We use several different hosts and parasites/pathogens to study the dynamics of multi-host, multi-parasites systems:
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Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
We research the dynamics of parasite communities in wild populations of Apodemus sylvaticus (wood mice) as a model system. Wood mice inhabit grassy fields, woodlands and forests and occur in large numbers throughout the British Isles. They are the most common rodent in Britain and much of Europe, and their parasites have been researched in great detail. Wood mice are often infected by many species of micro- and macroparasites including: protozoa (including 4 species of Eimeria), nematodes (including Syphacia stroma, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, Trichuris muris, Capillaria murissylvatici and trichurid nematodes, cestodes (including Hymenolepis sp, Microsomacanthus crenata and Taenia taeniae formis) and trematodes (Corrigia vitta and Brachylaemus recurvum), viruses (Cowpox virus and Wood Mouse Murine Herpesvirus) and Bartonella sps. (> 4 species). Co-infection among these parasites is common.
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White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
The white-footed mouse and deer mouse are two of the most common vertebrates in woodlands of the Eastern US, including the Mountain Lake Biological Station (MLBS) in southwestern Virginia. MLBS is dominated by a mixed hardwood forest, with 60% white and northern red oak cover, which supports populations of both mice species. These Peromyscus populations have been studied at MLBS for over 25 years and have been found to share over 10 species of intestinal parasites including nematodes, cestodes and coccidial protozoans. Individual mice are commonly found infected with parasites from multiple taxonomic groups.
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Insects and Baculoviruses (Plodia interpunctella & PiGV, Ephestia cautella & EcNPV, EcGV)
The Indian meal moth (
Plodia interpunctella) and the Almond moth (Ephestia cautella) are worldwide pests of stored food products, a quality that makes them a very suitable laboratory model system. They can be maintained in long-term microcosms, and there are well- established assays for population censuses, infection prevalence, and individual and cohort analysis. There are currently three known baculoviruses of these stored pests, and our research investigates how these viruses vary significantly in their ability to infect the new hosts and specifically how cross species transmission leads to host shifts and disease emergence.
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Wild Primate and their parasite communities
We use comparative tools to understand large-scale evolutionary and ecological patterns of parasites in wild animals. We use a database of records of parasites infected wild primate populations (Global Mammal Parasitee Database (GMPD)), the primate phylogeny, geographic range map and other databases to ask questions about host range and specificity.