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Exploring Biodiversity and Zoonotic Disease Dynamics in Guinea

As part of the BCOMING project in Guinea, CERFIG organised a field mission from 12th to 27th January 2024, for capturing rodents and sampling bats in the Samyankhouré cave, Madina-Oula sub-prefecture.
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Bridging the Gap

Mammals, a vital component of terrestrial ecosystems, are facing drastic declines due to anthropogenic changes in landscapes. With many species secluded in protected areas and facing extreme conservation status, there is a growing need for rapid, cost-effective, and noninvasive methods to monitor their populations. Within BCOMING, it is important that we use the most accurate techniques to establish biodiversity assessment as it is a core component in our research on pathogen circulation. Our team at Université de Liège in Belgium, consisting of Dr Pauline van Leeuwen and Prof. Johan Michaux, delves into the scientific literature for non-invasive methods to detect mammalian species in the field. They published the first scientific article supported by the BCOMING consortium. This study compares conventional survey methods and the emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding technique for mammal biodiversity assessment.

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Unraveling Cambodia's biodiversity tapestry

In the heart of Southeast Asia lies Cambodia, a country teeming with biodiversity that has long captivated the imaginations of scientists and conservationists alike. Nestled within this rich tapestry of ecosystems, a dedicated research team from Université de Liège embarks on an exciting journey to unravel the mysteries of Cambodia's wildlife microbiome at the human-animal interface. Our team at Université de Liège in Belgium, consisting of Dr Pauline van Leeuwen and Prof. Johan Michaux, is leading the microbiome component of the BCOMING project. We aim to improve our knowledge of the influence of biodiversity and on microbiomes structure and zoonotic risks.
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Journal of BCOMING's Field Mission in Guinea: Part 3

Our journey to Samyankhouré led us to meet with the Prefect and his staff to finalize mission orders. Accompanied by the Deputy Director General of Agriculture and Livestock for Kindia, we greeted local authorities before settling into our campsite. The authorities expressed gratitude for our conservation efforts in their area.
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Journal of BCOMING's Field Mission in Guinea: Part 2

Our journey from N'Zérékoré to Macenta led us to the Prefect's residence, where we completed administrative formalities. With the Deputy Prefectural Director of Agriculture and Livestock, we met community representatives at a workshop organized by Fauna et Flora Internationale. Despite the absence of local authorities due to a training course, we received encouragement for our wildlife monitoring efforts.

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Journal of BCOMING's Field Mission in Guinea: Part 1

Mission Overview: Our team embarked on the fourth field mission organized by CERFIG from November 10th to 29th, 2023, as part of the BCOMING project. The primary objectives were to investigate, capture, and sample rodents while continuing the ecological monitoring of bats in the Samyankhouré cave in Guinea's Kindia prefecture.

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Journey to Cambodia (3/3)

On the 13th of December (2023), MERFI organised a workshop where Alex Smajgl presented the draft ABM model and its interface. The presentation was followed by a discussion.

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Journey to Cambodia (2/3)

On the 12th of December (2023), Cherie presented the findings of her first year's research on optimising zoonotic virus surveillance in bats with mechanistic models. For this, she used data collected by Julien and his team over four years in collaboration with IPC. Recognising the potential transmission of various viruses from bats to humans, Cherie emphasised the importance of bat surveillance.

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Journey to Cambodia (1/3)

As part of the BCOMING project, I had the opportunity to visit Cambodia for the first time, a country that had always interested me with its unique blend of ancient history, sobering past, bustling city life, and vibrant street markets.

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Exploring the Bat Caves in Cambodia

Bats constitute a large proportion of Cambodia’s mammal fauna with 83 species currently confirmed in the kingdom (Furey et al. 2021, Csorba & Furey 2022, Furey unpubl. data). This figure will almost certainly increase with further research in the country’s under-studied border regions. Roughly half of the species presently known to occur in Cambodia comprise species that are frequently found in caves and other subterranean sites and because these bats spend at least half their lives inside caves, protection of such sites is essential for their conservation.
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Role of Community Engagement in One Health Initiatives

One Health is a holistic approach to health that recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental well-being. Community engagement is central to the success of One Health initiatives.

This blog post explores the pivotal role of community involvement in One Health initiatives, with a special emphasis on its socio-economic aspects and the potential impact on preventing and managing zoonotic diseases

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Exploring Guadeloupe: BCOMING's Latest Mission in Aquatic Diversity

Our team, consisting of Dr. Marine Combe, Dr. Claudia Bommarito and Prof. Rudy E. Gozlan from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development in Montpellier (France), just returned from a mission in Guadeloupe for the BCOMING project, which took place between the 22nd and the 28th of October.

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Sampling Campaigns In Ivory Coast, Cambodia and Guadeloupe (Aquatic Part)

As part of the BCOMING project, a series of aquatic (freshwater) samplings were performed in Ivory Coast (May 2023), Cambodia (July 2023) and Guadeloupe (October 2023) to identify the patterns of biodiversity of the aquatic communities and their parasites in tropical areas along a gradient of urbanisation, with the aim of i) identifying drivers of disease emergence and ii) preventing disease risk. Our team consist of Dr. Marine Combe (CR, IRD), Dr. Claudia Bommarito (PostDoc, IRD), Prof. Rudy E. Gozlan (DR, IRD) and Ms. Chloé Lefebvre (Technician, IRD) from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier (ISEM), France. As responsible team of the aquatic sampling, it was exciting to finalize together the last details of the sampling, prepare and ship the material, and finally see the field campaigns taking place.

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