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Preventing Pandemics: Why Biodiversity Matters

Join disease ecologists Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing for a virtual Cary Science Conversation with Cary President Josh Ginsberg. They explore the role of biodiversity in infectious disease spillovers.

The microbes that cause diseases like COVID-19, SARS, and Ebola originated in wildlife before making the jump to people. What causes zoonotic diseases to spill over? Are natural areas, and the biodiversity they hold, good or bad for our health? Can we manage animals to make the diseases they carry less likely to jump to people? These are among the questions that will be discussed. 

Discover how development and biodiversity loss can set the stage for disease spillover events, why we should fear rats - not rhinos, and how protecting habitat and saving species can play an important role in safeguarding global health. 

Rick Ostfeld is a Distinguished Senior Scientist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Felicia Keesing is the David & Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of the Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing at Bard College.


Talk slides

Journal articles

Ostfeld, R.S. and F. Keesing. 2020. Species that can make us ill thrive in human habitats. Nature DOI:10.1038/d41586-020-02189-5.


Extinction: The Facts, by David Attenborough

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