Eva Jordan ’24
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Health and Conservation at the Human-Domestic Animal-Wildlife Interface in Madagascar
I studied the dynamics of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Betampona Natural Reserve, Madagascar. Toxoplasma gondii is an introduced parasite to the island that also causes disease in humans. Our goal was to construct a model describing transmission at the interface between domestic animals and wildlife in order to determine the most effective conservation strategies for biodiversity in areas of the world affected by toxoplasmosis. Our field work involved trapping endemic carnivores such as fossa, ring-tailed vontsira, and broad-striped vontsira, as well as endemic and invasive rodents, and collecting biological specimens from these animals to be analyzed for the parasite. We also collected mosquito and leech specimens from both the forest and the research station to better understand how these disease vectors are distributed and how they affect disease transmission. Through this internship, I gained a clearer understanding of how conservation, health studies, and engineering can fit together to form a truly important project, and I came away better able to think about designing research questions for independent work or a thesis.
* This internship is connected to the HMEI Biodiversity Grand Challenges project, “Biodiversity Conservation and Health at the Human-Domestic Animal-Wildlife Interface in Madagascar.”
Biodiversity and Conservation
Metcalf Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Antananarivo, Madagascar; Betampona Natural Reserve, Madagascar
C. Jessica Metcalf, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs; Fidisoa Rasambainarivo, Postdoctoral Research Associate, High Meadows Environmental Institute; Benjamin Rice, Associate Research Scholar, High Meadows Environmental Institute