Previous studies have shown that opportunistic feeders as gulls easily become carriers of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Preliminary results from Kelp Gulls roosting near Ushuaia shows very high levels of newly introduced antibiotic resistant genes that are causing much problem in medical care.
To explore the role of the environment as a reservoire of resistance genes and if migrating birds are contibuting to the spread of antibiotic resistance this project will focus on bird populations that migrate between areas with high and low levels of antibiotic resistance. With the recent finding of high levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria in bird populations close to the Antarctic peninsula and South Georgia it is particularly urgent to perform such studies.
The study was performed in November 2012 during a cruise with the Quark Expeditions vessel Ocean Diamond, visiting the Falklands, South Georgia and South Shetland Islands. This is part of a series of studies by the research group, focused on antibiotic resistance and disease in Arctic and Antarctic bird populations.
Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology, Linnaeus University, Kalmar