Chang van Oordt, David: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

Graduate School
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Project Title: 
Role of host migratory behavior on parasite-host interactions, diversity patterns and evolution of avian malaria.
Project Abstract: 
Migratory species can spread disease across landscapes. Parasites like avian malaria can use migratory species to reach multiple hosts across large geographic scales. Avian malaria infects migratory and resident taxa and is common in most ecosystems, which can cause different patterns of distribution and diversification. My research aims to study the influence of migration on transmission of avian malaria parasites and their community-wide interactions. I will describe the interactions of avian malaria parasites with Tachycineta swallow hosts. I will sample breeding populations of migratory and resident species, and their surrounding avian communities across the Americas for detection of malaria lineages to study host specialization. I will study the diversification of parasite lineages in migratory and resident taxa and their phylogenetic relationships with strains infecting the surrounding communities. This will allow better understanding of the interaction between migration and the distribution of the disease, and the mechanisms by which parasite-host interactions evolve.