This seminar will be held in person in room 1005 Forbes Natural History building, 1816 S. Oak, Champaign or you may join via Zoom here | Meeting ID: 891 3169 4545 | Password: 391787
Abstract: Invasive species are one of today's greatest threats to global biodiversity. Understanding the process of invasion and predicting the impacts on native ecosystems when the invaders are also parasites has proven to be particularly challenging. Yet, with over half of all species on Earth likely being parasitic, the need to understand how parasitism adds to the dynamic of invasion is extremely important. My lab is using two very different biological systems and a multidisciplinary approach to address questions about the evolutionary processes and ecological factors that facilitate parasite invasions. First, I will discuss our work aimed at understanding the evolutionary processes that facilitate co-invasion by a snail-trematode system in the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi river region. Additionally, I will describe studies on the effects of abiotic factors, such as temperature, on parasite transmission dynamics. Second, I will discuss our work tracking the invasion of a parasitic nest fly to the Galapagos Islands and the ecological interactions that have since occurred between the fly and its hosts, Darwin’s finches. Together, these studies have helped shed light on our understanding of the complexities that accompany parasite invasions and have moved us toward a goal of better being able to predict the outcome or likelihood of future invasions.