Short-term efforts[ edit ] Concept diagram of underwater oil containment domes originally planned for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Wild animals have their own epidemics, which are called epizootics, as well as circulating diseases like colds or Endangered animals essay 2010 in humans.
Overviews of epizootic prevalence in animals are rare in the literature, but epizootics are common in nature. Some epizootics are traced to spillover events. Much of the existing research on spillover in wild animals is on topics of human health or veterinary interest, e. Researchers also commonly study animal disease as it affects conservation of endangered populations.
What factors affect parasite load and disease? Researchers look at two metrics to study the magnitude of parasitic burden on a species or an individual: Both of these are correlated, though not directly — more diverse ecosystems frequently, although not always, have more abundance and biomass Cardinale et al.
Richness and abundance across species and populations When looking at whole species or populations of a species, researchers usually examine richness. Parasitic richness among different species depends on a variety of factors. Non-autochthonous1Not originating in the place where found; non-native or introduced populations have fewer parasites than autochthonous2Originating in the place where found; native or local.
Animals that eat a larger volume of food, e. From insects to human beings, social animals have more parasites and infectious diseases than solitary animals, because potential hosts are more densely concentrated.
For example, sparring dear transmit papovavirus through open wounds, which leads to skin tumors Sorensen et al. Richness and abundance in individual animals Parasite load varies drastically between individuals.
Old and juvenile animals are more likely to have and die from parasites. Older animals have also generally accumulated more non-lethal parasites over their lives, which may still exact a fitness cost Lester, Some individuals have unusually high levels of parasites.
The effect is well-known in both human and animal outbreaks. The reason this happens in some individuals but not others is somewhat unclear, but may have to do with unusual illness characteristics that lead to higher rates of spread — for instance, humans with Staphylococcus aureus colonizing the respiratory system are more likely to transmit it to others than those where it colonizes the skin, its usual location Stein, One of these is the complicated nature of parasitism.
Parasitism is a form of symbiosis, an umbrella category that also includes mutualism both organisms benefit from an association and commensalism where one organism benefits and another is unaffected.
These categories are not clearly delineated in nature. Sometimes, most of the harm of a pathogen comes from the immune response it triggers, rather than direct bodily harm.
Some animals have behavioral strategies to deal with parasites, like preening in birds or social grooming in mammals. Animals from butterflies to sparrows to elephants seek out anti-parasitic compounds, either to prevent parasites e. Some entire species, like cleaner wrasses or oxpecker birds, survive by removing parasites from other animals Goldman, n.
These could suggest that external parasites no longer bother host animals with relationships to these species.
Such behaviors certainly mitigate the negative effects of parasites. Untreated parasitic worm infections in humans have been linked to less exacerbation from multiple sclerosis and lower rates of allergies and asthma. The causal mechanism might be either general immune system suppression leading to fewer inappropriate immune responses for instance, allergies, where the immune system reacts to innocuous stimulior perhaps that historically, contact with parasites was an important part of priming appropriate immunoregulation Rook, Experimental manipulation is perhaps the soundest way of determining if a symbiote overall harms its host, and by what means.
Other studies establish correlation. See the appendix for details on the kinds of studies that are used. Of course, for some parasites that kill or cause enormous physical damage to their hosts, negative effects are more obvious.
Are wild animals harmed by parasites? Studies in various host-parasite systems generally find a variety of negative and sometimes neutral effects from parasite infection. Unfortunately, many animals have not been studied in depth, and there are many criteria we might use as indicators of experienced suffering, so we should be cautious about drawing sweeping conclusions.
Effects on overall wellbeing Some consequences from parasites are direct and well-established. They can also destroy tissue, from the entire reproductive tissue of snails Scott, to the tongues of fish Zimmer, to cells destroyed by viruses as they reproduce.
Parasites like tapeworms or ticks also redirect host resources for themselves, weakening their hosts. For this reason, parasites are regularly associated with lower survival, reproduction, and movement in their hosts Scott, Artificial manipulation gives us some of the most robust conclusions about the effects of parasites.The Endangered Species Act - The Endangered Species Act was established in to protect endangered species.
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