The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute understands the importance of healthy wildlife populations in maintaining environmental and economic viability of the wildlife resource. Our scientists, Drs. Scott Henke and Alan Fedynich, are taking the lead in studying wildlife diseases, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and environmental contaminants. These assessments are needed to aid in determining measures to ensure healthy wildlife populations.

Scientists at CKWRI are examining the impacts of diseases on wildlife. Studies are evaluating:

  • survival rates of disease agents
  • pathogenicity of disease agents
  • transmission dynamics of disease agents
  • effect of disease agents on competition between species
  • influence of disease on wildlife population dynamics

Research is also focused on zoonotic diseases (those transmitted from wildlife to humans), to understand better transmission dynamics and assess control methods. Studies include:

  • surveys for pathogenic nematodes
  • surveys for mosquito-transmitted viruses
  • delivery systems for rabies and other vaccines
  • assessing impacts of zoonotic diseases on humans

An important aspect of CKWRI’s research is surveying wildlife for environmental contaminants and evaluating the impact of contaminants on wildlife. Studies are focusing on:

  • surveys for biomagnifying pesticides
  • influence of aflatoxin poisoning on avian health
  • determining levels of biotoxins that cause illness
  • assessing concentrations of heavy metals and PCB’s

We are conducting studies on internal and external parasites to learn about their life history and determine their impacts on wildlife. Parasitological studies are examining:

  • surveys of ectoparasites and blood parasites
  • protozoa that deferentially impact host species
  • organizational processes of parasite communities
  • relationships between parasites and wildlife health