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Host traits and environment interact to drive persistence of bat populations impacted by white-nose syndrome

Citation

Grimaudo, Alexander et al. (2021), Host traits and environment interact to drive persistence of bat populations impacted by white-nose syndrome, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j9kd51cdw

Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases have resulted in severe population declines across diverse taxa. In some instances, despite attributes associated with high extinction risk, disease emergence and host declines are followed by host stabilization for unknown reasons. While host, pathogen, and the environment are recognized as important factors that interact to determine host-pathogen coexistence, they are often considered independently. Here, we use a translocation experiment to disentangle the role of host traits and environmental conditions in driving the persistence of remnant bat populations a decade after they declined 70-99% due to white-nose syndrome and subsequently stabilized. While survival was significantly higher than during the initial epidemic within all sites, protection from severe disease only existed within a narrow environmental space, suggesting host traits conducive to surviving disease are highly environmentally dependent. Ultimately, population persistence following pathogen invasion is the product of host-pathogen interactions that vary across a patchwork of environments.

Funding

NSF-NIH-NIFA Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease, Award: DEB-1911853