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Student Research

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Field and Lab Research Assistants - If you are an undergraduate student interested in research, I will first pair you with another student working on a current project. Duties vary depending on the project. Once you've been a lab member for at least a semester, we can discuss potential independent projects if you are interested.
  • Genetic diversity of larval trematodes - This is an ongoing project studying the larval stage of cryptic species of the trematode genus Posthodiplostomum in various fish host species. I am currently looking for a student to assist in PCR and other lab techniques to obtain DNA sequences from already collected specimens.
  • Eyeworm of galliform birds - The nematode, Oxyspirura petrowi, infects various species of birds in the order Galliformes, which includes quail, prairie-chicken, pheasants, etc. Various projects would entail obtaining specimens from hunters and/or museums, studying infection status across various bird species, and collaboration on phylogenetics.
  • 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.
  • Behavior - Various projects will investigate parasite avoidance behavior, behavioral syndromes (or personalities), and behavior manipulation by parasites.
  • 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 or lakes and screened for infections in the lab. Any cercariae emerging from a snail will be photographed and identified using morphology and PCR.

CURRENT STUDENTS:

  • Trisha Wright, M.S. student, Parasites of freshwater mussels
  • SaraBeth Boggan, B.S. student, Intestinal Helminths of bison at Caprock Canyon State Park (co-mentored by Dr. Matthewson)
  • Josue Zuniga, B.S. student, Phylogenetics of Posthodiplostomum (Trematoda) in various fish host species
  • Kari Waddle, M.S. student, Integrative taxonomy of Posthodiplostomum adults

PAST STUDENT PROJECTS:

  • Megan McGraw, REU student Summer 2019, Parasite communities of Cyprinella lutrensis and Gambusia affinis on the Colorado River at Timberlake Biological Fieldstation
  • Trenton Baggett, B.S. 2019, Phylogenetics of Posthodiplostomum (Trematoda) in red shiners
  • Jaynelle Nowell, M.S. 2019, Behavioral syndromes of Gambusia affinis pre- and post-infection
  • Hannah Bauman, REU student Summer 2018, Parasite communities of Cyprinella lutrensis and Gambusia affinis on the Colorado River at Timberlake Biological Fieldstation
  • Keely Wilson, B.S. 2018, Phylogenetics of Posthodiplostomum (Trematoda) in various fish host species
  • Nicci Carpenter, M.S. 2018, 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, Solenopsis invicta: a future diagnostic tool for biological control
  • 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