The 2008 Southwood Prize is awarded jointly to Tiziana Lembo and Katie Hampson for their paper ‘Exploring reservoir dynamics: a case study of rabies in the Serengeti Ecosystem.’ (Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume 45, pp. 1246–1257). The paper combines long-term data and modelling to demonstrate that the reservoir for rabies in the Serengeti is a multi-host community where domestic dogs are the only population necessary for persistence but wild carnivores contribute as non-maintenance populations. In addition to making a significant contribution to understanding the dynamics of multi-host diseases, the work has also had a major impact on management policy, suggesting that control strategies that target domestic dogs should have the greatest impact on reducing risk of infection to humans, livestock and wildlife. The paper is exemplary in combining academic rigour with management relevance and the authors are worthy joint recipients of the 2008 Southwood Prize.
Tiziana Lembo's PhD, based at the University of Edinburgh, focussed on the identification of reservoirs for rabies and canine distemper virus in the Serengeti. The study posed several major challenges relating to the complex and elusive problem of reservoir identification for pathogens infecting multiple host species, which Tiziana successfully addressed using a suite of phylogenetic and epidemiological approaches. Tiziana followed her PhD with a BBSRC fellowship on bovine tuberculosis in Tanzania, and currently holds a joint position as a post-doctoral fellow at Lincoln Park Zoo (USA) and the University of Glasgow.
Katie Hampson's PhD from Princeton University focussed on understanding the transmission dynamics of rabies in the Serengeti. During this study, she pioneered the use of contact-tracing methodology and applied a range of quantitative methods for elucidating the epidemiology of rabies, generating invaluable information on the infection parameters and transmission patterns of rabies in domestic animals, human, and wildlife hosts. Katie has developed these approaches further as part of her post-doctoral fellowship from the Wellcome Trust which is currently held at the University of Sheffield.
The Journal of Applied Ecology published a number of excellent papers by young authors during 2008 and we should also like to mention the contribution from Lian Pin Koh entitled ‘Can oil palm plantations be made more hospitable for forest butterflies and birds?’ (Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 45, pp. 1002–1009). The Editors thought this was a very important and timely contribution from a young author and offer their congratulations for a well-executed piece of work.