What smells like an island fox? Came from an island fox? But is contained on the tip of a cotton swab? A sample of island fox microbiome.
|Island fox being swab with cotton swab|
Friends of the Island Fox recently heard from FIF 2020 Research Grant recipient, Alexandria DeCandia, Ph.D.
DeCandia wrote "I wanted to let you know that microbiome samples from all six islands have arrived on the east coast :)" Swabs taken from island foxes during health checks have been transferred to a lab in Washington D.C. She added, "I'm very much looking forward to the next steps of this research!"
FIF's Research Grant is funding the DNA analysis of the swabs to get a picture of the biodiversity of microbes living on and in island foxes.
DeCandia's research is cutting edge science. Her early analysis of Catalina Island foxes led to some important findings on the possible relationships between bacteria in island fox ear canals and a tendency toward extreme immune system response to ear mites. This next stage of research builds on that work.
Maintaining healthy island foxes across the islands requires greater in depth understanding of their health, diet, position in the ecosystem, and interactions with other species, including humans.
Friends of the Island Fox invests in research to invest in the island fox's future. Applications for the FIF 2021 Research Grant will be available April 15, 2021.