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Infectious Diseases and Extinction Risk in Wild Mammals
 

Summary: Infectious Diseases and Extinction Risk
in Wild Mammals
AMY B. PEDERSEN,
KATE E. JONES,§ CHARLES L. NUNN,
AND SONIA ALTIZER

Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, U.S.A., and Department of Animal and Plant Sciences,
University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
§Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London, NW1 4RY, United Kingdom

Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.
Abstract: Parasite-driven declines in wildlife have become increasingly common and can pose significant
risks to natural populations. We used the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species and compiled
data on hosts threatened by infectious disease and their parasites to better understand the role of infectious
disease in contemporary host extinctions. The majority of mammal species considered threatened by parasites
were either carnivores or artiodactyls, two clades that include the majority of domesticated animals. Parasites
affecting host threat status were predominantly viruses and bacteria that infect a wide range of host species,
including domesticated animals. Counter to our predictions, parasites transmitted by close contact were more
likely to cause extinction risk than those transmitted by other routes. Mammal species threatened by parasites

  

Source: Altizer, Sonia M.- Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia
Nunn, Charles - Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Pedersen, Amy B. - Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology