Parasite Ecology at ESA 2015

I didn’t go to all of the parasite ecology talks at ESA 2015, and I can’t even fit all the ones that I went to into one blog post.  But for those of you who weren’t there – and for those who were but just want to revel in your memories of awesome ESA 2015 parasite ecology – this post contains some of my favorites. Go check out the abstracts and keep an eye out for the upcoming papers!

I really enjoyed the session on models and mechanisms of fungal disease. The highlights for me were:

  1. Alex Strauss’ talk on the ways that habitat, predators, and host diversity affect fungal epidemics in Daphnia (SEM happened!) Also, Alex was the Runner Up in the parasite cartoon contest!
  2. Cherie Briggs’ talk on whether host density affects chytrid transmission in mountain yellow-legged frogs, and whether a typical density dependent transmission model can give rise to data that don’t show density effects
  3. Jessica Hite’s talk about how fungal parasites mediate competition between juvenile and adult Daphnia, leading to a change from out-of-phase to in-phase juvenile and adult population cycles and thus destabilizing host population dynamics
  4. Joseph Hoyt’s talk about bat contacts, bat sociality, and white-nose syndrome, where he used fluorescent powder to keep track of bat contacts

I also saw a bunch of great talks in other sessions. Some of my favorites were:

  1. Sara Weinstein’s talk about rats and raccoon roundworm transmission. Also, Sara was the Honorable Mention in the parasite cartoon contest!
  2. T’ai Roulston’s talk about whether parasites cause bumblebees to “camp” out on flowers at night, instead of staying in the nest. (I’m going to try to blog more about this soon!)
  3. Ben Van Allen’s talk about how cannibalism can reduce virus transmission in the fall army worm, and maybe in many other systems, too?
  4. And of course Kevin Lafferty’s talk about how a new general consumer resource model can be used for all predators, parasites, and micropredators. (I’ll try to blog this one soon, too!)
  5. Max Joseph’s talk covered a few topics, including this intriguing question: how should we model symbiont transmission, and how does our choice of model affect the relationship between diversity and disease (i.e., dilution effect)?
  6. Fletcher Halliday’s talk about the role of resource availability (and thus host community structure) on parasite richness and abundance – for PLANT parasites. That’s right. You can’t call me a taxa-ist if I include at least one plant talk. 😉

There have you have it! Click through to read those abstracts!

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