I am wildlife biologist with a focus on parasite and disease ecology. That means I study organisms that live in or on another larger animal. Disease ecologists ask questions such as how parasites and pathogens are distributed across individuals, how they impact their hosts, how they influence entire populations or even communities of animals.
The bulk of my work to date has been focused on wildlife that reside at the Los Amigos Biological Station in southeastern Peru. This is were I completed my doctoral research, focusing on the parasites of two nonhuman primate species, the saddleback (Leontocebus weddelli) and emperor (Saguinus imperator) tamarins. My research now incorporates all 11 species of monkey that occur at this location, as well as a few species that occur elsewhere in Peru. Additionally, in 2018 with logistical support from Field Projects International, I have collected and begun analysis of samples from bats, birds, and small terrestrial mammals as well.
Parasites and pathogens are implicated in regulating predator-prey population cycles, nutrient cycling, animal reproduction, speciation, social behavior and much more. It is hypothesized that parasite and pathogen diversity is correlated with community-wide health. Accordingly, in disturbed, fragmented, or unnatural habitats, we would expect less parasite and pathogen diversity and overall reductions in animal health and population stability. If you are interested in learning more, or even joining this research effort for a period of time, please get in touch directly or through Field Projects International.