Wildlife Disease and Genetics

Science Center Objects

Alaska is a geographically important focus of the national biosurveillance program and the study of Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health because it lies within the migratory routes of birds that move between North America and East Asia.

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Several wildlife pathogens have emerged in East Asia that have been economically damaging to the U.S. Because of these migratory routes, Alaska is a likely location for initial introductions of foreign-origin avian diseases such as Avian Influenza. Thus, research and surveillance in Alaska informs not only wildlife disease issues in the state, such as Beak Deformities in Landbirds, but also biosecurity for all of North America. Much of this work involves the use of Genetics, but these methods are also used for many natural resource questions in Alaska.

A Steller's Jay with a deformed beak, the bottom being longer than the top

A Steller's Jay with a deformed beak, the bottom being longer than the top. This photo was from an observation report of the Alaska Science Center's Beak Deformity project.
(Credit: Courtesy of Susan Daugherty. Limited Use by USGS Only.)