Fresh from the fox swabs...This past week, Friends of the Island Fox had the opportunity to spend some time in the field with the biologists of the Catalina Island Conservancy during their final days this season counting and providing island foxes with health checks.
During health checks, samples, like the one shown above, were taken. (how are island foxes swabbed?)
Soon these swabs will be boxed up and sent across the country to enrich the data set of Dr. Alexandra De Candia. During FIF's first virtual "Date with a Fox," Dr. Allie shared her work on the island fox microbiome and its importance for fox health and immunity.
Dr. Allie explains that Catalina Island biologists "have been collecting swabs since 2017, so we are building a really nice longitudinal dataset. 2020–2021 samples will help that dataset grow. This will allow us to look at changes in fox microbiomes through time and (once we have enough repeat individuals sampled) see how treatment or past history of mite infection alters microbiomes in the short- and long-term."
If you missed the virtual event you can watch the video here.
More on the connection between microbiome and fox health on Catalina Island.
Not only were the CIC biologists taking these samples to enrich the microbiome data set, they were also putting radio collars, funded by you, on island foxes.