ResearchPad - global-change-and-conservation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Global shifts in mammalian population trends reveal key predictors of virus spillover risk]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndff64f7e-baec-4f05-b52b-09b447dda302 Emerging infectious diseases in humans are frequently caused by pathogens originating from animal hosts, and zoonotic disease outbreaks present a major challenge to global health. To investigate drivers of virus spillover, we evaluated the number of viruses mammalian species have shared with humans. We discovered that the number of zoonotic viruses detected in mammalian species scales positively with global species abundance, suggesting that virus transmission risk has been highest from animal species that have increased in abundance and even expanded their range by adapting to human-dominated landscapes. Domesticated species, primates and bats were identified as having more zoonotic viruses than other species. Among threatened wildlife species, those with population reductions owing to exploitation and loss of habitat shared more viruses with humans. Exploitation of wildlife through hunting and trade facilitates close contact between wildlife and humans, and our findings provide further evidence that exploitation, as well as anthropogenic activities that have caused losses in wildlife habitat quality, have increased opportunities for animal–human interactions and facilitated zoonotic disease transmission. Our study provides new evidence for assessing spillover risk from mammalian species and highlights convergent processes whereby the causes of wildlife population declines have facilitated the transmission of animal viruses to humans.

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<![CDATA[Host density drives viral, but not trypanosome, transmission in a key pollinator]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N833dcb32-defc-4196-9e3f-0ea1dac4bfc6

Supplemental feeding of wildlife populations can locally increase the density of individuals, which may in turn impact disease dynamics. Flower strips are a widely used intervention in intensive agricultural systems to nutritionally support pollinators such as bees. Using a controlled experimental semi-field design, we asked how density impacts transmission of a virus and a trypanosome parasite in bumblebees. We manipulated bumblebee density by using different numbers of colonies within the same area of floral resource. In high-density compartments, slow bee paralysis virus was transmitted more quickly, resulting in higher prevalence and level of infection in bumblebee hosts. By contrast, there was no impact of density on the transmission of the trypanosome Crithidia bombi, which may reflect the ease with which this parasite is transmitted. These results suggest that agri-environment schemes such as flower strips, which are known to enhance the nutrition and survival of bumblebees, may also have negative impacts on pollinators through enhanced disease transmission. Future studies should assess how changing the design of these schemes could minimize disease transmission and thus maximise their health benefits to wild pollinators.

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