Freshwater biodiversity provides new insights for public health

Nathaniel Hitt
September 13, 2012

Biodiversity assessments have become commonplace in conservation research, but their role for public health analysis remains largely unexplored.  In this seminar, I show that (a) stream invertebrate communities provide indicators of human cancer mortality rates in nearby areas and (b) these ecological models improve upon known socioeconomic risk factors for cancer (i.e., smoking, poverty, urbanization).  I discuss how an ecological understanding of stream ecosystems is necessary to separate direct from indirect causal pathways with examples from West Virginia and Florida.