Ryan Koch, M.S. student
Major advisor: Matt Bolek
Parasitology, diversity, life cycles
B.S. 2015, Rutgers University
I am interested in several aspects of parasite ecology and evolution. My goals include assessing the ecological drivers of host-parasite diversity and understanding parasite life cycles in aquatic ecosystems. The Great Plains prairie region serves as my study system, which contains a very diverse range of habitats. I utilize freshwater snails as hosts for my research because they serve as intermediate hosts for several different parasite species with final vertebrate hosts. In Oklahoma, I have found three taxonomically diverse groups of parasites (Trematoda, Nematoda, Acanthocephala) in snails of the species Helisoma trivolvis. My research provides an unconventional framework for studying vertebrate and invertebrate community structure by investigating parasite life cycles.