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Movement analysis of free-grazing domestic ducks in Poyang Lake, China: A disease connection

July 13, 2015

Previous work suggests domestic poultry are important contributors to the emergence and transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout Asia. In Poyang Lake, China, domestic duck production cycles are synchronized with arrival and departure of thousands of migratory wild birds in the area. During these periods, high densities of juvenile domestic ducks are in close proximity to migratory wild ducks, increasing the potential for the virus to be transmitted and subsequently disseminated via migration. In this paper, we use GPS dataloggers and dynamic Brownian bridge models to describe movements and habitat use of free-grazing domestic ducks in the Poyang Lake basin and identify specific areas that may have the highest risk of H5N1 transmission between domestic and wild birds. Specifically, we determine relative use by free-grazing domestic ducks of natural wetlands, which are the most heavily used areas by migratory wild ducks, and of rice paddies, which provide habitat for resident wild ducks and lower densities of migratory wild ducks. To our knowledge, this is the first movement study on domestic ducks, and our data show potential for free-grazing domestic ducks from farms located near natural wetlands to come in contact with wild waterfowl, thereby increasing the risk for disease transmission. This study provides an example of the importance of movement ecology studies in understanding dynamics such as disease transmission on a complicated landscape.

Publication Year 2016
Title Movement analysis of free-grazing domestic ducks in Poyang Lake, China: A disease connection
DOI 10.1080/13658816.2015.1065496
Authors Diann J. Prosser, Eric C. Palm, John Y. Takekawa, Delong Zhao, Xiangming Xiao, Peng Li, Ying Liu, Scott H. Newman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Geographical Information Science
Index ID 70170003
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Western Ecological Research Center