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Title:A Different Type of Collaboration
Author(s):Butkus, Claire
Contributor(s):Allendar, Matt; Phillips, Chris; The "turtle team" vet student volunteers
Subject(s):Veterinary Medicine
Wildlife Epidemiology Lab
Abstract:In our Wildlife Epidemiology Lab, scientific collaboration doesn't just involve humans helping humans; collaboration also involves animals helping animals. Pictured here is one of the Boykin spaniels, or turtle dogs, contracted to help in our search effort of eastern box turtles. Originally bred to hunt waterfowl, this particular group of Boykin spaniels has a gift for tracking box turtles. This is especially helpful because our lab is assessing the health of box turtles in central Illinois and studying the epidemiology of ranavirus, an emerging infectious disease that is killing box turtles and other reptiles and amphibians. A common conundrum in wildlife epidemiology is that diseased individuals die and decompose before they can be found, leading to underestimates of disease prevalence or outbreaks going completely unnoticed. In our case, turtles leave a clue behind, their shells! My research aims to create a reliable, easily replicable technique using only the shells and qPCR to diagnose ranavirus postmortem in turtles. It is my hope that this technique can serve as a means for biologists and wildlife veterinarians to improve surveillance of ranavirus in turtles, which will facilitate better management and control efforts of the emerging disease.
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Claire Butkus
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-13

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