Effects of a keystone genus on the prevalence of ectoparasites and disease in a desert rodent community
I am investigating the effects of removing kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.), a keystone genus, on the prevalence of ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, etc.) and pathogens (bacteria of the genus Bartonella) in a desert rodent community. This project is based at a long-term research site (established in 1977) near the town of Portal in southeastern Arizona. I collected preliminary ectoparasite samples in 2015, and am in the process of identifying them. I’ll be returning to the field site this June to collect more samples.
Collaborators: Morgan Ernest, Ellen Bledsoe, Erica Christensen (University of Florida)
Funding: Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant (2016)
Tags: desert ecology, disease, ectoparasites, small mammals