Can eBird Serve as an Adequate Surrogate for Field Observations in Assessing the Prevalence of Virally Competent Avian Hosts for West Nile Virus?

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Authors
Frederics, Kendall
Advisor
Hokit, David
Glowienka, Jennifer
Sullivan, Eric
Editor
Date of Issue
2020
Subject Keywords
West Nile virus , Ornithology , Parasitology
Publisher
Citation
Series/Report No.
item.page.identifier
Title
Can eBird Serve as an Adequate Surrogate for Field Observations in Assessing the Prevalence of Virally Competent Avian Hosts for West Nile Virus?
Other Titles
Type
Thesis
Description
Abstract
West Nile virus is a pathogen of concern within Montana. Due to the potential ramifications associated with the contraction of this disease, assessing risk remains important. Prior evidence indicates that the prevalence of this pathogen is dependent on viral amplification between virally competent host species and mosquito vectors. Specifically, avian species with moderate to high competence can serve as biotic reservoirs for the virus, allowing the continuation of infection in succeeding years. Along with other influential factors, the knowledge of which bird species predominate specific locations can help in providing the general public with a viable forecast, indicating the probable presence of the virus. While comprehensive bird counts across the state remain impractical, Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology may have solved problematic data collection through eBird. This online database allows users to record bird observations with the hope to provide scientists with real-time information of avian distribution and abundance. To evaluate the credibility of the software application, this study aims to determine if eBird data can serve as an adequate surrogate for field observations. Fifteen-minute bird point surveys were conducted to test eBird’s effectiveness; these surveys were located at the same sites in which mosquito trapping occurred, bettering association between the bird hosts and mosquito vectors. A regression analysis was then performed to distinguish potential correlations between field surveys and data provided from eBird at the same locations. Analyses suggest significant correlation between the datasets. This indicates that eBird could be used to assess the distribution of viral reservoirs.
Sponsors
Degree Awarded
Bachelor's
Semester
Spring
Department
Life & Environmental Sciences