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Texas Tech Receives $706,000 Grant for Quail Research on Parasitic Worms

Researchers will study how parasitic worms may be impacting the game bird’s recent decline.

Written by John Davis


Researchers study parasitic worms and their effect on quail population.

Researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University recently received a $706,000 grant from The Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation to study how parasitic worms may be impacting the game bird’s recent precipitous decline on the Texas Plains.

The research is part of “Phase 3” of Operation Idiopathic Decline – the largest, most comprehensive disease and contaminant research study ever conducted on quail populations. The total grant of $781,000 funds a project titled “Treatment of Eyeworms and Cecal Worms in Bobwhites: Clinical and Field Studies,” led by Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental toxicology at TIEHH.

“This grant will facilitate increased research on the impact of eye worms and cecal worms on wild bobwhite quail,” Kendall said. “We are extremely interested in these parasitic worms that we have found infecting wild quail in the Rolling Plains of West Texas. The foundation has reached out to us not only to increase our knowledge of the impact of these parasites on quail, but also to begin to work on strategies for a remedy.”

The project will involve scientists from TIEHH, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. The research area includes 25 counties across Texas and 10 counties in Oklahoma.


Parasitic eyeworms.

Kendall said the objective of this latest phase of research is to evaluate methods to control eyeworms and cecal worms in native bobwhite quail and evaluate efficacy of treatments in laboratory and field settings.

Rick Snipes, who serves as board president for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation said he hopes this phase of research will lead to solid answers about how to deal with these parasites.

“I am convinced they were the cause of the devastating loss of quail on our ranch during the summer of 2010, since neither weather nor habitat could possibly have played a role in that catastrophe,” Snipes said. “At last there is real hope that we may be close to answers. All bird hunters and land stewards will benefit from the work being funded by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation.”

Kendall said the research support from the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation has been outstanding in assisting him with expanding the investigation into the role of parasites on the health of bobwhite quail.

 “This increased research support will assist us in expanding the science necessary to evaluate the degree of infected quail survival and reproductive capabilities, in addition to developing methods for control of these parasitic nematode infections,” he said. “The goal is sustainable wild bobwhite quail populations.”

Where Have the Quail Gone?

Mysterious decline in quail population prompts the largest research project of its kind.

Click here for the full story.

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2 Responses to “Texas Tech Receives $706,000 Grant for Quail Research on Parasitic Worms”

  1. Joan C Says:

    You know what would put Texas Tech even bigger on the map? If we would develop a vaccine that would help quail fight off the worms using their own immune system. So that maybe we can help future generations thrive and also develop a natural resistance towards the worms.

    I’m not even sure if this is possible. I’m no biological scientist, but I’d say that if we developed a way to fight off cancer in humans through the use of their own immune system, we can definitely do this to birds.

  2. Jason Dean Says:

    As a proud west Texan, proud Red Raider and avid bird hunter I am very excited to hear that somebody is getting to the bottom of this. Keep up the good work and with the wealth (pun intended) of west Texans that bird hunt I am sure funding can continue without worry!!! Keep up the good work!!!
    TTU 94

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The Institute of Environmental and Human Health develops environmental and health sciences research and education at Texas Tech and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

The institute's goal is to position Texas Tech as an internationally recognized force in the integration of environmental impact assessment of toxic chemicals with human health consequences, framed in the context of science-based risk assessment to support sound environmental policy and law.

Featured Expert
Ron Kendall

Ron Kendall is a professor of Environmental Toxicology and director emeritus of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health.

View his profile in our online Experts Guide.

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