Welcome to the “de Roode” Lab

We are in the Department of Biology and the Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution graduate program.

We study the ecology and evolution of species interactions and animal migration. Much of our work focuses on the interaction between monarch butterflies, their host plants and their parasites, and their annual migration between North America and Mexico. Questions we currently address are how climate change changes plant chemistry and monarch and parasite performance, how gut microbes contribute to disease resistance, what strategies monarchs use to reach their overwintering sites, and what genes are involved in equipping monarchs with stage-specific adaptations and migration. In the past, we have studied virulence evolution, and asked how bee-keeping practices may select for more harmful bee diseases. We have also previously studied how within-host competition between malaria parasites affects the evolution of drug resistance.

RECENT RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Milkweed cardenolides reduce parasite infection in monarch butterflies, as shown in our Journal of Chemical Ecology paper.

Animal migration can have both negative and positive consequences for parasite prevalence. For monarch butterflies, migration reduces infection, but current changes in climate and milkweed abundance are leading to increases in prevalence.

Monarch butterflies are commonly infected with a protozoan parasite. Long-term analysis shows that parasite prevalence has sharply increased since the early 2000’s, and that parasites kill up to millions of migratory monarchs each year.

Elevated carbon concentrations, as occurring through current climate change, can result in a loss of medicinal properties of milkweeds. See our paper in Ecology Letters.

Genomic analysis shows that eastern and western North American monarchs form a panmictic population, and that migration differences appear to be associated with changes in gene expression.

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3 months ago
De Roode laboratory

So excited about our new Virulent Vortex Podcast in which I interview faculty and students from the MP3 Initiative and Infectious Diseases Across Scales Training Program about their research. In the first episode, Lance Waller proclaims his love for maps and explains why we called the podcast the Virulent Vortex.

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1 years ago
De Roode laboratory

If you are interested in getting milkweed for pollinator gardens, please email me. Details are at deroodelab.org. ... See MoreSee Less

3 years ago
De Roode laboratory

Congratulations to Wajd for receiving highest honors for her research on the effects of crowding on monarch butterfly susceptibility to infectious disease! ... See MoreSee Less

Congratulations to Wajd for receiving highest honors for her research on the effects of crowding on monarch butterfly susceptibility to infectious disease!

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Congrats - this project sounds interesting too - any way to get a copy?

How do you get free milkweed plants?

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