Presentation Title

The Microbiome of a Bird Feeder and its Potential to Contribute to the Spread of Avian Diseases

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

During the months of winter, providing supplementary food for the avian community has shown to have positive impacts on the fitness of various bird species. However, it has been reported that bird feeders have the potential to play a role in both the indirect and direct transmission of pathogens (Newton, 1998, Wilcoxen et al. 2015). Over the past few decades, there has been an evident decrease in the size of avian populations. In particular, the pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) has become well-established in house finches, partially because MG remains viable on the surface of bird feeders for up to 24 hours and can be transmitted through biological secretions including eye secretions, saliva, and fecal matter. For this study, I will be analyzing the diversity of bacterial assemblages found on tube-type bird feeders situated at Thompson Rivers University. The bacterial DNA will be extracted from swabs and 16S rRNA gene fragments will be amplified from the total microbial community using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Next, the amplified DNA fragments will be sequenced using a high-throughput platform and the relative abundance of bacterial species in the community will be determined using a bioinformatics database. Using the taxonomic information, I will be able to detect potential pathogens and therefore gain a better understanding of how bird feeders contribute to the spread of infectious agents.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jon Van Hamme and Dr. Matt Reudink

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

The Microbiome of a Bird Feeder and its Potential to Contribute to the Spread of Avian Diseases

During the months of winter, providing supplementary food for the avian community has shown to have positive impacts on the fitness of various bird species. However, it has been reported that bird feeders have the potential to play a role in both the indirect and direct transmission of pathogens (Newton, 1998, Wilcoxen et al. 2015). Over the past few decades, there has been an evident decrease in the size of avian populations. In particular, the pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) has become well-established in house finches, partially because MG remains viable on the surface of bird feeders for up to 24 hours and can be transmitted through biological secretions including eye secretions, saliva, and fecal matter. For this study, I will be analyzing the diversity of bacterial assemblages found on tube-type bird feeders situated at Thompson Rivers University. The bacterial DNA will be extracted from swabs and 16S rRNA gene fragments will be amplified from the total microbial community using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Next, the amplified DNA fragments will be sequenced using a high-throughput platform and the relative abundance of bacterial species in the community will be determined using a bioinformatics database. Using the taxonomic information, I will be able to detect potential pathogens and therefore gain a better understanding of how bird feeders contribute to the spread of infectious agents.