Phylogenetics of Dracunculus Nematodes in North America

Madeline Giner, from the University of Texas at San Antonio, studied the phylogenetics of Dracunculus in the lab of Dr. Christopher Cleveland. The Dracunculus genus contains parasitic nematodes that infect a variety of hosts, including reptiles and mammals. Dracunculus medinensis, the Guinea worm, has gained much attention due to its history of infecting humans. Less

What’s The Buzz Around Hydrogen Peroxide? An analysis of honey bee preference and mortality to differing hydrogen peroxide concentrations

Carlos Martinez-Mejia from New York University worked with Dr. Lewis Bartlett. Abstract Hydrogen peroxide has proven antimicrobial benefits and is created in honey when honeybees add glucose oxidase. This behavior makes honey bees another self-medicating animal and gives honey the longevity and antiseptic properties that we see. Hydrogen peroxide has been tested for toxicity in

Effects of parasites and predators on heart rates of Daphnia laevis using an innovative electronic stethoscope

Lutchie M. Carrasquillo, a student at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, worked with Christian Hurd and Dr. Andy Davis to study the effects of parasitism on Daphnia heart rate using a new methodology. Abstract: Daphnia are a model organism often used in investigations of chemical toxicity, and for biology classes. Measuring changes in

Wolbachia and its effects on mating preference in two Drosophila species

Kareena Collins, a students at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, worked with Paul Ginsberg and Dr. Kelly Dyer. Abstract: Wolbachia is a maternally inherited intracellular endosymbiont that can manipulate reproduction in many different species of arthropod hosts, enabling its invasion into novel host populations. The most common types of reproductive manipulation is cytoplasmic incompatibility

Reproduction and immunity trade-offs in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

Jillian Dunbar, a student at the University of Alabama, worked with Ellen Martinson and Vincent Martinson in the lab of Dr. Michael Strand. Reproduction and immunity are metabolically expensive systems; therefore, organisms with a limited amount of resources have to invest carefully (Schwenke et al. 2016). With the goal of producing offspring, organisms must invest

Virulence-related characteristics of Bordetella pertussis mutants deficient in intracellular survival

Callie Effler, a student at Lee University, worked in the lab of Dr. Eric Harvill. Abstract: Intracellular survival is a common trait among human pathogenic bacteria that has advantages for the bacteria’s protection from the host immune response, persistence, and dissemination within the host. Bordetella pertussis, the gram-negative bacteria that causes whooping cough in humans,

Effects of larval density on the fitness of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

Courtney Schreiner, a student at the University of Idaho, collaborated with fellow REU student Taryn Waite, along with Nicole Solano, Dr. Courtney Murdock, and Dr. Craig Osenberg. Abstract: We were interested in studying the effects of larval density on the fitness of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)­­. Aedes albopictus live all around Georgia and

Spiders as a gauge for change: linking spider density to riparian habitat structure

Lily Tanner, a student at New College of Florida, worked with Denzell Cross and Dr. Krista Capps. Abstract: Urbanization often compromises the diversity and abundance of native species living in watersheds (Rodrigues et al., 2015). Research has shown that riparian spiders are susceptible to land use change associated with urbanization (Sanchez-Ruiz et al., 2017).  We

To skip or not to skip: exploring the connections between orviposition behavior and density –dependence in Aedes albopictus mosquitoes

Taryn Waite, a student at Colby College, collaborated with REU student Courtney Schreiner, Nicole Solano, Dr. Craig Osenberg, and Dr. Courtney Murdock. Abstract: Conspecific density in larval habitats is an important factor affecting adult fitness in Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, as it drives competition for food and space. We conducted a larval density experiment wherein mason

Copepod survival in water bowls exposed to typical Chadian ambient temperatures

Zavier Eure, a junior from North Carolina A&T, worked with the lab of Dr. Michael Yabsley to study copepod survival in different types of water bowls. Abstract:  Guinea Worm Disease (GWD), caused by the nematode Dracunculus medinensis, has been detected with increasing incidence among dogs in Chad, Africa. Cyclopoid copepods (freshwater crustaceans) are intermediate hosts

Using long-term science data to examine relationships of wastewater infrastructure and water quality

Sarah Williamson, a junior from Baylor University, worked with Denzell Cross in the lab of Dr. Krista Capps.  They used community-collected data to examine spatial and temporal changes in water quality in a local watershed. Abstract:  The integrity of freshwater systems throughout the world is threatened by increasing concentrations of gut bacteria, such as E.

What’s the buzz? An investigation on how urbanization impacts mosquito species distribution

Lilith South, a junior from the University of Georgia, worked with Mike Newberry in the lab of Dr. Courtney Murdock to study the relationship between urbanization and distribution of mosquito species. Abstract:   Impervious surfaces, mainly paved roads and buildings, significantly impact microclimate by making an area hotter and less humid. For this reason, urban areas

The world’s smallest escape artists: manipulation of the host innate immune response by Bordatella bronchiseptica

Margaret Dedloff, a junior at Clarkson University, worked with Dr. Monical Gestal in the lab of Dr. Eric Harvill to study the role of a sigma factor by bacteria in manipulating host immune response. Abstract:  During the course of infection, some pathogens are able to sense and respond to the host immune system. This can

Identifying bacterial pathogens in natural Drosophila populations

Kailene Richbow Dozier, a junior at Virginia Union University, worked with Dr. Kelly Dyer to examine the pathogens present in wild populations of Drosophila. Abstract: An estimated 70% of the world’s insects are infected with the gram-negative bacteria, Wolbachia pipientis. Wolbachia is known to protect organisms against viral pathogens, however little is known about how

Influence of mosquito gut microbiota on susceptibility to dengue infection

Robert Manuel, a junior from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, worked with Ruby Harrison in the lab of Dr. Mike Strand to examine the relationship between mosquito gut biota and dengue infection. Abstract: The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of dengue virus (DENV). Prior studies report increased susceptibility of A. aegypti to DENV

Behavioral and environmental determinants of parasite transmission in a butterfly host

Chastity Ward, a senior from Fayetteville State University, worked on a project with Dr. Sonia Altizer, Dr. Richard Hall and Dr. Paola Barriga to examine how parasites of the Monarch butterfly are transmitted. Abstract:  Many pathogens can be transmitted when infectious stages shed into the environment are later encountered by susceptible hosts. Environmental transmission is