Ute Stenkewitz at the Natural Science Institute will deliver a talk on Prevalence, intensity, and aggregation of parasites in Icelandic rock ptarmigan and their potential impact on population dynamics.
The Icelandic rock ptarmigan is a robust bird species occurring in a rugged environment. It is Iceland’s mostly hunted bird species and one of the Icelanders’ favorite Christmas food. The ptarmigan population in Iceland cycles with peak numbers every c. 11 years. It is not yet fully understood what causes these cycles. Possible factors are various processes such as interactions with food, predators, or pathogens. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History set up a large-scaled research project on the effects of health related parameters on the population change of the Icelandic rock ptarmigans. Within that project my PhD work has been to figure out which relationships there are between the parasites of the ptarmigan, their body condition, and population cycles. In my talk, I will dig into and address the parasite community, the bursa and spleen as measures of immune function, body condition, and population densities of the ptarmigan.
Photo by Daníel Bergmann, copyright Náttúrufræðistofnun.
The talk is part of the Biology Friday Lectures.