110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands

Patricia G. Parker, Elizabeth L. Buckles, Heather Farrington, Kenneth Petren, Noah K Whiteman, Robert E. Ricklefs, Jennifer L. Bollmer, Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcá

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Abstract

The role of disease in regulating populations is controversial, partly owing to the absence of good disease records in historic wildlife populations. We examined birds collected in the Galapagos Islands between 1891 and 1906 that are currently held at the California Academy of Sciences and the Zoologisches Staatssammlung Muenchen, including 3973 specimensrepresenting species from two well-studied families of endemic passerine birds: finches and mockingbirds. Beginning with samples collected in 1899, we observed cutaneous lesions consistent with Avipoxvirus on 226 (6.3%) specimens. Histopathology and viral genotyping of 59 candidate tissue samples from six islands showed that 21 (35.6%) were positive for Avipoxvirus, while alternative diagnoses for some of those testing negative by both methods were feather follicle cysts, non-specific dermatitis, or post mortem fungal colonization. Positive specimens were significantly nonrandomly distributed among islands both for mockingbirds (San Cristobal vs. Espanola, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz) and for finches (San Cristobal and Isabela vs. Santa Cruz and Floreana), and overall highly significantly distributed toward islands that were inhabited by humans (San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana) vs. uninhabited at the time of collection (Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Espanola), with only one positive individual on an uninhabited island. Eleven of the positive specimens sequenced successfully were identical at four diagnostic sites to the two canarypox variants previously described in contemporary Galapagos passerines. We conclude that this virus was introduced late in 18909s and was dispersed among islands by a variety of mechanisms, including regular human movements among colonized islands. At present, this disease represents an ongoing threat to the birds on the Galapagos Islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere15989
JournalPLoS One
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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Avipoxvirus
Ecuador
Galapagos Islands
Birds
Islands
Dermatitis
Finches
Viruses
birds
Tissue
Feathers
Testing
skin lesions
dermatitis
feathers
histopathology
genotyping
Population
Cristobal
Cysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Parker, P. G., Buckles, E. L., Farrington, H., Petren, K., Whiteman, N. K., Ricklefs, R. E., ... Jiménez-Uzcá, G. (2011). 110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. PLoS One, 6(1), [e15989]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015989

110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. / Parker, Patricia G.; Buckles, Elizabeth L.; Farrington, Heather; Petren, Kenneth; Whiteman, Noah K; Ricklefs, Robert E.; Bollmer, Jennifer L.; Jiménez-Uzcá, Gustavo.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 6, No. 1, e15989, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Parker, PG, Buckles, EL, Farrington, H, Petren, K, Whiteman, NK, Ricklefs, RE, Bollmer, JL & Jiménez-Uzcá, G 2011, '110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands', PLoS One, vol. 6, no. 1, e15989. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015989
Parker PG, Buckles EL, Farrington H, Petren K, Whiteman NK, Ricklefs RE et al. 110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. PLoS One. 2011;6(1). e15989. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015989
Parker, Patricia G. ; Buckles, Elizabeth L. ; Farrington, Heather ; Petren, Kenneth ; Whiteman, Noah K ; Ricklefs, Robert E. ; Bollmer, Jennifer L. ; Jiménez-Uzcá, Gustavo. / 110 years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. In: PLoS One. 2011 ; Vol. 6, No. 1.
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