Health of Antarctic birds: a review of their parasites, pathogens and diseases
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- Barbosa, A. & Palacios, M.J. Polar Biol (2009) 32: 1095. doi:10.1007/s00300-009-0640-3
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Antarctic birds are not beyond the effects of parasites or pathogens. However, potential ecological consequences of wide-spread infections for bird populations in Antarctica have received little attention. In this paper, we review the information published about disease and parasites, and their effects on Antarctic birds. The information on host species, parasites and pathogens, and geographic regions is incomplete and data on ecological effects on the populations, including how birds respond to pathogens and parasites, are almost inexistent. We conclude that more research is needed to establish general patterns of spatial and temporal variation in pathogens and parasites, and to determine how such patterns could influence hosts. This information is crucial to limit the spread of outbreaks and may aid in the decision-making process should they occur.