Ecology Letters cover story
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Professor Mark Hunter and colleagues at Emory University published what will be the cover story in the May 2011 issue of Ecology Letters. Their paper shows how one animal species in a community can affect how a different animal species catches a disease.
Hunter says that this paper is the second part of a story about how monarch butterflies get disease. In their October 2010 Ecology Letters paper, they showed that female monarchs choose plants with a chemistry that reduces disease transmission.
For the current paper, they studied a food web consisting of two species of milkweed, two milkweed herbivores (monarch butterfly and oleander aphid) and a monarch butterfly specific parasite.
“It turns out that animals like aphids can change the chemistry of milkweeds so that monarch butterflies become more susceptible to disease,” Hunter said. “We normally think of disease transmission as being a matter only for the disease and the host organism. It turns out that other species matter too.” Image: Jaap de Roode
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