Both infectious and noninfectious disease agents in wildlife impact human health and accurate research, monitoring, and diagnostic methods are necessary. The objectives of the research reported here were to develop and implement novel methods for bacterial and toxicological disease agent surveillance in wildlife. This dissertation begins with a review of tularemia, an important zoonotic disease to the state of Alaska and the Northern hemisphere. In chapter two, I show the development and implementation of broad-based PCR and quantitative PCR (qPCR) surveillance methods for bacterial DNA in tissue samples; 1298 tissue samples were assayed, numerous potential bacterial pathogens were identified and qPCR detection limits were quantified for various tissue matrices. Chapter three describes an investigation into microbial infection as a source of embryo mortality in greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) in Arctic Alaska. This chapter builds upon our previously developed PCR surveillance techniques by which I demonstrated that bacterial infection is responsible for some greater white-fronted goose embryo mortality in Arctic Alaska. Chapter four describes the development and validation of a cellulose filter paper method for quantifying total mercury in whole blood. I determined that filter paper technology is useful for monitoring total mercury in whole blood, with excellent recoveries (82 - 95% of expected values) and R2 values (0.95 - 0.97) when regressed against the concentration of total mercury in whole blood, the technique generally considered as the "gold standard" for mercury detection. These methods will aid in the accurate detection of disease agents in wildlife as demonstrated by our white-fronted goose work.
|Commitee:||Ferrante, Andrea, Leigh, Mary Beth, O'Hara, Todd M.|
|School:||University of Alaska Fairbanks|
|Department:||Biology & Wildlife|
|School Location:||United States -- Alaska|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Toxicology, Surgery, Microbiology|
|Keywords:||16s rrna, Disease, Embryo mortality, Mercury, Surveillance, Wildlife|
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