Ecological determinants of pathogen transmission in communally roosting species
Many animals derive benefits from roosting communally but may also face increased risk of infectious disease transmission. In spite of recent high-profile disease outbreaks in roosting animals of conservation and public health concern, we currently lack general theory for how attributes of roosting animals and their pathogens influence pathogen spread among roosts and overall population impacts on roosting species. Here we develop a model to explore how roost size and host site fidelity influence the time for a pathogen to escape from its initial roost, overall infection prevalence, and host population size, for pathogens with density- or frequency-dependent transmission and varying virulence. We find that pathogens spread rapidly to all roosts when animals are distributed among a small number of large roosts, and that roost size more strongly influences spread rate for density-dependent than frequency-dependent transmitted pathogens. However, roosting animals that exhibit high site fidelity and distribute among a large number of small roosts are buffered from population-level impacts of pathogens of both transmission modes. We discuss our results in the context of anthropogenic change that is altering aspects of roosting behavior relevant to emerging pathogen spread.
KeywordsAnimal aggregations Communal roost Pathogen transmission Roost size Site fidelity
We wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers whose suggestions helped improve the clarity of the manuscript.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. DEB-1754392 (CMT, RJH) and DEB-1518611(RJH), a Tulane University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology one-term Dissertation Fellowship (AJL) and by a scholar award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation (CMT).
- Allen G (1984) The effect of disturbance on harbor seal haul out patterns at Bolinas Lagoon, California. Fish Bull 82:493–500Google Scholar
- Cleveland CJ, Betke M, Federico P, Frank JD, Hallam TG, Horn J, López JD, McCracken GF, Medellín RA, Moreno-Valdez A, Sansone CG, Westbrook JK, Kunz TH (2006) Economic value of the pest control service provided by Brazilian free-tailed bats in south-central Texas. Front Ecol Environ 4(5):238–243Google Scholar
- Clough S, Ladle M (1997) Diel migration and site fidelity in a stream-dwelling cyprinid, Leuciscus leuciscus. J Fish Biol 50:1117–1119Google Scholar
- Deka MA, Morshed N (2018) Mapping disease transmission risk of nipah virus in south and Southeast Asia. Trop Med Infect Dis 3(2):1Google Scholar
- Duchamp JE, Sparks DW, Swihart RK (2010) Exploring the “nutrient hot spot” hypothesis at trees used by bats. J Mammal 91(1):48–53Google Scholar
- Eiserer LA (1984) Communal roosting in birds. Bird Behav 5:61–80Google Scholar
- Krause J, Ruxton GD (2002) Living in groups. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Mallet J (1986) Gregarious roosting and home range in Heliconius butterflies. Natl Geogr Res 2:198–215Google Scholar
- O’Donnell CFJ, Sedgeley JA (1999) Use of roosts by the long-tailed bat, Chalinolobus tuberculatus, in temperate rainforest in New Zeal. J Mammal 80:813–923Google Scholar
- O'Shea TJ, Bogan MA (2003) Monitoring trends in bat populations of the United States and territories: problems and prospects. Biological Resources Discipline, Information and Technology Report USGS/BRD/ITR-2003-003. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar