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Data from: A multivariate test of disease risk reveals conditions leading to disease amplification


Halliday, Fletcher W. et al. (2017), Data from: A multivariate test of disease risk reveals conditions leading to disease amplification, Dryad, Dataset,


Theory predicts that increasing biodiversity will dilute the risk of infectious diseases under certain conditions and will amplify disease risk under others. Yet, few empirical studies demonstrate amplification. This contrast may occur because few studies have considered the multivariate nature of disease risk, which includes richness and abundance of parasites with different transmission modes. By combining a multivariate statistical model developed for biodiversity–ecosystem–multifunctionality with an extensive field manipulation of host (plant) richness, composition and resource supply to hosts, we reveal that (i) host richness alone could not explain most changes in disease risk, and (ii) shifting host composition allowed disease amplification, depending on parasite transmission mode. Specifically, as predicted from theory, the effect of host diversity on parasite abundance differed for microbes (more density-dependent transmission) and insects (more frequency-dependent transmission). Host diversity did not influence microbial parasite abundance, but nearly doubled insect parasite abundance, and this amplification effect was attributable to variation in host composition. Parasite richness was reduced by resource addition, but only in species-rich host communities. Overall, this study demonstrates that multiple drivers, related to both host community and parasite characteristics, can influence disease risk. Furthermore, it provides a framework for evaluating multivariate disease risk in other systems.

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National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1015909