Sarah A Knutie

Learn More
Ecological immunology aims to explain variation among hosts in the strength and efficacy of immunological defenses. However, a shortcoming has been the failure to link host immune responses to actual parasites under natural conditions. Here, we present one of the first experimental demonstrations of a parasite-induced immune response in a wild bird(More)
Arboviruses have seldom been found overwintering in adult vectors at northern latitudes in North America. Buggy Creek virus (BCRV; Togaviridae, Alphavirus) is an ecologically unusual arbovirus vectored principally by the cimicid swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius Horvath). The ectoparasitic bugs reside year-round in the mud nests of their host, the cliff(More)
The prevailing theory for the molecular basis of evolution involves genetic mutations that ultimately generate the heritable phenotypic variation on which natural selection acts. However, epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic variation may also play an important role in evolutionary change. A growing number of studies have demonstrated the(More)
Introduced parasites are a threat to biodiversity when naïve hosts lack effective defenses against such parasites [1]. Several parasites have recently colonized the Galápagos Islands, threatening native bird populations [2]. For example, the introduced parasitic nest fly Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) has been implicated in the decline of endangered(More)
Introduced parasites threaten native host species that lack effective defenses. Such parasites increase the risk of extinction, particularly in small host populations like those on islands. If some host species are tolerant to introduced parasites, this could amplify the risk of the parasite to vulnerable host species. Recently, the introduced parasitic(More)
Like many parasites, avian haematozoa are often found at lower infection intensities in older birds than young birds. One explanation, known as the “selection” hypothesis, is that infected young birds die before reaching adulthood, thus removing the highest infection intensities from the host population. We tested this hypothesis in the field by(More)
A largely unanswered question in the study of arboviruses is the extent to which virus can overwinter in adult vectors during the cold winter months and resume the transmission cycle in summer. Buggy Creek virus (BCRV; Togaviridae, Alphavirus) is an unusual arbovirus that is vectored primarily by the swallow bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Oeciacus vicarius) and(More)
Parasites can negatively affect the evolutionary fitness of their hosts by eliciting physiological stress responses. Parasite-induced stress can be monitored by measuring changes in the adrenal steroid hormone corticosterone. We examined the effect of an invasive parasite on the corticosterone concentrations of a common species of Darwin's finch, the medium(More)
Buggy Creek virus (BCRV; family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus) is an arbovirus transmitted by the ectoparasitic swallow bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Oeciacus vicarius) to cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus). BCRV occurs in two lineages (A and B) that are sympatric in bird nesting colonies in the central Great(More)
Resource availability can significantly alter host–parasite dynamics. Abundant food can provide more resources for hosts to resist infections, but also increase host tolerance of infections by reducing competition between hosts and parasites for food. Whether abundant food favors host resistance or tolerance (or both) might depend on the type of resource(More)