Research Project Database
Code: EMIDA16
Title: APHAEA - Harmonised approaches in monitoring wildlife population health and ecology and abundance
Country: Denmark
Funding Organisation: French National Research Agency (ANR)
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO
The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning
National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (INIA)
The Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Italian Ministry of Health Department for Veterinary Public Health, Nutrition and Food Safety
Federal Ministry of Food Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV)
Animal Group: Wildlife
Research Organisation: National Veterinary Institute (DTU Vet)
FLI - Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte - Liguria e Valle d'Aosta
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)
National Veterinary Institute of Sweden (SVA)
Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern (FIWI)
VetAgro Sup
Number of Research Staff (FTE):  
Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. Christian Gortazar, IREC Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha
Cost (Euros): 1520129
End Date (dd/mm/yyyy): 31-03-2015
Duration (months): 36
Project objectives and deliverables with estimated delivery dates for each deliverable (if possible): Aphaea (harmonised Approaches in monitoring wildlife Population Health, And Ecology and Abundance) is a European network of expert groups in animal health and wildlife research involving 7 countries. Aphaea will function as a platform for the harmonisation of methods for monitoring of wildlife pathogens and wildlife populations with relevance to human and livestock health. Aphaea builds forward on the wildlife disease surveillance network of the European Wildlife Disease Association (, the Artemis research institute for wildlife health in Europe ( and the EU FP7 funded WildTech project
Aphaea will (1)Develop harmonised methods for estimating wildlife population abundance and habitat disturbances for key wildlife species in Europe, including recommendations for harmonised recording of resulting monitoring data;(2)Develop harmonised sampling methods for monitoring the distribution and time trends of highly relevant pathogens in these key wildlife species; (3)Test these methods in selected hosts and for selected pathogens; and (4)Set up a European wildlife disease network in which the harmonized methods are endorsed.

Aphaea will build forward on the 31 priority pathogens that resulted from the inventory performed by the Wildtech project. Based on these 31 priority pathogens, Aphaea has selected 15 key wildlife hosts. Together these form a complementary and representative set of wildlife species of potential risk to livestock and human health in Europe, covering various habitats, pathogens and gold standards for measuring abundance in different countries. This forms an excellent point of departure for harmonisation of methods for monitoring, sampling and recording at European level as well as a sound basis for further extrapolation to a wider set of wildlife species.

Aphaea will take inventory of varying methods for assessing population abundance and Indicators of Ecological Change, and model these data to extrapolate Europe-wide abundance maps. For each host/pathogen combination, Aphaea will propose situation-based surveillance and sampling, based on expected prevalences and on random and stratified sampling criteria; and take inventory of the currently applied standards for sample collection and analyses to develop recommendations for
European harmonised methods for sampling, sample collection and sample use.

Aphaea partners will test three combinations of host-pathogens, measuring wildlife host abundances in parallel to sampling this host species and testing for the selected pathogen. Results will be discussed at the network meetings to identify strengths and weaknesses of the proposed scheme, and to infer management implications for other hosts and pathogens. We will actively involve national and European stakeholder groups and experts throughout the project, to promote future adoption across Europe.
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