Time-delayed influence of urban landscape change on the susceptibility of koalas to chlamydiosis
- 512 Downloads
Infectious diseases are important in the dynamics of many wildlife populations, but there is limited understanding of how landscape change influences susceptibility to disease.
We aimed to quantify the time-delayed influence of spatial and temporal components of landscape change and climate variability on the prevalence of chlamydiosis in koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in southeast Queensland, Australia.
We used data collected over 14 years (n = 9078 records) from a koala hospital along with time-lagged measures of landscape change and rainfall to conduct spatial and temporal analyses of the influence of landscape and environmental variables on prevalence of chlamydiosis and koala body condition.
Areas with more suitable habitat were associated with higher levels of disease prevalence and better body condition, indicating that koalas were less likely to be impacted by chlamydiosis. More intact landscapes with higher proportions of total habitat are associated with a reduction in prevalence of chlamydiosis and a decrease in body condition. Increased annual rainfall contributed to a decrease in prevalence of chlamydiosis and an increase in body condition. Urbanization was associated with an increase in disease, however the effects of urban landscape change and climate variability on chlamydiosis may not manifest until several years later when overt disease impacts the population via effects upon body condition and reproductive success.
Our study highlights the importance of effects of landscape change and climate variability on disease prevalence in wildlife. This recognition is essential for long-term conservation planning, especially as disease often interacts with other threats.
KeywordsWildlife disease Body condition Habitat loss Chlamydiosis Time lags Climate variability Phascolarctos cinereus
We gratefully acknowledge the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for funding this study. Many thanks to Hawthorne Beyer, Harriet Preece and Chris Moon for their comments and edits. The input of three anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of the manuscript.
- Adams-Hosking C, McBride MF, Baxter G, Burgman M, de Villiers D, Kavanagh R, Lawler I, Lunney D, Melzer A, Menkhorst P, Molsher R, Moore BD, Phalen D, Rhodes JR, Todd C, Desley W, McAlpine CA (2016) Use of expert knowledge to elicit population trends for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Div Distrib 22:249–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Booth GD, Niccolucci MJ, Schuster EG (1994) Identifying proxy sets in multiple linear regression: an aid to better coefficient interpretation. Research paper INT-470. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Ogden, USAGoogle Scholar
- Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multi-model inference: a practical information-theoretic approach, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Carrick FN, Girjes AA, Melzer A, Ellis WA (1990) Prevalence of chlamydial infection in a relatively undisturbed koala population. In: Gordon G (ed) Koalas. Research for management. Proceedings of the Brisbane Koala Symposium, 22–23 Sep 1990, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
- Engle RF (ed) (1984) Wald, likelihood ratio, and Lagrange multiplier tests in Econometrics. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Gordon G, McGreevy DG, Lawrie BC (1990) Koala populations in Queensland—major limiting factors. In: Lee AK, Handasyde KA, Sanson GD (eds) Biology of the Koala. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney, pp 75–84Google Scholar
- Griffith JE (2010) Studies into the diagnosis, treatment and management of chlamydiosis in koalas. PhD thesis, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South WalesGoogle Scholar
- Hennessy K, Fitzharris B, Bates BC, Harvey N, Howden SM, Hughes L, Salinger J, Warrick R (2007) Australia and New Zealand. Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 507–540Google Scholar
- Hume ID (1990) Biological basis for the vulnerability of koalas to habitat fragmentation. In: Lunney D, Urquhart CA, Reed P (eds) Koala summit, managing Koalas in New South Wales. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville, pp 32–35Google Scholar
- Kollipara A, Polkinghorne A, Wan C, Kanyoka P, Hanger J, Loader J, Callaghan J, Bell A, Ellis W, Fitzgibbon S, Melzer A, Beagley K, Timms P (2013) Genetic diversity of Chlamydia pecorum strains in wild koala locations across Australia and the implications for a recombinant C. pecorum major outer membrane protein based vaccine. Vet Microbiol 167:513–522CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lunney D, Crowther MS, Wallis I, Foley WJ, Lemon J, Wheeler R, Madani G, Orscheg C, Griffith JE, Krockenberger M, Retamales M, Stalenberg E (2012) Koalas and climate change: a case study on the Liverpool plains, north-west NSW. In: Lunney D, Hutchings P (eds) Wildlife and climate change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, pp 150–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lunney D, Wells A, Miller I (2016) An ecological history of the Koala in Coffs Harbour and its environs, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, c1861–2000. Proc Linn Soc NSW 138:1–48Google Scholar
- Martin R, Handasyde K (1999) The koala: natural history, conservation and management, 2nd edn. University of NSW Press, KensingtonGoogle Scholar
- McAlpine CA, Rhodes JR, Callaghan JG, Bowen ME, Lunney D, Mitchell DL, Pullar DV, Possingham HP (2006b) The importance of forest area and configuration relative to local habitat factors for conserving forest mammals: a case study of koalas in Queensland, Australia. Biol Conserv 132:153–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Melzer A, Houston W (2001) An overview of the understanding of koala ecology: how much more do we need to know? In: Lyons K, Melzer A, Carrick F, Lamb D (eds) The research and management of non-urban koala populations. Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, pp 6–45Google Scholar
- Preece HJ (2007) Monitoring and modelling threats to koala populations in rapidly urbanising landscapes: Koala coast, south east Queensland, Australia. PhD thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.742Google Scholar
- Queensland Government (2011) Silo climate data. Queensland Governments “The Long Paddock”. http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/ppd/index.php
- Queensland Herbarium (2011) Regional ecosystem description database (REDD) version 6.0b—January 2011. Department of Environment and Resource Management: BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
- Rhodes JR, Beyer HL, Preece HJ, McAlpine CA (2015) South East Queensland Koala population modelling study. UniQuest, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
- Thompson J (2006) The comparative ecology and population dynamics of koalas in the Koala Coast region of south-east Queensland. PhD thesis, The University of QueenslandGoogle Scholar
- Waugh C, Khan SA, Carve S, Hanger J, Loader J, Polkinghorne A, Beagley K, Timms P (2016) A prototype recombinant-protein based Chlamydia pecorum vaccine results in reduced chlamydial burden and less clinical disease in free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146934 Google Scholar