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Title: Modelling the environmental and ecological drivers of chytridiomycosis
Author: Doddington, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 9418
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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Amphibians are the most threatened taxon assessed by the IUCN Red List, with over 42% of all species in decline. The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been shown to a driver of many of these declines. The broad aim of this thesis is to develop mechanistic models that realistically capture the observed disease dynamics of Bd within Europe, and use these to help understand its ecological and environmental drivers. Mathematical modelling, field work and experimental work are used in order to obtain an understanding of a Bd-host system on Mallorca, and in combination, to show how the host population response to Bd is highly context-dependent. The understanding gained is used to help predict the consequences of an attempt to mitigate (reduce or avoid the negative effects of) Bd in this system, and the mitigation attempt’s short-comings are then analyzed in order to better inform future efforts. The context-dependence of a host-population response to Bd will depend of two components: a component dependent on the host and a component dependent on Bd. Modelling of infection experiment results in the frog species Silurana tropicalis is used to show a temperature-dependent host response which is separate to the temperature-dependent response of Bd. Multi-host models of Bd are created and used to show how increasing species diversity can increase disease risk, and a method of estimating unknown epidemiological parameters for Bd based on known facts about the host’s biology is presented.
Supervisor: Grassly, Nicholas ; Fisher, Matthew Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral