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Landscape epidemiology of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans : reconciling data limitations and conservation urgency

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Abstract
Starting in 2010, rapid-fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) population declines in northwestern Europe heralded the emergence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a salamander-pathogenic chytrid fungus. Bsal poses an imminent threat to global salamander diversity owing to its wide host range, high pathogenicity, and long-term persistence in ecosystems. While there is a pressing need to develop further research and conservation actions, data limitations inherent to recent pathogen emergence obscure necessary insights into Bsal disease ecology. Here, we use a hierarchical modeling framework to describe Bsal landscape epidemiology of outbreak sites in light of these methodological challenges. Using model selection and machine learning, we find that Bsal presence is associated with humid and relatively cool, stable climates. Outbreaks are generally located in areas characterized by low landscape heterogeneity and low steepness of slope. We further find an association between Bsal presence and high trail density, suggesting that human-mediated spread may increase risk for spillover between populations. We then use distribution modeling to show that favorable conditions occur in lowlands influenced by the North Sea, where increased survey effort is needed to determine how Bsal impacts local newt populations, but also in hill- and mountain ranges in northeastern France and the lower half of Germany. Finally, connectivity analyses suggest that these hill- and mountain ranges may act as stepping stones for further spread southward. Our results provide initial insight into regional environmental conditions underlying Bsal epizootics, present updated invasibility predictions for northwestern Europe, and lead us to discuss a wide variety of potential survey and research actions needed to advance future conservation and mitigation efforts.
Keywords
AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES, SPECIES DISTRIBUTION, MODEL SELECTION, CHYTRID FUNGUS, SPATIAL-PATTERNS, CROSS-VALIDATION, PATHOGEN, DENDROBATIDIS, SALAMANDER, DISEASE, amphibian, Bsal, Chytridiomycosis, Circuitscape, connectivity, conservation prioritization, distribution model, emerging infectious, disease, landscape ecology, population declines

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MLA
Beukema, Wouter, et al. “Landscape Epidemiology of Batrachochytrium Salamandrivorans : Reconciling Data Limitations and Conservation Urgency.” ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS, 2021, doi:10.1002/eap.2342.
APA
Beukema, W., Erens, J., Schulz, V., Stegen, G., van der Sluijs, A. S.-, Stark, T., … Pasmans, F. (2021). Landscape epidemiology of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans : reconciling data limitations and conservation urgency. ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2342
Chicago author-date
Beukema, Wouter, Jesse Erens, Vanessa Schulz, Gwij Stegen, Annemarieke Spitzen- van der Sluijs, Tariq Stark, Arnaud Laudelout, et al. 2021. “Landscape Epidemiology of Batrachochytrium Salamandrivorans : Reconciling Data Limitations and Conservation Urgency.” ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2342.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Beukema, Wouter, Jesse Erens, Vanessa Schulz, Gwij Stegen, Annemarieke Spitzen- van der Sluijs, Tariq Stark, Arnaud Laudelout, Thierry Kinet, Tom Kirschey, Marie Poulain, Claude Miaud, Sebastian Steinfartz, An Martel, and Frank Pasmans. 2021. “Landscape Epidemiology of Batrachochytrium Salamandrivorans : Reconciling Data Limitations and Conservation Urgency.” ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. doi:10.1002/eap.2342.
Vancouver
1.
Beukema W, Erens J, Schulz V, Stegen G, van der Sluijs AS-, Stark T, et al. Landscape epidemiology of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans : reconciling data limitations and conservation urgency. ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. 2021;
IEEE
[1]
W. Beukema et al., “Landscape epidemiology of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans : reconciling data limitations and conservation urgency,” ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS, 2021.
@article{8711775,
  abstract     = {{Starting in 2010, rapid-fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) population declines in northwestern Europe heralded the emergence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a salamander-pathogenic chytrid fungus. Bsal poses an imminent threat to global salamander diversity owing to its wide host range, high pathogenicity, and long-term persistence in ecosystems. While there is a pressing need to develop further research and conservation actions, data limitations inherent to recent pathogen emergence obscure necessary insights into Bsal disease ecology. Here, we use a hierarchical modeling framework to describe Bsal landscape epidemiology of outbreak sites in light of these methodological challenges. Using model selection and machine learning, we find that Bsal presence is associated with humid and relatively cool, stable climates. Outbreaks are generally located in areas characterized by low landscape heterogeneity and low steepness of slope. We further find an association between Bsal presence and high trail density, suggesting that human-mediated spread may increase risk for spillover between populations. We then use distribution modeling to show that favorable conditions occur in lowlands influenced by the North Sea, where increased survey effort is needed to determine how Bsal impacts local newt populations, but also in hill- and mountain ranges in northeastern France and the lower half of Germany. Finally, connectivity analyses suggest that these hill- and mountain ranges may act as stepping stones for further spread southward. Our results provide initial insight into regional environmental conditions underlying Bsal epizootics, present updated invasibility predictions for northwestern Europe, and lead us to discuss a wide variety of potential survey and research actions needed to advance future conservation and mitigation efforts.}},
  articleno    = {{e02342}},
  author       = {{Beukema, Wouter and Erens, Jesse and Schulz, Vanessa and Stegen, Gwij and van der Sluijs, Annemarieke Spitzen- and Stark, Tariq and Laudelout, Arnaud and Kinet, Thierry and Kirschey, Tom and Poulain, Marie and Miaud, Claude and Steinfartz, Sebastian and Martel, An and Pasmans, Frank}},
  issn         = {{1051-0761}},
  journal      = {{ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS}},
  keywords     = {{AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES,SPECIES DISTRIBUTION,MODEL SELECTION,CHYTRID FUNGUS,SPATIAL-PATTERNS,CROSS-VALIDATION,PATHOGEN,DENDROBATIDIS,SALAMANDER,DISEASE,amphibian,Bsal,Chytridiomycosis,Circuitscape,connectivity,conservation prioritization,distribution model,emerging infectious,disease,landscape ecology,population declines}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{12}},
  title        = {{Landscape epidemiology of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans : reconciling data limitations and conservation urgency}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eap.2342}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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