Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Urban landscapes can change virus gene flow and evolution in a fragmentation-sensitive carnivore

October 18, 2017

Urban expansion has widespread impacts on wildlife species globally, including the transmission and emergence of infectious diseases. However, there is almost no information about how urban landscapes shape transmission dynamics in wildlife. Using an innovative phylodynamic approach combining host and pathogen molecular data with landscape characteristics and host traits, we untangle the complex factors that drive transmission networks of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in bobcats (Lynx rufus). We found that the urban landscape played a significant role in shaping FIV transmission. Even though bobcats were often trapped within the urban matrix, FIV transmission events were more likely to occur in areas with more natural habitat elements. Urban fragmentation also resulted in lower rates of pathogen evolution, possibly owing to a narrower range of host genotypes in the fragmented area. Combined, our findings show that urban landscapes can have impacts on a pathogen and its evolution in a carnivore living in one of the most fragmented and urban systems in North America. The analytical approach used here can be broadly applied to other host-pathogen systems, including humans.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Urban landscapes can change virus gene flow and evolution in a fragmentation-sensitive carnivore
DOI 10.1111/mec.14375
Authors Nicholas M. Fountain-Jones, Meggan E. Craft, W. Chris Funk, Chris Kozakiewicz, Daryl Trumbo, Erin E. Boydston, Lisa M. Lyren, Kevin R. Crooks, Justin S. Lee, Sue VandeWoude, Scott Carver
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Molecular Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70191881
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

Related Content