Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Might migrating birds have infected the Svalbard Arctic fox with parasites?

22.12.2008
Kristin Wear Prestrud comes from Sætre in Hurum, and graduated from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in 1999.

After working for some five years at the veterinary school, primarily in the small animal clinic, she has for the last four years been employed as a Research Fellow at the Section of Arctic veterinary Medicine, The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Tromsø.

The cat is the main host for Toxoplasma and spreads the infection in its droppings. Previous research has shown that isolated island groups without cats are in reality free of the parasite. Man can also be infected by eating meat from infected animals, and it can be transmitted to the embryo and deform it if the mother is infected while pregnant.

In her doctoral thesis, Kristin Wear Prestrud studied the distribution of the parasite in different animal species on Svalbard, and looked at the relationships with Toxoplasma strains in other parts of the world. Antibodies to Toxoplasma were found in the blood of the Arctic fox, polar bear, walrus, Svalbard reindeer, the sibling vole and several avian species.

Forty-three percent of the Arctic foxes sampled bore antibodies to the parasite. The incidence in polar bears was also high, and in walrus somewhat lower. Of avian species, the barnacle goose was the most common at 7% positive. The high incidence in Arctic foxes and polar bears was unexpected, because cats are forbidden on Svalbard and the only cats on the archipelago are some illegal ones at Barentsburg.

Kristin Wear Prestrud showed in her doctoral thesis that migratory birds are a probable source of infection for the parasite Toxoplasma gondii on Svalbard (the Spitsbergen archipelago), which has then infected the Arctic fox population, among other animals. The parasite can infect all animals and birds, including man, and normally produces few symptoms. It may, however, lead to the disease of toxoplasmosis, and over the years several Arctic foxes have been found dead from this infection on Svalbard.

In her thesis, Prestrud described migrating birds as a possible route of infection of Toxoplasma in the Arctic fox population on Svalbard. Genetic analyses showed that the parasite on Svalbard is identical to the most common Toxoplasma strains one finds in Europe, which supports the idea of a European source of infection on Svalbard.

Several bird species that breed on Svalbard overwinter in the more populated parts of Europe, where they might become infected. Geese, which graze on cultivated land during their migration, are especially suspect, and are a preferred prey of the Arctic fox during the summer. Transmission from mother to unborn offspring in the uterus may be significant for the Arctic fox, but probably not in polar bears, and it is likely that the level of infection in the fox and polar bear populations is also maintained by the animals eating their own species, which primarily occurs during the wintertime when available food is scarce.

Kristin W. Prestrud defended her thesis for the degree of Ph. D. at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, with the title "Toxoplasma gondii in the high arctic archipelago of Svalbard", on October 28, 2008.

Magnhild Jenssen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.veths.no
http://www.veths.no/105/English/Kima/Might-migrating-birds-have-infected-the-Svalbard-Arctic-fox-with-parasites/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>