Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorBranson, Maile
dc.descriptionDissertation (Ph.D) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2021en_US
dc.description.abstractSeabird populations across the globe have experienced both significant instability and consistent overall declines in recent history. Seabirds in the Bering Sea of Alaska, USA appear to be severely affected by environmental changes, exhibiting large-scale shifts in behavior and distribution and increases in unusual mortality events (UMEs) in recent years. I analyze a selection of the naturally occurring pathogenic and toxicological factors affecting breeding seabirds in the Bering Sea region using an approach focusing on zoonoses and bioaccumulating toxins. Specimens were collected at three breeding colonies in the Bering Sea in 2018 and 2019, and were evaluated for the presence of several pathogens and toxins. First, I examined the frequency of Influenza A Virus (IAV) in several understudied clades of seabird host species (n=146 individuals) across the Bering Sea. Second, I used a novel set of genetic amplification and sequencing techniques for metagenomic analysis both to determine the respiratory microbiome and to detect the presence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) on St. Matthew and Hall islands (n = 15). Finally, I sought to evaluate the levels of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) in the digestive tracts of northern fulmars from St. Matthew and Hall islands (n = 14). Together, these studies detected several viral and bacterial pathogens, many with zoonotic potential. These included Coxiella, Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, and IAV. PSTs were also detected in birds sampled from 2019, indicating the presence of harmful algae in the Beringian food web. The detection of these etiologic factors along with the incidence of major morbidity and mortality events suggest these birds might serve as sentinel species, indicating variations in environmental change that can pose a significant risk to both ecological stability and human health in the region.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNational Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant number 2P20GM103395en_US
dc.description.tableofcontentsChapter1: Introduction -- 1.1. The Bering Sea -- 1.2. Zoonotic potential -- 1.3. Seabird population stability, morbidity, and mortality -- 1.4. Study aims -- 1.5. References. Chapter 2: Identification of respiratory influenza A viruses in breeding seabirds of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (2018-2019) -- 2.1. Abstract -- 2.2. Introduction --2.3. Materials and methods -- 2.3.1. Field sampling -- 2.3.2. Detection of IAV -- 2.3.3. Full-genome sequencing of IAV -- 2.3.4. Bioinformatic analysis -- 2.4. Results -- 2.5. Discussion -- 2.6. Acknowledgments -- 2.7. References -- 2.8. Figures -- 2.9. Tables. Chapter 3: profiling the respiratory microbiome of northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in the Bering Sea using metagenomic analysis -- 3.1. Abstract -- 3.2. Introduction -- 3.3. Materials and methods -- 3.3.1. Sample collection and necropsy -- 3.3.2. Sample preparation and genetic analysis -- 3.3.3. Bioinformatic analysis -- 3.3.4. Pathogen validation -- 3.4. Results -- 3.5. Discussion -- 3.6. Acknowledgments -- 3.7. References -- 3.8. Figures -- 3.9. Tables. Chapter 4: Paralytic shellfish toxins in the digestive tracts of northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in the Bering Sea 2018-2019 -- 4.1. Abstract -- 4.2. Introduction -- 4.3. Materials and methods -- 4.3.1. Sample collection and necropsy -- 4.3.2. High pressure liquid chromatography post column oxidation analysis (HPLC PCOX) -- 4.3.3. QA/QC -- 4.3.4. Statistical analysis -- 4.4. Results -- 4.5. Discussion -- 4.6. Acknowledgments -- 4.7. References -- 4.8. Tables. Chapter 5: Conclusion -- 5.1. General conclusion -- 5.2. References.en_US
dc.subjectSea bird populationsen_US
dc.subjectBering Seaen_US
dc.subjectAlaska Maritime National Wildlife Refugeen_US
dc.subjectSea birdsen_US
dc.subjectAvian influenza A virusen_US
dc.subjectFulmarus glacialisen_US
dc.subjectParalytic shellfish poisoningen_US
dc.subject.otherDoctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciencesen_US
dc.titleNaturally occurring etiologic factors affecting the health of breeding seabirds in the Bering Seaen_US
dc.identifier.departmentDepartment of Biology and Wildlifeen_US
dc.contributor.chairWinker, Kevin
dc.contributor.chairBortz, Eric
dc.contributor.committeeCausey, Douglas
dc.contributor.committeeMurphy, Molly
dc.contributor.committeeChen, Jack

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Biological Sciences
    Includes WIldlife Biology and other Biological Sciences. For Marine Biology see the Marine Sciences collection.

Show simple item record