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UCF Science Cafe
Charissa de Bekker, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Date: September 19, 2019
Time: Networking, drinks and appetizers at 6:30 p.m. and talk begins at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Physical Sciences Building 160/161
The Tale of the Body Snatchers: Unraveling the Mechanisms Underlying Fungal Manipulation of Ants
Behavior-hijacking parasites are the inspiration for many horror novels and movies. Yes, so-called “zombie-making” parasites are real! Some of them even live right here in our own backyards in Central Florida. How parasites pull off something as nifty as mind control is not very well understood, and the main research question asked by the researchers in Dr. de Bekker’s lab. To answer this question, we study the Florida carpenter ant and its manipulating fungal parasite. We integrate various omics techniques with behavioral ecology, mycology and chronobiology.
This talk will walk you through some of the research done by Dr. de Bekker’s lab, the answers that we are getting, the new questions that arise, and why studying the behaviors of zombie ants matters.