Presentation Title

The Impacts of Urban Environments on Bacterial Diseases of Mountain Chickadees (Poecile gambeli)

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Presenter Information

Colton StephensFollow

Abstract

To meet the demands of increasing human populations, cities expand through infrastructural and housing developments. This process, known as urbanization or urban expansion, presents new environmental challenges to wildlife. Of its many negative effects, urbanization tends to decrease the immune defense of wild birds while increasing the abundance of some disease-causing pathogens, like Salmonella bacteria and West-Nile Virus. Although previous research has shown an amplification of disease for wild birds in urban areas, none have documented this effect across broad scales with all bacteria present and other factors considered. Disease in birds not only can devastate their populations, but it also can cross over to humans with the same consequences. The aim of this research is to investigate the relationship between urbanization and disease-causing bacteria found on the feathers of wild Mountain Chickadees and their nests. Factors involved in avian health and environmental variables will also be related to disease prevalence. Using DNA sequencing of bird feather bacteria, nesting materials, and bird feeders, followed by statistical modeling, we will reveal patterns and relationships to provide insights on managing urban development for healthier avian and human populations.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Matt Reudink

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The Impacts of Urban Environments on Bacterial Diseases of Mountain Chickadees (Poecile gambeli)

To meet the demands of increasing human populations, cities expand through infrastructural and housing developments. This process, known as urbanization or urban expansion, presents new environmental challenges to wildlife. Of its many negative effects, urbanization tends to decrease the immune defense of wild birds while increasing the abundance of some disease-causing pathogens, like Salmonella bacteria and West-Nile Virus. Although previous research has shown an amplification of disease for wild birds in urban areas, none have documented this effect across broad scales with all bacteria present and other factors considered. Disease in birds not only can devastate their populations, but it also can cross over to humans with the same consequences. The aim of this research is to investigate the relationship between urbanization and disease-causing bacteria found on the feathers of wild Mountain Chickadees and their nests. Factors involved in avian health and environmental variables will also be related to disease prevalence. Using DNA sequencing of bird feather bacteria, nesting materials, and bird feeders, followed by statistical modeling, we will reveal patterns and relationships to provide insights on managing urban development for healthier avian and human populations.