Event Title

Exploring Host-Specificity of Parasites in Tropical Bats of Puerto Rico

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-27-2017 6:00 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 6:40 PM

Research Program

National Science Foundation (NSF) REU at University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

Poster Number

27

Abstract

Studying and understanding pathogens in wildlife before they spread to human populations is essential in the attempt to combat them. Bats have been found to be a reservoir host to many dangerous diseases that, if left unstudied and unattended, could spread to human populations. Increases in deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and human encroachment can increase the potential for humans to acquire the various diseases for which bats may be vectors. Parasites play a large role in disease transmission dynamics by serving as vectors for many harmful and deadly diseases. The focus of our research is to understand and evaluate parasite and host interactions on different species of bats in Puerto Rico. Parasites, like the blood-sucking bat flies, are known to facilitate disease transmission from parasite to host. Using harp traps and mist nets, bats were captured to collect information on both parasites and their hosts to understand host-parasite interactions in Puerto Rican bats. All thirteen Puerto Rican bat species were attained or recorded through traditional capture methods and acoustics. We discovered certain ectoparasite types to be hostspecific to different bat species. We found significantly more parasites on female bats compared to males. This data will broaden our understanding of disease dynamics that can be used to establish a baseline for studying animal parasites and diseases, and will improve our monitoring of emerging infectious diseases.

Major

Biology; Environmental Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Sarah Stankavich, Long-Term Ecological Research, University of Puerto Rico

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Oct 27th, 6:00 PM Oct 27th, 6:40 PM

Exploring Host-Specificity of Parasites in Tropical Bats of Puerto Rico

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Studying and understanding pathogens in wildlife before they spread to human populations is essential in the attempt to combat them. Bats have been found to be a reservoir host to many dangerous diseases that, if left unstudied and unattended, could spread to human populations. Increases in deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and human encroachment can increase the potential for humans to acquire the various diseases for which bats may be vectors. Parasites play a large role in disease transmission dynamics by serving as vectors for many harmful and deadly diseases. The focus of our research is to understand and evaluate parasite and host interactions on different species of bats in Puerto Rico. Parasites, like the blood-sucking bat flies, are known to facilitate disease transmission from parasite to host. Using harp traps and mist nets, bats were captured to collect information on both parasites and their hosts to understand host-parasite interactions in Puerto Rican bats. All thirteen Puerto Rican bat species were attained or recorded through traditional capture methods and acoustics. We discovered certain ectoparasite types to be hostspecific to different bat species. We found significantly more parasites on female bats compared to males. This data will broaden our understanding of disease dynamics that can be used to establish a baseline for studying animal parasites and diseases, and will improve our monitoring of emerging infectious diseases.