February 24, 2016: Patricia
Parker, a senior scientist at the St. Louis Zoo, will speak on “Disease Ecology
and Biogeography: Galapagos Birds and their Parasites” at the Clarke University
Mary Murphy, BVM, Endowed Lecture in Biology on Tuesday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in
Admission is free.
Parker, who also serves as the Des Lee Professor of
Zoological Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will discuss her
research in the Galapagos in 2001 and 2002.
led a four-institution collaborative effort between the University of Missouri-St.
Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, and two institutions in Galapagos, the Galapagos
National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation. She will discuss her work in
attempting to understand the threats posed to Galapagos endemic birds by the
arrival of new pathogens.
goal is to keep Galapagos, where there have been zero extinctions of endemic
birds, from following the same sad fate as the Hawaiian Islands, where a large
proportion of the endemic birds have gone extinct due to the arrival of the avian
malarial parasite and the avian pox virus,” Parker said. “We have documented
that both of these infectious agents exist in Galapagos now, and we are trying
to understand what opportunities exist for interventions to keep the islands
the model for wildlife conservation that they have been for 60 years.”
Parker spent her
childhood in the southern United States, where she says she was the kind of kid
who disobeyed commands like, “Whatever you do, don’t go down in the creek!” She
earned a bachelor’s in Zoology and Ph.D. in Behavioral Ecology at the
University of North Carolina. She began learning the genetic techniques that
would be critical for the rest of her research endeavors during post-doctoral
work at Purdue University.
For more information, contact the Clarke University
Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.