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Volume 14, Number 1—January 2008
International Polar Year


Integrated Approaches and Empirical Models for Investigation of Parasitic Diseases in Northern Wildlife

Eric P. Hoberg*Comments to Author , Lydden Polley†, Emily J. Jenkins†‡, Susan J. Kutz§, Alasdair M. Veitch¶, and Brett T. Elkin#
Author affiliations: *US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland, USA; †University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; ‡Environment Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; §University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; ¶Government of the Northwest Territories, Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada; #Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

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Table 1

Approaches and tools for exploring diversity and changes in complex host-parasite systems

Definition of pathogen diversity
1) Geographically extensive and site intensive survey and inventory
2) Determination of faunal diversity for species present, for which systematics is the foundation
3) Patterns of association for hosts
4) Geographic range for hosts and parasites
5) Numerical, abundance/ intensity data
6) Seasonal data for distribution and patterns of transmission
7) Survey linking parasite species diversity to population structure requiring integrated morphologic and molecular approaches for accurate and rapid diagnostics
8) Molecular prospecting for diversity
9) Distribution of parasites versus distribution of disease
Development of historical baselines
1) Archival museum collections
2) Host-parasite phylogenetic frameworks
3) Historical ecology and biogeography/phylogeography to clarify past abiotic and biotic determinants of distribution
4) Geographic information system applications
5) Analogue approaches to be applied where historical processes that have structured faunas are used to inform or predict the responses of contemporary systems under a regime of dynamic climate change
Exploration of environmental effects
1) Define thresholds and rates for development
2) Define tolerances for environmental parameters, e.g., temperature, humidity, precipitation
3) Define environmental limitations on distribution
Characterization of disease conditions
1) Laboratory-based experimental infections in parasite naïve hosts
2) Pathology and histology
3) Evaluations of natural mortality and associations with parasites
Establishment of surveillance networks and monitoring
1) Targeted strategic survey and inventory
2) Opportunistic networks linking wildlife managers and communities
Development and testing of predictive models
1) Integrative frameworks incorporating data from survey, parasite diversity, historical analogues, environmental thresholds, tolerances and constraints
2) Responses under scenarios for climatologic/environmental change
3) Validation through long-term monitoring

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