Resilient and healthy ecosystems are essential for conservation success and human wellbeing. Within ECOS we utilise an interdisciplinary Conservation Medicine or One Health approach to promote wildlife health across scales from individuals to populations and communities. Clinical veterinary support and advice is provided alongside research and consultancy services for conservation projects.
Examples of ECOS partner conservation science projects are shown here; for further information follow the links or contact us.
The Scottish Wildcat is threatened across its remaining range due to several factors including habitat loss and the impacts of feral domestic cats. The interaction of feral cats and wildcats can leads to the transmission of diseases into the wild population, and genetic mixing of the two species. A number of ECOS partners collaborate to monitor and evaluate the health of the Scottish wildcat population to inform conservation management through the Wildcat Action project.
One way to asses the health of an ecosystem is to assess the health of indicator species. Birds of prey are influenced by the abundance of prey, the health of their prey, and the state of the environment they live in, making them ideal indicators of broader ecosystem functioning. Raptor Health Scotland is a project that assesses the health of raptors across Scotland and links results back to the ecosystems they belong to.
For more information, visit Raptor Health Scotland.
Red Squirrel Leprosy
Very few species are susceptible to leprosy. Two species of Mycobacteria cause this disease. Both have recently been identified in red squirrels in the British Isles. This PhD project looks at squirrel populations affected by the disease. We study the effects the disease has on individuals and populations and constantly improve our diagnostic toolkit to enable rapid leprosy screening across the UK.
Updates on this project will appear in our news section.
Bumblebees are a vital group of insect pollinators that play an important ecologically role in maintaining healthy terrestrial ecosystems, as well as a key ecosystem service in pollinating agricultural that is critical for food security and the economy. It is therefore of concern that many wild bee species are thought to be in decline, although in reality we lack detailed information on how pollinator biodiversity has changed historically and population dynamics have been impacted spatially, which is important if we are to understand and mitigate the key drivers of such declines.
Led by Imperial College, a UK team using nationally and internationally important entomological collections as a tool to investigate insect pollinator declines. The collections of ECoS partners are playing an integral role in providing data from extensive collection of bumblebees, primarily from around Scotland.