The Corona-situation has meant a halt to many activities in the lab, but luckily the snails don't care. We already started collecting some time back, as it has been a warm winter here in Denmark.. This day was particular good, the sun is out and it reveals these little masters of camouflage trying to blend in with the surroundings (spot the Galba truncatula if you can ;-)).
New cross-disciplinary student project opportunities: Disease vectors, citizen science and DNA-methods.
This is just going to be super exciting and fun! We teamed up with the citizen science project "Insektmobilen" (www.insektmobilen.snm.ku.dk) run by the Natural History Museum of Denmark to investigate if citizen science-based vehicle insect-trapping could enhance or supplement mosquito disease vector surveillance operations.. Read more here: Disease vectors, citizen science and DNA-methods
ooday the new "Kaskelot" (journal of the Danish environmental conservation Organization, "Biologiforbundet") landed on my desk - a special issue on parasites. I know it is in Danish, but very happy to see article on our research on liver flukes in Denmark in there - beautifully set-up, glossy pictures and everything :-)! You can see for yourself here:
Well, field-season might officially be over - but the snails seem not to care. Today we collected plenty Galba truncatula from field with Fasciola hepatica infected cattle - highest numbers was in found: ....inside watering trough!
..so does the fieldwork season.
This summer has been a lot fun (and head-aches!), searching for the elusive Galba truncatula, intermediate host for the liver fluke in Denmark. It turns out that it is not as easy to spot, as we could have hoped. After spending many weeks in rubber-boots, crawling on muddy ditches, I decided to try a new means of sampling: the canoe!
Why do we have better global data on birds than we do on human pathogens? A picture is more than a thousands words, read for yourself in Nature Ecology and Evolution @ http://rdcu.be/tDtU
I recently submitted an application to the JRS biodiversity Foundation for a project to enhance the monitoring and understanding of African freshwater mollusk biodiversity... One of the problems we want to address, is that collection of new data for future surveys to monitor freshwater snail biodiversity, as well as the sorting of unprocessed historical samples, is hampered by a lack of an adequate cadre of trained molluscan taxonomists. This is partly due to an aging/retiring taxonomic capacity for freshwater molluscs. Training of a new generation of researchers and biodiversity managers is also challenging, because existing ID tools & field guides either are not available anymore or they are outdated: Most of the existing keys and identification publications were published in the period from the 1960’s to 1990’s and predate much of the efforts in molecular taxonomy, as well as some new species descriptions. Nonetheless - as a first step - we can make existing material available. Luckily, Henry Madsen recently scanned all the field guides of the former WHO Snail Identification Centre, The Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, and uploaded them to the University of Copenhagen's web-site. These field guides to snail identification in North East Africa, East Africa, South East Africa and Central Africa have been valuable tools in determining sources of schistosomiasis infection and other snail-borne parasites, and we hope they will be useful to future researchers in the field. You can download them right here:
Just out, what looks like very comprehensive piece of work covering all aspects within Schistosoma Biology, Pathology and control - even has a chapter on Paleopathology. And a whole chapter dedicated to describing the range of intermediate host snails species, their importance for transmission dynamics and not least of snail control as an important component in interrupting transmission, by our very own Henry Madsen :-) Look forward to digging into this!
New Danish research collaboration to investigate effects of climate change on snail-borne parasites
PARASITES A new research platform is going to shed light on how climate change affects the spread of freshwater snails and their parasites. The platform will be based at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, and will provide a new framework for researcher to develop cross-disciplinary collaborative projects. The platform is supported by a grant of DKK 2.4 mill from the Danish Knud Højgaards Foundation over the next three years.
Link to full press release here: http://macroecology.ku.dk/media/news_list/2017/new-danish-research-collaboration-to-investigate-effect-of-climate-change-on-snail-borne-parasites/