Understanding the behavioural and physiological components of transmission of devil facial tumour disease in wild Tasmanian Devils
The Tasmanian devil is threatened with extinction by the spread of transmissible cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Devil populations have declined up to 90% across almost the entire species range. Disease transmission is driven by social interactions and biting behaviour, which increase during the mating season with a strong feedback on an individual’s physiology. In this context, behaviour, stress and immunological condition of devils are expected to interact and influence patterns of transmission and spread of DFTD within and among devil populations, driving the ecology and eventual evolution of the devil-DFTD system.