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USF researchers show invasive sparrows immune cells sharpen as they spread
Date:11/20/2013

ding out native species, the small but charismatic songbird is both adored, having been mentioned in Shakespeare's sonnets, and reviled for its voracious and destructive appetite for grain. In the United States, the house sparrow was often the target of organized eradication programs and is now implicated in the declines of other species because of its role in cycles of certain diseases.

Martin has focused on Kenya's sparrow population because it is one of the world's newest invasions of sparrows. Martin's newest research looked at how interactions between hosts and parasites influenced the success of host species' introductions and range. Although other factors were important to predicting immune system variation, such as whether individuals were infected by malaria, the best predictor of was population age: birds from newer sites searched more for parasites than birds from old sites.

The ultimate goal of Martin's research is to understand what gives invasive species their edge, which could help government agencies focus resources on eradicating those species with the most potential to do damage to natural environments and influence how species are managed with respect to climate change and other anthropogenic factors such as urbanization.


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Contact: Vickie Chachere
vchachere@usf.edu
813-974-6251
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert

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