While the world is coming to grasp with the COVID-19 pandemic, conservation organizations have cautioned that human activities in areas with high biodiversity are to blame for disease emergence. Aside from causing damage to these ecosystems, our excursions into these areas would increase the odds of pathogens spilling over from wild hosts to humans, and domesticated animals and plants. However, can we really build a scientific case for this intuition? Here I will address whether such a scenario may apply to viruses based on what we know about viral biodiversity, the kinetics of viral spillover events, and the evolutionary dynamics of viral adaptation. I will focus on plant viruses as a model system, and highlight some of the ongoing work at NIOO on plant virus ecology.
31 Oct 0006
Production Ecology & Resource Conservation Graduate School Day 2021