The ecological and evolutionary role of pathogens in wild birds

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    Lesions compatible with pox infection

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    Anthus berthelotii with avian pox

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    Lesions compatible with pox infection

There is an increasing concern about the effect of emergent diseases in the conservation of island endemic bird species. Pathogens mediated selection plays a major role, but the exact nature and extent of this selection remains unclear.

Because prevalence pattern differs considerably among islands, it does of Macaronesian archipelagos ideal study areas for understanding a range of evolutionary and ecological questions in host-parasite systems such as diversity of parasites, host specificity, influence of pathogens on host survival, immunocompetence and the role of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in parasite resistance.