Preprint Communication Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Virological Sampling of Inaccessible Wildlife with Drones

Version 1 : Received: 12 May 2018 / Approved: 14 May 2018 / Online: 14 May 2018 (08:25:40 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 30 May 2018 / Approved: 30 May 2018 / Online: 30 May 2018 (07:37:39 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Geoghegan, J.L.; Pirotta, V.; Harvey, E.; Smith, A.; Buchmann, J.P.; Ostrowski, M.; Eden, J.-S.; Harcourt, R.; Holmes, E.C. Virological Sampling of Inaccessible Wildlife with Drones. Viruses 2018, 10, 300. Geoghegan, J.L.; Pirotta, V.; Harvey, E.; Smith, A.; Buchmann, J.P.; Ostrowski, M.; Eden, J.-S.; Harcourt, R.; Holmes, E.C. Virological Sampling of Inaccessible Wildlife with Drones. Viruses 2018, 10, 300.

Journal reference: Viruses 2018, 10, 300
DOI: 10.3390/v10060300

Abstract

There is growing interest in characterizing the viromes of diverse mammalian species, particularly in the context of disease emergence. However, little is known about virome diversity in aquatic mammals, in part due to difficulties in sampling. We characterized the respiratory virome of the Eastern Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). To achieve an unbiased survey of virome diversity a meta-transcriptomic analysis was performed on 19 pooled whale blow samples collected via a purpose-built Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV, or drone) approximately 3km off the coast of Sydney, Australia during the 2017 winter annual northward migration from Antarctica to northern Australia. Despite the relatively small number of animals surveyed, we identified six novel virus species from five viral families. This work demonstrates the potential of UAVs in studies of virus disease, diversity, and evolution.

Subject Areas

whale; virome; drone; mammalian host; virosphere

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