Field studies (in progress)
After having completed a pilot study, my main longotinal trial is now in progress and data collection is due to be completed in June. I'm currently sampling the feet and oral cavities of 40 sheep once a week. I'm also taking faecal samples and collect soil and grass samples from the pasture the animals are being kept on. In addition I'm collecting ebnvironmental data such as daily average temperatures and rainfall.
Following extraction of DNA of my samples I will conduct two main assays that will help me to address the aims of my research:
A quantitative PCR will monitor changes in the number of Dichelobacter over time in all sample types. I will investigate whether disease status and changes in climate affect the number of bacteria found on the sheep and in the envrironment.