An Introduction to Microbiology


  • Melody A. McFarland Piedmont Wildlife Center



Microbiology, microbe, infectious disease


Microbes are life forms so small that millions of them can fit into the eye of a needle. Experts say that infectious diseases caused by microbes are responsible for more worldwide deaths than any other cause ( 2002). Yet, at the same time, our survival depends on them in a delicate and sometimes complex relationship. Microbes are ubiquitous and are found in virtually every habitat on earth, from the boiling waters of deep–sea thermal vents, to the insides of our bodies, to the very air we breathe.

Understanding some elementary concepts about microbiology is crucial for anyone wishing to be an effective wildlife rehabilitator. Although sometimes a weighty topic, it is nevertheless imperative that all team members in a wildlife rehabilitation organization have some basic knowledge of microbes and disease processes. The intent of this paper is to educate both wildlife novices and professionals on some very important, but oft–neglected, issues. This introduction is the first in a series of articles dealing with microbiology and wildlife.


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Author Biography

Melody A. McFarland, Piedmont Wildlife Center

Melody McFarland holds a BS in biology from Millersville University in PA and was a research scientist with bioMerieux of Durham, NC, in the microbiology exploratory research department until recently moving to Japan with her husband’s military transfer. She was also a volunteer rehabilitator with Piedmont Wildlife Center and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the organization.


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How to Cite

McFarland, M. (2006). An Introduction to Microbiology. Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 24(1), 11–17.



Original Articles