Uncovering the hare microbiome

Image: inaturalist.org

2018 Honours project - begining or mid-year start

Two invasive lagomorph species are currently present in Australia, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the European brown hare (Lepus europeaus).

Hares are not usually considered in wild rabbit control programs. However, the recent detection of Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 in European brown hares in Australia highlights the need for a better understanding of the role of hares in lagomorph microbial diversity and epidemiology, for example:

  • Which microbes are shared between rabbits and hares?
  • What role do hares have in transmission of these microbes to rabbits and spread in the environment?
  • Do hares help or hinder the spread of pathogens in wild rabbits?
  • Do hares in Australia act as a reservoir for zoonotic pathogens, for example the organisms causing tularaemia or brucellosis?

This project aims to investigate the diversity of the hare microbiome using emerging long-read (Nanopore) sequencing technology.

The project presents an exciting opportunity to work between the Ecogenomics and Bioinformatics lab at ANU and CSIRO Black Mountain laboratories.

The successful candidate will receive excellent support throughout the project and a stipend may be available depending on eligibility.

Students with an interest in microbiology, bioinformatics, or invasive species management are encouraged to apply. Previous molecular biology or bioinformatics experience will be highly regarded.

For more information please contact either Dr Robyn Hall (robyn.hall@csiro.au; 6246 4245), Dr Benjamin Schwessinger (benjamin.schwessinger@anu.edu.au; 6125 6963), or Dr Louis Ranjard (Louis.Ranjard@anu.edu.au; 6125 1748).

Please also see here for more information regarding honours eligibility and enrolment in the Research School of Biology.