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New paper in Ecology Letters: "Mechanisms underlying host persistence..."

As a result of a three-day workshop "Generalising amphibian disease models across species and international boundaries" (funded by Griffith Sciences 2019 International Workshop Awards) our team has recently published a review/synthesis in Ecology Letters examining the mechanisms that enable some frog populations to coexist or recover in the face of the devastating amphibian chytrid fungal disease, whereas others decline towards extinction


Brannelly L. A., McCallum H. I., Grogan L. F., Briggs C. J., Ribas M. P., Hollanders M., Sasso T., Familiar López M., Newell D. A. & Kilpatrick A. M. Mechanisms underlying host persistence following amphibian disease emergence determine appropriate management strategies. Ecol. Lett. Early view (link here).

Abstract: Emerging infectious diseases have caused many species declines, changes in communities and even extinctions. There are also many species that persist following devastating declines due to disease. The broad mechanisms that enable host persistence following declines include evolution of resistance or tolerance, changes in immunity and behaviour, compensatory recruitment, pathogen attenuation, environmental refugia, density-dependent transmission and changes in community composition. Here we examine the case of chytridiomycosis, the most important wildlife disease of the past century. We review the full breadth of mechanisms allowing host persistence, and synthesise research on host, pathogen, environmental and community factors driving persistence following chytridiomycosis-related declines and overview the current evidence and the information required to support each mechanism. We found that for most species the mechanisms facilitating persistence have not been identified. We illustrate how the mechanisms that drive long-term host population dynamics determine the most effective conservation management strategies. Therefore, understanding mechanisms of host persistence is important because many species continue to be threatened by disease, some of which will require intervention. The conceptual framework we describe is broadly applicable to other novel disease systems.

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