Dr. Anna Savage
University of Central Florida
"Evolutionary dynamics of infectious diseases in ectothermic vertebrates"
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 4:00 P.M.
Charles G. Miller Auditorium
Abstract: Emerging infectious diseases are impacting wildlife populations worldwide, and the genetic, environmental, and evolutionary drivers of disease emergence remain elusive. Ectothermic vertebrates appear particularly vulnerable to pathogen outbreaks, and this may be linked to their dependence on environmental temperature for maintaining physiological processes such as immune function. However, a better understanding of the genetics, physiology, and environmental processes underlying disease outbreaks is necessary before we can make general conclusions about the impact of disease on ectothermic vertebrate biodiversity. Towards this end, I will present a range of studies investigating evolutionary drivers of disease in amphibians and reptiles, including experimental and field-based analyses. Using genetic and functional genomic characterization of host and pathogen populations in an ecological context, I will highlight the physiological and evolutionary processes that are contributing to disease emergence and persistence, emphasizing similarities and differences across diverse host taxa.
Coffee and cookies will be served in the atrium outside the auditorium beginning at 3:30 p.m.