Awardee: Sarah Helman, PhD Student
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The distribution of coyotes (Canis latrans) in North America has expanded in recent years, including increasing numbers in urban regions such as Los Angeles. Since coyotes are potential carriers of intestinal pathogens of zoonotic (e.g. Giardia and Cryptosporidium) and conservation (e.g. canine distemper virus) concern, it is important for wildlife management agencies to get baseline levels of infection in local coyote populations. I am working with wildlife and veterinary agencies to obtain coyote fecal samples from within and around urban Los Angeles, which I will use to test for intestinal pathogens and parasites. This work will be paired with coyote genetics and diet analysis in a unique, multi-agency study, allowing for a preliminary assessment of how diet composition and intestinal pathogen and parasite loads may be affected by levels of urbanization in the Los Angeles region.