The Grande Sertão Veredas National (PNGSV) is one of the last natural reserves of brazilian savannah, located in the northwest of Minas Gerais state. This project aims to study for the first time the diversity of ticks on PNGSV, as well as the diversity of pathogens transmitted by these ticks, followed by molecular characterization of rickettsia isolated from ticks. It will also be assessed the role of wild birds and small mammals as hosts for ticks and rickettsia in PNGSV. Last but not least, we will evaluate the ticks population dynamics of the most abundant tick species in PNGSV. For this, the project involves 24 months of fieldwork, which includes eight campaigns at the park, with intervals of 3 months. In each campaign, wild birds and small mammals will be captured using mist nets and "live traps", respectively, and their ticks will be collected as well, ticks from the environment will also be collected using CO2 traps and drag cloth . Ticks will be analyzed by molecular techniques and by inoculation in cell cultures for infection by Rickettsia spp. The mammals will be evaluated for rickettsia infection by serological techniques. Molecular characterization will be performed with the species of rickettsia isolated from ticks. These actions aim to bring a major contribution to the natural history of ticks and rickettsia associated with ticks in PNGSV, which is still one of the largest reserves of Brazilian savannah, but never before explored regarding of ticks and their associated pathogens.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: