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Clay Vondriska

Chemical ecology of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods

Ongoing at Arkansas State University

Location: Honduras

Interest: Marine

My project is broadly looking at the chemical ecology and behavior of parasitic gnathiid isopods. Gnathiid isopods are similar to ticks, where they attach to a host fish and feed on a blood meal before returning to the substratum to molt, either to their next juvenile, parasitic phase or to their adult, reproductive stage. To do this, gnathiids must locate their hosts in complex reef environments and have shown to rely on chemical cues to do so. My project is investigating how different factors, such as climate change or previous parasitism, effect a gnathiids ability to locate its host. I am also interested in looking at what other parts of their life cycles may be chemically mediated such as mate finding and predator avoidance.

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