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Climate Warming and Disease Risks for Terrestrial and Marine Biota
C. Drew Harvell,1* Charles E. Mitchell,1,2 Jessica R. Ward,1Sonia Altizer,3,4 Andrew P. Dobson,5 Richard S. Ostfeld,6 Michael D. Samuel7 ing directional climate change from shortterm variation has made it challenging to associate climate warming with disease prevalence or severity. For most wild populations, there are no long-term records of disease prevalence or baseline estimates of disease impacts on fitness. Recent work on human, crop, and forestpathogens, for which longterm data exist, shows sensitivity of some pathogens and vectors to climate factors (18 – 23). It is therefore likely that pathogens affecting wild populations will experience similar climate-driven changes. Infectious diseases can cause rapid population declines or species extinctions. Many pathogens of terrestrial and marine taxa are sensitive to temperature, rainfall, andhumidity, creating synergisms that could affect biodiversity. Climate warming can increase pathogen development and survival rates, disease transmission, and host susceptibility. Although most host-parasite systems are predicted to experience more frequent or severe disease impacts with warming, a subset of pathogens might decline with warming, releasing hosts from disease. Recently, changes in ElNino–Southern ˜ Oscillation events have had a detectable inﬂuence on marine and terrestrial pathogens, including coral diseases, oyster pathogens, crop pathogens, Rift Valley fever, and human cholera. To improve our ability to predict epidemics in wild populations, it will be necessary to separate the independent and interactive effects of multiple climate drivers on disease impact.
Infectious diseases are strong biotic forces that can threaten biodiversity by catalyzing population declines and accelerating extinctions. Pathogens are implicated in recent declines of Australian and Central American frogs (1, 2), Hawaiian forest birds, and African wild dogs (3). Invertebrate extinctions associated with disease include the Polynesian tree snail (4) and a marine limpet (5). Pathogens...