The distribution of multi-host pathogens in wild populations remains poorly resolved or unknown. However, these pathogens have the potential to profoundly influence the structure and stability of natural communities, exerting cascading effects throughout the food web and social interaction, thus compromising ecosystem health. When these pathogens circulate at the wildlife-livestock-human interface, they not only present a challenge to biodiversity conservation but also to the sustainability of agro-systems and public health.
Understanding patterns of infectious disease and how the populations are epidemiologically connected to each other is thus critical to unveiling natural and anthropogenic determinants of pathogen spread and to anticipating current and future disease threats.
Our group uses top-down and bottom-up approaches within a landscape epidemiology framework to untangle disease distribution and transmission dynamics in selected multi-host scenarios across multiple scales. We also develop efforts to disclose evolutionary forces that are exerted upon pathogens underlying host and geographic range shifts, pathogen adaptation processes to host and co-evolution. We focus on a wide range of model microorganisms that infect diverse taxonomic groups. We integrate microbiological, molecular and mathematical tools aiming to devise new interventions and support knowledge-based management and conservation decisions.
Our research interests and ongoing work cover a wide range of topics that include:
Cunha, M.V., Azorín, B., Peñuela, R.G., Albuquerque, T. & Botelho, A. (2017) Exposure of threatened accipitridae to Mycobacterium bovis calls for active surveillance.EcoHealth, 14(2), 310-317. DOI:10.1007/s10393-017-1226-0 (IF2016 2,252; Q2 Environmental Sciences)
Bandeira, V., Virgós, E., Barros, T., Cunha, M.V. & Fonseca, C. (2016) Geographic variation and sexual dimorphism in body size of Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon, Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia, Carnivora, Herpestidae) in the western limit of its European distribution.Zoologischer Anzeiger, 264, 1-10. DOI:10.1016/j.jcz.2016.06.001 (IF2016 1,200; Q2 Zoology)
Borges, A.C., Pereira, N.M., Franco, N., Vale, L., Pereira, M., Cunha, M.V., Amaro, A., Albuquerque, T. & Rebelo, M. (2016) Implementation of a zebrafish health program in a research facility: a four-year retrospective study.Zebrafish, 13(1), 115-126. DOI:10.1089/zeb.2015.1230 (IF2016 2,242; Q1 Zoology)