This theme, led by Andrew Cunningham, involves the identification and investigation of wildlife diseases (both infectious and non-infectious); ranging from basic studies on pathogens through to the assessment of their likely impacts on human health and biodiversity conservation.
This includes the development of collaborative inter- disciplinary approaches involving a wide range of specialisms to work towards an understanding of how diseases influence their host populations and the mechanisms underlying disease emergence in wildlife, domestic animals and humans. The importance of anthropogenic influences on host-parasite interactions is of particular interest in this respect.
Currently there are several projects underway to investigate disease threats to natural populations in Britain, such as those of marine mammals and turtles (Paul Jepson and Rob Deaville); red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) (Tony Sainsbury); garden birds (Andrew Cunningham and Becki Lawson), and amphibians (Andrew Cunningham and Trent Garner).
Further afield we are investigating the cause of catastrophic mortality and population declines of Gyps spp. vultures in India (Andrew Cunningham).