Integrating spatial-capture recapture models into models of plague transmission in prairie dogs
Developing models of disease transmission is often a difficult process due to a variety of factors including a lack of information on spatial structure of host organisms. Spatial capture recapture techniques allow for the estimate of average animal movement distances for animals such as prairie dogs that are difficult to track using traditional means (i.e pit tags or radio collars). We apply SCR methodology to data collected from 58 paired sites across the Intermountain west, including Gunnison’s (Cynomys gunnisoni), black-tailed (C. ludovicianus), white-tailed (C. leucurus), and Utah prairie dogs (C. parvidens). We present our methodology and lay out the basic framework for our integration of field data into models of plague dynamics in prairie ecosystems.
We use our estimated abundances and information on activity centers from the R package SCRbayes-which formulates SCR models in a Bayesian framework- as input into our models of plague transmission, and demonstrate how the use of SCR models can infrom models of disease transmission. Different social structures among different species may contribute to producing different patterns of epizootic and enzootic plague.