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Student Research

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Freshwater mussels at Timberlake Biological Field Station - This project will quantify the current status of freshwater mussels at Timberlake Biological Field Station. During this study, it is likely that resullts from this survey will uncover populations of state threatened species such as the Texas fatmucket, Golden orb, Smooth pimpleback, Texas pimpleback, and Texas fawnsfoot. This study not only provides an important baseline survey, but it could help management efforts of imperiled species. 
  • Trematodes of snake species - This project will entail collection and dissection of various groups of snakes. Any helminth parasites obtained will be stained, mounted and identified to species.
  • Antiparasite behavior - This project will investigate parasite avoidance behavior in fish hosts.
  • Behavioral syndromes of fish hosts - Behavioral syndromes (or personalities) are consistent behaviors of an individual over time and/or across environmental contexts.  Behavioral syndromes consiste of three interrlated traits: exploratory variation (bold-shy), activity level and agressiveness.  This project will explore how parasite-naive and parasite-infected individuals vary in these three traits.
  • Trematode communties in snails - Trematodes are parasites with complex life cycles, requiring multiple host species.  The first intermediate host is a mollusc and commonly a snail species. This project will investigate spatial and temporal patterns of trematode communities among snail hosts in local waterways. Snails will be collected from streams, ponds and lake and screened for infections in the lab. Any cercariae emerging from a snail will be photographed and identified using morphology and PCR.

CURRENT STUDENTS:

  • Keely Wilson, B.S. student, Phylogenetics of Posthodiplostomum (Trematoda) in various fish host species
  • Nicci Carpenter, M.S. student, Spatial and temporal variation of helminth communities in the western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
  • Lauren Bassett, M.S. student, Genetic variability of Knealhazia solenopsae (Microsporidia) in red imported fire ant, Soleopsis invicta: a future diagnostic tool for biological control

PAST STUDENT PROJECTS:

  • John Taylor, B.S. 2016, Overcrowding effects of intestinal cestodes in Gambusia affinis
  • Christina Morgan, M.S. 2016, Experimental treatment and thermally-mediated variation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in a north central Texas population of Acris blanchardi
  • Shane Griffin, B.S. 2015, Eyefluke infections in western mostquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
  • Ed Barnes, B.S. 2015, Trematode communities in the blacktail shiner (Cyprinella venusta) in the Bosque and Paluxy rivers