Constructing Ecological Networks: A Tool to Infer Risk of Transmission and Dispersal of Leishmaniasis
data, distribution models, ecological network, habitat transformation, leishmaniasis, mining, risk factors, species
We extend a recently developed method for constructing ecological networks to infer potential biotic interactions between species and to also include environmental factors, in particular land cover, thus permitting a simultaneous analysis of the interaction between environment and species distribution as well as inter-species interactions. We apply the method to the transmission and dispersal of leishmaniasis in Mexico. We find that the most important potential vectors and reservoirs can be classified into assemblages associated with different types of habitat. This in turn can be used to understand and map potential transmission risk, as well as to construct risk scenarios for the dispersal of disease from one geographical region to another.