Short, Monica

Project title: Human Predators and the Transfer of Zoonotic Diseases: Exploring how disease risk might affect which species are targeted for human consumption

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chris Darimont

"There are still many unanswered questions on why certain species have a greater risk of human predation than others. Although size may be an important factor in determining risk, there are likely other factors at play. This research project will examine how proxies for the ability to carry shared zoonotic disease might predict whether a species is targeted. Specifically, data on the ‘use’ (i.e. harvest) of 70,000 animal species from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List will be studied. Additionally, species characteristics related to zoonotic relevance such as trophic level or known shared diseases will be derived from other biodiversity archives to support this analysis. By better understanding how humans select targets, this can help managers to shape evidence-informed policies to safeguard both wild populations and human health in a world where biodiversity is eroding and emerging infectious disease threaten wildlife and humans alike. This can also help to protect species that are at risk of human predation in order to more comprehensively recover suffering populations."