Frontiers in climate change-disease research

Trends Ecol Evol. 2011 Jun;26(6):270-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


The notion that climate change will generally increase human and wildlife diseases has garnered considerable public attention, but remains controversial and seems inconsistent with the expectation that climate change will also cause parasite extinctions. In this review, we highlight the frontiers in climate change-infectious disease research by reviewing knowledge gaps that make this controversy difficult to resolve. We suggest that forecasts of climate-change impacts on disease can be improved by more interdisciplinary collaborations, better linking of data and models, addressing confounding variables and context dependencies, and applying metabolic theory to host-parasite systems with consideration of community-level interactions and functional traits. Finally, although we emphasize host-parasite interactions, we also highlight the applicability of these points to climate-change effects on species interactions in general.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / parasitology*
  • Forecasting / methods*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Metabolism / physiology
  • Models, Biological*