Rapid change in host specificity in a field population of the biological control organism Pasteuria penetrans – open access publication here
This paper represents the beginning of a collaboration with Patricia Timper at the USDA. I worked with Patty and her graduate student, Chang Liu (now a postdoc at the University of Florida) to track yearly shifts in the host specificity of a biological control parasite. We found dramatic spatial and temporal variation in the specificity of the parasite Pasteuria penetrans for its host, the plant-parasitic nematode (and arch nemesis of Georgia peanuts) Meloidogyne arenaria. Following up on this work, we’re interested in 1) what drives temporal change in parasite specificity? (is it evolution? even reciprocal adaptation?) and 2) what are the implications of the evolution of specificity for the efficacy of biological control?