Anaïs Oliva, PhD student

Department of Applied Geomatics, University of Sherbrooke

I'm very interested in learning about multidisciplinary perspectives coming from different scientific fields to understand the various environmental effects and mechanisms in aquatic ecosystems. I believe that multidisciplinarity is the key to understanding public health issues related to lake water and, then, to provide the best management responses!

PhD research project

Earth observation indicators assessment to determinate waterborne infectious disease risk dispersals in Canadian lakes

Harmful waterborne illnesses can be directly transmitted by many different pathogens to humans via lake water such as faecal coliforms (e.g. Escherichia coli). Lakes may also play an indirect role in maintaining disease risks for humans. Indeed, wild birds are a significant source of novel avian influenza virus strains and they can also introduce Campylobacter species in their faeces. Thus, one of the most difficult challenges for public health security is to be able to predict epidemic occurrences caused by multiple pathogens in lakes.

In tele-epidemiology, remote sensing data are associated with environmental determinants to assess disease dispersals (e.g. contamination from run-off from agricultural and urban areas, rainfall events that drive run-off). These various relationships have specific impacts on lake water quality and, hence, they can affect the abundance of disease induced by bacteria.

The main objective of this thesis is to compare lake data with the presence/abundance of each bacteria and virus by:

  • Identifying contamination sources and assessing the spatio-temporal variability;
  • Developing earth observation indicators that may be predictive of lake water conditions; and
  • Determining correlations amongst the occurrence and antimicrobial resistance genes and outcomes of other parts of the LakePulse studies (e.g. presence of antibiotics, algal blooms, other toxins).

PhD project start and finish dates: 2018 to 2021

Supervisor: Yannick Huot (Université de Sherbrooke)
Co-supervisor: Nicholas Ogden (Public Health Agency of Canada)

LakePulse survey sampling 680 lakes across Canada

Summer 2018: I will be sampling with the Red Team in Alberta and Saskatchewan.