B.S. in Biological Sciences from UC Davis
The world has many types of parasites. Some infect cells and use cellular machinery to reproduce: viruses. Others feed on blood cells: malaria. Some steal the sexual effort of the opposite sex (e.g., female Amazon mollies reproduce asexually, but need male sperm to initiate the process). A number of parasites even modify the behavior of their hosts to suit parasite goals: Fungi control of ants, trematode control of snails and fish, toxoplasma control of rats, etc. Such diversity of parasites, and their sheer ubiquity in natural ecosystems, implies that parasites can have dramatic effects on the species with which they interact, either host or non-host, and the larger ecosystems in which those interactions occur. I am interested in how these interactions and their consequences will change in the face of ongoing human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC). For example, loss or gain of parasites has the potential to affect food web structure and invasive species, among other topics. As an introductory system, I am interested in how modification of California killifish behavior by the parasite Euhaplorchis californiensis affects non-host predators in California estuaries.