Animal Movement For Disease Control In Grazing Ruminants Under Climate Change

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Biological Sciences


"Animal movement is a major defence against infectious diseases, by avoiding contaminated areas, but has been applied haphazardly within farmed environments. Constraining grazing ruminants within fields with movements between them geared towards grass utilization often provides ideal conditions for parasite transmission, leading to excessive use of chemical anthelmintics that are now failing due to drug resistance. This project will re-imagine ruminant movements within farm environments, inspired by the migration patterns of free-living and extensively farmed ungulates, in order to identify strategies that both decrease disease transmission on future farms and allow for efficient resource use.

The project will focus initially on gastrointestinal nematodes using existing computer models backed up by field sampling of selected systems, before adding in prediction and measurement of coinfections with bacterial pathogens. This will address the potential for increased microparasite transmission risk should a change towards highly mobile grazing systems on limited land area entail increased herd density. The project will address this issue at a range of scales to achieve strategic insights as well as co-production of practical disease control strategies with farmers. Training will be provided in mathematical modelling and computational biology, laboratory diagnostic parasitology, microbiology and stakeholder engagement."


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/X010902/1 30/09/2023 29/09/2028
2891187 Studentship BB/X010902/1 30/09/2023 29/09/2027