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Invasive pathogen drives host population collapse: effects of a travelling wave of sarcoptic mange on bare-nosed wombats

Martin, AM ORCID: 0000-0002-6603-2385, Burridge, CP ORCID: 0000-0002-8185-6091, Ingram, J ORCID: 0000-0001-9448-3282, Fraser, TA ORCID: 0000-0001-7960-2458 and Carver, S ORCID: 0000-0002-3579-7588 2018 , 'Invasive pathogen drives host population collapse: effects of a travelling wave of sarcoptic mange on bare-nosed wombats' , Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 55, no. 1 , pp. 331-341 , doi:

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1. Emerging and invasive pathogens can have long-lasting impacts on susceptible wildlifepopulations, including localised collapse and extirpation. Management of threatening disease is of widespread interest and requires knowledge of spatiotemporal patterns of pathogen spread.2. Theory suggests disease spread often occurs via two patterns: homogenous mixing and travelling waves. However, high resolution empirical data demonstrating localised (within population) disease spread patterns are rare.3. This study examined the spread of sarcoptic mange (aetiological agent Sarcoptes scabiei) in a population of bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus), and investigated whether pathogen spread occurred by homogenous mixing or a travelling wave.4. Using seven years of population surveys and four years of disease severity surveys, we show that mange was first detected in the east of a wombat population in northern Tasmania, and progressed westward as a travelling wave. Wombat mortality rates reached 100% behind the wave, with a 94% decline in overall wombat abundance within the park.5. Synthesis and applications. Globally distributed pathogens may have severe impacts on susceptible host species. This is the first study to quantify population level impacts of sarcoptic mange upon bare-nosed wombats, showing a wave of mange disease which resulted in a dramatic population decline. Successful management of the spread of this and similar pathogens may hinge on the capacity to establish transmission barriers at local or between population scales.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Martin, AM and Burridge, CP and Ingram, J and Fraser, TA and Carver, S
Keywords: sarcoptic mange, bare nosed wombat, host, scabies mite
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Applied Ecology
Publisher: British Ecological Society
ISSN: 1365-2664
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2017 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology© 2017 British Ecological Society

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