Presentation Title

Determining the ability of avian species to act as vectors for ranavirus transmission

Abstract

Ranaviruses are a group of large double stranded DNA viruses that cause massive die-offs in natural populations of ectothermic vertebrates and pose a threat to lentic ecosystem health and food web dynamics. Although Ranaviruses are extremely prevalent worldwide, knowledge on their distribution patterns and ecological dynamics are limited. Previous studies have determined that certain bird species have been able to carry the Influenza A Virus and Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) on their feathers and present the ability to distribute it to other susceptible communities. Canada Geese (Branta. Canadensis) often use wetlands where amphibian communities are present and are able to travel long distances. The goal of this study is to determine the capability of wild populations of Branta canadensis to act as a vector for the transmission of ranavirus. Throughout Vermont, wild individuals of B. canadensis were swabbed and tested for ranavirus using quantitative PCR (qPCR). We anticipate ranavirus to persist within the feathers. The findings of this study will provide further explanation of the quick spread and global distribution of ranavirus. Transmission is key to understanding pathogen fitness and the impact pathogens have on host populations. By determining the role birds play in transmitting ranavirus we can better understand the distribution patterns and aid in conservation strategies.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Nicholas Gotelli

Graduate Student Mentors

Lauren Ash

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Determining the ability of avian species to act as vectors for ranavirus transmission

Ranaviruses are a group of large double stranded DNA viruses that cause massive die-offs in natural populations of ectothermic vertebrates and pose a threat to lentic ecosystem health and food web dynamics. Although Ranaviruses are extremely prevalent worldwide, knowledge on their distribution patterns and ecological dynamics are limited. Previous studies have determined that certain bird species have been able to carry the Influenza A Virus and Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) on their feathers and present the ability to distribute it to other susceptible communities. Canada Geese (Branta. Canadensis) often use wetlands where amphibian communities are present and are able to travel long distances. The goal of this study is to determine the capability of wild populations of Branta canadensis to act as a vector for the transmission of ranavirus. Throughout Vermont, wild individuals of B. canadensis were swabbed and tested for ranavirus using quantitative PCR (qPCR). We anticipate ranavirus to persist within the feathers. The findings of this study will provide further explanation of the quick spread and global distribution of ranavirus. Transmission is key to understanding pathogen fitness and the impact pathogens have on host populations. By determining the role birds play in transmitting ranavirus we can better understand the distribution patterns and aid in conservation strategies.