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Filters: Contacts: W.H. Edwards (X)

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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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While many wildlife species are threatened, some populations have recovered from previous overexploitation, and data linking these population increases with disease dynamics are limited. We present data suggesting that free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) are a maintenance host for Brucella abortus in new areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Brucellosis seroprevalence in free-ranging elk increased from 0-7% in 1991-1992 to 8-20% in 2006-2007 in four of six herd units around the GYE. These levels of brucellosis are comparable to some herd units where elk are artificially aggregated on supplemental feeding grounds. There are several possible mechanisms for this increase that we evaluated using statistical...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Recruitment of burbot Lota lota in eastern Lake Erie, estimated by catches of age-4 burbot, was high during 1997–2001 and then abruptly declined to low levels during 2002–2007. The invasive round goby Neogobius melanostomus, a benthic species, was first collected in trawl assessments in eastern Lake Erie in 1999, and was first found in stomachs of burbot in 2001. By 2003, round goby became an important prey in the diet of burbot. We hypothesized that the combined effects of low recruitment and consumption of round goby would result in increased size-at-age in burbot. We reasoned that: (i) decreased competition for resources among juveniles should result in larger adults, and (ii) consumption of a benthic prey by...
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In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Lake Erie Biological Station (LEBS) successfully completed large vessel surveys in all three of Lake Erie’s basins. Lake Erie Biological Station’s primary vessel surveys included the Western Basin Forage Fish Assessment and East Harbor Fish Community Assessment as well as contributing to the cooperative multi-agency Central Basin Hydroacoustics Assessment, the Eastern Basin Coldwater Community Assessment, and Lower Trophic Level Assessment (see Forage and Coldwater Task Group reports). In 2015, LEBS also initiated a Lake Erie Central Basin Trawling survey in response to the need for forage fish data from Management Unit 3 (as defined by the Yellow Perch Task Group). Results...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Serological data are one of the primary sources of information for disease monitoring in wildlife. However, the duration of the seropositive status of exposed individuals is almost always unknown for many free-ranging host species. Directly estimating rates of antibody loss typically requires difficult longitudinal sampling of individuals following seroconversion. Instead, we propose a Bayesian statistical approach linking age and serological data to a mechanistic epidemiological model to infer brucellosis infection, the probability of antibody loss, and recovery rates of elk (Cervus canadensis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We found that seroprevalence declined above the age of ten, with no evidence of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: EcoHealth
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In Lake Ontario, factors including the collapse of the burrowing amphipod, Diporeia spp., changes in the distribution and composition of the prey fish community, and occurrence of exotic cladocerans Bythotrephes longimanus and Cercopagis pengoi have led to changes in predation pressure on the remaining native profundal macroinvertebrate, Mysis relicta. We conducted a diet study on three important prey fishes, alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) in 2002-2005 at depths 75-130 m along the south shore of Lake Ontario to evaluate the current role of Mysis in the diets of these species relative to earlier studies and previously unpublished data from 1994-1995....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Although Yersinia pestis is classified as a "high-virulence" pathogen, some host species are variably susceptible to disease. Coyotes (Canis latrans) exhibit mild, if any, symptoms during infection, but antibody production occurs postinfection. This immune response has been reported to be against the F1 capsule, although little subsequent characterization has been conducted. To further define the nature of coyote humoral immunity to plague, qualitative serology was conducted to assess the antiplague antibody repertoire. Humoral responses to six plasmid-encoded Y. pestis virulence factors were first examined. Of 20 individual immune coyotes, 90% were reactive to at least one other antigen in the panel other than...
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Lower reproductive success and older age structure are associated with many burbot (Lota lota L.) populations that are declining or of conservation concern. Therefore, reliable methods for estimating the age of burbot are critical for effective assessment and management. In Lake Erie, burbot populations have declined in recent years due to the combined effects of an aging population (&xmacr; = 10 years in 2007) and extremely low recruitment since 2002. We examined otoliths from burbot (N = 91) collected in Lake Erie in 2007 and compared the estimates of burbot age by two agers, each using two established methods (cracked-and-burned and thin-section) of estimating ages from burbot otoliths. One ager was experienced...