Conservation Physiology and Conservation Pathogens: White-Nose Syndrome and Integrative Biology for Host–Pathogen Systems
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Integrative & Comparative Biology
Conservation physiology aims to apply an understanding of physiological mechanisms to management of imperiled species, populations, or ecosystems. One challenge for physiologists hoping to apply their expertise to conservation is connecting the mechanisms we study, often in the laboratory, with the vital rates of populations in the wild. There is growing appreciation that infectious pathogens can threaten populations and species, and represent an important issue for conservation. Conservation physiology has much to offer in terms of addressing the threat posed to some host species by infectious pathogens. At the same time, the well-developed theoretical framework of disease ecology could provide a model to help advance the application of physiology to a range of other conservation issues. Here, I use white-nose syndrome (WNS) in hibernating North American bats as an example of a conservation problem for which integrative physiological research has been a critical part of research and management. The response to WNS highlights the importance of a well-developed theoretical framework for the application of conservation physiology to a particular threat. I review what is known about physiological mechanisms associated with mortality from WNS and emphasize the value of combining a strong theoretical background with integrative physiological studies in order to connect physiological mechanisms with population processes and thereby maximize the potential benefits of conservation physiology.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Willis, Craig K.R., "Conservation Physiology and Conservation Pathogens: White-Nose Syndrome and Integrative Biology for Host–Pathogen Systems" (2015). KIP Articles. 6547.