Central grasslands ecosystem

Elizabeth Hunter

Several published studies have already shown that temperature, precipitation and topography can affect the probability of a die-off event. However, a broader synthesis of datasets from across the BTPD range may enable more accurate prediction of when and where die-offs will occur. The APE lab is leading a large collaborative project to create predictive models of BTPD colony die-offs caused by the plague bacterium. We have acquired colony history data from across the BTPD range and are working…

Understanding the potential for widespread plague resistance in prairie dogs

Modeling host evolution in a dynamic metapopulation

Kevin Shoemaker

Prairie dogs are keystone species of North America‚Äôs central grasslands, and have experienced dramatic population reductions over the past century due to sylvatic plague, a highly virulent disease introduced to North America ca. 1900. The APE lab is involved in building a novel host-resistance modeling framework to investigate the genetic, demographic and environmental conditions that promote or impede resistance to plague and other similar virulent pathogens in complex and dynamic ecosystems.…