Biodiversity, Mammalian Evolution, and Disease Surveillance in Central Asia

The Central Asian Kyrgyz Republic is located in the mountainous regions northwest of CKyrgyz Research Teamhina, north of Tajikistan, and south of Kazakhstan.  The Kyrgyz Republic is approximately 200,000 km2. About 75% of the country is 2,000 m above sea level. The country is ecologically complex with 22 distinct ecosystems ranging from semi-arid environments in the Tien Shan Mountains to coniferous forests at mid elevations and alpine meadows.

Although approximately 100 species of mammals are thought to occur within the Kyrgyz Republic, little is known about their geographic and ecological ranges and, based on our work in 2007, it is likely that the species that actually occur there are different from the ones thought to occur there. Furthermore, the evolutionary and biogeographic histories of mammalian populations and their associated zoonotic viruses within the Kyrgyz Republic are poorly understood.

Our project will determine the species and distribution of small Kyrgyz specimen prepmammals and their associations with genetic strains of zoonotic viruses. The research is based on use of voucher specimens that document distribution of mammal species. The project will result in the data needed to test hypotheses regarding the biogeographic and evolutionary histories of small mammal species and associated zoonotic agents. 

This project is a collaborative effort and includes experts from the State University School of New York: Buffalo School of Medicine, the Health Protection Agency: Porton Down of the United Kingdom, the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republican Center for Quarantine and Especially Dangerous Diseases (Kyrgyz Republic).  Team members include American, British, and Kyrgyz specialists in mammalian molecular systematics, phylogeography, and zoonotic agents of mammals.

Associated Posters:

B. J. Briggs, D. M. Czechowski, A. Atoom, P. A. Larsen, H. N. Meeks, J. P. Carrera, V. J. Swier, R. Hewson, B. Atkinson, A. T. Junushov, O. N. Gavrilova, I. Breininger, C. J. Phillips, and R. J. Baker, J. Hay. Novel Methods of Detection and Characterization of RNA Virus Pathogens and their Hosts in the Kyrgyz Republic.

P. A. Larsen, H. N. Meeks, J. P. Carrera, V. J. Swier, B. J. Briggs, J. Hay, R. Hewson, A. T. Junushov, O. N. Gavrilova, I. Breininger, C. J. Phillips, and R. J. Baker. Biodiversity, Mammalian Evolution, and Disease Surveillance in Central Asia.