Dr Dave Hodgson in the lab

Dr Dave Hodgson in the lab

Professor Dave Hodgson
Professor of Ecology & Associate Dean for Education

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications



North AC, Hodgson DJ, Price SJ, Griffiths AG, Griffiths AGF (2015). Anthropogenic and ecological drivers of amphibian disease (ranavirosis). Plos One, 10(6).

Abstract:
Anthropogenic and ecological drivers of amphibian disease (ranavirosis).

Ranaviruses are causing mass amphibian die-offs in North America, Europe and Asia, and have been implicated in the decline of common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in the UK. Despite this, we have very little understanding of the environmental drivers of disease occurrence and prevalence. Using a long term (1992-2000) dataset of public reports of amphibian mortalities, we assess a set of potential predictors of the occurrence and prevalence of Ranavirus-consistent common frog mortality events in Britain. We reveal the influence of biotic and abiotic drivers of this disease, with many of these abiotic characteristics being anthropogenic. Whilst controlling for the geographic distribution of mortality events, disease prevalence increases with increasing frog population density, presence of fish and wild newts, increasing pond depth and the use of garden chemicals. The presence of an alternative host reduces prevalence, potentially indicating a dilution effect. Ranavirosis occurrence is associated with the presence of toads, an urban setting and the use of fish care products, providing insight into the causes of emergence of disease. Links between occurrence, prevalence, pond characteristics and garden management practices provides useful management implications for reducing the impacts of Ranavirus in the wild.
 Abstract.  Author URL
Jelbert K, Stott I, Mcdonald RA, Hodgson D (2015). Invasiveness of plants is predicted by size and fecundity in the native range. Ecology and Evolution, 5(10), 1933-1943.

Abstract:
Invasiveness of plants is predicted by size and fecundity in the native range

(C) 2015 the Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd. An important goal for invasive species research is to find key traits of species that predispose them to being invasive outside their native range. Comparative studies have revealed phenotypic and demographic traits that correlate with invasiveness among plants. However, all but a few previous studies have been performed in the invaded range, an approach which potentially conflates predictors of invasiveness with changes that happen during the invasion process itself. Here, we focus on wild plants in their native range to compare life-history traits of species known to be invasive elsewhere, with their exported but noninvasive relatives. Specifically, we test four hypotheses: that invasive plant species (1) are larger; (2) are more fecund; (3) exhibit higher fecundity for a given size; and (4) attempt to make seed more frequently, than their noninvasive relatives in the native range. We control for the effects of environment and phylogeny using sympatric congeneric or confamilial pairs in the native range. We find that invasive species are larger than noninvasive relatives. Greater size yields greater fecundity, but we also find that invasives are more fecund per-unit-size. Synthesis: We provide the first multispecies, taxonomically controlled comparison of size, and fecundity of invasive versus noninvasive plants in their native range. We find that invasive species are bigger, and produce more seeds, even when we account for their differences in size. Our findings demonstrate that invasive plant species are likely to be invasive as a result of both greater size and constitutively higher fecundity. This suggests that size and fecundity, relative to related species, could be used to predict which plants should be quarantined.
 Abstract.
McDonald JL, Maclean M, Evans MR, Hodgson DJ (2015). Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and Evolution, 5(14), 2745-2753.

Abstract:
Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats

(C) 2015 the Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd. The predation of wildlife by domestic cats (Felis catus) is a complex problem: Cats are popular companion animals in modern society but are also acknowledged predators of birds, herpetofauna, invertebrates, and small mammals. A comprehensive understanding of this conservation issue demands an understanding of both the ecological consequence of owning a domestic cat and the attitudes of cat owners. Here, we determine whether cat owners are aware of the predatory behavior of their cats, using data collected from 86 cats in two UK villages. We examine whether the amount of prey their cat returns influences the attitudes of 45 cat owners toward the broader issue of domestic cat predation. We also contribute to the wider understanding of physiological, spatial, and behavioral drivers of prey returns among cats. We find an association between actual prey returns and owner predictions at the coarse scale of predatory/nonpredatory behavior, but no correlation between the observed and predicted prey-return rates among predatory cats. Cat owners generally disagreed with the statement that cats are harmful to wildlife, and disfavored all mitigation options apart from neutering. These attitudes were uncorrelated with the predatory behavior of their cats. Cat owners failed to perceive the magnitude of their cats' impacts on wildlife and were not influenced by ecological information. Management options for the mitigation of cat predation appear unlikely to work if they focus on "predation awareness" campaigns or restrictions of cat freedom. We consider both the ecological consequence of owning a domestic cat and the attitudes of cat owners. Our findings suggest cat owners fail to perceive the magnitude of their cats' impacts on wildlife, with no correlation between the observed and predicted prey return rates among predatory cats. On the basis of opinions of cat owners in this study, management options for the mitigation of cat predation appear unlikely to work if they focus on "predation awareness" campaigns, or restrictions of cat freedom.
 Abstract.
Salguero-Gómez R, Jones OR, Archer CR, Buckley YM, Che-Castaldo J, Caswell H (2015). The compadre Plant Matrix Database: an open online repository for plant demography. Journal of Ecology, 103(1), 202-218.

Abstract:
The compadre Plant Matrix Database: an open online repository for plant demography

(C) 2014 the Authors. Journal of Ecology published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. Summary: Schedules of survival, growth and reproduction are key life-history traits. Data on how these traits vary among species and populations are fundamental to our understanding of the ecological conditions that have shaped plant evolution. Because these demographic schedules determine population growth or decline, such data help us understand how different biomes shape plant ecology, how plant populations and communities respond to global change and how to develop successful management tools for endangered or invasive species. Matrix population models summarize the life cycle components of survival, growth and reproduction, while explicitly acknowledging heterogeneity among classes of individuals in the population. Matrix models have comparable structures, and their emergent measures of population dynamics, such as population growth rate or mean life expectancy, have direct biological interpretations, facilitating comparisons among populations and species. Thousands of plant matrix population models have been parameterized from empirical data, but they are largely dispersed through peer-reviewed and grey literature, and thus remain inaccessible for synthetic analysis. Here, we introduce the compadre Plant Matrix Database version 3.0, an open-source online repository containing 468 studies from 598 species world-wide (672 species hits, when accounting for species studied in more than one source), with a total of 5621 matrices. compadre also contains relevant ancillary information (e.g. ecoregion, growth form, taxonomy, phylogeny) that facilitates interpretation of the numerous demographic metrics that can be derived from the matrices. Synthesis. Large collections of data allow broad questions to be addressed at the global scale, for example, in genetics (genbank), functional plant ecology (try, bien, d3) and grassland community ecology (nutnet). Here, we present compadre, a similarly data-rich and ecologically relevant resource for plant demography. Open access to this information, its frequent updates and its integration with other online resources will allow researchers to address timely and important ecological and evolutionary questions. Synthesis: Large collections of data sets allow broad questions to be addressed at the global scale, for example, in genetics (genbank), functional plant ecology (try, bien, d3) and grassland community ecology (nutnet). Here, we present compadre, a similarly data-rich and ecologically relevant resource for plant demography. Open access to this information, its frequent updates and its integration with other online resources will allow researchers to address timely and important ecological and evolutionary questions.
 Abstract.
Hodgson D, McDonald JL, Hosken DJ (2015). What do you mean, 'resilient'?. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Abstract:
What do you mean, 'resilient'?

In a world beset by environmental disasters and anthropogenic disturbances, resilience might be the key to the persistence of natural systems. Yet, the 'measurement' of resilience is hampered by the multiple (and often conflicting) processes that yield the response of systems to insult. We recommend the simultaneous consideration of 'resistance' and 'recovery' as measurable components that together represent resilience.
 Abstract.
McDonald JL, Smith GC, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ, Hodgson D (2014). Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions. Proc Biol Sci, 281(1790).

Abstract:
Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions.

In animal populations, males are commonly more susceptible to disease-induced mortality than females. However, three competing mechanisms can cause this sex bias: weak males may simultaneously be more prone to exposure to infection and mortality; being 'male' may be an imperfect proxy for the underlying driver of disease-induced mortality; or males may experience increased severity of disease-induced effects compared with females. Here, we infer the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology by decomposing fixed mortality rates into mortality trajectories and comparing their parameters. We applied Bayesian survival trajectory analysis to a 22-year longitudinal study of a population of badgers (Meles meles) naturally infected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB). At the point of infection, infected male and female badgers had equal mortality risk, refuting the hypothesis that acquisition of infection occurs in males with coincidentally high mortality. Males and females exhibited similar levels of heterogeneity in mortality risk, refuting the hypothesis that maleness is only a proxy for disease susceptibility. Instead, sex differences were caused by a more rapid increase in male mortality rates following infection. Males are indeed more susceptible to bTB, probably due to immunological differences between the sexes. We recommend this mortality trajectory approach for the study of infection in animal populations.
 Abstract.  Author URL

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