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Brunner Lab News

Christian and Christina join the lab!

Welcome to new masters’ students, Christian Yarber and Christina Thomas! Christian is coming to us from UT Knoxville where he worked in a number of labs, including Matt Gray’s lab doing amphibian disease experiments. Christina graduated from WSU a bit ago and has been working on tick projects in NYS all summer. So glad you two could join us!

Jesse presented on ticks at ESA in Portland

The talk was entitled, “Do small mammals ‘compete’ for ticks?”.

I made the argument, based on some simple analyses of tick burden data from an experiment in 2011 (!), that when, say, chipmunks are added to a fragment, they reduce the number of larvae feeding on mice by a small number, but that number is sufficient to offset the number fed by the chipmunk. In other words, adding chipmunks (or likely other species) would be expected to reduce the overall density of infected nymphs the next year. The slides are below. Now just need to write the dang paper!

Coolest part: my college ecology professor, the one who made me want to become an ecologist, was in the audience! Thanks, for coming and saying such nice things Mark!


Jesse presents at Ranavirus Symposium

Jesse presented results from a recent project on non-lethal methods of detecting ranavirus at the 2017 International Symposium on Ranaviruses in Budapest, Hungary. The conference was great and the location and organizers were amazing!

Here’s a PDF of the slides: ISR_2017_NonLethalDetection (Note: the manuscript is in review)

Performance of nonlethal methods of detecting Ranavirus infections in captivity and trade

Jesse L. Brunner, Anjulie Olson*, Jeremy G. Rice*, Mitchel J. Le Sage**, Jennifer A. Cundiff, Caren S. Goldberg, and Allan P. Pessier

[* undergraduate, ** grad student]

Bailey Towey joins the Brunner lab

Bailey Towey is working with Mitch Le Sage (MS) on invertebrate scavengers of salamander larvae. She will be estimating the “functional response”—the rate at which scavengers consume amphibian carcasses as carcass density increases—in local ponds and in the lab. This work nicely complements Mitch’s work on scavengers and ranavirus transmission. Glad you’re joining the lab, Bailey!

Ana Trejo and Anna Aviles awarded CAS grants!

Ana Trejo and Anna Aviles were award College of Arts and Sciences’ Undergraduate Science Grants to support their summer research.

Ana T will be testing whether hormones can cause subclinical ranavirus infections in African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) to reactivate. She has been collaborating with Jacques Robert at University of Rochester and Erica Crespi here in SBS on this project, too.

Anna A will be using security cameras to track the movements of long toed salamander larvae (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in response to predator cues. She will test whether anti-predator behaviors are long-lasting and whether they affect contact rates and therefore might influence pathogen transmission.

Well done Ana and Anna!