Are all hosts created equal? Partitioning host species contributions to parasite persistence in multihost communities

Fenton, A., Streicker, D. G. , Petchey, O. L. and Pedersen, A. B. (2015) Are all hosts created equal? Partitioning host species contributions to parasite persistence in multihost communities. American Naturalist, 186(5), pp. 610-622. (doi: 10.1086/683173) (PMID:26655774)

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Many parasites circulate endemically within communities of multiple host species. To understand disease persistence within these communities, it is essential to know the contribution each host species makes to parasite transmission and maintenance. However, quantifying those contributions is challenging. We present a conceptual framework for classifying multihost sharing, based on key thresholds for parasite persistence. We then develop a generalized technique to quantify each species’ contribution to parasite persistence, allowing natural systems to be located within the framework. We illustrate this approach using data on gastrointestinal parasites circulating within rodent communities and show that, although many parasites infect several host species, parasite persistence is often driven by just one host species. In some cases, however, parasites require multiple host species for maintenance. Our approach provides a quantitative method for differentiating these cases using minimal reliance on system-specific parameters, enabling informed decisions about parasite management within poorly understood multihost communities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Streicker, Professor Daniel
Authors: Fenton, A., Streicker, D. G., Petchey, O. L., and Pedersen, A. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:American Naturalist
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN (Online):1537-5323
Published Online:18 September 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 University of Chicago Press
First Published:First published in American Naturalist 186(5):610-622
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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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 (WELLCOME)102507/Z/13/ZRI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED