Andrew Bartlow on Mindoro Island in the Phillippines collecting parasites from birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians will give a presentation at 7 p.m. today. Courtesy/EEC
Join Andrew Bartlow tonight at the Los Alamos Nature Center to learn about how some specific parasites have evolved ways to manipulate their hosts and turn them into their own zombie bodyguards.
His talk begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Parasites are everywhere and are extremely diverse. From tiny microscopic Giardia to giant tapeworms, parasites rule the world in terms of biodiversity. They rely on other organisms, called hosts for their survival.
Some parasites simply infect new hosts by being eaten or by using insects as vectors, such as mosquitos, but other parasites have evolved ways to manipulate their hosts and make the process of transmission easier.
Bartlow will discuss these parasites and how some can turn their hosts into their own protective, real-life zombie bodyguards. These host manipulations are just beginning to be understood and documented.
“There are probably many more of these parasites lurking in the shadows, just waiting to be discovered,” Bartlow said.
Bartlow was recently named a Director’s Funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He started working at LANL as a Graduate Research Assistant in September 2017 after getting his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He studies a wide range of topics, including seed dispersal, oak ecology host-parasite interactions, disease ecology and community ecology.
PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org.