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Alison Peel



BSc(Vet) BVSc MSc PhD



ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Research Fellow


Contact details

Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security (CPHFS)

Griffith University, Nathan campus

Sir Samuel Griffith Centre (N78) 2.23

170 Kessels Rd, Nathan

QLD 4111, Australia

Email: a.peel"at"

Tel (W): +61 7 3735 9256


Twitter: @ali_bat




I am a wildlife disease ecologist with an interest in the dynamics and drivers of infectious disease, particularly in bats. Coming from a veterinary background, it was the interesting viruses that brought me to bats, but I'm now fascinated by the ecology of the bats themselves and the complex interactions between broad environmental and climatic changes, ecology and disease. This is the focus our Bat OneHealth project, described here.

My current research also recognises the complexity of multi-host-multi-pathogen communities. I'm interested in how Hendra virus, the most widely studied bat virus in Australia, exists within a diverse community of viruses in Australian flying-foxes. By examining this well-known bat viral system in a broader context, I hope to provide insight into both Hendra virus dynamics and bat virus spillover in general.































Current Research


ARC DECRA: "Beyond Hendra: The significance of viral communities in bat virus spillover"

In Australia, the most widely studied bat virus is the paramyxovirus Hendra virus (HeV), yet a diverse community of viruses has been detected in Australian flying-foxes.  We are utilising high-throughput viral screening to simultaneously detect up to nine known bat paramyxoviruses in individual urine samples from four Australian flying-fox species and will interpret results in the context of a novel reservoir framework, reconsidering HeV as part of a multi-host-multi-virus community. Ultimately, I aim to understand the drivers of virus transmission in bat populations so as to better predict and prevent fatal spillover of viruses into human populations. 

"Bat OneHealth: An integrated understanding of bat-borne viral spillover"

In collaboration with A/Prof Raina Plowright , Dr Peggy Eby, Hamish McCallum and the Bat OneHealth team, including PhD students Tamika Lunn, Maureen KesslerDevin Jones and Adrienne Lunn

Broadly, we are researching the interactions between land use change, flying fox ecology, Hendra virus dynamics and spillover into horses. Research undertaken as part of our US National Science Foundation grant and DARPA PREEMPT grants are built around hypotheses that ongoing loss of small patches of winter-flowering habitat needed to sustain bat migration has led to increased numbers of bats moving into towns and cities in eastern Australia. We believe that chronic and acute food shortages are affecting bat health and feeding habits, ultimately leading to increased spillover risk to horses. We hope to dig into these hypotheses in more depth, and ultimately aim to commence a long-term habitat restoration project to reverse some of these trends.


"Daily increments of teeth formation in bats: Microscopic mapping of nutritional stress, secrets of longevity and links to viral dynamics"

In collaboration with A. Prof Tanya Smith

Answers to fundamental questions in flying fox ecology may lie in existing technologies in human developmental research. We are applying the latest technology for assessing human nutritional history in teeth to increase the accuracy of ageing and provide the first objective measure of nutritional history in bats. We seek to validate these methods in bats to provide major benefits to research at the interface of conservation and public health.​



  • Current

    • Tamika Lunn : PhD "Mechanistic modelling of zoonotic disease emergence: unveiling the processes behind Hendra virus dynamics in Pteropodid bats."

    • Belinda Linnegar: honours

    • Cassidy Winter: honours


  • Past PhD, Masters and honours supervision

    • 2016 - 2019: Eloise Stephenson PhD "A systems approach to Ross River virus transmission: understanding the reservoir-vector-human interface to inform management strategies"

    • 2019 -2020: Scout Owens: Honours: "Comparison of techniques for the estimation of flying-fox abundance"

    • 2018-2019: Remy Brooks: Honours: "Roost habitat preferences of Australian flying foxes"

    • 2014-2018: PhD: Jaewoon Jeong: "Modelling viral infectious diseases of bats in Australia"

    • 2014-2017: PhD: John Giles: "Determining the role of flying fox population dynamics in the emergence of Hendra virus in Australia"

    • 2008-2009: Masters in Wild Animal Health student: Melissa Nollet. "Population structure and effective population size of the straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) at Kasanka National Park, Zambia)". Zoological Society of London and Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.


See my CV here




Recent Publications



  • Lunn TJ, Eby P, Brooks R, McCallum H, Plowright RK, Kessler MK, Peel AJ (2021) Conventional wisdom on roosting behavior of Australian flying‐foxes—A critical review, and evaluation using new data. Ecol Evol.

  • Lunn TJ, Peel AJ, McCallum H, Eby P, Kessler MK, Plowright RK, Restif O (2021) Spatial dynamics of pathogen transmission in communally roosting species: Impacts of changing habitats on bat‐virus dynamics. J Anim Ecol.

  • Hoegh A, Peel AJ, Madden W, Aravena MR, Morris A, Washburne A, Plowright RK (2021) Estimating viral prevalence with data fusion for adaptive two‐phase pooled sampling. Ecol Evol.

  • Giles JR, Peel AJ, Wells K, Plowright RK, McCallum H, Restif O (2021) Optimizing noninvasive sampling of a zoonotic bat virus. Ecol Evol.

  • Grange ZL, Goldstein T, Johnson CK, Anthony S, Gilardi K, Daszak P, Olival KJ, O’Rourke T, Murray S, Olson SH, Togami E, Vidal G, Expert Panel, Consortium, P, Mazet JAK (2021) Ranking the risk of animal-to-human spillover for newly discovered viruses. Proc National Acad Sci 118(15):e2002324118.

  • Cox-Witton K, Baker ML, Edson D, Peel AJ, Welbergen JA, Field H (2021) Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from humans to bats – An Australian assessment. One Heal 13:100247.

  • Anstey SI, Kasimov V, Jenkins C, Legione A, Devlin J, Amery-Gale J, Gilkerson J, Hair S, Perkins N, Peel AJ, Borel N, Pannekoek Y, Chaber A-L, Woolford L, Timms P, Jelocnik M (2021) Chlamydia Psittaci ST24: Clonal Strains of One Health Importance Dominate in Australian Horse, Bird and Human Infections. Pathogens 10(8):1015.


  • Peel, A.J., Field, H., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Edson, D., McCallum, H., Plowright, R.K., and Prada, D. (2020). Coronaviruses and Australian bats: A review in the midst of a pandemic. Australian Journal of Zoology.

  • Olival, K., Cryan, P., Amman, B., Baric, R., Blehert, D., Brook, C., Calisher, C., Castle, K., Coleman, J., Daszak, P., Epstein, J., Field, H., Frick, W., Gilbert, A., Hayman, D., Ip, H., Karesh, W., Johnson, C., Kading, R., Kingston, T., Lorch, J., Mendenhall, I., Peel, A., Phelps, K., Plowright, R., Reeder, D., Reichard, J., Sleeman, J., Streicker, D., Towner, J., Wang, a. (2020). Possibility for reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to free-ranging wildlife: a case study of bats. PLOS Pathogens. 16(9): e1008758.

  • Rocha, R., Aziz, S.,Brook, C., Carvalho, W., Cooper-Bohannon, R., Frick,W., Huang,J., Kingston,T., López-Baucells, A., Maas, B., Mathews, F., Medellin, R., Olival, K., Peel, A., Plowright, R., Razgour, O., Rebelo, H., Rodrigues, L., Rossiter, S., Russo, D., Straka, T., Teeling, E., Treuer, T., Voigt, C., Webala, P. (2020). Bat conservation and zoonotic dis- ease risk: a research agenda to prevent misguided persecution in the aftermath of COVID–19 Animal Conservation /10.1111/acv.12636

  • Hopkins SR, Sokolow SH, Buck JC, Leo GAD, Jones IJ, Kwong LH, LeBoa C, Lund AJ, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Olson SH, Peel AJ, Wood CL, Lafferty KD (2020) How to identify win–win interventions that benefit human health and conservation. Nat Sustain :1–7.

  • Skinner EB, Rudd PA, Peel AJ, McCallum H, Reid SA, Herrero LJ (2020) Species Traits and Hotspots Associated with Ross River Virus Infection in Nonhuman Vertebrates in South East Queensland. Vector-borne Zoonot.

  • Williamson, K., Wheeler, S., Kerr, J., Bennett, J., Freeman, P., Kohlhagen, J., Peel, A. , Eby,P., Merritt, T., Housen, T., Dalton, C., Durrheim, D., Chirio, L., Dale, A., Jones, D., Silas, K. (2020). Hendra in the Hunter Valley One Health 10, 100162.

  • Eby, P., Plowright, R., McCallum, H., Peel, A. (2020). Conditions predict heightened Hendra virus spillover risk in horses this winter: actions now can change outcomes Australian Veterinary Journal 98(6), 270-271.

  • Skinner, E., Murphy, A., Jansen, C., Shivas, M., McCallum, H., Onn, M., Reid, S., and Peel, A. (2020). Associations Between Ross River Virus Infection in Humans and Vector-Vertebrate Community Ecology in Brisbane, Australia Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases


  • Peel, A.J., Wells, K., Giles, J., Boyd, V., Burroughs, A., Edson, D., Crameri, G., Baker, M. L., Field, H., Wang, L-F., McCallum, H., Plowright, R. K., and Clark, N. (2019) Synchronous shedding of multiple bat paramyxoviruses coincides with peak periods of Hendra virus spillover. Emerging Microbes and Infections 8:1, 1314-1323

  • Sokolow, S.H., Nova, N., Pepin, K.M., Peel, A.J., Pulliam, J.R.C., Manlove, K., Cross, P.C., Becker, D.J., Plowright, R.K., McCallum, H., De Leo, G.A. (2019) Ecological interventions to prevent and manage zoonotic pathogen spillover. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20180342.

  • Lunn, T.J., Restif, O., Peel, A.J., Munster, V.J., de Wit, E., Sokolow, S., van Doremalen, N., Hudson, P., McCallum, H. (2019) Dose –response and transmission: the nexus between reservoir hosts, environment and recipient hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20190016

  • Glennon, E.E., Becker, D.J., Peel, A.J., Garnier, R., Suu-Ire R.D., Gibson, L., Hayman, D.T.S., Wood, J.L.N., Cunningham, A.A., Plowright, R.K., and Restif, O. (2019) What is stirring in the reservoir? Modelling mechanisms of henipavirus circulation in fruit bat hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20190021

  • Brook, C.E., Ranaivoson, H.C., Broder, C.C., Cunningham, A.A., Héraud, J.M., Peel, A.J., Gibson, L., Wood, J.L., Metcalf, C.J. & Dobson, A.P., 2019. Disentangling serology to elucidate henipa- and filovirus transmission in Madagascar fruit bats. Journal of Animal Ecology.

  • Edson, D., Peel, A.J., Huth, L., Mayer, D.G., Vidgen, M.E., McMichael, L., Broos, A., Melville, D., Kristoffersen, J., de Jong, C. and McLaughlin, A., 2019. Time of year, age class and body condition predict Hendra virus infection in Australian black flying foxes (Pteropus alecto). Epidemiology and Infection, 147.

  • Stephenson, E. B., Murphy, A. K., Jansen, C. C., Peel, A. J., & McCallum, H. (2019). Interpreting mosquito feeding patterns in Australia through an ecological lens: an analysis of blood meal studies. Parasites & Vectors, 12(1), 156.

  • Martin, L.B., Addison, B., Bean, A.G., Buchanan, K.L., Crino, O.L., Eastwood, J.R., Flies, A.S., Hamede, R., Hill, G.E., Klaassen, M. Koch, R.E., Martens, J.M., Napolitano, C., Narayan, E.J., Peacock, L., Peel, A.J., Peters, A., Raven, N., Risely, A., Roast, M.J., Rollins, L.A., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Selechnik, D., Stokes, H.S., Ujvari, B. & Grogan, L.F. (2019). Ex-treme Competence: Keystone Hosts of Infections. Trends in Ecology Evolution. 34(4):303-314

  • Fitak,R.R., Antonides,J.D., Baitchman,E.J., Bonaccorso,E., Braun,J., Kubiski,S., Chiu,E., Fagre,A.C., Gagne,R.B., Lee, J.S., Malmberg, J.L., Stenglein, M.D., Dusek, R.J., Forgacs, D., Fountain-Jones, N.M., Gilbertson, M.L.J., Worsley- Tonks, K.E.L., Funk, C., Trumbo, D.R., Ghersi, B.M., Grimaldi, W., Heisel, S.E., Jardine, C.M., Kamath, P.L., Karma- charya, D., Kozakiewicz, C.P., Kraberger, S., Loisel, D.A., McDonald, C., Miller, S., O’Rourke, D., Ott-Conn, C.N., Páez- Vacas, M., Peel, A. J., Turner, W.C., VanAcker, M.C., VandeWoude, S. & Pecon-Slattery, J. (2019) The Expectations and Challenges of Wildlife Disease Research in the Era of Genomics: Forecasting with a Horizon Scan-like Exercise. Journal of Heredity, esz001,


  • Martin, L. B., Addison, B., Bean, A. G. D., Buchanan, K. L., Crino, O. L., Eastwood, J. R., Flies, A. S., Hamede, R., Hill, G. E., Klaassen, M., Koch, R. E., Martens, J. M., Napolitano, C., Narayan, E. J., Peacock, L., Peel, A. J., Peters, A., Raven, N., Risely, A., Roast, M. J., Rollins, L. A., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Selechnik, D., Stokes, H. S., Ujvari, B., Grogan, L. F. (2018) Extreme competence: keystone hosts of infections. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (IF 15.938) Online early (link).

  • Kessler, M. K., Becker, D. J., Peel, A. J., Justice, N. V., Lunn, T., Crowley, D. E., Jones, D.N., Eby, P., Sánchez, C.A., Plowright, R.K. (2018). Changing resource landscapes and spillover of henipaviruses. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 112, 91. (link)

  • Giles, J. R., Peel, A. J., Wells, K., Plowright, R. K., McCallum, H., & Restif, O. (2018, August 28). Optimizing non-invasive sampling of an infectious bat virus. bioRxiv. (link) 

  • Peel, A. J., Baker, K. S., Hayman, D. T. S., Broder, C. C., Cunningham, A. A., Fooks, A. R., Garnier, R., Wood, J. L. N., and Restif, O.  (2018). Support for viral persistence in bats from age-specific serology and models of maternal immunity. Scientific Reports, 8(1), e0004796.  (link)

  • Giles, J.R., Eby, P., Parry, H., Peel, A.J., Plowright, R.K., Westcott, D.A. & McCallum, H. (2018) Environmental drivers of spatiotemporal foraging intensity in fruit bats and implications for Hendra virus ecology. Scientific Reports, 8: 9555 (link)

  • Stephenson, E. B., Peel, A. J., Reid, S. A., Jansen, C. C., & McCallum, H. (2018). The non-human reservoirs of Ross River virus: a systematic review of the evidence. Parasites & Vectors, 11(1), 188. (link)

  • Glennon, E. E., Restif, O., Sbarbaro, S. R., Garnier, R., Cunningham, A. A., Suu-Ire, R. D., Osei-Amponsah R, Wood, J. L. N. and Peel, A. J. (2018). Domesticated animals as hosts of henipaviruses and filoviruses: A systematic review. The Veterinary Journal, 233, 25–34. (link)

For a full list of publications, see my CV here

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