Title

The effect of a bait administered sylvatic plague vaccine on non-target small mammal survival

Presenter Information

Emily Leonhardt

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

An ongoing study on the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge (CMR) is testing the efficacy of a bait-administered sylvatic plague vaccine. This entails distributing vaccine and placebo baits within paired prairie dog colonies. On the CMR, the target species for this vaccine is the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), an important prey species for the endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). For my senior thesis project, I am collaborating with the sylvatic plague vaccine project by examining whether there is a difference in monthly survival between non-target small mammal populations living on prairie dog colonies treated with vaccine baits and those on colonies treated with placebo baits. Non-target small mammal species on my field sites include deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and northern grasshopper mice (Onychomys leucogaster). My field work consisted of trapping on three sites comprised of paired vaccine and placebo plots (6 total plots) during the summer of 2016. Trapping sessions were between three and four days with approximately 4 weeks between sessions, and were repeated for four or five months. To estimate apparent survival, I have used a robust design, multi-state model to analyze capture histories in program MARK. During the field trial stage of the sylvatic plague vaccine, it is important to determine how vaccine bait application affects both target and non-target species within and around prairie dog colonies before widespread application is undertaken. Reducing plague infection among prairie dogs and other rodents may thereby reduce transmission to species such as the endangered black-footed ferret, domestic animals, and humans.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 28th, 2:20 PM Apr 28th, 2:40 PM

The effect of a bait administered sylvatic plague vaccine on non-target small mammal survival

UC 327

An ongoing study on the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge (CMR) is testing the efficacy of a bait-administered sylvatic plague vaccine. This entails distributing vaccine and placebo baits within paired prairie dog colonies. On the CMR, the target species for this vaccine is the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), an important prey species for the endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). For my senior thesis project, I am collaborating with the sylvatic plague vaccine project by examining whether there is a difference in monthly survival between non-target small mammal populations living on prairie dog colonies treated with vaccine baits and those on colonies treated with placebo baits. Non-target small mammal species on my field sites include deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and northern grasshopper mice (Onychomys leucogaster). My field work consisted of trapping on three sites comprised of paired vaccine and placebo plots (6 total plots) during the summer of 2016. Trapping sessions were between three and four days with approximately 4 weeks between sessions, and were repeated for four or five months. To estimate apparent survival, I have used a robust design, multi-state model to analyze capture histories in program MARK. During the field trial stage of the sylvatic plague vaccine, it is important to determine how vaccine bait application affects both target and non-target species within and around prairie dog colonies before widespread application is undertaken. Reducing plague infection among prairie dogs and other rodents may thereby reduce transmission to species such as the endangered black-footed ferret, domestic animals, and humans.