Effects of sociality on parasitism: transmission and susceptibility in a sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) population


Prof. Dr. Peter Kappeler, Göttingen

PhD Student: Andrea Springer

In group-living animals, individuals are exposed to various health-related costs and benefits of sociality. In this project, we combine long-term fitness data and detailed data on social behavior of a Malagasy primate species (Verreaux’s sifaka, Propithecus verreauxi) with data on social contact and parasitism to examine the social transmission of parasites within and between groups, which constitutes one major cost of group-living. This project has two specific goals. First, we will expand our knowledge of parasites in a wild population of this primate, based on a combination of invasive and non-invasive sampling. We will determine prevalence, species richness and estimate infection intensity for selected parasites (bacteria, viruses, endo- and ectoparasites) with different transmission modes. Second, we will combine detailed behavioral data on different types of social contacts from individuals of 8 social groups to generate population-wide social networks, which serve to test various hypotheses about social and ecological factors in parasite transmission. In addition, empirical data will be used to model social transmission of parasites. We will also initiate establishment of methods that will allow assessment of individual condition, genetic constitution and stress in a follow-up project. Together, these data will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the relative importance of intrinsic, ecological and social factors in generating fitness variation that does currently not exist for any non-human primate species.
Presentation on conferences
2017              UPCOMING:
                       Behaviour 2017, Estoril, Portugal 
                       Talk: “Seasonality in sociality: Dynamic social networks in models of pathogen
2015              10th International Conference on Behaviour, Physiology and Genetics of Wildlife, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1, Berlin
Talk: “Sociality shapes inter-group transmission of Escherichia coli in a group-living wild lemur species, Verreaux’s sifaka”
Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, May 26 - 29, Athens, GA, USA
Poster: “Hemoparasite infections in a wild primate: Parasite interaction shapes prevalence patterns”
Workshop Human Impact on Wildlife Diseases,  March 26 - 30, Veyrier-du-Lac, Frankreich 
Poster: “Social spread of Escherichia coli through a lemur population”
2014              25th Congress of the International Primatological Society, Aug. 11 - 16, Hanoi, Vietnam 
                      Talk: “Investigating parasite spread through a lemur population”
International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, May 28 – June 1, Warschau, Polen Talk: “Investigating parasite spread through a lemur population”
2013                9. Göttinger Freilandtage“The sociality-health-fitness link”, Dez. 3 - 6, Göttingen
Talk: “Investigating parasite spread through a lemur population”
International Prosimian Congress, Aug. 5 - 11, Ranomafana, Madagaskar
Talk: “Investigating parasite spread through a sifaka population”

Site & Species

 Karte5 Madagaskar google

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