Evaluating the transmission mode of a nematode parasite within horned passalus beetles, Odontotaenius disjunctus

Cecilia Pumpelly, a student at University of Georgia, worked with Dr. Andy Davis to evaluate transmission mode of a nematode parasite infecting beetles. Abstract: Within the estimated one million species of nematodes, there are just as many variations in life cycles. While parasitic nematodes rely on their host for primary development, many will exit their host

How do predators affect disease dynamics in their prey? Experimental tests of the healthy herds hypothesis with fish predators, zooplankton hosts, and a fungal parasite

T’Kai Adekunle, a student from Savannah State University, worked with Dr. Robbie Richards and Dr. Alex Strauss to understand how predators affect disease dynamics in their prey. Abstract: The healthy herds hypothesis is the idea that predators reduce the spread of disease in prey/host populations. There are three primary mechanisms by which  this effect may occur:

Quantifying and characterizing the Chagas disease parasite burden in kissing bug vectors across land use change gradients

Bryna Wilson, a student from Grove City College worked with Dr. Nicole Gottdenker and Juliana Hoyos on associations between land cover and trypanosome infections in kissing bugs. Abstract: Changes in land use and forest cover can affect the transmission of vector-borne diseases by interfering with the ecology of disease vectors. The kissing bug Rhodnius pallescens can

How Various Feeding Rates Affect Pupation Rates in Anopheles stephensi Larvae

Jacob Glover, a student at Franklin College, worked in the lab of Dr. Ash Pathak Abstract Anopheles Stephensi are a dangerous vector for countless diseases without cures currently. If mosquitos could be contained or controlled, then this could eliminate these diseases they carry without having to find a vaccine or other types of cures for

Sensing Your Friends Getting Eaten is Stressful, Having a Parasite Makes it Worse

Helen Gloege, a student in Mount Holyoke College, worked in the lab of Dr. Andy Davis Abstract Daphnia and other animals face a multitude of different stressors in their daily lives. Parasites can cause various physiological changes in animals, yet few prior studies have looked at the combination of parasitism and stress in animal models.

Tricks Not Treats: Wolbachia’s Manipulation of Sex in Infected D. subquinaria Offspring

Madeline Sheppard, a student at Eckerd College, worked in the lab of Dr. Kelly Dyer Abstract Wolbachia is a bacteria that is found in up to 60% of all insects, which is transmitted exclusively from mother to offspring through the egg. In many host species Wolbachia infection does not Wolbachia are gram-negative maternally transmitted bacterial

Temperature fluctuation on disease transmission in multi-host communities

Jenavier Tejada, a student at Denison University, worked in the lab of Dr. Alex Strauss Abstract The dilution effect seeks to explain disease transmission in environments with multiple species. Essentially, the dilution effect predicts an increase in diversity will lead to a decrease in disease transmission. In zooplankton communities, the resistant diluter, Ceriodaphnia dubia can

Approximating abundance of Daphnia dentifera using environmental DNA (eDNA) samples

Emily Landolt, a student in St. Norbert College, worked in the lab of Dr. Alex Strauss Abstract Freshwater zooplankton, such as Daphnia dentifera, are helpful model organisms for studying infectious disease dynamics and are ecologically important because of their role in food webs. They are consumers of primary producers like algae and are prey for

Roadkill as sentinels for parasite detection in a wild squirrel population

Jonah Giermann, a student at College of St. Scholastica, worked in the lab of Dr. Sonia Altizer Abstract Disease surveillance of wild populations is difficult, as capture and release techniques can be time-iRoadkill is an excellent display of human-wildlife conflict. Carcasses can inform ecologists about population trends, species distribution, and behavior. Carcasses can be inspected

Spatial Variation in Oyster Macroparasites Across the Georgia Coast

Sofia Markiewicz, a student at Scripps College, worked in the lab of Dr. Jeb Byers Abstract Oysters are a key coastal foundation species that have declined drastically across the US coasts due to the combined effects of overharvesting, pollution, and disease. With climate change, there The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a keystone species and

Seeing What Floats: Comparing Fecal Diagnostic Techniques for the Detection of Zoonotic Cestode Eggs

Sierra Felty, a student at Radford University, worked in the lab of Dr. Christopher Cleveland Abstract Coyotes (Canis latrans) are an anthropogenically abundant and increasingly widespread species, Members of the genus Echinococcus are parasitic cestodes that pose a zoonotic threat to wildlife, livestock, domestic animals, and humans. They utilize wild canids, such as coyotes and foxes,

A Blast to the Past: Multi-decadal Trends in Parasite Diversity in Plethodon Salamanders

Samantha O’Keefe, a student at Jacksonville University, worked in the lab of Dr. Sonia Altizer Abstract Climate change is rapidly impacting our planet and its ecosystems at immense scales, and many of the future impacts are unknown. One consequence of climate change seen in nearly every ecosystem type is loss of biodiversity, including parasitic organisms.

Predictors for SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity in Owned and Feral Cats in North Georgia

Sarah Blankespoor, a student at California Polytechnic University, worked in the lab of Dr. Mark Tompkins Abstract Little is known about the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in animal populations. Cats are a host for the virus, with cat-to-cat transmission demonstrated in lab settings. Both feral and owned cats interact with many species and could drive interspecies

Infection and Spore Yield of Daphnia Microsporidian

Hannah O’Grady, a student at Mount Holyoke College, worked in the lab of Dr. Alex Strauss. Abstract An important part of understanding how diseases spread and impact a community is understanding the tradeoffs that occur when a parasite generalizes. While sampling ponds in Whitehall Forest we discovered a potentially novel microsporidian that was able to

Royally Split: Morphological divergence of parasites in milkweed butterflies

Katie Yan, a student from Skidmore College, worked in Dr. Sonia Altizer‘s lab. Abstract Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) is a protozoan parasite found in Monarchs (Danaus plexippus). Same or similar OE-like parasites have been found in Queens (D. gilippus) and other Danaus butterflies. Experimental cross infection provided evidence of parasite specialization on natal host species via

The Community Effects of Trematode Parasites on Species Interactions

Kailah Massey from the University of Georgia worked with Dr. Emlyn Resetarits. Abstract Trematode parasites have a complex life cycle that infects and castrates snails as their initial host. (Wood et al., 2007). The snails our team observed were Elimia type snails. These snails have top-down control over algae in aquatic ecosystems. Snails have total control over

The Tradeoff of Nutrition in Malaria Transmission

Nathan Garcia-Diaz, a student from Willamette University, worked in the lab of Dr. Ash Pathak. Abstract The effects of nutrition on malaria transmission was studied by collecting the most influential components of Vectorial Capacity. Vectorial Capacity (C) measures the Anopheline mosquito’s efficacy at transmitting the Plasmodium berghei parasites, and the largest factors impacting C are

Assessing the impacts of Hyalophysa lynni infection on oxygen consumption of commercial shrimp

Roland Berg, from Lewis & Smith College, worked with Megan Tomamichel and others in the lab of Dr. Jeb Byers. Abstract Shrimp black gill disease (sBG), caused by the parasite Hyalophysa lynni, may be contributing to the recent declines in commercial shrimp populations off the Southeastern US coast. H. lynni attaches to shrimp gill tissue,