Talk – Plagues and People: Disease Transmission and Global Drivers of Change
March 26 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm| Free
Speakers: Allison Gardner, Assistant Professor, Biology & Ecology, UMaine; Sandra De Urisote-Stone, Assistant Professor, Forest Resources, UMaine
Nature-based tourism is tightly coupled with the transmission and dynamics of vector-borne infectious diseases (i.e., those that are transmitted via the bite of an infected arthropod, such as a mosquito or a tick). Domestic and international travel likely play a substantial role in the spread of both vectors and pathogens to new locations, while public health concerns may influence tourism businesses’ and potential travelers’ risk perceptions and marketing mix strategies and travel decision-making respectively. Our interdisciplinary socio-ecological systems research considers these vexing and under-studied problems. We will discuss the early stages of our collaborative research in two study systems: Lyme disease in Maine and mosquito-borne viruses in the Americas. Lyme disease incidence is expected to increase in Maine, including in popular tourist destinations such as Acadia National Park, under climate change due to a combination of ecological and social factors. Meanwhile, the recent spread of Zika and chikungunya viruses in the Western hemisphere has been driven largely by human movements across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Our goals are to develop a deeper understanding of the natural and human drivers of infectious disease transmission, and to apply this knowledge to inform public health messaging and management strategies in states and countries with tourism-based economies.
Allison Gardner is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine. Her entomology research focuses on the ecology and dynamics of arthropod-borne disease, with the goal of designing effective, sustainable mosquito-borne and tick-borne disease management strategies that are grounded in ecological theory. She completed her PhD at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2016.
Sandra De Urioste Stone is an Assistant Professor in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine. She is an applied social scientist focusing on natural resource management and stakeholder engagement. She has conducted research in the U.S. and Latin America on adaptation to global changes, community-based health interventions, collaborative management of natural resources, and sustainable tourism.