#2019MMM

The Gibson lab placed 353rd in March Mammal Madness, after correctly predicting the final battle between Wargoose and Tiger!! (To clarify: there were 2511 entries, so this puts us in the top 14%).

New paper in Evolutionary Applications

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?

On a noble quest to save the peanut

Helena earns highest honors

Helena Baffoe-Bonnie earned highest honors from Emory University for her senior honors thesis in the Morran lab! Helena conducted a really nice test of an hypothesis for the evolution of parasite host range using lineages of the parasite Serratia marcescens that we’d experimentally evolved in the lab to kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Now Helena’s heading to Baltimore to take an NIH IRTA fellowship in the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Congratulations Helena – you’re a star!

Hard at work, selecting for really nasty parasites

Lots of folks contributed to Helena’s work, including Levi Morran, McKenna Penley, Raythe Owens, Dilys Osei, Julie Lin, and Arooj Khalid.

Honorable Mention for the ASN Student Paper Award

Mandy’s paper Periodic, Parasite-Mediated Selection For and Against Sex with Lynda Delph, Daniela Vergara, and Curt Lively received Honorable Mention for the 2018 Student Paper Award from the American Society of Naturalists. Very exciting news! More information on the award can be found here.

Check out the beautiful award-winning paper by Marta Shocket (#GoIU) Temperature Drives Epidemics in a Zooplankton-Fungus Disease System: A Trait-Driven Approach Points to Transmission via Host Foraging and the other Honorable Mention by Nicolas Schnedler-Meyer Evolution of Complex Asexual Reproductive Strategies in Jellyfish

What do all these papers have in common??? Organisms that can reproduce asexually. Coincidence??