Vulnerability of a killer whale social network to disease outbreaks

P.R. Guimarães, M.A. De Menezes, R.W. Baird, D. Lusseau, P. Guimarães, S.F. Dos Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases are among the main threats to conservation of biological diversity. A crucial task facing epidemiologists is to predict the vulnerability of populations of endangered animals to disease outbreaks. In this context, the network structure of social interactions within animal populations may affect disease spreading. However, endangered animal populations are often small and to investigate the dynamics of small networks is a difficult task. Using network theory, we show that the social structure of an endangered population of mammal-eating killer whales is vulnerable to disease outbreaks. This feature was found to be a consequence of the combined effects of the topology and strength of social links among individuals. Our results uncover a serious challenge for conservation of the species and its ecosystem. In addition, this study shows that the network approach can be useful to study dynamical processes in very small networks. © 2007 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042901
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Volume76
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • small-world networks
  • orcinus-orca
  • ecologica communities
  • top predators
  • threats
  • biodiversity
  • epidemic
  • percolation
  • dynamics

Cite this

Vulnerability of a killer whale social network to disease outbreaks. / Guimarães, P.R.; De Menezes, M.A.; Baird, R.W.; Lusseau, D.; Guimarães, P.; Dos Reis, S.F.

In: Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics, Vol. 76, No. 4, 042901, 10.2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Guimarães, P.R. ; De Menezes, M.A. ; Baird, R.W. ; Lusseau, D. ; Guimarães, P. ; Dos Reis, S.F. / Vulnerability of a killer whale social network to disease outbreaks. In: Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics. 2007 ; Vol. 76, No. 4.
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