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Biodiversity Could Be a Buffer Against Parasites, Disease

Cara J

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The richer an ecosystem is in biodiversity, the more resistant it could be to parasites and the spread of disease, according to a new study. “Our study shows that biodiversity conservation could have this additional side benefit of reducing parasites,” said David Civitello, a post-doctoral researcher in integrative biology at the University of South Florida and lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Civitello and a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis that looked for evidence of the so-called dilution effect — an idea that when ecosystems are more diverse, the species within them are better at resisting parasites and disease. They examined over 200 studies that had data comparing more ecologically diverse communities with less ecologically diverse communities and found that on average the dilution effect was fairly widespread, and not just coincidental as some researchers have suggested. Some of the studies they examined included research on frogs and the chytrid fungus — a generalist fungal disease cutting a swath through amphibian populations across the world. The study found that when only one frog species was exposed to the disease, that species were more likely to contract it. But when there [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/biodiversity-could-be-a-buffer-against-parasites-disease/

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