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Pathogens and Parasites

  • mosquito in hand

Wildlife diseases may cause significant decreases in survival and reproduction in both captive and wild animal populations and thus are of concern for conservation efforts. Also, wildlife diseases may serve as sources of diseases that jump into human populations and become human health risks.

Center for Conservation Genomics scientists focus on the following infectious diseases and their impacts on wildlife:

  • Malaria distribution, genomics and impacts on hosts 
  • Invasive chytrid fungus and amphibian declines 
  • Tick-borne pathogens and wildlife
    • ​This collaborative program with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Conservation Ecology Center and National Museum of Natural History scientists involved the development of next generation sequencing capture method (“ecto-baits”) to simultaneously diagnose multiple pathogens, identify tick and host blood meal species, and comparisons to classical diagnostic methods. Research includes both classical and our “ecto-baits” approaches to determine presence and infection levels of Borrelia (Lyme Disease), Anaplasma, Bartonella, Coxiella, Rickettsia, Hepatozoon, Babesia, etc. in Kenyan and Virginian ticks.
  • Pathogen induced historical decline in Tasmanian devils 
  • Protistan pathogens in marine near-shore systems