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We present the techniques of qualitative analysis of complex communities and discuss the impact of climate change as a press perturbation. In particular, we focus on the difficult problem of disease and parasites embedded in animal communities, notably zoonotic diseases. Climate change can potentially affect population densities of hosts and vectors, as well as their life expectancy. Recent advances may provide insight in predicting change in risk of zoonotic disease following climate shifts. We conclude that the impact of change on ecological communities can be profound but subtle, complex, and ambiguous, even under basic mathematical assumptions about the structure of a community when in equilibrium.
Philippe Rossignol is professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State Univesity, where he has been since 1988. He received his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 1978. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. His main interests are in public health entomology, specifically malariology, and theoretical community ecology.Jennifer Orme Zavaleta is associate director for science at the Environmental Protection Agency's Western Ecology Division in Corvallis, Oregon. She has worked for the EPA since 1981. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University (OSU) in 2003 and is a courtesy Professor at OSU. Her main research interests are in risk assessment and integration of health and ecological risk assessment.
Annette Rossignol is professor of epidemiology in the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University, where she has been teaching since 1988. She received her D.Sc. from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1981. Her main interests are in environmental epidemiology , international health, and ethics. She is the author of a text entitled Principles and Practice of Epidemiology: An Engaged Approach, to be published by McGraw-Hill company in December 2005.