Jonathan Meddings

Revelations in reptilian immunology: serology and sources of variation

Freshwater turtles can act as reservoirs of infection and serve as a valuable indicator species for overall ecosystem health. One of the ways the health of freshwater turtles can be monitored is by testing their blood to detect a current or recent infection. This is called a serological survey. For his honours project, Jonathan collected blood from hundreds of freshwater turtles across Queensland and tested it for antibodies against a virus called Bohle iridovirus of the genus Ranavirus. Antibodies are proteins the immune system makes to fight infection. Jonathan’s work highlighted the importance of accounting for seasonal variation in immune responses when conducting serological surveys of reptiles.