Ecology

Category archives for Ecology

I spent all day yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, at a conference on Landscape Ecology and infectious disease. I’ll discuss a few of the talks and issues below, but I wanted to start out with a bit of an introduction and explain just what landscape ecology (LE) is. The introductory talk, which covered this ground, was…

Early this week, grant application; yesterday and today, IRB and IACUC for another project. But once again, fellow Sbers are keeping me busy reading about stories I’d like to be writing on; see yet again Mike on E. coli O157:H7–everything old is new again; Ed on a new study showing yet again how amazing bacteria…

1980 marked a milestone in infectious disease epidemiology: the World Health Organization declared the smallpox virus eradicated in the wild. However, while smallpox currently exists only in frozen stocks, poxviruses as a class certainly haven’t disappeared. A related virus, monkeypox, regularly causes illness in Africa, and even spread half a world away in the American…

As I mentioned Friday, the good folks from Google were part of the crowd at this year’s ICEID. This included a talk by Larry Brilliant, described on his wikipedia page as “…medical doctor, epidemiologist, technologist, author and philanthropist, and the director of Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.” His talk discussed not only stopping outbreaks in their…

Thar’s bacteria in that there snow!

I really need more time to fill in a gap in my microbiology education: environmental microbiology. I run across papers all the time that are absolutely fascinating, and wish I had a free year to just take some additional coursework in this area. For instance, a paper in today’s Science magazine discusses how atmospheric bacteria…

In my field, many things that cause the average man-on-the-street to get a bit squeamish or squicked are rather commonplace. My own studies include two types of bacteria that are carried rectally in humans (and other animals), so I spend an absurd amount of time thinking about, well, shit, and the lifeforms that inhabit it…

MRSA and swine: collision course

Both Mike and Revere have new posts up documenting swine as a new threat to human health (beyond the pork chops and bacon), via carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in these animals. Several papers have been published recently documenting high rates of MRSA carriage in swine in the Netherlands, and also have documented transmission of…

I’ve written a post or two (or a dozen) discussing science journalism–the good, the bad, and, mostly (because they’re the most fun), the ugly. There was this story about how blondes “evolved to win cavemen’s hearts.” Or this one that completely omitted the name of the pathogen they were writing about. Or this one, where…

It’s only taken 30 years, but information about Ebola in nature is finally starting to snowball. First, after almost 15 years of disappearing from the human population, Ebola returned with a vengeance in the mid 1990s, causing illness in 6 separate outbreaks in Gabon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Africa (imported…

Clostridium Marys

Clostridium difficile is an emergent bacterium. A close relative of the bacteria that cause tetanus and botulilsm (Clostridium tetani and Clostridium botulinum, respectively), C. difficile is an intestinal bacterium that can cause colitis. C. difficile has until recently been a fairly rare cause of disease, and then only typically within a hospital setting. However, the…