Reviews and Synthesis
Applying evolutionary concepts to wildlife disease ecology and management
Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Special Issue: Evolutionary perspectives on wildlife disease: concepts and applications
Volume 7, Issue 7, pages 856–868, August 2014
How to Cite
Vander Wal, E., Garant, D., Calmé, S., Chapman, C. A., Festa-Bianchet, M., Millien, V., Rioux-Paquette, S. and Pelletier, F. (2014), Applying evolutionary concepts to wildlife disease ecology and management. Evolutionary Applications, 7: 856–868. doi: 10.1111/eva.12168
- Issue online: 27 AUG 2014
- Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 6 MAR 2014
- Québec Centre for Biodiversity Science via Fonds Québecois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies
- National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant Programme
- Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Demography
- eco-evolutionary dynamics;
- environmental change;
- host–pathogen interactions;
Existing and emerging infectious diseases are among the most pressing global threats to biodiversity, food safety and human health. The complex interplay between host, pathogen and environment creates a challenge for conserving species, communities and ecosystem functions, while mediating the many known ecological and socio-economic negative effects of disease. Despite the clear ecological and evolutionary contexts of host–pathogen dynamics, approaches to managing wildlife disease remain predominantly reactionary, focusing on surveillance and some attempts at eradication. A few exceptional studies have heeded recent calls for better integration of ecological concepts in the study and management of wildlife disease; however, evolutionary concepts remain underused. Applied evolution consists of four principles: evolutionary history, genetic and phenotypic variation, selection and eco-evolutionary dynamics. In this article, we first update a classical framework for understanding wildlife disease to integrate better these principles. Within this framework, we explore the evolutionary implications of environment–disease interactions. Subsequently, we synthesize areas where applied evolution can be employed in wildlife disease management. Finally, we discuss some future directions and challenges. Here, we underscore that despite some evolutionary principles currently playing an important role in our understanding of disease in wild animals, considerable opportunities remain for fostering the practice of evolutionarily enlightened wildlife disease management.