Talk title: Changing landscapes, species communities and disease outbreaks.
Talk summary: Landscape composition and suitable habitat influence the presence of species, their distribution and their movements. Landscape changes thereby affect species community composition, and indirectly influences disease risk. In this presentation, I will illustrate how landscape changes can affect disease risk of various pathogens, via its impact on species occurrence, species richness, species diversity, and species movements and migration networks. For instance, by modelling migration networks of suitable stopover sites and analysing the effect of migration network complexity on avian influenza prevalence, we were able to predict spatio-temporal variation in avian influenza infection outbreaks. Other examples include the role of landscape heterogeneity on Lyme disease and other emerging zoonotic pathogens.
Speaker: Dr. Fred de Boer, an animal ecologist since 1989, became involved in disease ecology in 2009. Over his career, he has co-authored over 130 peer reviewed articles and supervised more than 20 PhD student projects. Dr. de Boer is specifically interested in the interactions between pathogens, their hosts, and environmental and spatial factors. Together with co-workers, he has studied the role of biodiversity in disease outbreaks, especially in fragmented landscapes where changes in land use affect species diversity. He has also investigated relationships between species traits, community composition and disease outbreaks. He also works on how landscape changes affect migration networks of birds in relation to outbreaks of avian influenza outbreaks.