Navigation Links
Diversity among bird populations found to reduce threat of West Nile virus
Date:6/24/2008

Santa Barbara, California - A biologist and undergraduate student have discovered that what's good for an area's bird population is also good for people living nearby.

The research, by John P. Swaddle and Stavros E. Calos, published June 25 in the online peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, indicates that areas which have a more diverse bird population (biodiversity) show much lower incidences of West Nile virus infection in the human population. West Nile develops rapidly in bird populations, and then can be passed to humans or other animals through a vector mechanism, often a mosquito.

Swaddle completed the work while a Sabbatical Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. NCEAS supports integrative research that synthesizes existing data, and makes these data and inferences available for management and policy applications.

Swaddle and Calos's research constitutes the largest-scale application to date of the "dilution effect", a pattern whereby increased biodiversity in wildlife results in lower risks of humans becoming infected by animal diseases. The dilution effect was first reported in Lyme disease, but Swaddle and Calos are the first to demonstrate the dilution effect in a disease that has bird hosts. Other infectious diseases of concern, such as avian flu and bubonic plague, Swaddle said, may fit the dilution effect as well.

"We don't yet know the precise mechanism that drives this pattern, but it's likely to be due to diverse areas having relatively few of the bird species that are particularly competent hosts and reservoirs for the virus," Swaddle said.

Host competence, he explains, refers to a set of qualities that make a particular species of bird best able to contract the disease and pass it on through a vector. The highest levels of host competence are found in crows, jays, thrushes and sparrows-the very birds that tend to thrive when avian biodiversity is reduced.

Swaddle, back in residence as associate professor at the College or William and Mary, points out some implications of his research. Very small changes in land management, he said, could attract more bird species, with the increase in biodiversity paying off in the form of lower human infection rates during outbreaks of West Nile or other diseases in the bird population.

"Biodiversity is giving us a public health service that people have rarely considered and the value of this service should be considered when developing land and managing bird populations in the future," Swaddle said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Margaret Connors
connors@nceas.ucsb.edu
805-892-4728
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Coral reef fish harbor an unexpectedly high biodiversity of parasites
2. Spatial patterns in tropical forests can help to understand their high biodiversity
3. Hydrothermal vents: Hot spots of microbial diversity
4. Upper Midwest forests are losing diversity, complexity, ISU study finds
5. NAS Biodiversity and Extinction Meeting Dec. 7-8
6. How global is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility?
7. Single-largest biodiversity survey says primary rainforest is irreplaceable
8. Are current projections of climate change-impacts on biodiversity misleading?
9. GBIF making the search for biodiversity research resources easier
10. New study finds biodiversity conservation secures ecosystem services for people
11. Study of bear hair will reveal genetic diversity of Yellowstones grizzlies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and ... and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial ... and others), by end use industry (government and law ... financial and banking, and others), and by region ( ... , Asia Pacific , and the ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 ... Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 ... 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... technology for discovery of antibody therapeutics from millions-diverse immune repertoires, announces launch of ... in San Diego, California. Dave Johnson, PhD, CEO of GigaGen, will present on ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... ... June 16, 2017 , ... ... commercialization, has just announced two more sessions of its “From the Helm” Webinar ... on the world of online templates for design control exercises. Led by David ...
(Date:6/15/2017)... ... June 15, 2017 , ... The newest exhibition at the ... creative experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration. Feature Creep, a solo exhibition by Maximillian Lawrence, ... will be held at EKG, located at 3600 Market Street in Philadelphia, on ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... Bangkok, Thailand (PRWEB) , ... June 14, 2017 ... ... Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) announces that they’re co-hosting a ... 19-22, 2017. , BIO, the largest biotech industry gathering in the world, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: