Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus

Date:
June 26, 2008
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
A biologist and undergraduate student have discovered that what's good for an area's bird population is also good for people living nearby.

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

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2008, June 26). Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) — Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins