West Nile Virus Ecology in Sagebrush Habitat and Impacts on Greater Sage-Grouse Populations

Brett L. Walker and David E. Naugle

in Greater Sage-Grouse

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267114
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948686 | DOI:
West Nile Virus Ecology in Sagebrush Habitat and Impacts on Greater Sage-Grouse Populations

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This chapter examines the ecology of West Nile virus in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems of western North America, as well as its influence on Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) mortality and survival. Using demographic models, it also discusses potential impacts on population growth and recommends strategies for managing and monitoring such impacts. West Nile virus can simultaneously reduce juvenile, yearling, and adult survival — three vital rates important for population growth in this species — and persistent low-level West Nile virus mortality and severe outbreaks may lead to local and regional population declines. West Nile virus mortality in simulations was projected to reduce population growth. However, marked spatial and annual fluctuations in nest success, chick survival, and other sources of adult mortality are likely to mask population-level impacts in most years. Eliminating mosquito breeding habitat from anthropogenic water sources is crucial for reducing impacts. Better data are needed on geographic and temporal variation in infection rates, mortality, and seroprevalence range-wide.

Keywords: Centrocercus urophasianus; Greater Sage-Grouse; mortality; sagebrush; survival; West Nile virus; Artemisia; population growth; mosquito breeding; seroprevalence

Chapter.  9448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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