loading page

Disease hotspots or hot species? Infection dynamics in multi-host metacommunities controlled by species composition, not source location
  • Mark Wilber,
  • Pieter Johnson,
  • Cheryl Briggs
Mark Wilber
University of California, Santa Barbara
Author Profile
Pieter Johnson
University of Colorado
Author Profile
Cheryl Briggs
University of California, Santa Barbara
Author Profile

Abstract

Pathogen persistence in host communities is influenced by a hierarchy of heterogeneities from individual host to landscape-level attributes, but isolating the relative contributions of these heterogeneities is challenging. We developed theory to partition the influence of host species, habitat patches, and landscape connectivity on pathogen persistence within host-pathogen metacommunities. We used the framework to quantify the contributions of host species composition and habitat patch identity on the persistence of an amphibian pathogen across the landscape. By sampling over 11,000 hosts of six amphibian species, we found that a single host species could maintain the pathogen in 91% of the metacommunities we observed. Moreover, this dominant maintenance species contributed, on average, twice as much to landscape-level pathogen persistence compared to the most influential source patch in a metacommunity. Our analysis demonstrates substantial inequality in how species and patches contribute to pathogen persistence, with important implications for targeted disease management.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

16 Dec 2019Submitted to Ecology Letters
18 Dec 2019Submission Checks Completed
18 Dec 2019Assigned to Editor
20 Dec 2019Reviewer(s) Assigned
13 Jan 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
29 Jan 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
12 Mar 20201st Revision Received
13 Mar 2020Submission Checks Completed
13 Mar 2020Assigned to Editor
25 Mar 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
25 Mar 2020Editorial Decision: Accept