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Science and the Environment

You Can Choose Your Friends But Not Your Parasites

Ambrose Heron

As everyone in the Ozarks knows, small animals abound in our environment.  Many of these are mammals and each has an array of parasitic guests on their person.  Sean Maher is a biologist at Missouri State University and he is mapping out the distribution of various animals and their accompanying “bugs” in locales throughout the region.  Through this work, he is correlating environmental characteristics with the populations.  In doing so,  he hopes to learn more about the connections between population size and health with the supporting ecosystem in which the animals live.