Defining an epidemiological landscape that connects movement ecology to pathogen transmission and pace-of-life

Kezia Manlove, Mark Wilber, Lauren White, Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau, Anni Yang, Marie L.J. Gilbertson, Meggan E. Craft, Paul C. Cross, George Wittemyer, Kim M. Pepin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Pathogen transmission depends on host density, mobility and contact. These components emerge from host and pathogen movements that themselves arise through interactions with the surrounding environment. The environment, the emergent host and pathogen movements, and the subsequent patterns of density, mobility and contact form an ‘epidemiological landscape’ connecting the environment to specific locations where transmissions occur. Conventionally, the epidemiological landscape has been described in terms of the geographical coordinates where hosts or pathogens are located. We advocate for an alternative approach that relates those locations to attributes of the local environment. Environmental descriptions can strengthen epidemiological forecasts by allowing for predictions even when local geographical data are not available. Environmental predictions are more accessible than ever thanks to new tools from movement ecology, and we introduce a ‘movement-pathogen pace of life’ heuristic to help identify aspects of movement that have the most influence on spatial epidemiology. By linking pathogen transmission directly to the environment, the epidemiological landscape offers an efficient path for using environmental information to inform models describing when and where transmission will occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1760-1782
Number of pages23
JournalEcology letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.


  • canonical activity mode
  • epidemiological landscape
  • host contact
  • host mobility
  • mining-modelling approach
  • movement mechanisms
  • movement-pathogen pace-of-life hypothesis
  • multipartite networks
  • spatial disease dynamics
  • transmission hotspot

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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