Photo credit: USFWS

Wildlife Pathogens

Avian malaria is a disease caused by a parasite related to the human pathogen for malaria and is a major threat to native Hawaian bird species. I provided techincal support in the lab to Dr. Robert Fleischer to help us understand the spread and evolution of avian malaria in the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

 I also had the opportunity to use DNA and RNA shotgun sequencing to screen for potential pathogens in mammals that could impact human health in the future.

Population Genomics of Short-eared Owls

Short-eared owls have a global distribution and are thought to be the only owl species that can disperse across oceans! We are interested in using whole genome sequencing to describe the historic and contemporary drivers of population structure in the non-migratory populations particularly in the Carribean islands. 

Photo credit: A. Wilson

Photo credit: Dom Cram

African Honeyguide Microbiomes

African honeyguides are brood parasites which means they lay they eggs in the nests of other species. These wax-eating birds are famous for leading honey-foraging humans to bees nests. We are interested in how bacteria (the microbiome) of the African honeyguides may help the birds digest wax from the bee hives they lead foragers to.