Frederik Kiene

Completed

As a veterinarian I am very interested in infection biology and the role of infectious agents in animal populations. While studying at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), I carried out research focusing on wild animals in the field but also in parasite diagnostics in the lab before graduating in 2017. After this, I started to work on my PhD looking into the impact of habitat fragmentation and edge effects on parasite communities in mouse lemurs and other small mammals in northwestern Madagascar. Parasitism is reckoned to be the most common lifestyle of all organisms on earth. The lowest estimates rate the percentage of parasites among all living organisms on at least 40%. Undoubtedly, parasites can act as a severe strain for their host but nevertheless they provide also important services for both, individual and ecosystem. In times of substantial losses and fragmentation of forest habitats all over the world and an ever- increasing proximity of human activities to wildlife, sadly Madagascar is a hotspot in this respect. Slash and burn agriculture and a fast-growing human population leads to an overexploitation of the natural resources. The impact of this massive alteration of habitat on the diverse group of parasitic organisms as a significant part of the ecosystems biocoenosis can hardly be assessed. Through trapping mouse lemurs in fragmented and continuous forests of varied vegetation structure, anthropogenic disturbance and connectivity, I hope to obtain measures such as infection intensity, prevalence and species richness of parasites from samples taken from each animal. This will hopefully help contribute to understanding the mechanisms of habitat-host-parasite interactions and the broad consequences of human impact on nature.

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