“I think what’s surprising to me is how little is known. We’re seeing the emergence of all these infectious diseases more and more rapidly, but we know very little about how diseases occur. disability can affect perception and the impact this has on wildlife on humans,” said lead author Andrea K. Townsend, Associate Professor of Biology from Hamilton College.
Disease-related cognitive decline has the potential to affect entire ecological communities. For example, bees infected with certain pathogens have difficulty learning the smell and color of the most productive flowers.
“This is a really bad outcome, if you’re a bee, because successful foraging depends on being able to efficiently find the highest yielding flowers,” Townsend added. This can have negative consequences for bee populations and also for the flowers, which depend on bees for pollination.
As wildlife continues to be affected by climate change and environmental disturbances, cognitive decline can exacerbate the effects of disease. In disturbed environments, animals tend to be stressed, and stressed animals are more likely to get sick, which can impair their cognitive abilities.
At the same time, these cognitive abilities can be especially important in these stressful and changing environments, where cognitive abilities (such as flexible decision-making and innovation) can give them a behavioral stepping stones.
“So here you can have a snowball effect where animals in stressful environments are more likely to get sick and their cognitive abilities are impaired. Then they’re less likely to cope with the disease. coping with these stressful, changing environments due to impaired cognitive ability It could be Townsend to further explain the costs of environmental change for some species of wildlife.