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My name is Cara Brook, and I am a PhD student in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. I do field work in Madagascar, studying the impact of human land conversion on metapopulations dynamics of disease--basically meaning, I examine connectivity between discrete animal communities and how perturbations to that connectivity affect risk of zoonotic spillover for human disease. I use henipaviruses in Malagasy fruit bats as a model system to track inter- and intra-species pathogen transmission. Tonga soa Madagasikara, and I hope you enjoy reading my posts from the field!

My Fihavanana Malagasy: At Home on the Eighth Continent

Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. In the course of her work, she has earned a Malagasy family, which sparks her curiosity for the origins of humanity on Madagascar.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mostly Madagascar!)

Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. Here she explores the incredible Ankarana Preserve, as well as theories on species distribution and evolution.

Science on the Edge of the World: Tales From Madagascar’s Sakalava Menabe

Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. Her work is well underway, and it involves a lot more than just tagging and indexing bats.

Back on the Far Side of the World…

Cara Brooke is a Disease Ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. She has just returned to Madagascar a second time and is preparing for another year of fieldwork.

Another Farewell to Madagascar

The summer rains are setting in on the Eighth Continent, the holiday season is beckoning back home in America, and it is goodbye again from Madagascar.

Giving Back to Madagascar

A Young Explorer marvels at how wonderful it feels to be doing something meaningful—for science, for conservation, and for people, too.

Gifts and Politics in Madagascar’s Capital City

Young Explorer Cara Brook takes up residence in Madagascar’s capital city right after the nation holds its first elections since the 2009 political coup.

How to Catch One of the World’s Biggest Bats

Young Explorer Cara Brook is in Madagascar studying the spread of infections diseases to humans through bats. But how do you catch the world’s largest bat to study it?

Young Explorer Returns to Madagascar to Track Infectious Diseases

Young Explorer Cara Brook is in Madagascar studying the spread of infections diseases to humans through bats consumed as bushmeat.  —- Five months ago, I wrote to you from an airplane, bound from Johannesburg, South Africa to Antananarivo, Madagascar, nervously embarking on my first field season of dissertation research and plunging—for the first time in…

Until next time, Madagascar…

It’s the eve of my departure back to America-land, and the feeling is bittersweet as I reflect on my last three months in Madagascar.

Megabats & Ancient Viruses on the Eighth Continent…

Megabats are intriguing because of their recently discovered (and still not fully explained) roles as carriers for some of the world’s most dangerous emerging zoonotic viruses, including Nipah- the virus that inspired the movie “Contagion”.

Game Turned National Crisis- Cattle Bandits in Madagascar

Young Explorer Cara Brook is in Madagascar studying the impact of human land development on biodiversity and how it could potentially spread infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to people. Cara will focus on bubonic plague in small mammals and henipaviruses and lyssaviruses (two strains of viruses) in bats.  ——— “Mitovtovy James Bond,” says…

One Wedding and a Funeral: Life in the Malagasy Countryside

Young Explorer Cara Brook is in Madagascar studying the impact of human land development on biodiversity and how it could potentially spread infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to people. Cara will focus on bubonic plague in small mammals and henipaviruses and lyssaviruses (two strains of viruses) in bats.  ——— “Voalavo!” we call—Bring out…

Developed World Expectations in Developing World Madagascar

Young Explorer Cara Brook and team search for plague-infected rats in the highlands of Madagascar, hoping to find another piece of the puzzle on how infectious diseases spread.

Forests in Madagascar Turn From Green to Smoldering Red

Some 90% of the once-green isle of Madagascar has been deforested via a combination of tavy—slash and burn agriculture for rice cultivation—and doro-tanetry, a less intensive burning used to augment grass growth for cattle grazing.