Influenza Virus in Wild Birds in Norway
Ducks and gulls are the natural hosts of influenza A virus. Ragnhild Tønnessen's PhD research project has characterised influenza A viruses in gulls and ducks in Norway. Her discoveries may lead to a better understanding of the epidemiology and host adaptation of influenza A virus.
... Due to the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H5N1 in Southeast Asia, a programme to monitor influenza viruses in wild birds in Norway was initiated in 2005. A large number of samples, gathered by hunters from ducks and gulls, were analysed at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. Samples collected from Rogaland County in the South-West of Norway during the hunting seasons (August-December) of 2005-2007 and 2009-2010 were studied. The results showed that low pathogenic avian influenza viruses were present in 15.5% of the samples, and that the virus occurrence was higher in dabbling ducks than in gulls. The virus prevalence was lowest in December. Many different subtypes of the influenza A virus were detected, but not the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.
The complete genetic material from a total of five influenza viruses from mallard and common gull were sequenced and characterized. The results showed that the genes of the Norwegian viruses resembled the genes found in influenza viruses from other wild birds in Europe.
Students help researchers study chronic wasting disease
CWDeers Day events show students how they can help research the illness that strikes deer and elk
|Student researchers transport a live deer to the processing station. |
Photo credit: Scott Burnworth
No science textbooks or bland lectures here -- students in Fort Collins are learning what it means first-hand to be a scientist with real research out in the field.
Tom Hobbs, professor in the graduate degree program in ecology, Colorado State University, heads up a huge research project, made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Two of the goals are to understand how chronic wasting disease (CWD) is transmitted, and develop a model to predict how the disease affects population growth. One of the important components of the study is educational outreach.
Climate Change, Deforestation Driving Increased Parasitism of Young Nesting Birds in Argentina
A new report shows that increases in precipitation and changes in vegetative structure in Argentine forests—factors driven by climate change and deforestation in the region—are leading to increased parasitism of young nesting birds by fly larvae (botflies).
The report, Multi-level Determinants of Parasitic Fly Infection in Forest Passerines, appears in the current online edition of PLOS ONE. It was prepared by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Disease Ecology Laboratory of Instituto de Ciencias Veterinarias del Litoral, Argentina (ICIVET LITORAL, UNL-CONICET).
In temperate and tropical areas of the Americas, wild bird chicks are the target of parasitic flies whose larvae burrow under the skin of the baby birds to feed, causing a disease known as subcutaneous myiasis. In the study, scientists examined the circumstances that drive the abundance of these parasites and found that slight changes in precipitation and vegetation structure, coupled with crowding of nests resulted in large increases in the number of parasites per chick.
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