Landscape Structure and Plague Occurrence in Black-tailed Prairie Dogs on Grasslands of the Western USA Research Article Received: 29 April 2004 Accepted: 11 May 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Collinge, S.K., Johnson, W.C., Ray, C. et al. Landscape Ecol (2005) 20: 941. doi:10.1007/s10980-005-4617-5 Abstract
Landscape structure influences the abundance and distribution of many species, including pathogens that cause infectious diseases. Black-tailed prairie dogs in the western USA have declined precipitously over the past 100 years, most recently due to grassland conversion and their susceptibility to sylvatic plague. We assembled and analyzed two long-term data sets on plague occurrence in black-tailed prairie dogs to explore the hypotheses that plague occurrence is associated with colony characteristics and landscape context. Our two study areas (Boulder County, Colorado, and Phillips County, Montana) differed markedly in degree of urbanization and other landscape characteristics. In both study areas, we found associations between plague occurrence and landscape and colony characteristics such as the amount of roads, streams and lakes surrounding a prairie dog colony, the area covered by the colony and its neighbors, and the distance to the nearest plague-positive colony. Logistic regression models were similar between the two study areas, with the best models predicting positive effects of proximity to plague-positive colonies and negative effects of road, stream and lake cover on plague occurrence. Taken together, these results suggest that roads, streams and lakes may serve as barriers to plague in black-tailed prairie dog colonies by affecting movement of or habitat quality for plague hosts or for fleas that serve as vectors for the pathogen. The similarity in plague correlates between urban and rural study areas suggests that the correlates of plague are not altered by uniquely urban stressors.
Keywords Colorado Disease Grasslands Habitat fragmentation Landscape context Montana Plague Prairie dogs Rodents Urbanization References Allan, B.F., Keesing, F., Ostfeld, R.S. 2003 Effect of forest fragmentation on Lyme disease risk Conserv. Biol. 17 267 272 CrossRef Google Scholar Anderson, D.R., Burnham, K.P. 2002 Avoiding pitfalls when using information-theoretic methods J. Wildlife Manage. 66 912 918 Google Scholar Anderson, D.R., Burnham, K.P., Gould, W.R., Cherry, S. 2001 Concerns about finding effects that are actually spurious Wildlife Soc. Bull. 29 311 316 Google Scholar Anderson, S.H., Williams, E.S. 1997 Plague in a complex of white-tailed prairie dogs and associated small mammals in Wyoming J. Wildlife Dis. 33 720 732 Google Scholar
Antolin M.F., Gober P., Luce B., Biggins D.E., Van Pelt W.E., Seery D.B., Lockhart M. and Ball M. 2002. The influence of sylvatic plague on North American wildlife at the landscape level, with special emphasis on black-footed ferret and prairie dog conservation. Transactions of the 67th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conferencepp. 104–127
Google Scholar Barnes, A.M. 1982 Surveillance and control of plague in the United States Edwards, M.A. McDonnell, U. eds. Animal Disease in Relation to Animal Conservation Academic Press New York, NY, USA 237 270 Google Scholar Bennett, A.F., Henein, K., Merriam, G. 1994 Corridor use and the elements of corridor quality: chipmunks and fencerows in a farmland mosaic Biol. Conserv. 68 155 165 CrossRef Google Scholar
Bennett B.C. 1997. Vegetation on the city of Boulder Open Space grasslands. Ph.D. Thesis, University of ColoradoBoulderColoradoUSA177 pp.
Google Scholar Blair, R.B., Launer, A.E. 1997 Butterfly diversity and human land use: species assemblages along an urban gradient Biol. Conserv. 80 113 125 CrossRef Google Scholar Bock, C.E., Vierling, K.T., Haire, S.L., Boone, J.D., Merkle, W.W. 2002 Patterns of rodent abundance on open-space grasslands in relation to suburban edges Conserv. Biol. 16 1653 1658 CrossRef Google Scholar
City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department 1996. Black-tailed prairie dog habitat conservation plan. (http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/openspace/planning/pdogplan/pdogmain.htm).
Google Scholar Burnham, K.P., Anderson, D.R. 2002Model Selection and Inference. A Practical Information-theoretic Approach2nd edn Springer-Verlag New York Inc. New York, NY, USA Google Scholar Chapin, F.S., III, Zavaleta, E.S., Eviner, V.T., Naylor, R.L., Vitousek, P.M., Reynolds, H.L., Hooper, D.U., Lavorel, S., Sala, O.E., Hobbie, S.E., Mack, M.C., Diaz, S. 2000 Consequences of changing biodiversity Nature 405 234 242 CrossRef PubMed Google Scholar Collinge, S.K. 2000 Effects of grassland fragmentation on insect species loss, recolonization, and movement patterns Ecology 81 2211 2226 Google Scholar
Collinge S.K. (ed.) 2001. Special Issue: Spatial Ecology and
Biological Conservation. Biological Conservation 100: 1–150.
Google Scholar Collinge, S.K., Prudic, K.L., Oliver, J.C. 2003 Effects of local habitat characteristics and landscape context on grassland butterfly diversity Conservation Biology 17 178 187 CrossRef Google Scholar Cully, J.F., Jr. 1997 Growth and life history changes in Gunnison's prairie dogs after a plague epizootic J. Mammal. 78 146 157 Google Scholar Cully, J.F., Jr., Williams, E.S. 2001 Interspecific comparisons of sylvatic plague in prairie dogs J. Mammal. 82 894 905 CrossRef Google Scholar Environmental Systems Research Institute. 2002ArcInfo version 8.3 Redlands CAUSA Google Scholar Gage, K.L., Ostfeld, R.S., Olson, J.G. 1995 Nonviral vector-borne zoonoses associated with mammals in the United States J. Mammal. 76 695 715 Google Scholar Gober, P. 2000 12 month administrative finding, black-tailed prairie dog Federal Reg. 65 5476 5488 Google Scholar Harrison, S., Bruna, E. 1999 Habitat fragmentation and large-scale conservation: what do we know for sure? Ecography 22 225 232 Google Scholar Hoogland, J.L. 1995The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, Social life of a Burrowing Mammal The University of Chicago Press ChicagoIllinois, USA Google Scholar Hubbard, C.E. 1947Fleas of Western North America Hafner Publishing Company, Inc New York, NY, USA Google Scholar Johnson, W.C., Collinge, S.K. 2004 Landscape effects on black-tailed prairie dog colonies Biol. Conserv. 115 487 497 CrossRef Google Scholar Knowles, C.J. 1985 Observations on prairie dog dispersal in Montana Prairie Nat. 17 33 40 Google Scholar Knowles, C.J., Proctor, J.D., Forrest, S.C. 2002 Black-tailed prairie dog abundance and distribution in the Great Plains based on historic and contemporary information Great Plains Res. 12 219 254 Google Scholar Langlois, J.P., Fahrig, L., Merriam, G., Artsob, H. 2001 Landscape structure influences continental distribution of Hantavirus in deer mice Landscape Ecol. 16 255 266 CrossRef Google Scholar La Polla, V.N., Barrett, G.W. 1993 Effects of corridor width and presence on the population dynamics of the meadow vole ( Microtus pennsylvanicus) Landscape Ecol. 8 25 37 CrossRef Google Scholar Lidicker, W.Z., Jr., Koenig, W.D. 1996 Responses of terrestrial vertebrates to habitat edges and corridors McCullough, D.R. eds. Metapopulations and Wildlife Conservation Island Press Washington, DC, USA 85 109 Google Scholar Lomolino, M.V., Smith, G.A. 2001 Dynamic biogeography of prairie dog ( Cynomys ludovicianus) towns near the edge of their range J. Mammal. 82 937 945 CrossRef Google Scholar Miller, S.D., Cully, J.F., Jr. 2001 Conservation of black-tailed prairie dogs ( Cynomys ludovicianus) J. Mammal. 82 889 893 CrossRef Google Scholar Ostfeld, R.S., LoGiudice, K. 2003 Community disassembly, biodiversity loss, and the erosion of an ecosystem service Ecology 84 1421 1427 Google Scholar Perry, R.D., Fetherson, J.D. 1997 Yersinia pestis – etiologic agent of plague Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 10 35 66 PubMed Google Scholar Reading, R.P., Matchett, R. 1997 Attributes of black-tailed prairie dog colonies in northcentral Montana J. Wildlife Manage. 61 664 673 Google Scholar Riebsame, W.E eds. 1997Atlas of the New West W.W. Norton and Company New York, NY, USA Google Scholar Roach, J.L., Stapp, P., Van Horne, B., Antolin, M.F. 2001 Genetic structure of a metapopulation of black-tailed prairie dogs J. Mammal. 82 946 959 CrossRef Google Scholar Samson, F.B. Knopf, F.L. eds. 1996Prairie Conservation – Preserving North America's Most Endangered Ecosystem Island Press Washington, DC, USA Google Scholar Schmidt, K.A., Ostfeld, R.S. 2001 Biodiversity and the dilution effect in disease ecology Ecology 82 609 619 Google Scholar SAS InstituteInc. 2001SAS version 8.2 SAS Institute Cary, North CarolinaUSA Google Scholar Stafford, J.D., Strickland, B.K. 2003 Potential inconsistencies when calculating Akaike's Information Criterion Bull. Ecol. Soc. Am. 84 68 69 Google Scholar Staubach, C., Thulke, H., Tackmann, K., Hugh-Jones, M., Conraths, F.J. 2001 Geographic information system-aided analysis of factors associated with the spatial distribution of Echinoccus multilocularis infections of foxes Am. J. Trop. Med. Hygiene 65 943 948 Google Scholar Theobald, D.M., Miller, J.R., Hobbs, N.T. 1997 Estimating the cumulative effects of development on wildlife habitat Landscape Urban Plan. 39 25 36 CrossRef Google Scholar U.S. Bureau of the Census. 2000Statistical Abstract of the United States U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, DC, USA Google Scholar Wilson, M.E. Levins, R. Speilman, A. eds. 1994Disease in Evolution: Global Changes and Emergence of Infectious Diseases New York Academy of Sciences New York, NY, USA Google Scholar