Abstract

Global climate change is altering the ecology of infectious agents and driving the emergence of disease in people, domestic animals, and wildlife. We present a novel, empirically based, predictive model for the impact of climate warming on development rates and availability of an important parasitic nematode of muskoxen in the Canadian Arctic, a region that is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Using this model, we show that warming in the Arctic may have already radically altered the transmission dynamics of this parasite, escalating infection pressure for muskoxen, and that this trend is expected to continue. This work establishes a foundation for understanding responses to climate change of other host–parasite systems, in the Arctic and globally.

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Footnotes

  • Current address: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.

    • Received April 12, 2005.
    • Accepted August 2, 2005.
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