Friday, February 03, 2012

ORI Seminar Presentation: Daniel Goedbloed

On Tuesday a PhD candidate from the Resource Ecology Group in Wageningen University, Daniel Goedbloed gave a presentation titled ‘Molecular ecology of wildlife and its diseases’. The research project aims to investigate the population structure and the distribution of pathogens in European wild boar. His presentation highlighted that wildlife disease dynamics and its underlying mechanisms have long been understudied empirically due to inherent practical complications. The current rapid advance in molecular techniques and computational power give exciting opportunities for detailed exploration of these dynamics. The project aims also attempts to evaluate the effects of population size, density and connectivity on pathogen prevalence and transmission in European wild boar populations. Epidemiological theory suggests either a wildlife population size or density threshold for pathogen survival at the population level, but the most fundamental relationships have never been demonstrated empirically. In addition the study analysed the effect of the spatial configuration of a number of landscape features on wild boar population structure and disease distribution. The project integrates the fields of population and landscape genetics, spatial epidemiology and landscape ecology. The focus was on wild boar populations in a study area in the Netherlands and neighbouring districts of Western Germany using a panel of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers, enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and Geographic Information System (GIS) databases. The focal study pathogens are porcine circovirus and Mycoplasma hyopneumonia.

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