CIE Seminar Series – 2020: Wild birds: neglected reservoirs for coronaviruses

SPEAKER: Dr Michelle Wille, ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

DATE & TIME: Friday, 10th July 2020 @ 12:00 noon

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect.


Wild birds interconnect all parts of the globe through annual cycles of migration with little respect for country or continental borders. Although wild birds are reservoir hosts for a high diversity of gamma- and deltacoronaviruses, we have little understanding of the ecology or evolution of any of these viruses.

Using genome sequences and ecological data, I aim to disentangle the evolution of coronaviruses in wild birds. Specifically, exploring host range at the levels of viral genus and species, and revealing the multi-host nature of many viral species, albeit with biases to certain types of avian host.

Finally, I will discuss cross-species virus transmission across both the wild bird – poultry interface as well as from birds to mammals. Clarifying the ecology and diversity in the wild bird reservoir has important ramifications for our ability to respond to the likely future emergence of coronaviruses in socioeconomically important animal species or human populations.


Michelle Wille is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Sydney. She is interested in the ecology and evolution of avian viruses.

She has spent 10 years working on influenza viruses in wild birds and now couples that with trying to understand virus community dynamics in the same wild bird hosts.

For more info click HERE.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone.

Thanking you in advance!