School of Mathematics

Glenn Marion

Glenn Marion abstract

Glenn Marion, Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland:

Understanding impacts of animal behaviour in wildlife-disease systems

Diseases in wildlife can have significant adverse consequences forwildlife, livestock and humans. For example, Jones et al., (2008- Nature, 451, 990-3) found that over 40% of emerging infectiousdiseases (1940-2004) had a wildlife origin. Such systems are also ofmathematical interest because stochastic disease dynamics(e.g. transmission) and demographic factors interact in complex waysto determine prevalence and persistence. In this talk I will usegeneric mathematical models of wildlife disease systems to considerthe impact on disease of aspects of animal behaviour not usuallyaccounted for in such models. I will firstly explore the potential for behavioural and demographicaspects of the ecology of wildlife species to reduce or reverse theefficacy of population reduction as a means of disease control. Anotable example of this phenomena was seen in the UK Randomised BadgerCulling Trial which showed that population reduction led to anincrease in bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis; bTB) in badgers(Meles meles). If time permits I will also discuss work which showshow variations in fecundity across the population can enhance thepersistence of disease in wildlife.