Can biodiversity loss make us sick? @ 1049 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W9, Canada, Ottawa [14 February]

Can biodiversity loss make us sick?

18:30 - 19:30

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1049 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W9, Canada
Explore science through Carleton University’s popular Science Cafés at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Each café begins at 6:30 p.m. with a 20-minute talk by a scientist followed by a 40-minute open question and answer period. Come and join us for a lively discussion around a scientific issue of the day. Be prepared to be informed, engaged and even amused, as our professors share their scientific discoveries with you. All are welcome.

This talk will be lead by Dr. Felipe Dargent, from the Department of Biology at Carleton. See abstract below:

The earth is thought to be in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. Species are being lost globally at unprecedented high rates, presenting consequences for the species that remain, including humans. One potential consequence is the emergence and spread of infectious diseases that can infect and be transmitted by multiple ‘reservoir’ host species. Crucially, the transmission of those diseases across species depends on how readily reservoir hosts catch and maintain the infectious agents. One recent hypothesis, dubbed the ‘dilution effect’, proposes that the loss of species in an environment leads to increased transmission of infection because the species that are better suited to escape extinction are also those that are more likely to catch and sustain high levels of infection. Such a scenario presents a strong practical argument in favour of the conservation of biodiversity as a tool for public health. In this talk I will present an overview of the mechanisms that link biodiversity to disease and dissect several case studies that either support or refute the idea that biodiversity loss leads to an increased prevalence of disease among humans and other animals.
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