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Small- and large-scale network structure of live fish movements in Scotland
- Green, Darren Michael, Gregory, Alison, Munro, Lorna Ann
- Preventive veterinary medicine 2009 v.91 no.2-4 pp. 261-269
- fish farms, Salmonidae, fish, fish diseases, disease transmission, networks, monitoring, epidemiological studies, Scotland
- Networks are increasingly being used as an epidemiological tool for studying the potential for disease transmission through animal movements in farming industries. We analysed the network of live fish movements for commercial salmonids in Scotland in 2003. This network was found to have a mixture of features both aiding and hindering disease transmission, hindered by being fragmented, with comparatively low mean number of connections (2.83), and low correlation between inward and outward connections (0.12), with moderate variance in these numbers (coefficients of dispersion of 0.99 and 3.12 for in and out, respectively); but aided by low levels of clustering (0.060) and some non-random mixing (coefficient of assortativity of 0.16). Estimated inter-site basic reproduction number R ₀ did not exceed 2.4 at high transmission rate. The network was strongly organised into communities, resulting in a high modularity index (0.82). Arc (directed connection) removal indicated that effective surveillance of a small number of connections may facilitate a large reduction in the potential for disease spread within the industry. Useful criteria for identification of these important arcs included degree- and betweenness-based measures that could in future prove useful for prioritising surveillance.