Contact networks in a wild Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) population: using social network analysis to reveal seasonal variability in social behaviour and its implications for transmission of devil facial tumour disease
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-17, 00:10 authored by Rodrigo Hamede RossRodrigo Hamede Ross, Bashford, JD, McCallum, HI, Menna JonesMenna Jones
The structure of the contact network between individuals has a profound effect on the transmission of infectious disease. Using a novel technology - proximity sensing radio collars - we described the contact network in a population of Tasmanian devils. This largest surviving marsupial carnivore is threatened by a novel infectious cancer. All devils were connected in a single giant component, which would permit disease to spread throughout the network from any single infected individual. Unlike the contact networks for many human diseases, the degree distribution was not highly aggregated. Nevertheless, the empirically derived networks differed from random networks. Contact networks differed between the mating and non-mating seasons, with more extended male-female associations in the mating season and a greater frequency of female-female associations outside the mating season. Our results suggest that there is limited potential to control the disease by targeting highly connected age or sex classes. Â© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
Publication titleEcology Letters
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of publication9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg