Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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Victims and Vectors: Understanding wild migratory birds and their role in highly pathogenic avian influenza transmission

Principal Investigators: Diann Prosser and John Takekawa

Ruddy Shel Duck

A Behavioral and Ecological Approach to the Evolution of Immunity and Disease Resistance:

Principal Investigator: Caldwell Hahn

We conduct field and laboratory studies on a variety of avian species to answer questions about emerging infectious diseases and the evolution of disease resistance and immune system defenses.  We integrate behavioral and ecological studies with genetic, endocrine, and virological techniques. More...

Blood is taken to measure levels of WNV antibodies.  Photo by Ed Grimes, Friends of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Blood is taken to measure levels of WNV antibodies.
Photo by Ed Grimes.

Harmful Algal Blooms and Bird Die-offs in Chesapeake Bay:  A Potential Link?: Abstract || Powerpoint Presentation (PDF)

Barnett A. Rattner, Glenn H. Olsen, Peter C. McGowan, Betty K. Ackerson, and Moira A. McKernan

Barnett Rattner with Heron

Lyme Disease and Vector-Borne Pathogen Studies

Principal Investigator: Howard Ginsberg

Tick photo

More to come...

Human health and emerging infectious diseases

Emerging diseases like West Nile Virus that infect both wildlife and humans and that are actively transmitted between them require wildlife biologists to assist public health authorities. In the collaboration between wildlife scientists and epidemiologists, research on wildlife species addresses the ecological, physiological, and behavioral aspects of the disease in animals, providing insights into how wildlife species maintain and spread the disease to people. More...

Harmful Algal Blooms and Bird Die-offs in Chesapeake Bay:  A Potential Link?

Autumnal die-offs, involving hundreds of migratory birds, occurred in Chesapeake Bay in 2001, 2004 and 2005.  The most prominent events were at the Poplar Island Complex in proximity to brackish impoundments with algal blooms and elevated cyanobacteria counts (Anabaena spp.). More...

Lyme Disease and Vector-Borne Pathogen Studies

Among all vectors, ticks have the distinction of transmitting the widest diversity of microbes that are harmful to humans. Ticks can harbor and transmit a wide diversity of pathogens simultaneously. Viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites are all transmitted by ticks. More...

Related Links:

USGS Human Health Related Activities

USGS National Wildlife Health Center Disease Information

USGS Environment and Human Health

NBII Wildlife and Disease Information Node

Wildlife Disease Association

Consortium for Conservation Medicine

International Wildlife Health Institute


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