting more investment in innate relative to adaptive immunity and either greater chronic stress or pathogen exposure. This relationship was most pronounced in reproductive bats, which were also more common in high-livestock sites, suggesting feedbacks between demographic correlates of provisioning and immunity. Infection with both Bartonella and haemoplasmas were correlated with similar immune profiles, and both pathogens tended to be less prevalent in high-livestock sites, although effects were weaker for haemoplasmas. These differing responses to provisioning might therefore reflect distinct transmission processes. Predicting how provisioning alters host–pathogen interactions requires considering how both within-host processes and transmission modes respond to resource shifts.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Streicker, Dr Daniel
Authors: Becker, D., Czirjak, G. A., Volokhov, D. V., Bentz, A. B., Carrera, J. E., Camus, M. S., Navara, K. J., Chizhikov, V. E., Fenton, M. B., Simmons, N. B., Recuenco, S. E., Gilbert, A. T., Altizer, S., and Streicker, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:12 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 373(1745):20170089
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
634192Managing viral emergence at the interface of bats and livestockDaniel StreickerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)102507/Z/13/ZRI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED