Konstans Wells

Konstans Wells
Swansea University | SWAN · Department of Biosciences

PhD

About

147
Publications
71,463
Reads
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3,831
Citations
Introduction
I am an ecologist and modeller, focusing on the consequences of environmental change on biodiversity, wildlife, invasive species and host-parasite interactions. My interests include questions of how insights from demographic and epidemiological dynamics, species range dynamics and bio-geographic patterns can be used to identify key processes for optimizing conservation and pest control efforts and the prevention of disease spread under different environmental scenarios and policy schemes.
Additional affiliations
June 2015 - August 2017
Griffith University
Position
  • Research Associate
October 2013 - May 2015
University of Adelaide
Position
  • Research Associate
July 2010 - June 2011
Senckenberg Research Institute
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (147)
Article
Full-text available
Changes in species distributions open novel parasite transmission routes at the human–wildlife interface, yet the strength of biotic and biogeographical factors that prevent or facilitate parasite host shifting are not well understood. We investigated global patterns of helminth parasite (Nematoda, Cestoda, Trematoda) sharing between mammalian wild...
Preprint
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases arising from pathogen spillover from mammals to humans comprise a substantial health threat. Tracing virus origin and predicting the most likely host species for future spillover events are major objectives in One Health disciplines. However, the species that share pathogens most widely with other mammals, and the role...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases increasingly threaten wildlife populations. Most studies focus on managing short‐term epidemic properties, such as controlling early outbreaks. Predicting long‐term endemic characteristics with limited retrospective data is more challenging. We used individual‐based modelling informed by individual variation in pathogen...
Article
Host specificity encompasses the range and diversity of host species that a parasite is capable of infecting and is considered a crucial measure of a parasite’s potential to shift hosts and trigger disease emergence. Yet empirical studies rarely consider that regional observations only reflect a parasite’s ‘realized’ host range under particular con...
Article
Habitat loss is the primary driver of biodiversity decline worldwide, but the effects of fragmentation (the spatial arrangement of remaining habitat) are debated. We tested the hypothesis that forest fragmentation sensitivity-affected by avoidance of habitat edges-should be driven by historical exposure to, and therefore species' evolutionary respo...
Article
Full-text available
Context Current diversity and species composition of ecological communities can often not exclusively be explained by present land use and landscape structure. Historical land use may have considerably influenced ecosystems and their properties for decades and centuries. Objectives We analysed the effects of present and historical landscape struct...
Preprint
Generalised Additive Models (GAMs) are increasingly popular for describing smooth nonlinear relationships between predictors and response variables. GAMs are particularly relevant in ecology for representing hierarchical functions for discrete responses that encompass complex features including zero-inflation, bounding and uneven sampling. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Metapopulation structure plays a fundamental role in the persistence of wildlife populations. It can also drive the spread of infectious diseases and transmissible cancers such as the Tas-manian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). While disrupting this structure can reduce disease spread, it can also impair host resilience by disrupting gene flow a...
Article
Full-text available
The Covid-19 pandemic is of zoonotic origin, and many other emerging infections of humans have their origin in an animal host population. We review the challenges involved in modelling the dynamics of wildlife-human interfaces governing infectious disease emergence and spread. We argue that we need a better understanding of the dynamic nature of su...
Preprint
Full-text available
Metapopulation structure (i.e. the spatial arrangement of local populations and corridors between them) plays a fundamental role in the persistence of wildlife populations, but can also drive the spread of infectious diseases. While the disruption of metapopulation connectivity can reduce disease spread, it can also impair host resilience by disrup...
Article
Full-text available
The emergence of infectious agents with pandemic potential present scientific challenges from detection to data interpretation to understanding determinants of risk and forecasts. Mathematical models could play an essential role in how we prepare for future emergent pathogens. Here, we describe core directions for expansion of the existing tools an...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Macroecological analyses provide valuable insights into factors that influence how parasites are distributed across space and among hosts. Amid large uncertainties that arise when generalizing from local and regional findings, hierarchical approaches applied to global datasets are required to determine whether drivers of parasite infection pat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Co-infection, coinfection, and concomitant infections are all terms used to describe the occurrence of more than one simultaneous infection in individual hosts, populations, or communities. With a growing number of pathogens being discovered and emerging from shifting between different host species, it is perhaps little surprise that co-infection a...
Article
Full-text available
Outbreaks of infectious viruses resulting from spillover events from bats have brought much attention to bat-borne zoonoses, which has motivated increased ecological and epidemiological studies on bat populations. Field sampling methods often collect pooled samples of bat excreta from plastic sheets placed under-roosts. However, positive bias is in...
Article
Full-text available
Land-use intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss. However, understanding how different components of land use drive biodiversity loss requires the investigation of multiple trophic levels across spatial scales. Using data from 150 agricultural grasslands in central Europe, we assess the influence of multiple components of local-and l...
Article
Full-text available
Controlling the regional re-emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) after its initial spread in ever-changing personal contact networks and disease landscapes is a challenging task. In a landscape context, contact opportunities within and between populations are changing rapidly as lockdown measures are relaxed and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Controlling the regional re-emergence of SARS-CoV-2 after its initial spread in ever-changing personal contact networks and disease landscapes is a challenging task. In a landscape context, contact opportunities within and between populations are changing rapidly as lockdown measures are relaxed and a number of social activities re-activated. Using...
Article
Full-text available
Sarcocystis scandentiborneensis sp. nov. was discovered in histological sections of striated musculature of treeshrews (Tupaia minor, T. tana) from Northern Borneo. Sarcocysts were cigar-shaped, 102 μm–545 μm long, and on average 53 μm in diameter. The striated cyst wall varied in thickness (2–10 μm), depending on whether the finger-like, villous p...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rapid and pandemic spread of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented containment policies in response to overloaded health care systems. Disease mitigation strategies require informed decision-making to ensure a balance between the protection of the vulnerable from disease and the maintenance of global economies. We show that temporally restricted co...
Article
The whipworm Trichuris muris is known to be associated with various rodent species in the northern hemisphere, but the species identity of whipworm infecting rodents in the Oriental region remains largely unknown. We collected Trichuris of Muridae rodents in mainland and insular Southeast Asia between 2008 and 2015 and used molecular and morphologi...
Article
The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a notorious economic and environmental pest species in its invasive range. To better understand the population and range dynamics of this species, 41 years of abundance data have been collected from 116 unique sites across a broad range of climatic and environmental conditions in Australia. We analyzed...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases arising from pathogen spillover from mammals to humans constitute a substantial health threat. Tracing virus origin and predicting the most likely host species for future spillover events are major objectives in One Health disciplines. We assessed patterns of virus sharing among a large diversity of mammals, including h...
Article
The 150 grassland plots were located in three study regions in Germany, 50 in each region. The dataset describes the yearly grassland management for each grassland plot using 116 variables. General information includes plot identifier, study region and survey year. Additionally, grassland plot characteristics describe the presence and starting year...
Article
Full-text available
Within host-parasite communities, viral co-circulation and co-infections of hosts are the norm, yet studies of significant emerging zoonoses tend to focus on a single parasite species within the host. Using a multiplexed paramyxovirus bead-based PCR on urine samples from Australian flying foxes, we show that multi-viral shedding from flying fox pop...
Article
With ongoing introductions into Australia since the 1700s, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has become one of the most widely distributed and abundant vertebrate pests, adversely impacting Australia's biodiversity and agro‐economy. To better understand the population and range dynamics of the species and its impacts, occurrence and abund...
Article
Full-text available
Treeshrews are small, squirrel-like mammals in the order Scandentia, which is nested together with Primates and Dermoptera in the superordinal group Euarchonta. They are often described as living fossils, and researchers have long turned to treeshrews as a model or ecological analogue for ancestral primates. A comparative study of colour vision-enc...
Preprint
Aim: The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a notorious economic and environmental pest species in its invasive range. To better understand the population and range dynamics of this species, long-term abundance data has been collected across a broad range of climatic and environmental condition in Australia. We analysed this time series dat...
Article
Full-text available
Parasites with low host specificity (e.g. infecting a large diversity of host species) are of special interest in disease ecology, as they are likely more capable of circumventing ecological or evolutionary barriers to infect new hosts than are specialist parasites. Yet for many parasites, host specificity is not fixed and can vary in response to e...
Data
The development of methods to detect how a species’ occurrence probability covaries with the occurrences of other species (e.g. co-occurrence) is a booming and somewhat divisive area of statistical ecology. Many authors (including, sadly, myself) have jumped the gun when interpreting co-occurrence patterns by grandiosely stating that they reflect '...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Rodent species are well-known reservoirs for pathogens, some of which have zoonotic potential. The health status of rodent populations in tropical forests, however, is neglected and it is often unclear how forest degradation results in an increased infection of native wildlife with pathogens also found in invasive species. In this res...
Preprint
Full-text available
Notable outbreaks of infectious viruses resulting from spillover events from bats have brought much attention to the ecological origins of bat-borne zoonoses, resulting in an increase in ecological and epidemiological studies on bat populations in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The aim of many of these studies is to identify new viral agents with fie...
Article
Full-text available
1. European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) have been exposed to rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) and myxoma virus (MYXV) in their native and invasive ranges for decades. Yet, the long-term effects of these viruses on rabbit population dynamics remain poorly understood. 2. In this context, we analysed 17 years of detailed capture–mark–recap...
Article
Full-text available
Inferring interactions between co‐occurring species is key to identify processes governing community assembly. Incorporating interspecific interactions in predictive models is common in ecology, yet most methods do not adequately account for indirect interactions (where an interaction between two species is masked by their shared interactions with...
Article
Full-text available
Aim The genetics of organisms currently isolated in refugia has received little attention compared to post‐glacial expansions. We study the population history and connectivity of a rat endemic to montane habitat in Borneo to better understand the history and potential of populations in interglacial mountain refugia. Location Sabah, Borneo, Malaysi...
Article
Full-text available
[Background] Spillover of parasites at the domestic animal - wildlife interface is a pervasive threat to animal health. Cat and dog fleas (Ctenocephalides felis and C. canis) are among the world’s most invasive and economically important ectoparasites. Although both species are presumed to infest a diversity of host species across the globe, knowle...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying barriers that govern parasite community assembly and parasite invasion risk is critical to understand how shifting host ranges impact disease emergence. We studied regional variation in the phylogenetic compositions of bird species and their blood parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus spp.) to identify barriers that shape parasite comm...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging infectious diseases rarely affect all members of a population equally and determining how individuals’ susceptibility to infection is related to other components of their fitness is critical to understanding disease impacts at a population level and for predicting evolutionary trajectories. We introduce a novel state-space model framework...
Article
Full-text available
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Data
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Article
Full-text available
Experimental work increasingly suggests that non-random pathogen associations can affect the spread or severity of disease. Yet due to difficulties distinguishing and interpreting co-infections, evidence for the presence and directionality of pathogen co-occurrences in wildlife is rudimentary. We provide empirical evidence for pathogen co-occurrenc...
Article
Full-text available
Biological invasions are not only a major threat to biodiversity, they also have major impacts on local economies and agricultural production systems. Once established, the connection of local populations into metapopulation networks facilitates dispersal at landscape scales, generating spatial dynamics that can impact the outcome of pest-managemen...
Data
Effects of general population reduction on model metapopulations with low dispersal and intermediate management level. Relative change in maximum abundance is plotted against management extent (e) for different values of spatial management strategy (s). Dispersal (d) and management level (l) are constant (d = 0.1 and l = 0.6). Lines are a local pol...
Data
Effects of general population reduction of rabbits on real metapopulations for different spatial management strategies. Change in the maximum population abundance is plotted against the spatial extent of management (e) for different spatial management strategies (s), with dispersal (d) = 0.6 and management level (l) = 0.9. Lines are a local polynom...
Data
Effects of decrease in local carrying capacity on real-world metapopulations for different spatial management strategies. Change in the maximum population abundance is plotted against the spatial extent of management (e) for different spatial management strategies (s), with dispersal (d) = 0.3 and management level (l) = 0.6. Lines are a local polyn...
Data
Turretfield (South Australia) sample site time series of rabbit population abundances. Parameters values for the demographic model used in this study were estimated from this time series (see main text). (CSV)
Data
Source code for the software implementation of the metapopulation model proposed. The archive includes source code, readme file explaining how to run it, and the input files necessary to run the simulations. (ZIP)
Data
Effects of general population reduction on model metapopulations with high dispersal and management level. Change in maximum abundance is plotted against management extent (e) for different values of spatial management strategy (s). Dispersal (d) and management level (l) are constant (d = 0.6 and l = 0.9). Lines are a local polynomial regression fi...
Data
Relative influence of predictor variables describing management scenarios on the fraction of surviving populations. Plots in A and B show the relative importance of the explanatory variables dispersal (d), management extent (e), management level (l), and spatial management strategy (s), for the two management actions studied: general population red...
Data
Relative influence of predictor variables describing management scenarios on coefficient of variation of population-scale abundances. Plots in A and B show the relative importance of the explanatory variables dispersal (d), management extent (e), management level (l), and spatial management strategy (s), for the management actions studied: general...