Ryan Koch, Ph.D. student

Major advisor: Matt Bolek

Parasitology, diversity, life cycles

M.S. 2018, Oklahoma State University

B.S. 2015, Rutgers University

Email: ryan.koch@okstate.edu



Specific Interests
I am interested in several aspects of parasite ecology and evolution. My overall goals are to 1) identify key hosts of parasites, 2) understand parasite transmission, and 3) resolve parasite life cycles. I utilize field and laboratory experiments to assess these goals, in addition to DNA sequencing to assist in mapping out potential life cycles. The Great Plains prairie region serves as my current study system, which contains a very diverse range of habitats. My study system involves turtle parasites called thorny-headed worms (Phylum: Acanthocephala). Among the 10 species of acanthocephalans that are known to infect turtles, I have identified four of these species in central Oklahoma and am currently working on elucidating these four life cycles.



  • Koch, R.W., Gustafson, K.D., and Bolek, M.G. Notes on turtle acanthocephalan abnormalities. Journal of Parasitology. In Prep.  

  • Koch, R.W., Brandao, J.L., Riding, C.S., Loss, S.R., and Reichard, M.V. Examination of wild birds and feral hogs for Trichinella spp. larvae in Oklahoma. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. In Prep.

  • Koch, R.W., Goeppner, S.R, Gustafson, K.D., and Bolek, M.G. 2022. Seasonal occurrence of Neoechinorhynchus emydis (phylum: Acanthocephala) in the freshwater snail, Planorbella cf. P. trivolvis, from the great plains region of North America. Journal of Parasitology. Accepted.

  • Koch, R.W., Shannon, R.P., Detwiler, J.T., and Bolek, M.G. 2021. Molecular identification of juvenile Neoechinorhynchus spp. (phylum: Acanthocephala) infecting ostracod and snail hosts provides insight into acanthocephalan host use. Journal of Parasitology. 107: 739–761. https://doi.org/10.1645/20-130

  • Reichard, M.V., Sanders, T.L., Prentiss, N.L., Cotey, S.R., Koch, R.W., Fairbanks, W.S., Interisano, M., La Rosa, G., Pozio, E. 2021. Detection of Trichinella murrelli and Trichinella pseudospiralis in bobcats (Lynx rufus) from Oklahoma. Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports. 25: 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vprsr.2021.100609

  • Koch, R.W. and Reichard, M. 2021. Species distribution model of Trichinella species in cougars (Puma concolor) for the southwestern region of Colorado, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 57: 211-214. https://doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00055

  • McAllister, C.T., Bursey, C.R., Koch, R.W. Trauth, S.E., Conn, D.B., Robison, H.W. 2020. Additional Records of Hemoparasites (Apicomplexa) and Helminth Parasites (Trematoda, Cestoda, Nematoda, Acanthocephala) from Oklahoma Amphibians (Anura) and Reptiles (Testudines: Ophidia). Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. 100: 84–94. https://ojs.library.okstate.edu/osu/index.php/OAS/article/view/8253

  • McAllister, C.T and Koch, R.W. 2019. Acanthocephalans (Eoacanthocephala: Neoechinorhynchida: Neoechinorhynchidae) of common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) from Arkansas and Oklahoma, with observations on host suitability. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 99: 58–63. https://ojs.library.okstate.edu/osu/index.php/OAS/article/view/7975