Thanks for your response.
> The lab consisted of looking at slides of various parasites working > from protazoa up to arthropod parasites
The format of the parasitology class you describe seems to be the
commonest among the messages I have been getting. We are trying to avoid
going the slide route...
> from there go out into the local area and see if you can
> map out the life cycle of some local parasite. For example find some
> snail discover it has a parasite in it. Figure out who gets the next
> stage and try and find the parasite in the next host.
By all means go out and look for cycles, but here's a friendly warning:
ESTABLISHING PARASITE LIFE CYCLES IS A TIME VACUUM. It is incredibly
difficult to sort out the various life cycles, and I am working with
people who have made careers of this type of work. So don't be too
disappointed if you don't reinvent some neighborhood digenean parasite
for your final project: it's a lot of work and requires highly
This is not to say that you shouldn't try, at one point, to find a
parasite topic that turns you on. I myself am working with
Diphyllobothrium dendriticum, a tapeworm commonly found in its larval
form in Arctic fish. Another student in the lab is working on the life
cycle, and she would be the first to tell you it is intricate work,
particularly in cases with low intermediate and definitive
host-specificity. But we know so little about so many of these parasites
at this stage that there is always room for more researchers...
Take care and thanks for writing
Christopher A. Blanar