Disease Ecology

The Latest

Use natural biodiversity to fight Lyme disease

Protecting the environment is usually easier to the extent we can link it to human health concerns. The tough federal Clean Air Act, for example, has been driving the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, but the real impetus for the law is the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that it’s saving more than 160,000 human lives each year.

Lyme disease & opossums

Podcast

Can you guess what animal found throughout the United States is turning out to be an unsung hero helping to prevent the spread of Lyme Disease? A hint it's a marsupial, just like a kangaroo.

Boom-or-bust breeding cycle that helps the mighty oak survive

While deer are often associated with ticks that carry Lyme disease, the ruminants don’t transmit the infection. Mice do, and when they flourish, the disease will proliferate.

Emerging Infectious Diseases & Amphibian Biodiversity

Lecture Video

Dr. Karen Lips, a University of Maryland biologist discusses the underlying causes of global amphibian declines and extinctions.

Related Projects

Amphibian Disease Ecology

Amphibians are important indicators of ecosystem health but are declining globally. A major contributor to amphibian declines is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogenic fungus that causes cutaneous infection in many amphibian species.

Macroecology of Infectious Disease

Environmental changes can impact host-parasite interactions by altering fundamental host behaviors, such as competition, predation, foraging, and sociality.  These environmentally-induced changes to wildlife host communities affect the epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens.

The Tick Project

The Tick Project is testing whether environmental interventions can prevent tick-borne diseases in our communities. The need for prevention is stronger than ever, with expanding tick populations and more than 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Machine Learning to Predict Zoonotic Disease

Why do the majority of human infectious diseases originate from wildlife? Our lab seeks to identify intrinsic characteristics of wild species (e.g., life history, ecological, physiological traits) that signal their potential to be future reservoirs of zoonotic diseases (human diseases with animal origins).

Infectious Hematopoeitic Necrosis Virus (IHNV)

Infectious Hematopoeitic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) is a rhabdovirus threatening endangered populations of wild salmon and thwarting hatchery-led conservation efforts.

Ecological Complexity, Mosquito Production and Disease Risk

Over the past 50 years, many regions across the globe have experienced a (re)emergence of mosquito-vectored diseases, both due to novel pathogens and those previously eradicated. 

tick collecting

Lyme Disease

Different species of tick hosts tend to have different probabilities of transmitting an infection to a feeding tick. In eastern and central North America, the host most likely to transmit an infection to a feeding tick is the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), which infects between 40% and 90% of feeding larvae.

Spatio-Temporal Variation in West Nile Virus Intensity

West Nile virus emerged in the western hemisphere during the summer of 1999, reawakening public awareness to the potential severity of vector –borne pathogens.

Biodiversity, Community Ecology, and the Dilution Effect

Biodiversity can protect human health by reducing human exposure to diseases transmitted from wildlife. Environmental changes, such as habitat fragmentation, can increase disease risk by reducing both predators and biodiversity.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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