Liam Fitzpatrick
Natural and Biological Hazards
Epidemiology and ecology of infectious diseases involving wildlife.
PhD Research

Avian malaria in the Galápagos archipelago: Vector competence, abundance, distribution and feeding preferences of Aedes taeniorhynchus and Culex quinquefasciatus

Emerging infectious diseases pose a major threat to global biodiversity and are a primary cause of species extinctions across a range of taxa. A high-profile example of this is avian malaria in Hawaii, where an invasive mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, facilitated the transmission of Plasmodium parasites to susceptible endemic birds causing population declines and extinctions. With the discovery of this same invasive mosquito species in the Galápagos archipelago in the 1980s, conservationists are concerned that avian malaria could pose a similar threat to the islands’ iconic, endemic birds. Given that the Plasmodium parasite was also recently detected in Galápagos birds for the first time, there is a pressing need to understand this potential threat. My research aims to enhance the knowledge of the roles that introduced and native mosquitoes (Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes taeniorhynchus) play in vectoring avian malaria parasites in Galápagos. This project will use vector competence studies to determine the parasite transmission capabilities of each species, map the spatiotemporal distributions of the mosquitoes and identify how this impacts their host-feeding preferences as well as determining which bird species are susceptible to Plasmodium infection. These results will inform conservation strategies and biosecurity policies for vector-borne diseases in the Galápagos islands.
Professor Andrew Cunningham
Dr Rob Knell
Biological Sciences
Lancaster University
Wild Animal Biology
Royal Veterinary College/Zoological Society of London
Work Experience
Pathology Technician
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
AA Cunningham, K Beckmann, MW Perkins, L Fitzpatrick, R Cromie, J Redbond, MF O'Brien, P Ghosh, JMG Shelton, MC Fisher
Veterinary Record
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