Madagascar is one of the oldest islands in the world, and due to its isolation it has unique and biologically diverse ecosystems. However, with population increase and deforestation on the rise, these ecosystems and resources for humans and wildlife are threatened.
We aim to determine how and why anthropogenic changes place people, livestock, and wildlife living in such ecosystems at increased risk of exchanging pathogens. Further, an understanding of how anthropogenic disturbance affects interspecific disease transmission will lead to rational public health and conservation intervention strategies. These strategies will improve the health of humans living near wildlife habitats while also contributing to the conservation of the wildlife themselves. These strategies will also help prevent novel infectious diseases with wildlife origins from emerging out of environments such as Madagascar and affecting global human health.
Through a One Health approach, and a multidisciplinary team, we are examining how key human behaviors, wildlife behaviors, ecological conditions, and landscape features increase the risks of disease transmission via an integration of epidemiology, entomology, molecular genomics, and behavioral ecology. The ultimate products are implementable plans for protecting human and wildlife health while simultaneously ensuring the sustainability of the ecosystems within which they live.