A new review paper from Felicia Keesing explores how diversity can affect disease transmission. For many diseases of plants and animals, including humans, the presence of low-quality hosts reduces the overall transmission of disease-causing parasites. People have used these “dilution effects” to manage diseases for over a century. More recent evidence demonstrates that dilution effects also occur naturally, protecting us from greater risk of being exposed to infectious diseases. When biodiversity declines, these natural dilution effects disappear, providing a powerful link between the conservation of biodiversity and the health of humans, wildlife, and plants.
Publication info: Keesing, F., & Ostfeld, R. S. (2021). Dilution effects in disease ecology. Ecology Letters.