The National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Coordination Network for Haemosporidia of Terrestrial Vertebrates will hold a three-day meeting starting this Friday, August 5 to address various aspects of malaria and related blood-borne diseases in wildlife, including transmission dynamics, malaria parasites and their genomes, emerging infectious diseases and parasite ecology. Robert Fleischer of the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute will lead a presentation on his paper, “Malaria detection in museum specimens,” on Sunday at 9 a.m. Fleischer, along with SCBI’s Ellen Martinsen and the National Zoo’s Tim Walsh will present their co-authored paper, “Host switching by malaria parasites into native hosts,” on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. For a full schedule, visit the conference’s webpage.
The National Zoo has a long history of conducting research on malaria and related parasites of wildlife and how this relates to conservation, including studies of the invasive malaria in Hawaii that has been causing high mortality and conservation challenges for native Hawaiian birds. Zoo researchers have also investigated the use of malaria parasites to mark populations of migratory birds and assessed the movement of malaria parasites between Zoo and wild birds.
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute plays a key role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to understand and conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. Headquartered in Front Royal, Va., SCBI facilitates and promotes research programs based at Front Royal, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide.