Island conservation science biodiversity

Higher Biodiversity Increases Disease Resistance

Study finds that higher biodiversity enhances disease-resistance in ecosystems.

A recent study published in the journal Ecology by Australian and Chinese researchers from University of Adelaide and Fudan University suggests that higher levels of biodiversity increase an ecosystem’s disease resistance. The researchers studied the relationship between biodiversity and the severity of a fungal disease.

Island Conservation Science Alpine Meadow Maggie Tacheny
Alpine Meadow. Photo: Maggie Tacheny

The result was rather astounding. We showed unequivocally that greater biodiversity among the meadow plants reduced the overall incidence of fungal disease, even though there were more pathogens. -Shurong Zhou, Professor at Fudan University’s School of Life Sciences


Island Conservation Science Meadow Lupine Shaening-Pokrasso
Blooming Lupin on Hawadax Island. Photo: Ryan Shaening-Pokrasso/Island Conservation

Changing the delicate balance of a healthy community not only resulted in more pathogens but weakened the overall community’s resistance to disease. -Shurong Zhou

The study highlights the importance of preserving biodiversity. Island Conservation protects biodiversity by removing invasive species on islands. Islands are known for their high biodiversity, but that species richness is threatened when invasive species are introduced. When we help to defend these precious ecosystems against invasive species, we improve native species chances of resisting and recovering from disease.


Feature photo: Alpine Meadow. By Dan Logan

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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