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

Manes, C., R. R. Carthy, and V. Hull. 2023. A coupled human and natural systems framework to characterize emerging infectious diseases- the case of fibropapillomatosis in marine turtles. Animals.


Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife have markedly increased in the last few decades. Unsustainable, continuous, and rapid alterations within and between coupled human and natural systems have significantly disrupted wildlife disease dynamics. Direct and indirect anthropogenic factors, such as climate change, pollution, encroachment, urbanization, travel, and trade, can hinder wildlife immune systems and exacerbate disease vulnerability. These factors can also increase the probability of viral spillover as well as zoonotic disease transmission and propagation at large scales. In this review, we present a novel framework to study anthropogenic impacts within coupled human and natural systems that facilitate emerging infectious disease outbreaks involving wildlife. We demonstrate the utility of the framework by applying it to Fibropapillomatosis disease of marine turtles. We aim to articulate the intricate and complex nature of anthropogenically-exacerbated wildlife infectious diseases as multifactorial as Fibropapillomatosis. This paper encourages the adoption of a One Health approach and invites the collaboration of multiple disciplines for the achievement of effective and long-lasting conservation and wildlife disease mitigation outcomes.