Ecological and evolutionary insights into the dynamics and control of viruses in bats
University of Glasgow, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, Glasgow, Scotland - email@example.com
(Seminar in English)
Outbreaks of infectious diseases transmitted from wildlife to humans or domestic animals are notoriously difficult to anticipate and control, and are challenging to study because we must confront real ecological complexity with typically sparse data. In this talk, I will first introduce vampire bat-transmitted rabies, one of the most important viral zoonoses affecting humans and livestock in Latin America. I will show that combining longitudinal field studies with mathematical models can uncover the mechanisms underlying viral persistence at the population level, while brining into question the utility of the widespread practice of bat culling to control rabies. Next, I will show that linking host and viral genetics with landscape data can enable forecasting of future viral emergence in currently rabies-free areas. Finally, I will discuss a broad comparative approach that combines machine learning with viral bioinformatics to find signatures of reservoir hosts and transmission modes embedded into viral genomes. These vignettes illustrate how combining ecological and evolutionary data can overturn conventional wisdom and provide new avenues for the surveillance, prevention and control of wildlife diseases.
Streicker, D.G., Winternitz, J., Satterfield, D., Condori-Condori, R.E., Broos, A., Tello, C., Recuenco, S., Velasco-Villa, A., Altizer, S., Valderrama, W. Host-pathogen evolutionary signatures reveal dynamics and future invasions of vampire bat rabies (2016) PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606587113
Benavides, J., Valderrama, W., & Streicker, D.G. Spatial expansions and travelling waves of rabies in vampire bats (2016) Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0328
Streicker, D.G. & Allgeier, J.E. From food web to disease ecology: foraging choices of vampire bats in diverse landscapes (2016) Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12690