Co-Author(s)

Koger, Aundrea; Loo, Samantha; Staubus, Weston

Research Mentor(s)

Schwarz, Dietmar, 1974-

Description

While host-parasite coevolution is generally well studied, much less attention has been paid to how parasite-host relationships are impacted by variation in the abiotic environment. This may be especially important when the host species' range includes both moderate and extreme environments, since the parasite might not be able to tolerate both climates. In such cases, adaptation to extreme environments might be a potential strategy to reduce parasitization. Studies have shown that parasites are more successful in the environment in which they originally coevolved with their host than in an environment with new abiotic stressors. In Washington, snowberry flies infest snowberries on both sides of the Cascades, showing their ability to adapt to both a temperate and arid environment. However, it is unknown whether their specialist parasite (the braconid wasp parasitoid) is equally tolerant of the relatively extreme climate east of the Cascades. In order to explore if adapting to harsh environments protects against parasitization, we studied the effects and rate of parasitization on snowberry flies. We dissected snowberry fly pupae collected from multiple western and central Washington sites. Preliminary data show that the parasitization rate across sites in arid central Washington is lower and more variable than in western Washington. Parasitoids seem to be partially adapted to the arid environment, but it is unknown if they are simultaneously adapting to the arid climate through physiological mechanisms of their own, or if they are “hijacking” their host’s defense mechanisms against desiccation.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

15-5-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

15-5-2019 5:00 PM

Location

Carver Gym (Bellingham, Wash.)

Department

Biology

Genre/Form

student projects, posters

Subjects – Topical (LCSH)

Rhagoletis--Behavior--Washington (State); Braconidae--Washington (State); Parasitoids--Hosts--Washington (State); Host-parasite relationships; Adaptation (Biology)

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State)

Type

Image

Keywords

Snowberry fly, Braconid wasp, parasitization

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 15th, 5:00 PM

Does adaptation to harsh environments provide protection against parasites?

Carver Gym (Bellingham, Wash.)

While host-parasite coevolution is generally well studied, much less attention has been paid to how parasite-host relationships are impacted by variation in the abiotic environment. This may be especially important when the host species' range includes both moderate and extreme environments, since the parasite might not be able to tolerate both climates. In such cases, adaptation to extreme environments might be a potential strategy to reduce parasitization. Studies have shown that parasites are more successful in the environment in which they originally coevolved with their host than in an environment with new abiotic stressors. In Washington, snowberry flies infest snowberries on both sides of the Cascades, showing their ability to adapt to both a temperate and arid environment. However, it is unknown whether their specialist parasite (the braconid wasp parasitoid) is equally tolerant of the relatively extreme climate east of the Cascades. In order to explore if adapting to harsh environments protects against parasitization, we studied the effects and rate of parasitization on snowberry flies. We dissected snowberry fly pupae collected from multiple western and central Washington sites. Preliminary data show that the parasitization rate across sites in arid central Washington is lower and more variable than in western Washington. Parasitoids seem to be partially adapted to the arid environment, but it is unknown if they are simultaneously adapting to the arid climate through physiological mechanisms of their own, or if they are “hijacking” their host’s defense mechanisms against desiccation.

 

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