March 28 2012

12:00 LSB 2320

Scott Carver
Colorado State University

The Impac of Urbanization on Pathogens of North American Wild Felids


Urban expansion and habitat fragmentation are critical threats to biodiversity. One mechanism by which wildlife are impacted by increased proximity to urban areas is the transmission of infectious diseases. Wildlife may share pathogens with domestic animals, humans or other animals around developed areas. The extent to which this cross-species transmission occurs is a function of host traits (particularly the nature and frequency of interspecific contacts) and pathogen traits (particularly host specificity, mode of transmission and duration of infection). Utilizing geographic land-use information and an unprecedented dataset of pathogens of mountain lions (Puma concolor), bobcats (Lynx rufus) and feral/semi-feral domestic cats (Felis catus), we evaluated how proximity of wild felids to urban areas influences pathogen exposure and cross-species transmission with domestic felids. This investigation was undertaken at sites in California, Colorado and Florida and included evaluation of a suite of pathogens with different modes of transmission (direct, vector-borne and environmental) and durations of infection (acute, chronic and recrudescent). We find compelling evidence that wild felids acquire some pathogens from contact with urban areas and that pathogen acquisition is influenced by pathogen traits. Findings from this investigation contribute valuable insight about mechanisms by which urbanization affects wildlife and have important implications for conservation of wild felids.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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