Could We “Dilute” Disease by Protecting Biodiversity?

So you are a passionate conservation activist distracted in the time of global pandemic- perhaps you haven’t had the mental space to prioritize biodiversity protection in your ever growing laundry list of pressing societal issues. What if I told you that the preservation of biodiversity could have the potential to check off a few items on that list- including disease impact? Read on to hear how science has worked tirelessly to determine if diversity can actually “dilute” disease in a variety of organisms, ending with a new comprehensive study that looks at this effect in plants.

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Microbes for Disappearing Dunes

A major challenge our coastal ecosystems face is rapid loss of sand dunes due to coastal erosion. Plants play an important role in sand dune restoration. However, without the right microbes these plants may not be able to establish themselves in the dunes.

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Will sea level rise harm tidal marshlands?

Tidal freshwater wetlands sit at the interface between the salty estuary and freshwater uplands, making the vulnerability of these habitats uncertain as sea level rise progresses. This study used over 5 years of plant and water level monitoring data, along with an elevation survey, to assess the relationship between plant species coverage and early season flooding. The researchers found that early in the season flooding was associated with sharp declines in plant coverage. These observations and analyses could provide insights into how sea level rise will affect tidal freshwater wetlands.

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