Project: Managing biodiversity in forests and urban green spaces : Dilution and amplification effects on rodent microbiomes and rodent-borne diseases

Acronym BioRodDis (Reference Number: 327)
Duration 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2022
Project Topic Understanding the relationships between wildlife biodiversity and zoonotic infectious diseases in a changing climate is a challenging issue that scientists must address to support further policy actions. Our project aims at tackling this challenge by focusing on rodent-borne diseases in European temperate forests and large urban green spaces. Rodents are important reservoirs of zoonotic agents; forests and green spaces are environments where rodents are abundant, human/domestic-wildlife interactions are plausible to occur, and efforts are undertaken to preserve biodiversity. The originality of this project is to extend previous research into four promising research directions: i) impact of coinfections on epidemiology, ii) interactions between gut microbiome and host susceptibility to infectious agents, iii) influence of socio-economic contexts on human exposure to wildlife and iv) temporal variability of biodiversity/health relationships. Using rodent sampling and large investigation of zoonotic agents and microbiome, we will establish an up-to-date, open database and maps of rodent-borne pathogens circulating in western-central European countries. We will apply eco-epidemiological approaches to enhance our understanding of the processes that influence zoonotic pathogen transmission in rodent populations. Mathematical models will be developed to analyse the influence of spatiotemporal scales and within-host interactions on the relationships between biodiversity (rodents and microbiome) and zoonotic diseases. Landscape features will be included in this modelling. Lastly, we will evaluate the impact of climatic change scenarios on zoonotic disease risk and rodent-microbiome biodiversity in forests and urban green spaces. Sociologists will be at the core of the project to help partners develop effective knowledge exchanges, what will enable transdisciplinary collaborations among scientists and with relevant stakeholders. A first circle of stakeholders will integrate collaborators from public health, biodiversity management and NGOs representing public at risk of rodent-borne zoonoses. These stakeholders will be strongly engaged throughout the project, as they will be informed, consulted and involved in project activities and dissemination. A second, larger, circle of stakeholders will be engaged mostly through knowledge exchanges, to guarantee that all organizations and public interested in, affected by rodent-borne diseases or involved in nature management are informed of our project. Overall, we aim to provide proof-of-concept that joint strategies between public health and conservation biology programs can help to prevent emergence of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife. In addition to protocols, maps and lists of zoonotic pathogens, an important outcome will be the improvement of zoonose prevention policies through dissemination of adapted surveillance, training and awareness campaigns designed with the active participation of stakeholders.
Network BiodivERsA3
Call 2018-2019 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Intitut National de Recherche pour l'Agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Centre de coopération international en recherche agronomique pour le développement, Montpellier SupAgro Coordinator France
2 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Université de Montpellier, Centre Natinal de la Recherche Scientifique Partner France
3 Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture Partner France
4 University Potsdam Partner Germany
5 Trinity College Dublin Partner Ireland
6 Medical University of Gdansk Partner Poland
7 University of Antwerpen Partner Belgium