DOI: 10.1101/483073Nov 29, 2018Paper

The fine-scale landscape of immunity and parasitism in a wild ungulate population

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gregory F AlberyJosephine M Pemberton


Spatial heterogeneity in parasite susceptibility and exposure is a common source of confounding variation in disease ecology studies. However, it is not known whether spatial autocorrelation acts on immunity in particular at small scales, within wild animal populations, and whether this predicts spatial patterns in infection. Here we used a well-mixed wild population of individually recognised red deer ( Cervus elaphus ) inhabiting a heterogeneous landscape to investigate fine-scale spatial patterns of immunity and parasitism. We noninvasively collected 842 faecal samples from 141 females with known ranging behaviour over two years. We quantified total and helminth-specific mucosal antibodies and counted propagules of three gastrointestinal helminth taxa. These data were analysed with linear mixed models using the Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA), using a Stochastic Partial Differentiation Equation approach (SPDE) to control for and quantify spatial autocorrelation. We also investigated whether spatial patterns of immunity and parasitism changed seasonally. We discovered substantial spatial heterogeneity in general and helminth-specific antibody levels and parasitism with two helminth taxa, all of which exhibited ...Continue Reading

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