REU student Chastity Ward investigates variation in parasite transmission behavior in monarchs

Congratulations to Chastity Ward for successfully completing her summer research in UGA’s Population Biology of Infectious Diseases REU. Chastity conducted observations of monarchs visiting their milkweed host plants in outdoor flight cages to

REU student Chastity Ward (R), with research co-mentors Paola Barriga, Richard Hall and Sonia Altizer.

quantify environmental transmission rates of their protozoan parasite OE. Excitingly, she discovered substantial variation among monarchs in their visitation rates, which may point to the existence of superspreader individuals. As well as presenting her research at the UGA REU symposium, Chastity will present at an upcoming biomedical research conference, and her ambitious summer project has spawned a follow-up experiment! We’ll miss having her around!