Transition of the infectious disease panorama in the North

Birgitta Evengard

Div Infect dis, Dept Clin Microbiol, Umea University, Umea, Sweden

Arctic ecosystems have many things in common: they are nearly pristine, are facing rapid climate change and are subjected to increased tourism and trade with the rest of the world. At the same time they consist of cold-adapted species, making them particularly vulnerable to pressures like climate change and invasion by all types of organisms, including plants, animals and pathogens causing human diseases. An example is ticks moving northwards bringing with them a suitcase of micro-organisms such as the virus causing tick-borne encephalitis and the spirochetes causing borreliosis in humans. The more than 2 million semi-domesticated reindeer in the Arctic are at risk from the midge-borne virus blue tongue and the mosquito-borne West-Nile fever. Additionally, spreading plants (native and alien) and changes in species interactions are affecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Plants, animals, humans and pathogens in the vulnerable cold ecosystems of mountains and the far north, have thus far been neglected by scientists as well as policy makers. It is important to work across disciplines to address emerging biosecurity issues in cold environments.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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