Bats are known reservoirs of a wide variety of viruses that rarely result in overt clinical disease in the bat host. However, anthropogenic influences on the landscape and climate can change species assemblages and interactions, as well as undermine host-resilience. The cumulative result is a disturbance of bat–pathogen dynamics, which facilitate spillover events to sympatric species, and may threaten bat communities already facing synergistic stressors through ecological change. Therefore, characterisation of viral pathogens in bat communities provides important basal information to monitor and predict the emergence of diseases relevant to conservation and public health. This study used targeted molecular techniques, serological assays and next generation sequencing to characterise adenoviruses, coronaviruses and paramyxoviruses from 11 species of insectivorous bats within the South West Botanical Province of Western Australia. Phylogenetic analysis indicated complex ecological interactions including virus–host associations, cross-species infections, and multiple viral strains circulating concurrently within selected bat populations. Additionally, we describe the entire coding sequences for five alphacoronaviruses (representing four putative new species), and one novel adenovirus. Results indicate that viral burden (both prevalence and richness) is not homogeneous among species, with Chalinolobus gouldii
identified as a key epidemiological element within the studied communities.
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