Skip to main content

Patricia A. Conrad

thumbnail
The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is an environmentally persistent pathogen that can cause fatal disease in humans, terrestrial warm-blooded animals and aquatic mammals. Although an association between T. gondii exposure and prey specialization on marine snails was identified in threatened California sea otters, the ability of kelp-dwelling snails to transmit terrestrially derived pathogens has not been previously investigated. The objective of this study was to measure concentration and retention of T. gondii by marine snails in laboratory aquaria, and to test for natural T. gondii contamination in field-collected snails. Following exposure to T. gondii-containing seawater, oocysts were detected by microscopy in snail...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Environmental Microbiology
thumbnail
Northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) abundance has decreased dramatically over portions of southwest Alaska, USA, since the mid-1980s, and this stock is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In contrast, adjacent populations in south central Alaska, USA, and Russia have been stable to increasing during the same period. Sea otters bordering the area classified in the recent decline were live-captured during 2004–2006 at Bering Island, Russia, and the Kodiak Archipelago, Alaska, USA, to evaluate differences in general health and current exposure status to marine and terrestrial pathogens. Although body condition was lower in animals captured at Bering Island, Russia, than it was at...
thumbnail
The risk of disease transmission from waterborne protozoa is often dependent on the origin (e.g., domestic animals versus wildlife), overall parasite load in contaminated waterways, and parasite genotype, with infections being linked to runoff or direct deposition of domestic animal and wildlife feces. Fecal samples collected from domestic animals and wildlife along the central California coast were screened to (i) compare the prevalence and associated risk factors for fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium and Giardia species parasites, (ii) evaluate the relative importance of animal host groups that contribute to pathogen loading in coastal ecosystems, and (iii) characterize zoonotic and host-specific genotypes. Overall,...
thumbnail
Small marine snails and abalone have been identified as high- and low-risk prey items, respectively, for exposure of threatened southern sea otters to Toxoplasma gondii, a zoonotic parasite that can cause fatal encephalitis in animals and humans. While recent work has characterized snails as paratenic hosts for T. gondii, the ability of abalone to vector the parasite has not been evaluated. To further elucidate why abalone predation may be protective against T. gondii exposure, this study aimed to determine whether: (1) abalone are physiologically capable of acquiring T. gondii; and (2) abalone and snails differ in their ability to concentrate and retain the parasite. Abalone were exposed to T. gondii surrogate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Parasitology
thumbnail
Pathogens entering the marine environment as pollutants exhibit a spatial signature driven by their transport mechanisms. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris), a marine animal which lives much of its life within sight of land, presents a unique opportunity to understand land–sea pathogen transmission. Using a dataset on Toxoplasma gondii prevalence across sea otter range from Alaska to California, we found that the dominant drivers of infection risk vary depending upon the spatial scale of analysis. At the population level, regions with high T. gondii prevalence had higher human population density and a greater proportion of human-dominated land uses, suggesting a strong role for population density of the felid definitive...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Royal Society Open Science
View more...
ScienceBase brings together the best information it can find about USGS researchers and offices to show connections to publications, projects, and data. We are still working to improve this process and information is by no means complete. If you don't see everything you know is associated with you, a colleague, or your office, please be patient while we work to connect the dots. Feel free to contact sciencebase@usgs.gov.