Document Type

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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The benefit of a complex, intact community for maintaining ecosystem health in the face of emerging infectious disease risk has not been deeply explored. The diversity and distribution of haemoparasites in potential host mammal fauna are virtually unknown, and many diseases endemic to North America are not well understood in terms of transmission factors, prevalence, and contagion. Many of these tick and rodent borne pathogens nowadays are considered to be potential emerging infectious diseases that could spread to adjacent areas and new hosts, including humans, with climate change, land-use shift, and the expansion of distributions of the natural vectors of such haemoparasites. This study examines the effect of mammal community complexity in maintaining ecosystem health with respect to rodent/tick-borne diseases which have a high value for human public health as zoonotic diseases as well as for the unknown natural history of the mammalian community network.