Diagnosing ecohealth through investigation and collaboration
What is Ecosystem Health and Why Do We Need to Study It?
Ecosystem health is used to describe the condition of a habitat and the organisms within it as a result of the positive and negative human and natural factors acting on it. Veterinarians can complement ecosystem health assessments by value-adding to the work done by ecologists and biologists through the study of wildlife health and survivorship under normal and adverse environmental conditions. This interdisciplinary approach allows an accurate holistic assessment of the environment and potential pinpointing of which factors need mitigating or supporting to reverse, protect, or restore a habitat.
There is a real and urgent need in the state of Ohio to study ecohealth. We have amazing natural resources from the caves of Hocking Hills to the Appalachian Mountains to the global phenomenon of the Great Lakes System hosting a suite of important mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and, even, invertebrates. However, we also have high demands on our agricultural lands as we farm more cereal crops and an ever-growing population as home to the 15th largest city in the United States that are increasing waterway pollution and the risks of invasive diseases and species entering our state.
The Ecosystem Health Unit facilitates a multi-disciplinary collaborative team of expertise capable of establishing health baselines through to addressing an urgent and critical need to monitor, diagnose, interpret, report, and make recommendations on managing our free-ranging environment against natural and anthropogenic stressors. We share this knowledge with our university, scientific and local communities.
The Ecosystem Health Unit (i) conducts appropriate research to advance the field of veterinary ecosystem health; (ii) interacts with stakeholders, other academics and government agencies involved with using or preserving our natural environment to knowledge share and achieve common goals; (iii) educates at the community level on all aspects of ecosystem health to raise awareness of issues for the current and future generations; and (iv) educates professional DVM and graduate students in the appropriate skills needed to contribute to maintaining and improving the health of ecosystem.
Members of the Ecosystem Health Unit are able to collaborate with other tertiary, government, NGO’s and special interest groups, in times of anomalous or catastrophic events, to assist with creating informed strategies to mitigate short term and/or long term negative impacts and determine risk factors.