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Climatic Extremes, Mining, and Mycobacterium ulcerans: A Coupled Systems Approach

Funded By: NSF-Coupled Natural Human Systems, $1,421,997

In this project, we are working in Ghana to explore the emergence of Buruli ulcer (BU) at multiple temporal and spatial scales Our project considers BU emergence as a function of climatic changes that interact with human-modified landscapes, resulting in increases in flooding and stagnant water

We expect that human knowledge and behavior, which differ by occupation, age, location, and the degree of marginality people occupy in society, govern the resultant exposure to stagnant water bodies that may house the bacterium causing BU. We believe that the transmission of BU is due to previously unidentified thresholds in these coupled human-natural patterns that interact across spatial and temporal scales. We aim to make concrete recommendations about the conditions under which landscape rehabilitation would enhance human-ecosystem health and resilience. In addition, a key element of our project is the development of a sister-school approach, linking elementary, intermediate, and high schools from Penns Valley Area School District with partner schools in Tarkwa, Asankragwa, Deaso, and Dunkwa. Through collaborative activities, the students and teachers aim to understand human-modified landscapes and disease patterns in Pennsylvania and in Africa.


Petra Tschakert (PI) Penn State University, USA

Joseph Oppong - University of North Texas, USA

Richard Amankwah- University of Mines and Technology, Ghana

Edith Parker - University of Iowa, USA

Simon Gawu, KNUST, Ghana

Kamini Singha - Penn State University, USA

Heidi Hausermann - Penn State University, USA

Erasmus Klutse Ghana Health Directorate, Ghana

Ray Voegborlo KNUST, Ghana

Frank Nyame - University of Ghana, Ghana

Annmarie Ward-Penn State University, USA.