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Debbie Chang - Protistan Ecology

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Investigatation of the host range for the parasite, Amoebophrya sp. from
Alexandrium tamarense, across several dinoflagellate groups

Taking the current phylogenetic arrangement of dinoflagellates, Debbie Chang selected representatives from the major lineages and groups for her test.  She planned to examine whether the parasite can enter and/or develop within the various hosts.  Debbie was trained in the preparation of growth media and culturing of dinoflagellates and parasites.  She was also trained to preserve, stain and enumerate the host and parasite cells.  Her initial experiments determined the ratio of host to parasite that would produce the highest parasite prevalence with the lowest incidence of multiple infections (i.e. one parasite cell per host).  She also tested a range of parasite ages at a specified host:parasite ratio that would produce the highest infection rates with one parasite per host.  Her results are needed to set initial conditions for future experiments.  

Funding provided by the National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)