Thursday, August 5, 2010: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Blrm A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Pieter T. J. Johnson
Thomas R. Raffel
Global climate change and the unprecedented rate of infectious disease emergence represent two of the most formidable ecological problems of our time, both of which will undoubtedly impact humans and wildlife if they have not already. The conventional wisdom, that global climate change will increase infectious diseases to the detriment of human health, biodiversity, and ecosystem goods and services, has placed climate change-disease interactions at the center of scientific, political, and public agendas. However, this conventional wisdom was recently challenged in a “Concepts and Synthesis” paper in Ecology, which sparked a contentious “Forum” in the same issue. While this Forum provided a platform for contrasting opinions, it did not offer resolution, synthesis, or agreement on 1) what we know about the relationship between climate change and disease, 2) whether there is a predictive theory that can be applied to this topic, or 3) the directions the field must take to advance our understanding and to move toward preparatory and remedial measures, the three scientific goals of this symposium. Our educational goal is to attract young scientists into the discipline of climate change-disease research by offering an inspiring balance of perspectives from established, high-profile researchers with those from young, forward-looking scientists.
The session structure has been carefully considered to form a well-integrated series of talks, each relevant to the symposium goals. Further, the perspectives of senior researchers will alternate with those of up-and-coming, junior scientists to ensure a diversity of outlooks. The first talk will offer a synthesis on what we know about climate change and disease. The second talk, will emphasize climate, fever, and vector-borne disease. The third talk, on climate-driven shifts in host-parasite dynamics, will be given by a PhD student representing the youth in the discipline. The next talk will offer a theoretical framework for considering interactions between climate and disease that will cross ecosystem boundaries. The fifth talk will cover vector-borne diseases and approaches to move from pattern to process. Our sixth speaker will link theory with data and provide a nexus between ecology and human disease. The seventh speaker will discuss the often ignored effects of climatic variability on disease. Finally, the last speaker will present views in opposition to the conventional wisdom on climate change and disease that will offer the ideal segue to spark spirited discussion, guided by the moderators, on the “The future of climate change-disease research and recommendations to advance the field”.