Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson
University of Exeter | UoE · Department of Biosciences

About

29
Publications
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314
Citations

Publications

Publications (29)
Article
In parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the European badger is a wildlife host for Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis). Badger vaccination is one management option for reducing disease spread. Vaccination is currently achieved by parenteral vaccination of captured badgers, but an oral vaccine delivered in a bait may...
Article
The incidence of bovine tuberculosis (TB, caused by Mycobacterium bovis) in cattle has been associated with TB in badgers (Meles meles) in parts of England. The aim was to identify badger associated M. bovis reservoirs in the Edge Area, between the High and Low Risk Areas for cattle TB. Data from badger TB surveys were sparse. Therefore, a definiti...
Article
Vaccination is a useful approach for the control of disease in wildlife populations. However, its effectiveness is dependent in part on delivery to a sufficient proportion of the target population. Measuring the proportions of wild animal populations that have been vaccinated is challenging and so there is a need to develop robust approaches that c...
Article
Full-text available
In 2010 a vaccine was licensed for use in badgers in the United Kingdom to reduce the severity of Mycobacterium bovis infection, and hence the risks of onward transmission to cattle. National legislation was enacted to allow its deployment by lay persons, but the efficiency and feasibility of badger vaccination has been the subject of ongoing debat...
Article
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The objective was to measure the association between badger culling and bovine tuberculosis (TB) incidents in cattle herds in three areas of England between 2013–2017 (Gloucestershire and Somerset) and 2015–2017 (Dorset). Farming industry-selected licensed culling areas were matched to comparison areas. A TB incident was detection of new Mycobacter...
Article
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The use of agricultural resources or environments by wildlife may result in opportunities for transmission of infections amongst wild animals, livestock and humans. Targeted use of biosecurity measures may therefore reduce disease risks, although this requires practical knowledge of where such measures would be most effective, and effective means o...
Article
Full-text available
The deployment of baits containing vaccines or toxins has been used successfully in the management of wildlife populations, including for disease control. Optimisation of deployment strategies seeks to maximise uptake by the targeted population whilst ensuring cost-effectiveness. Tuberculosis (TB) caused by infection with Mycobacterium bovis affect...
Data
Table A. Treatment details for the 40 badger social groups included in the study. Groups highlighted in grey are where no badgers were captured. Table B. Details of top models (<6 ΔAICc) explaining variation in bait consumption. Each row represents a model and the + symbols indicate the inclusion pf variables represented by columns. Figure A. Numbe...
Data
Raw data from sampled badgers, including IPA blood concentrations and trapping details. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
1.The mutation accumulation theory of senescence predicts that age‐related deterioration of fitness can be exaggerated when inbreeding causes homozygosity for deleterious alleles. A vital component of fitness, in natural populations, is the incidence and progression of disease. 2.Evidence is growing for natural links between inbreeding and ageing;...
Article
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Long-term individual-based datasets on host-pathogen systems are a rare and valuable resource for understanding the infectious disease dynamics in wildlife. A study of European badgers (Meles meles) naturally infected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire (UK) has produced a unique dataset, facilitating investigation...
Article
The control of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in the UK and Ireland is compromised by transmission of Mycobacterium bovis to cattle from the European badger (Meles meles), which acts as a wildlife reservoir. Vaccination of badgers could potentially contribute to TB control but the only licensed vaccine is injectable BadgerBCG which requires the live-c...
Preprint
Vaccination is a potentially useful approach for the control of disease in wildlife populations. The effectiveness of vaccination is contingent in part on obtaining adequate vaccine coverage at the population level. However, measuring vaccine coverage in wild animal populations is challenging and so there is a need to develop robust approaches to e...
Article
The oral vaccination of wild badgers (Meles meles) with live Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) is one of the tools being considered for the control of bovine tuberculosis (caused by Mycobacterium bovis) in the UK. The design of a product for oral vaccination requires that numerous, and often competing, conditions are met. These include the need for a...
Article
Full-text available
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the European badger (Meles meles) is a maintenance host for Mycobacterium bovis, and may transmit the infection to cattle causing bovine tuberculosis (TB). Vaccination of badgers using an injectable Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is undertaken in some areas of the UK with the intention of interrupting...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of badger distribution is important for the management of bovine tuberculosis. At the farm level, typically the only information on badger activity available is from the farmers themselves. This study compares how well farmer perceptions of badger activity match data obtained from ecological surveys. Farmer estimates of numbers of badger...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of social- and kin-structuring of populations for the transmission of wildlife disease is widely assumed but poorly described. Social structure can help dilute risks of transmission for group members, and is relatively easy to measure, but kin-association represents a further level of population sub-structure that is harder to measur...
Article
Knowledge of badger distribution is important for the management of bovine tuberculosis. At the farm level, typically the only information on badger activity available is from the farmers themselves. This study compares how well farmer perceptions of badger activity match data obtained from ecological surveys. Farmer estimates of numbers of badger...
Article
Full-text available
Background Wildlife can be important sources and reservoirs for pathogens. Trypanosome infections are common in many mammalian species, and are pathogenic in some. Molecular detection tools were used to measure trypanosome prevalence in a well-studied population of wild European badgers (Meles meles). Findings A nested ITS-PCR system, that targete...
Article
Full-text available
Although intra-population variation in niches is a widespread phenomenon with important implications for ecology, evolution and management of a range of animal species, the causes and consequences of this variation remain poorly understood. We used stable isotope analysis to characterise foraging niches and to investigate the causes and consequence...
Article
Full-text available
In the UK and Republic of Ireland, the European badger Meles meles is considered a maintenance host for bTB and is involved in transmission of infection to cattle. A badger vaccine delivered in an oral bait is currently under develop-ment as part of an ongoing effort to reduce levels of disease in the badger population. An oral vaccine would likely...
Article
Full-text available
The resource dispersion hypothesis (RDH) predicts that resource heterogeneity can act as a passive cause of group-living in social carnivores and potentially many other species. One central prediction of the RDH is that territory size and group size are not related, as they are determined by resource dispersion and quality, respectively. In this st...
Article
Full-text available
Individual specialisation has been identified in an increasing number of animal species and populations. However, in some groups, such as terrestrial mammals, it is difficult to disentangle individual niche variation from spatial variation in resource availability. In the present study, we investigate individual variation in the foraging niche of t...
Article
Full-text available
Experimental evidence of the interactions among mammalian predators that eat or compete with one another is rare, due to the ethical and logistical challenges of managing wild populations in a controlled and replicated way. Here, we report on the opportunistic use of a replicated and controlled culling experiment (the Randomised Badger Culling Tria...
Article
Full-text available
Ecologists undertaking stable isotopic analyses of animal diets require trophic enrichment factors (TEFs) for the specific animal tissues that they are studying. Such basic data are available for a small number of species, so values from trophically or phylogenetically similar species are often substituted for missing values. By feeding a controlle...
Article
Full-text available
The use of biomarkers such as stable isotopes to study the foraging ecology and movement of animals is a rapidly expanding area of research. With respect to mammals, the analysis of inert keratinous tissue such as whiskers (vibrissae) is particularly attractive as they can be sequentially sampled to provide a long-term time series of individual mov...