Global Mammal Parasite Database

Research Projects

Our team has completed multiple research projects using the data contained in the GMPD, with many more underway. These projects are focused around four questions, outlined below. Since the primate parasite database was completed first, many of the projects completed thus far have focused on primates.

1. How do mammal traits influence patterns of disease risk?

  • Projects include:
    • Parasite diversity and primate evolutionary diversification
    • Comparative studies of leukocyte counts and spleen size
    • Effects of host body size, habitat use, and life history traits on parasite richness
    • The relative roles of evolutionary relatedness and geographic range overlap on patterns of parasite sharing
    • Associations between host genetic variation and measures of disease risk

2. How do mating and social systems affect disease risk?

  • Projects include:
    • Sexual selection, behavior and sexually transmitted diseases
    • Sex differences in sexually transmitted diseases in primates
    • Behavioral counterstrategies to STDs
    • Sleeping group size and vector-borne disease in primates
    • Social group size and parasite species richness in hoofed mammals

3. Parasites, mammal conservation and human health

  • Projects include:
    • Infectious diseases of threatened mammals
    • Global patterns of human emerging diseases
    • Sampling gaps and sampling biases in mammalian parasites
    • Parasite diversity in nature reserves
    • Parasite “Red List”

4. How does global environmental variation affect parasite diversity and characteristics?

  • Projects include:
    • Latitudinal gradients in protozoan species richness in primates
    • Temperature, rainfall and global variation in parasite richness in hoofed mammals
    • Parasite biodiversity, mammalian biodiversity and anthropogenic change