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The impact of disease on the survival and population growth rate of the Tasmanian devil


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Lachish, S, Jones, ME and McCallum, HI 2007 , 'The impact of disease on the survival and population growth rate of the Tasmanian devil' , Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 76 , pp. 926-936 , doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01272.x.

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We investigated the impact of a recently emerged disease, Devil Facial Tumour Disease
(DFTD), on the survival and population growth rate of a population of Tasmanian
Sarcophilus harrisii
, on the Freycinet Peninsula in eastern Tasmania.
Cormack–Jolly–Seber and multistate mark–recapture models were employed to
investigate the impact of DFTD on age- and sex-specific apparent survival and transition
rates. Disease impact on population growth rate was investigated using reverse-time
mark–recapture models.
The arrival of DFTD triggered an immediate and steady decline in apparent survival
rates of adults and subadults, the rate of which was predicted well by the increase in
disease prevalence in the population over time.
Transitions from healthy to diseased state increased with disease prevalence suggesting
that the force of infection in the population is increasing and that the epidemic is not subsiding.
The arrival of DFTD coincided with a marked, ongoing decline in the population
growth rate of the previously stable population, which to date has not been offset by
population compensatory responses.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lachish, S and Jones, ME and McCallum, HI
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Animal Ecology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0021-8790
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01272.x
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