Identifying and investigating wildlife diseases

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 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 native species populations in Britain:

  • Marine mammals, turtles and basking sharks (Paul Jepson and Rob Deaville)
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  • Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance for the Species Recovery Programme 
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  • Understanding bats and disease
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Further afield we are working to save the endangered mountain chicken frog, protecting endangered giant Chinese salamanders from novel diseases and studying the infection dynamics of central African fruit bat colonies.

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