A landscape genetic simulation modelling approach is used to understand factors affecting raccoon rabies disease spread in southern Ontario, Canada. Using the Ontario Rabies Model, we test the hypothesis that landscape configuration (shape of available habitat) affects dispersal, as indicated by genetic structuring. We simulated range expansions of raccoons from New York into vacant landscapes in Ontario, in two areas that differed by the presence or absence of a landscape constriction. Our results provide theoretical evidence that landscape constriction acts as a vicariant bottleneck. We discuss implications for raccoon rabies spread.
Keywords: raccoon rabies, landscape genetics, infectious disease, modelling, Procyon lotor