Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Linking Genetics to Movements of White-tailed deer to Assist Surveillance for CWD Epidemiology

July 2019 - August 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Ecosystem Mission Area, Disease Cyclical Funds
  • Pennsylvania Game Commission

Surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer is often in response to finding a new disease foci with direction of surveillance controlled by some arbitrary distanced buffer around a diseased animal. Understanding large-scale gene flow across a region can identify the most likely transmission path of CWD because gene flow identifies historic ancestry of deer across a landscape. Combining landscape genetics with CWD surveillance would provide natural resource agencies a more structured approach to surveillance by providing disease units more reflective of the underlying subpopulation structure of deer in a region.

Research Publications Publication Date
Bauder, J.M., C.S. Anderson, H.L. Gibbs, M.J. Tonkovich, and W.D. Walter. 2021. Landscape features fail to explain spatial genetic structure in white-tailed deer across Ohio, USA. Journal of Wildlife Management 85(8):1669-1684. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.22120 | Abstract | Publisher Website October 2021
Presentations Presentation Date
Fameli, A., C.S. Rosenberry, K.L. Schuler, M.J. Tonkovich, J.E. Edson, and W.D. Walter. 2024. Large-scale assessment of genetic structure of white-tailed deer: applications to genetic assignment tests. Joint Meeting of The Pennsylvania Chapter of Wildlife Society and the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, State College, PA, 22-23 March 2024. March 2024