Functional traits explain waterbirds' host status, subtype richness, and community-level infection risk for avian influenza

Shenglai Yin, Ning Li, Wenjie Xu, Daniel J. Becker, Willem F. de Boer, Chi Xu, Taej Mundkur, Nicholas M. Fountain-Jones, Chunlin Li, Guan Zhu Han, Qiang Wu, Diann J. Prosser, Lijuan Cui, Zheng Y.X. Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Species functional traits can influence pathogen transmission processes, and consequently affect species' host status, pathogen diversity, and community-level infection risk. We here investigated, for 143 European waterbird species, effects of functional traits on host status and pathogen diversity (subtype richness) for avian influenza virus at species level. We then explored the association between functional diversity and HPAI H5Nx occurrence at the community level for 2016/17 and 2021/22 epidemics in Europe. We found that both host status and subtype richness were shaped by several traits, such as diet guild and dispersal ability, and that the community-weighted means of these traits were also correlated with community-level risk of H5Nx occurrence. Moreover, functional divergence was negatively associated with H5Nx occurrence, indicating that functional diversity can reduce infection risk. Our findings highlight the value of integrating trait-based ecology into the framework of diversity–disease relationship, and provide new insights for HPAI prediction and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1780-1791
JournalEcology Letters
Volume26
Issue number10
Early online date16 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • dilution effect
  • diversity–disease relationship
  • functional divergence
  • functional diversity
  • HPAI H5Nx
  • pathogen diversity

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