Ph.D. Candidate, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology/Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Smithsonian's National Zoological Park
Research: Domestic Dogs as Reservoir Hosts for Emerging Infectious Disease in Wild Carnivores
Species/Topic: Domestic dogs and their impact on dholes and other wildlife
Abstract: Emerging infectious diseases have become a major global concern because of their potentially negative effects for human populations but also for wildlife conservation. Although domestic dogs have often been suspected to be the reservoir host spreading new viral diseases, little is known about how their movement and ranging behavior brings them into contact with wild carnivores. Expanding on our existing research project on the ecology of Asiatic wild dogs (dholes) in Thailand, we will use a combination of techniques including tracking dog movements via GPS collars, detection of wild carnivores in domestic dog home ranges via camera-trapping, and lab analyses of domestic dog blood samples to detect disease. The results from this research will provide important new information about a potential pathway for emerging diseases. It will also be useful to develop and inform new management strategies that will reduce disease transmission risk for wild carnivores.