Event Title

What Bugs Bat Bugs? Exploring Ectoparasite Communities on Puerto Rican Bats

Presenter Information

Emily Stanford, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-27-2017 6:00 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 6:40 PM

Research Program

NSF REU in Tropical Ecology, El Verde Field Station, El Yunique, Puerto Rico

Poster Number

29

Abstract

Parasites are important players in disease transmission, and different community compositions of parasites can alter disease dynamics. Yet the variables that influence parasite community structure are feebly understood. In this study, we analyzed three factors: host trait, cave type, and parasite co-infections that might be influencing parasite populations on 10 species of Puerto Rican bats. Bats were captured from three study sites using harp traps, mist nets, and hand nets between May 29-July 20, 2017. We found that host weight is significantly correlated with higher ectoparasite richness, and that female bats had higher ectoparasite richness than male bats. Hot caves had significantly higher ectoparasite richness after controlling for host species. We also found that ectoparasite and intestinal parasite abundances were significantly correlated for Artibeus jamaicensis and Pteronotus quadridens, but not for Monophyllus redmani. While the results of the host trait are consistent with previous studies, the indistinct relationship between parasite co-infections was not consistent with previous findings. Future studies should further explore the dynamics of co-parasitic infections to help us understand how parasites are interacting with each other. This information will further our understanding of the factors that influence disease establishment in wildlife populations.

Major

Biology; Environmental Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Anna Sjodin, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

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

What Bugs Bat Bugs? Exploring Ectoparasite Communities on Puerto Rican Bats

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Parasites are important players in disease transmission, and different community compositions of parasites can alter disease dynamics. Yet the variables that influence parasite community structure are feebly understood. In this study, we analyzed three factors: host trait, cave type, and parasite co-infections that might be influencing parasite populations on 10 species of Puerto Rican bats. Bats were captured from three study sites using harp traps, mist nets, and hand nets between May 29-July 20, 2017. We found that host weight is significantly correlated with higher ectoparasite richness, and that female bats had higher ectoparasite richness than male bats. Hot caves had significantly higher ectoparasite richness after controlling for host species. We also found that ectoparasite and intestinal parasite abundances were significantly correlated for Artibeus jamaicensis and Pteronotus quadridens, but not for Monophyllus redmani. While the results of the host trait are consistent with previous studies, the indistinct relationship between parasite co-infections was not consistent with previous findings. Future studies should further explore the dynamics of co-parasitic infections to help us understand how parasites are interacting with each other. This information will further our understanding of the factors that influence disease establishment in wildlife populations.