Restoring biodiversity – the key to preventing the next pandemic?

Institute Seminar by Lucinda Kirkpatrick

  • Date: Jul 9, 2024
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Lucinda Kirkpatrick
  • I carried out my PhD at the University of Stirling investigating biodiversity differences and animal behaviour in response to management decisions in commercial coniferous plantations in the UK. While this focussed primarily on bat species, for my post doc and fellowship (FWO), I changed country, study species and study location to investigate how individual and population level drivers influence disease transmission in the multimammate mouse in Tanzania based at the EVECO group at the University of Antwerp, under Prof. Herwig Leirs. I have now joined Bangor University in North Wales as Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology, alongside co-leading a large consortium of partners to investigate how restoration influences biodiversity recovery, individual behaviour and mechanisms of spillover risk. This project, funded by Horizon EU, has just started and will run for four years and is a bringing together of the landscape scale drivers of biodiversity I investigated with my PhD and the drivers and mechanisms of spillover risk which underpinned my post doctoral and fellowship work. In addition, in order to investigate some of these key mechanisms of spillover risk, I collaborated with colleagues in Engineering in UAntwerp to develop miniaturised proximity loggers, which we launched into a spin off company, IoSA BV, focussed on low power solutions to investigating key components of animal behaviour.
  • Location: MPI-AB Möggingen
  • Room: Seminar room MPI-AB Möggingen + Online
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
  • Contact:
 Restoring biodiversity – the key to preventing the next pandemic?
There is clear and growing evidence that anthropogenic impacts on our environment are impacting our quality of life. Spillovers of zoonotic diseases occur more frequently in degraded landscapes where contact between humans and wildlife increase. Restoration has been flagged as a key tool in our quest to redress some of the damage that has been done historically but there is very little known about how restoration may protect against spillover risk. In addition, how mechanisms that link to spillover risk may play out in restoring landscapes has rarely been tested and given that human interaction with restored landscapes is likely to remain high or increase because of the restoration, this may represent a risky environment for spillover. In this talk I will touch on some of the previous work carried out investigating transmission dynamics in a wild rodent at the individual and population level and discuss a little bit about how we intend to extend this work in RESTOREID using a range of novel technological approaches, with the belief that leveraging innovations in other disciplines can be an incredibly powerful tool for ecological research.

The MPI-AB Seminar Series is open to members of MPI and Uni Konstanz. The zoom link is published each week in the MPI-AB newsletter.

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