Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Fish and Wildlife Disease

USGS is the lead Federal agency for wildlife disease surveillance to support natural resource management and Federal biosecurity efforts. This line of work includes research on the ecology of fish and wildlife diseases and the development of surveillance, control, and risk-assessment tools. Investigations of wildlife mortality events support Federal, State and tribal wildlife management agencies. Field and laboratory studies along with epidemiological models assess the effects of pathogens on freshwater, marine and terrestrial wildlife populations. This focal area has recently included the launch of online disease surveillance and risk assessment tools, molecular analyses to understand the global spread of pathogens, immunology studies to identify the underlying factors associated with wildlife disease resistance and susceptibility, and the development of wildlife vaccines.
Filter Total Items: 7
Date published: April 4, 2019
Status: Active

Health Effects and Behavioral Response of Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) to Persistent Algal Bloom and Associated Loss of Seagrass Resources in Brevard County, Florida

USGS researchers are working with partners to assess the health and foraging behavior of Florida manatees in the northern Indian River Lagoon and Banana River, areas that have experienced declining seagrasses due to an extended phytoplankton bloom. 

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Studying Immune Responses in the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

The objectives of this study are to (1) investigate whether the immune system will respond to chemical stressors, such as new flame retardant compounds, and (2) determine if such chemical stressors influence white blood cells (WBC) responses after exposure to a viral pathogen mimicking bird flu.

Date published: October 12, 2016
Status: Active

Manatee Health Assessment and Biomedical Studies

A multi-agency effort assesses the health of manatees and provides baseline information on their health, reproductive status, and nutritional condition.

Date published: April 17, 2016
Status: Active

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs

Severe coral bleaching in 2005, followed by a disease outbreak, resulted in severe reef degradation in the US Virgin Islands; the amount of living coral cover at long-term monitoring sites decreased an average of 60%. With climate change, high seawater temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent bleaching episodes and possibly more disease outbreaks. 

Date published: April 17, 2016

Parasites of Imported and Non-Native Wild Asian Swamp Eels

In parts of Asia, wild-caught and aquaculture-reared swamp eels are widely consumed as food by humans and are a common source of human gnathostomiasis, a food-borne zoonosis caused by parasitic nematodes of the genus Gnathostoma spp. In humans, the larvae of these nematodes can cause tissue damage and, in some instances, death. Over the past two decades, many thousands of Asian swamp eels have...

Contacts: Leo Nico, Ph.D.
Date published: March 1, 2016

Prevalence Rates of Snake Fungal Disease and its Population-Level Impacts in a Snake Assemblage in Southwest Louisiana

In the last twenty years, an extraordinary number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever observed in wild species.

Contacts: Hardin Waddle, Ph.D., Brad M Glorioso, Dr. Jeffrey M. Lorch
Date published: April 17, 2015

Evaluating the Prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in the Southeastern U.S.: Any Evidence of Disease-Related Population Declines?

Pathogens and infectious disease play a role in some recent species extinctions and are likely to impact biodiversity in the future. Environmental DNA - eDNA - is coupled with traditional amphibian sampling methods to determine the distribution and prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus, also known as Bd, in the southeastern US.