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.  Our work seeks to answer the following questions: What are the most important environmental factors and biotic interactions underlying the persistence or exclusion of zoonotic pathogens in ecological communities? What is the functional contribution of particular host species to disease dynamics within a host community? Also, given that coinfection with multiple parasitic organisms is the norm rather than the exception, are there generalizable ‘association rules’ among parasites that allow some wildlife hosts to be exceptionally competent zoonotic reservoirs?

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