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P.C. Cross

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1. Many studies have investigated why males and females segregate spatially in sexually dimorphic species. These studies have focused primarily on temperate zone ungulates in areas lacking intact predator communities, and few have directly assessed predation rates in different social environments. 2. Data on the movement, social affiliation, mortality and foraging of radio-collared African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) were collected from 2001-06 in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. 3. The vast majority of mortality events were due to lion (Panthera leo) predation, and the mortality hazard associated with being an adult male buffalo in a male-only 'bachelor' group was almost four times higher than for adult females...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Animal Ecology
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Every winter, government agencies feed ???6000 metric tons (6 ?? 106 kg) of hay to elk in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to limit transmission of Brucella abortus, the causative agent of brucellosis, from elk to cattle. Supplemental feeding, however, is likely to increase the transmission of brucellosis in elk, and may be affected by climatic factors, such as snowpack. We assessed these possibilities using snowpack and feeding data from 1952 to 2006 and disease testing data from 1993 to 2006. Brucellosis seroprevalence was strongly correlated with the timing of the feeding season. Longer feeding seasons were associated with higher seroprevalence, but elk population size and density had only minor...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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1. Understanding the effects of disease is critical to determining appropriate management responses, but estimating those effects in wildlife species is challenging. We used bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in the African buffalo Syncerus caffer population of Kruger National Park, South Africa, as a case study to highlight the issues associated with estimating chronic disease effects in a long-lived host. 2. We used known and radiocollared buffalo, aerial census data, and a natural gradient in pathogen prevalence to investigate if: (i) at the individual level, BTB infection reduces reproduction; (ii) BTB infection increases vulnerability to predation; and (iii) at the population level, increased BTB prevalence causes reduced...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Applied Ecology
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Capturing, immobilizing, and fitting radiocollars are common practices in studies of large mammals, but success is based on the assumptions that captured animals are representative of the rest of the population and that the capture procedure has negligible effects. We estimated effects of chemical immobilization on mortality rates of African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. We used a Cox proportional hazards approach to test for differences in mortality among age, sex, and capture classes of repeatedly captured radiocollared buffalo. Capture variables did not improve model fit and the Cox regression did not indicate increased risk of death for captured individuals up to 90 days...
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Host population thresholds for invasion or persistence of infectious disease are core concepts of disease ecology, and underlie on-going and controversial disease control policies based on culling and vaccination. Empirical evidence for these thresholds in wildlife populations has been sparse, however, though recent studies have narrowed this gap. Here we review the theoretical bases for population thresholds for disease, revealing why they are difficult to measure and sometimes are not even expected, and identifying important facets of wildlife ecology left out of current theories. We discuss strengths and weaknesses of selected empirical studies that have reported disease thresholds for wildlife, identify recurring...
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