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Should we expect population thresholds for wildlife disease?

January 1, 2005

Host population thresholds for invasion or persistence of infectious disease are core concepts of disease ecology, and underlie on-going and controversial disease control policies based on culling and vaccination. Empirical evidence for these thresholds in wildlife populations has been sparse, however, though recent studies have narrowed this gap. Here we review the theoretical bases for population thresholds for disease, revealing why they are difficult to measure and sometimes are not even expected, and identifying important facets of wildlife ecology left out of current theories. We discuss strengths and weaknesses of selected empirical studies that have reported disease thresholds for wildlife, identify recurring obstacles, and discuss implications of our imperfect understanding of wildlife thresholds for disease control policy.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Should we expect population thresholds for wildlife disease?
DOI 10.1016/j.tree.2005.07.004
Authors James O. Lloyd-Smith, P.C. Cross, C.J. Briggs, M. Daugherty, W.M. Getz, J. Latto, M. Sanchez, A. Smith, A. Swei
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Index ID 1008630
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center