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FWCB’s Luke George Leads Study on West Nile Virus Impact on Bird Populations
Dr. Luke George recently led a team of researchers in a study concerning the affects of West Nile Virus on bird populations across the United States by analyzing data from 1992-2007. The study was co-authored by scientists from UCLA, Washington University, and the Institute for Bird Populations. The results of the study found that more bird populations were susceptible to West Nile Virus than known, and that the virus has long term effects on bird population growth. The findings suggest that the virus could cause the population growth rate to decline over the course of time. Effects of decreased bird populations mean less opportunity for recreational activities like bird viewing, but also fewer birds to carry out ecological roles such as pollination of plants and seed dispersal. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.