OOS 28-8 - Host movement behavior and infection risk in ungulates

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 4:00 PM
17B, Austin Convention Center
Vanessa O. Ezenwa, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Animal behavior, in particular movement behavior and space use, can strongly influence parasite and pathogen infection risk. In many species, individuals vary in how they use space, with some individuals being highly sedentary and others more migratory, and this within-species variation in space use has the potential to create key heterogeneities in parasite exposure. Here, I examine the extent to which movement behavior can underlie infection risk in the wild. Specifically, I use examples from free-ranging ungulates to explore the links between host space use, parasite exposure, and infection.


Results suggest that on one hand, more sedentary behavior can increase the risk of exposure to some parasites leading to more intense infections, but on the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle may protect individuals from exposure to multiple parasites and pathogens, reducing overall parasite richness. The broader implications of these contrasting effects of host movement on parasite pressure will be explored.

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