Advances from the nexus of animal behaviour and pathogen transmission: new directions and opportunities using contact networks

In: Behaviour
Stephan T. Leu Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. E-mail:

Search for other papers by Stephan T. Leu in
Current site
Google Scholar
Stephanie S. Godfrey Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. E-mail:

Search for other papers by Stephanie S. Godfrey in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Contact network models have enabled significant advances in understanding the influence of behaviour on parasite and pathogen transmission. They are an important tool that links variation in individual behaviour, to epidemiological consequences at the population level. Here, in our introduction to this special issue, we highlight the importance of applying network approaches to disease ecological and epidemiological questions, and how this has provided a much deeper understanding of these research areas. Recent advances in tracking host behaviour (bio-logging: e.g., GPS tracking, barcoding) and tracking pathogens (high-resolution sequencing), as well as methodological advances (multi-layer networks, computational techniques) started producing exciting new insights into disease transmission through contact networks. We discuss some of the exciting directions that the field is taking, some of the challenges, and importantly the opportunities that lie ahead. For instance, we suggest to integrate multiple transmission pathways, multiple pathogens, and in some systems, multiple host species, into the next generation of network models. Corresponding opportunities exist in utilising molecular techniques, such as high-resolution sequencing, to establish causality in network connectivity and disease outcomes. Such novel developments and the continued integration of network tools offers a more complete understanding of pathogen transmission processes, their underlying mechanisms and their evolutionary consequences.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 503 75 4
Full Text Views 198 5 0
PDF Views & Downloads 87 15 0