Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Avian Malaria Responses to Different Forestry Practices and Habitat Structure

We used, to our knowledge for the first time, continuous forest structural parameters to quantify habitat structure, and found significant effects of habitat structure on parasite prevalence that previously have been undetected. We found three times higher prevalence for blackcaps compared with chaffinches. Parasite intensity varied significantly within host species depending on forest type, being lowest in beech forests for both host species. Structurally complex habitats with a high degree of entropy had a positive effect on the likelihood of acquiring an infection, but the effect on prevalence was negative for forest sections with a south facing aspect. For blackcaps, forest gaps also had a positive effect on prevalence, but canopy height had a negative one. Our results suggest that forest types and variations in forest structure influence the likelihood of acquiring an infection, which subsequently has an influence on host health status and body condition; however, responses to some environmental factors are host-specific. DOI:

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