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Snakes are important to coastal wetland ecosystem health. Ophidiomycosis, also known as snake fungal disease, is an emerging disease worldwide that is associated with skin abnormalities in wild snakes. However, little is known about how other disease-causing agents may worsen disease and increase mortality in affected snakes. Researchers will conduct a surveillance study to evaluate the overall health of snakes in the coastal wetlands in the southeastern United States. The team will test for multiple infectious agents, including the causative fungus of ophidiomycosis, and analyze blood samples to gauge the potential health impacts of infections with both single and multiple agents. Findings will expand our understanding of risk factors for infection and disease in snakes, including species-related, seasonal and environmental factors. The new data will inform development of snake conservation strategies, especially in fragile coastal wetlands and for imperiled species, mitigating the impacts of snake fungal disease and other pathogens on snake biodiversity.

Study ID
D22ZO-046
Study Status
Active
Start Date
10/01/2022
Grant amount awarded
$74,952
Grant recipient
University of Georgia
Study country
United States
Investigator
Christopher Cleveland, PhD
Study category
Infectious Disease