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Caption: A regional climate that now prohibits range expansion for a parasite could change to become more hospitable and open up new "territory" for infectious diseases. The researchers report that as a parasite's metabolism varies with temperature, life-cycle components such as mortality, development, reproduction or infectivity may also vary with temperature. If the temperature dependence of a specific parasite such as the nematode (illustrated above) is known -- or the temperature dependence of its life-cycle components -- the Princeton model uses these temperature effects to evaluate the impact of climate change on parasite fitness, and thus the regions in which the parasite may occur in the future.
Credit: Illustration by Matilda Luk
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Related news release: March of the pathogens: Parasite metabolism can foretell disease ranges under climate change