Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases

Guernier, Vanina, Hochberg, Michael E and Guégan, Jean-François 2004, Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases, PLoS biology, vol. 2, no. 6, pp. 0740-0746, doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020141.

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Title Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases
Author(s) Guernier, VaninaORCID iD for Guernier, Vanina orcid.org/0000-0002-0960-3874
Hochberg, Michael E
Guégan, Jean-François
Journal name PLoS biology
Volume number 2
Issue number 6
Start page 0740
End page 0746
Total pages 7
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2004-06
ISSN 1544-9173
Keyword(s) Species diversity
Latitude
Pathogens
Parasitic diseases
Monte Carlo method
Viral pathogens
Biodiversity
Northern Hemisphere
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Biology
Summary Identifying the factors underlying the origin and maintenance of the latitudinal diversity gradient is a central problem in ecology, but no consensus has emerged on which processes might generate this broad pattern. Interestingly, the vast majority of studies exploring the gradient have focused on free-living organisms, ignoring parasitic and infectious disease (PID) species. Here, we address the influence of environmental factors on the biological diversity of human pathogens and their global spatial organization. Using generalized linear multivariate models and Monte Carlo simulations, we conducted a series of comparative analyses to test the hypothesis that human PIDs exhibit the same global patterns of distribution as other taxonomic groups. We found a significant negative relationship between latitude and PID species richness, and a nested spatial organization, i.e., the accumulation of PID species with latitude, over large spatial scales. Additionally, our results show that climatic factors are of primary importance in explaining the link between latitude and the spatial pattern of human pathogens. Based on our findings, we propose that the global latitudinal species diversity gradient might be generated in large part by biotic interactions, providing strong support for the idea that current estimates of species diversity are substantially underestimated. When parasites and pathogens are included, estimates of total species diversity may increase by more than an order of magnitude.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020141
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical and Health Sciences
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, Guernier et al.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30126977

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Medicine
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