Wildlife Disease

We use models to develop general ecological theory and to address particular questions in specific wildlife disease.

For example we have developed a number of models that examine the potential role of squirrelpox virus in the invasion of the American grey squirrel into the UK. The disease is shared, brought with the greys and is highly pathogenic to the red. It’s role was in the invasion was often dismissed, mainly because relatively few infected red squirrels were seen, the modeling showed how this is a misconception. Highly pathogenic diseases have low prevalence but have important population dynamical implications.

The initial paper  is:

Tompkins, D, White, A & Boots M (2003). Wildlife disease plays a key role in the replacement of red squirrels by greys in the UK. Ecology Letters, 6, 189-196.

The work continues see the project website here.

We are also currently developing models of Avian Malaria in Blue Tits and TB in Badgers and wildboar.