Monday, August 24, 2015

PNAS Avian malaria paper: It's out!

Two years ago I sent off a number of blood samples from birds we were capturing to a post doc at University of Missouri - St. Louis in Dr. Robert Ricklefs' lab. 

The next thing I knew was that there was a manuscript. I made a few recommendations (and they're in the paper!) and then it was accepted. 

Here's the link

Here's the short story: avian blood parasites largely ignore their hosts' taxonomy and where they are. In Pennsylvania, our birds were loaded with parasites - hmm. That needs clarification. I have no idea of the intensity of parasitism (# parasites within an individual) but the prevalence (portion of the population that was infected) was very high: about 60% of samples. 

Which strongly suggests that when you get bit by a few mosquitoes you're being injected with avian malaria. Be thankful these species don't like mammals. 

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