A Geneseo researcher discovered that the behavior and preferences of a dispersal agent can cause a parasite to seem to favor a certain kind of host. In mistletoe, this means that birds will spread the parasitic plant to trees that happen to be fruiting at the same time, even though experiments proved that the tree they most commonly went to was the most difficult for mistletoe to survive on. In humans, this could affect diseases spread by creatures like mosquitoes or ticks. Working with other researchers, the scientist found that factors affecting the transfer of the parasite, be it a plant or a disease, as well as its relationship to the host, are impacted by other species and outside conditions.
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