Ecological & Evolutionary Parasitology

the Criscione Lab at Texas A&M University

Charles Criscione Lab2018-08-28T14:58:43+00:00

I examine fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions in parasite systems and consider my research to be at the interface of ecology, evolution, and genetics. Parasitology provides a rich subject area for studies of ecology and evolutionary biology. Numerous topics such as ecosystem dynamics, mating systems, or coevolution can be addressed because parasites are extremely diverse. By diversity, I include not only the myriad of taxa that have independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle, but also the diversity in life cycles, modes of reproduction, host species, and ecosystems utilized by parasites. This diversity also allows for comparative studies to address theories or unifying principles that span ecosystems or taxonomic groups. Furthermore, there are many practical applications such as studying the evolution of drug resistance, or using parasite community structure to assess “ecosystem health”. My research interests address both basic and applied questions, and span three overlapping subject areas: 1) Genetics and Ecological Genomics, 2) Evolution: Population Genetics, Mating Systems, and Molecular Epidemiology, and 3) Ecology: Biodiversity, Conservation, and Natural History.

Lab News

Sep. 2018
Jenna Hulke joined the lab as a new PhD student this Fall.  Welcome Jenna!
April 2018
Our molecular phylogeny of the trematode Genus Alloglossidium was accepted in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.  This genus is a fascinating group of trematodes as there is life cycle variation among species in the genus.  Our phylogeny was used to reconstruct the evolution of these different life cycle patterns. Check out Emily Kasl’s (former PhD student in Criscione lab) paper (September 2018 issue) under Publications.
Feb. 2018 Check out our new publication on the rat lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis in Evolutionary Applications (September 2018 issue) under Publications.  By collectively analyzing available sequence data, this paper corrects some prior mistakes in the literature dealing with the global molecular epidemiology of this parasite.  The paper also links data from prior isolated studies into a framework that can be used for future studies.  Lastly, the paper highlights the importance cryptic lineages within the presumed single species Angiostrongylus cantonensis.  This study was done in collaboration with a visiting PhD student and now, Dr. Sirilak Dusitsittipon from Thailand.