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Dr. Peter Daszak is a disease ecologist and President of the Wildlife Trust, an international organization of scientists dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. He is a leader in the field of conservation medicine and is well known for uncovering the wildlife origin of the SARS virus. Dr. Daszak also identifed the first case of a species extinction caused by a disease and has demonstrated a link between global trade and disease emergence via a process called "pathogen pollution."
In this interview I ask Dr. Daszak about the threat new pathogens pose to endangered species and go into detail about his discovery that chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease caused by the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for global amphibian population declines. Dr. Daszack also discusses a unique study that exposes how the W.H.O. might better use their resources when faced with new pathogens such as the kind we've seen with the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. We also explore how pathogens of animals have the ability to evolve into human diseases like flu and HIV.
Links to research discussed in this episode:
Download: mp3 (42 min | 39 megs)