23rd May 2016 – Sarah Knutie, University of South Florida

Sarah KnutieMy research spans both basic and applied ideas in conservation ecology, particularly with host-parasite systems.  My PhD dissertation was on the effect of an introduced parasitic nest fly on birds in the Galapagos and how birds defend themselves against this novel parasite.  I also established a method (‘self-fumigation’) for controlling the fly in bird nests. I am currently a post-doc in Jason Rohr’s lab at the University of South Florida where I am exploring the importance of the frog gut microbiota in the development of the immune system and subsequent parasite susceptibility.  Specifically, I am determining how the host microbiota mediates the effect of environmental stressors, such as pollution, on disease risk.  I am also working at Itasca Biological Station in northern Minnesota where I am exploring fundamental questions on the evolution of bird defenses against their parasites using a box-nesting bird-parasitic fly system.

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