Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome to our Themes of Parasitology Blog!

We are a group of students studying parasitology at Mercer University in Macon, GA. This blog is a way for us to share our knowledge of parasites with the rest of the world. Our goal is to publish posts that give a general description of parasitic and mutalistic relationships as well as elaborate on some of the general strategies used by symbionts and their hosts.

We are reading Carl Zimmer’s “Parasite Rex” [1] and Claude Combs’ “The Art of Being a Parasite” [2] as part of our class. You may find that our posts complement their texts.


The general format of each post is as follows:

Introduction:
The species involved (specifically if reasonable) and the main biology of the relationship. General information such as global distribution, ecological impact, diseases caused, is introduced.

Symbiont Description:
Taxonomic details: genus species, basic details of its biology.

Host Description:
The host specificity of the symbiont. Include all hosts (intermediate, definitive, vectors, accidental, etc.)

Life Cycle: A basic walk-through of an entire generation of the parasite’s life cycle. Specific strategies employed by the symbiont or host that allow for efficient transmission will be described.

Ecology:
The consequences of this interaction in nature. (prevalence, distribution, disease, human interactions, economic impact, etc.)

An example of __________:
One aspect of the relationship that demonstrates a strategy or theory we talked about in class or was discovered from readings. (vector borne transmission, how complex life cycles can enhance fitness, how a parasite can alter society, etc.)

References:
1. Zimmer, C. 2001. Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures. New York: Free Press.
2. Combs, C. 2005. The Art of Being a Parasite. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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