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  1. Pandemics are a consequence of a series of processes that span scales from viral biology at 10−9 m to global transmission at 106 m. The pathogen passes from one host species to another through a sequence of events that starts with an infected reservoir host and entails interspecific contact, innate immune responses, receptor protein structure within the potential host, and the global spread of the novel pathogen through the naive host population. Each event presents a potential barrier to the onward passage of the virus and should be characterized with an integrated transdisciplinary approach. Epidemic control is based on themore »prevention of exposure, infection, and disease. However, the ultimate pandemic prevention is prevention of the spillover event itself. Here, we focus on the potential for preventing the spillover of henipaviruses, a group of viruses derived from bats that frequently cross species barriers, incur high human mortality, and are transmitted among humans via stuttering chains. We outline the transdisciplinary approach needed to prevent the spillover process and, therefore, future pandemics.« less
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 27, 2022
  3. Abstract

    Hibernation is widespread among mammals in a variety of environmental contexts. However, few experimental studies consider interspecific comparisons, which may provide insight into general patterns of hibernation strategies. We studied 13 species of free-living bats, including populations spread over thousands of kilometers and diverse habitats. We measured torpid metabolic rate (TMR) and evaporative water loss (two key parameters for understanding hibernation energetics) across a range of temperatures. There was no difference in minimum TMR among species (i.e., all species achieved similarly low torpid metabolic rate) but the temperature associated with minimum TMR varied among species. The minimum defended temperaturemore »(temperature below which TMR increased) varied from 8 °C to < 2 °C among species. Conversely, evaporative water loss varied among species, with species clustered in two groups representing high and low evaporative water loss. Notably, species that have suffered population declines due to white-nose syndrome fall in the high evaporative water loss group and less affected species in the low evaporative water loss group. Documenting general patterns of physiological diversity, and associated ecological implications, contributes to broader understanding of biodiversity, and may help predict which species are at greater risk of environmental and anthropogenic stressors.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  5. Nipah virus is a bat-borne paramyxovirus that produces yearly outbreaks of fatal encephalitis in Bangladesh. Understanding the ecological conditions that lead to spillover from bats to humans can assist in designing effective interventions. To investigate the current and historical processes that drive Nipah spillover in Bangladesh, we analyzed the relationship among spillover events and climatic conditions, the spatial distribution and size of Pteropus medius roosts, and patterns of land-use change in Bangladesh over the last 300 years. We found that 53% of annual variation in winter spillovers is explained by winter temperature, which may affect bat behavior, physiology, and humanmore »risk behaviors. We infer from changes in forest cover that a progressive shift in bat roosting behavior occurred over hundreds of years, producing the current system where a majority of P. medius populations are small (median of 150 bats), occupy roost sites for 10 years or more, live in areas of high human population density, and opportunistically feed on cultivated food resources—conditions that promote viral spillover. Without interventions, continuing anthropogenic pressure on bat populations similar to what has occurred in Bangladesh could result in more regular spillovers of other bat viruses, including Hendra and Ebola viruses.« less