About this Research Topic
Over 40% of all mammalian species are rodents. A number of species of this order (Rodentia) have gained notoriety because of their propensity towards close associations with people. Indeed, some have become so well suited to cohabitation with people that they are rarely found in the wild (e.g., Norway rats, black rats and house mice). Urban environments provide ideal habitat for these rodents, containing abundant food and harborage and virtually no natural predators - conditions support high population densities, as well as frequent contact with people.
There are a number of negative consequences of urban rodent infestations. For example, rodents can cause structural damage, spoil food stuffs, and act as a source of zoonotic disease (disease transmissible from animals to people and back to other wildlife). Given current rates of global urbanization (70% of the global population will reside in urban areas by 2050), issues associated with urban rodents can only be expected to grow. These issues are likely to be compounded by concurrent environmental changes (e.g., climate change), which may have unpredictable effects on rodent population and disease ecology.
Despite the unknown risks, the ecology of urban rodents and their pathogens, as well as efficient and effective surveillance and control methods have been under-reported in the literature. This interdisciplinary Research Topic is cross-listed in Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution (urban ecology sub-section) and Frontiers in Public Health (environmental health sub-section). Our intentions are to heighten awareness while bringing together international research contributions from scientists committed to unite the under-studied, but essential, intersection of urban rodent ecology, climate change, and public health.
Section editors have been invited from Australia (Mathew Crowther), Canada (Chelsea Himsworth and Claire Jardine) and USA (Michael Parsons) to provide as many geographical-specific perspectives as possible. Contributions should relate to either urban rodent ecology, disease, surveillance, and/or control and ideally contain themes related to climate change and/or urbanization.
It is expected that by exploiting these new research connections, we will increase our understanding of urban rodent populations and the risks associated with them, as well as ways to monitor and mitigate those risks within our expanding global urban environment.
Keywords: City rats, urbanization, climate change, disease surveillance, wildlife management
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.