CSE Seminar - Ben Bolker - Ecological synthesis: a case study of West Nile Virus spread in Texas bird communities
Speaker: Ben Bolker
Title: Ecological synthesis: a case study of West Nile Virus spread in Texas bird communities
Abstract: West Nile Virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne virus of birds, emerged in North America in 1999; the invading strain was then displaced within a few years by a novel mutant. In order to understand this competitive displacement event, and to predict transmission of WNV in bird communities comprising hundreds of species, we collected data on bird and mosquito infections, bird community composition, and mosquito biting preferences from lab experiments, field observations, and citizen science databases. We use a Bayesian framework, including a method for phylogenetic imputation applied to species with missing data, to synthesize information across the entire disease life cycle and throughout the community.