Abstract # 4430 Event # 27:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:15 AM-11:30 AM: Session 3 (Las Olas) Oral Presentation


R. R. Ghai1,2, J. T. Davies1, C. A. Chapman1 and T. L. Goldberg2
1McGill University, Department of Biology, 1201 ave Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada, 2University of Wisconsin-Madison
     This research investigates the relationship between gastrointestinal parasites and primate hosts. Kibale National Park harbours a complex community of primates, including eight species of diurnal primate. These primates vary in degree of phylogenetic relatedness and niche overlap. Using two directly transmitted gastrointestinal nematodes, Trichuris and Oesophagostomum, we examined the factors of primate biology that most heavily influence parasite genetic diversity. Parasite samples were collected through non-invasive collection of feces. DNA was extracted from sedimented feces and subjected to PCR amplification and sequencing of parasite rDNA genes. Results suggest that there is un-described cryptic diversity (species or sub-species) of both Trichuris and Oesophagostomum within the primate community of Kibale. However, despite a similarity in mode of transmission between these two parasites, Trichuris seems to epitomize a generalist strategy, with the same species present in all primates, including humans. Oesophagostomum is more tightly linked to host. Trichuris infection does not emulate the phylogenetic ancestry of their respective hosts, while the host range of Oesophagostomum varies by species, with one species constrained by host phylogeny, and another, which infects humans, over-dispersed within the host community. Results also suggest that the prevalence of co-infection is attributed to life history traits of a given primate, with more terrestrial primates showing higher rates of infection, perhaps due to increased exposure to parasite infectious stages on the ground.