This is the website of the project The perfect invader? Exploring the impacts on human health of a rapidly invading crustacean in Madagascar.
We are exploring the impact of the highly invasive marbled crayfish in Madagascar on two aspects related to human health:
- transmission and prevalence of schistosomiasis (based on the observation that the crayfish prey on the snail hosts of this devastating disease),
- availability of animal protein and its contribution to reducing child malnutrition.
As well as having significant applied relevance for health outcomes in Madagascar, and considering the impacts of a new invasive in one of the hottest biodiversity hotspots, this research makes use of a unique natural experiment (the spread of marbled crayfish) to improve our understanding of the ecology of schistosomiasis, its snail host and the world’s only parthenogenetic decapod.
We are applying for funding to expand our research to include the impacts of the crayfish on ecosystem health, and for directly exploring the impact of the crayfish on schistosomiasis transmission to humans.
The project brings together a consortium of scientists from Madagascar, the USA and the UK.
Our current funding is from the Grand Challenges Research Fund (a grant to Julia P G Jones) and a pilot research grant from the University of Washington’s EarthLab and Population Health Initiative (a grant to Chelsea Wood).